String of Stormy Pearls

Posted by Rufus La Lone on

Monday January 2
Happy New Year, Patron!  We have interesting weather possibilities on the topic board today.  Get your holiday Mug filled, and read on.  
As indicated in our last report, the general wx outlook for the next couple of weeks is an ‘on / off’ type pattern, with a ’string of pearls’ series of Pacific storms rapidly approaching the west coast.  A bit of background is needed to fully appreciate the pattern of concern ahead.  
Patrons recall that surface storms are generated in the zone where warm & cold air cells meet (usually along the borders of High & Low pressure lobes) in the atmosphere.  We, in jest, compare this battle zone to the friction between Left & Right political ideologies.  Of course, this is quite simplistic, but it goes better with a morn’n beverage.  Anyway, for the next 10 or more days, that battle of the air masses will essentially be in play just to our west, over the eastern Pacific.  A very strong, fast ‘jet stream’ wind in the upper atmosphere will help intensify this surface battle-action, driving the systems (pearls) rapidly along that Low/High pressure boundary right towards the west coast. (Please, stay with us here.).  It is the combination of temp, pressure, upper-level wind that causes surface Low pressure storms to intensify quickly, with barometric pressure readings dropping extremely fast in 24 hr periods.  Such will be the case repeatedly, the next week or longer.  The Implication... for our area to be on alert for any of these storms that may track closer to the PNW than models indicate right now, as their Low center pressures will be deep enough to generate powerful WIND FIELDS (which happened a week ago) should they move onshore.  There will be HEAVY RAIN associated with these storm fronts.  Where will it fall?  (California did get a major storm over New Year’s weekend, with flooding in many locations).)
The weather for tonight into Tue should be mixed, with some shower and breezy conditions for the entire region.  The conditions noted above get started in earnest on Wed Jan 4.
The first in the ’String of Stormy Pearls’ will rapidly deepen to a pressure below 960 mb (!) and is modeled to turn north before beginning its associated rain field strikes the west coast on Wednesday Jan 4 - which will save everyone from high winds, but still brings on plenty of rainfall.  California will get hit hard with RAIN; less so in the PNW.  A 2nd stormy pearl will follow right behind, so another threat for wind moves close to the coast of OR Thu morning, Jan 5.  Again, models turn it north BEFORE serious threat to the mainland. 
Fri/Sat Jan 6,7 will present the next couple of systems, the second of which may bring heavier rain to western OR & WA.  We are not done yet.  More stormy pearls are modeled to follow very similar tracks as the week of Jan 9-13 gets underway.  Storm fronts are scheduled essentially back-to-back all week.  The weekend of Jan 14,15 looks quite stormy for the PNW, with temperatures dropping rapidly, as the coldest air behind the String of Stormy Pearls arrives.  Plenty of Cascades snow; coast range and foothill, too.
Total precipitation expected from now until mid-January exceeds 4” -5” in the Willamette Valley; higher in southern OR. WA less so, as the storm energy will be to the south.  Much of northern CA may get deluged with 10”-12” in the lowlands; >20” in coastal hills of northern CA.  Patrons that live in northern CA or have family & friends there, BE PREPARED for potentially life-threatening flooding.  We hope the models are wrong.
Long writing today.  We felt it warranted.  It is important to note that ANY tracking error of just a couple hundred miles or so to the west, and wham, we may be hit with repeated strong wind fields.  Hence the cautionary tale above.
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