Earth Scientists Will Study Extremes First Hand Next Week
November 29, 2012
I’ll be heading to San Francisco this weekend to once again attend the American Geophysical Union conference, where I’ve been asked to present (!?) on “Effective Use of Social Media in Communicating Climate Science”.
But the biggest story will be the unfolding extreme weather event that will give all attendees a reminder that, for climate change, we all have a front row seat.
The change comes Wednesday afternoon with what will amount to a “warmup” storm that should deliver 0.5 of an inch to about 1 inch to much of Northern California.
That system, Van Cleave said, should be brief, giving way on Thursday to a brief short drying on Thursday.
By late Thursday, that “atmospheric river” will be headed straight for the capital area and will bring strong southerly winds, he said.
The term of art – atmospheric river – tells the story: Van Cleave describes it as a “garden hose … focused right in our area.”
Meteorologist Paul Douglas has more:
I’m seeing some signs of a potentially historic storm for portions of the western USA between Friday and Wednesday of next week as a series of very moist storms push inland from the Pacific. I expect some flash flooding (and river flooding) for the San Francisco Bay Area, but the most severe flooding (and mountain snows) will take place from Marin county into the mountains of northern California and the Coastal/Cascade range of Oregon.
The ECMWF model, which seems to be doing the best job overall in this new weather-on-steroids environment, prints out some 16-20″ rainfall amounts over northern California and southern/western Oregon by Sunday; two surges: one Friday, a second front pushing in Sunday. WSI’s high-res RPM model confirms this as well, which increases my confidence level. The ECMWF model prints out 4-5” for San Francisco, but 8-10” for Marin county, just north of SFO.
Also, Flood Watches are posted for some rivers in Northern California. One of these rivers is the Navarro River, which currently has a stage of 2.9 feet. Here is what is impressive. The flood stage for the Navarro River at Navarro is 23.0 feet. That means that it is currently 20 FEET below flood stage, yet the NWS has determined that it is prudent to issue a Flood Watch for the river. Further, flood stage may be reached by Friday morning and the river could hit 26 feet by midday Friday. So between Thursday morning and Friday afternoon, the river is expected to rise as much as 23 feet. That is a tremendous amount of water.