California Weather Blog: California’s dry season has arrived; March toward El Niño continues in Pacific

From the California Weather Blog:

March-May zonal wind anomalies. (NOAA/ERSL)“California’s meager rainy season of 2013-2014 experienced its last gasp in late April. Modest rainfall (and mountain snowfall) occurred on April 25th, though outside of a few localized downpours overall precipitation totals were not particularly noteworthy. Over the past ten days, strong high pressure associated with a high-amplitude 500mb ridge developed over the far Eastern Pacific, bringing a record-breaking early-season heat wave to much of California.

A number of daily high temperature records were set over a multi-day period over a geographic region spanning the far North Coast (near Eureka/Arcata) to the Mexican border (including San Diego County). Remarkably, the afternoon high temperature recorded at the San Francisco Airport on April 30th was higher than any recorded temperature during all of calendar year 2013! This spring heatwave also coincided with the occurrence of powerful Santa Ana (offshore) winds in Southern California, with the typically windier mountain peaks seeing gusts in the ~100 mph range. These high winds–combined with ongoing extreme drought conditions–led to extreme fire weather conditions, and several wildfires did ultimately break out. In the wake of this heatwave, the Sierra Nevada snowpack fell further from near-record low levels to essential nonexistence. … “

The California Weather Blog takes a look at the forecast, gives an update on El Nino, and compares current conditions to 1997 in the rest of this post here: California’s dry season has arrived; March toward El Niño continues in Pacific

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