Dennis’ Local Almanac


Stormy weather

Well, we’re just about two-thirds of the way through winter of 2023-2024. The past week or so has been quiet, offering a chance to dry out a bit from those mega storms from the week before. On Sunday, we saw some more “storminess” with three strong lows lined up in the Pacific. Weak high pressure over most of our state is beginning to break down, thus opening the door for more moisture-laden lows that are setting their sights on central and northern California first – and eventually some of Southern California.

Preliminary forecasts called for up to five to eight inches of rain from the Bay Area northward to the California-Oregon border. Here on Sunday afternoon, it was a nice sunny day with temps around 65 degrees with a water temp around 60 degrees with a healthy WNW swell of four to six feet. Sunset occurred at 5:39 p.m. The central and northern Sierra Nevada are calling for snow this coming week to add up to three to five feet in places like Mammoth Lakes and Tahoe. The present snow depths up there are near seasonal normal.

There’s talk of a La Niña event that’s supposed to come on later this spring, but it’s still too early to tell just how strong it might be. Stay tuned on that one. As mentioned last week, tornado production this year has been much more frequent in the South for most of the so-called slow time of year – as the ingredients have been in place for much of the time for severe weather outbreaks.

With increased severe weather, tornado frequency has been as much as three times above normal with some twisters reaching EF-3 strength or higher. There has only been one significant arctic air infusion so far this winter. Many days have seen afternoons with temps in the 60s or even 70s with abnormally high dew points, and warm and moist southerly winds from the Gulf of Mexico are pushing into more northern latitudes. The general rule here is the colder the winter the less severe weather outbreaks occur over the South.

March is fast approaching, and tornado frequency begins to increase with the maximum production happening over the central Gulf states. As March progresses, this center moves eastward to the southeast Atlantic states where tornado frequency reaches a peak in April. During May, the center of maximum frequency will shift into the southern plains states and by June it will spread northward to the northern plains and the Great Lakes region. However, on many occasions, this winter has been so warm there was an unheard-of EF-3 twister in Wisconsin. This was due to an unseasonably warm and moist push of air while contrasting cool dry air surged in from the north and northwest. The two contrasting air masses were battling it out in a point much farther to the north than normal for this time of year.

During May, just about everybody will get in on the action with twister formation reported as far east as western New York state. May normally sees the most frequent development of tornadoes. Things should begin to tail off in June, especially in the South as there is no cold air intrusion to speak of. June is still busy but mostly in the northern tier of states. This has been a most unusual year so far, so keep in mind that anything can happen.

See y’all next week so until then, ALOHA!

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