Dry Now, Big, Possibly Wet Change on the Horizon

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As the North Bay and most of Northern California enjoys warm, springlike weather, forecasters hoping for a return of our much-needed rain are finally seeing hints of big storms at the end of the current warm, sunny tunnel.  The change is still about two weeks away, but may bring big rains after mid month.

Right now though, high pressure is pushing storms far to our north.

On Sunday, a brief sag in the jet stream will allow a blast of cold air to reach the region, but computer models say we can expect only a few clouds and no rain.

Looking further ahead, high pressure over the West will keep us mostly warm and dry, except for brief shots of cold air, into the week of February 10th.

The good news is that all of the computer models are in agreement that a change is coming.  And most of them point to sometime in the week of February 10th.  As low pressure drops into California, the high pressure ridge retrogrades (moves West) to toward Alaska, allowing storms to finally reach California.

The question is, will high pressure move far enough off the coast for storms to reach us?  Most models say yes, with general agreement that some wet systems will begin to arrive around mid-month.  Here is the forecast, on the GFS model, as a storm slips in for February 12th.

Other model runs also show storms for mid-month.

And more good news.  The long range European weekly outlooks show the storms starting mid-month, and possibly continuing into March.  So, now the wait begins to see if this happens.

Here is the current snowpack numbers for the Northern Sierra.  We’re slightly below average (blue curve), but with a dry 10 days to 2 weeks ahead, we can expect to fall further behind before rains and snows return.

But again, the good news is that we’re still less than halfway through the California rainfall year.  So keep crossing your fingers that rain will return by mid February!

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