Saturday, October 17, 2009

Late Hurricane?

I don't believe it! This morning I hear the words "Hurricane Rick"...255 miles Southwest of Acapulco!... What?

I logged on and saw a very organized, big hurricane! Currently weighing in as a Category 4, Rick is forecast to make landfall on the Baja peninsula sometime Thursday, as a Category 1. Landfall is forecast to hit the "Bisbee's Black & Blue Marlin Tournament"...the World's Richest Billfish Tournament. Talk about Bad Timing! Well, not if you're a Billfish!

Checking the latest Fishing Report from San Jose del Cabo, I see the water temperature is still in the 80's, so Rick will stay pumped-up...Hurricane Season Officially ends November 30th...let's keep our fingers crossed for Baja!

Next I looked in on the Baja Nomads, where folks are incredulous to say the least...many who live in the hardest hit Mid-Peninsula areas are just getting their new roofs installed, thanks to Hurricane Jimena.

Turning my gaze back to California's Sierra Nevada, temperatures are still hovering well above 32F, and poor Boreal's ski patch keeps shrinking. Webcams show a beautiful Fall Day is underway at the Sierra Crest.

Here in the Inland Valley, the humidity left behind by Tuesday's Pineapple Express is finally starting to was making me pine for a Baja Trip!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Early Winter?

Every day this week, I've found a news story on "The Earliest Snowfall..." or "Coldest October..." This unsettles me, to tell ya' the truth. Outside the Ancestral Digs, it's a lovely Fall Day. Today will be warmer and sunnier than yesterday, and Dad's beloved red rose bush is pushing out yet another bunch of blooms.

Most of these Early Winter Stories hail from the Northern Tier, the early ski hill openings from Colorado, the early snows in Chicago, Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, and this weekend, New Jersey. Maybe this is the El Nino Signature Jetstream Shift? The Vegas Ski Hill early opening is the only story from the lower latitudes. People always imagine deserts as hot, hot, hot...but in Fall and Winter, some serious cold can invade desert nights. Deserts have some seriously wide diurnal temperature swings.

Around the CorduroyPlanet's World, Boreal Ridge announced that they were Suspending Weekend Operations "due to weather and snow levels" The Remote Sensors show temps have not been below freezing since Tuesday Morning. The thermometer says it's barely made it into the upper 30's since Wednesday Morning. This explains the shrinking ski run in Boreal's Webcam Image.

The Reno NWS Discussions say there's a couple more weather systems on the move for the next few days, but they won't bring much, if any precip into the mountains. These fronts could bring Snowmaking Temps back to the Mountain, though.

As I watched the Local TV Weatherman try to explain the El Nino effect to the Anchors, I sensed his disappointment that this was only a Moderate El Nino. I'm fine with it, really...

Fortunately, there was a way more interesting story dominating the News...Balloon Boy and the Mylar UFO Balloon! Gripping story! It had everything, lots of drama before the happy ending. I figured there was some hijinks afoot, and wasn't surprised to find that BalloonBoy's Dad is a YouTube UFOlogist! He alleges that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a Reptilian Extraterrestrial! In fact, several Government-types get the same treatment. I wonder how many times I heard him call the Art Bell Show over the years?

In all my years on The Mountain, I've seen plenty of stuff in the sky...night and day, but nothing that gave me a smile like I'd get seeing this family's Mylar UFO Balloon floating by!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Straggling In

The Big Storm blew through the Inland Valley Tuesday. Wild and Woolly, with plenty of Sound and Fury, and more than a little wind. Just about everyone I know called to ask if I was still in the Bay Area, or did I go back to work on the Mountain? The power of Media is undeniable, and this event puts a fine edge on the distinction between News and Hype. Beat the drum long enough, and the message will be heard.

Imagine my surprise when KirkVallis called and asked the usual questions this morning! I gave him my nutshell-recap of events, and we chatted about other things before his phone's battery gave out. This shook me from the CorduroyPlanet weekend torpor, and I went looking to see what might be in the offing up the hill.

First I surfed the Mountain Webcams...still plenty of moisture hanging around the Summit cams, so I looked at the Remote Sensor Sites and saw the Temperature Plot for the last three days.

Since 11:30 Tuesday, the temps have been above 32F at Pass Level. Humidity hovers near 100% over the same timeframe. The webcam images show dirt again...all the new snow has melted or washed away. Without some Snowmaking Temps, Boreal will have trouble getting re-opened for Friday. They need some cold to wring the moisture from the airmass, so the Snowmakers have a shot at blowing some snow...not likely given the AFD Discussions posted this morning.

I read the two latest Discussions from Reno and Sacramento, and they're both calling for rising temperatures over the next few days. Further out, they model a Weak Cold Front scudding by to the North over the short, Typical Fall Weather again.

With Six Weeks until Thanksgiving, it's hard to say why there's so much interest in the coming Winter, or why there's so much fervor for weather news and predictions...perhaps we're weary of the News from Washington and Sacramento?

Talk about Drumbeats! This week NFL Football became Politics! It's all so tiresome! What's better than some weather to take our minds off our political skirmishes?

I should be fishing in Baja!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In The Game

Watching the Game is more like it. The much-hyped Big Storm has landed. Today at noon, the Local TV news said "It's the Biggest Fall Storm since 1962!" And with that, the hyperbole-fest is over...for now. The festival ran all morning and right through the Noon News. Time will tell if the 5 O'clock News will continue to pump it up, or only recap the storm in all it's Telegenic Glory.

I've had more fun than I earned keeping up with it all online. The NWS Offices are updating their Discussions, Advisories, and Warnings as often as events dictate. When events are flying fast and furious, the discussions get way more interesting...and plentiful!

Sacramento's "Good Day Sacramento" featured lots of "Viewer Live Remotes" e-mailed in or messaged in by Smartphone...most featured wildly thrashing trees, wind damaged fences, or flooded creeks, roads, and intersections. The Real TV Crews were at the scenes of the myriad traffic snarls. In Sacramento, the big show was at what's become knows as "The Boat Section" of Interstate 5. This bottom-dwelling section of Super Slab has been flooding for years, whenever it rains hard. Last Summer, CalTrans spent 38 days and 13 million dollars fixing the problem. From the reports on the scene...they clogged one drain in the process...the video showed a CalTrans pickup truck with it's beacon blinking away to warn motorists away from the headlight-deep puddle. I'll be tuning into the Sacramento news at 5PM to see if they got the water to flow.

Storm Inflation

Yesterday in advance of the storm's arrival, I helped SturgeUrge erect a COSTCO Car Canopy in his driveway to shelter his Convertible from the coming deluge. While he got himself up and going, I asked him about this years Acorn Fall. SturgeUrge replied that it was a bumper crop, confirming what I'd heard from Earthquake Guy Jim Berkland a few weeks ago. The heaviness of the annual acorn fall is another of those folksy "indicators" like onion skins, or woolly worm coats, that straw-chompin' philosophers and woodshed weathermen rely on for their forecast modeling. SturgeUrge went on to say that last year's acorn production was low, but the year before was huge! As if on cue, we heard the knock and rattle of acorns on the roof.

Some quick mental acorn-math, gave me relief...three data points, two misses...whew! I'm down for a Normal or Above Average Winter, just not before Thanksgiving. Once we got going on the Carport Project, I noticed something coming from my radio...the bottom-of-the-hour weather spot said the coming storm was: "The Biggest Storm in Two Decades!" I'm thinking..."Good thing this is a 'Pineapple Express'!" Nothing stirs up the Mountain like a couple of feet of snow in October...thankfully, not this storm.

My Mother keeps asking about Boreal Ridge's business model, and will they suffer from opening too soon? I remind her that Boreal's plan is to get on the News, it's just Marketing...probably a deductible expense, and I'm sure they've already claimed: "Mission Accomplished"

This morning, the Reno NWS guys had to adjust down their Snow Level 500-800ft for a few hours, but at 11:30 the mercury shot up, taking the freezing level with it. The fresh three inches of snow features many puddles two and a half hour later, viewed via the Mountain's webcam.

Let me recap. This Storm's History: Super Typhoon Melor...Extra-Tropical Typhoon remnant...Pattern Change...That rain on Tuesday...Biggest Storm in Two Decades...Biggest Fall Storm since 1962...puddles on the Mountain's Webcam...

5PM News Update: The Boat Section dried out after the front passed through, and crews worked 8 hours to clean the drain in question...CalTrans says all is A-OK

That's just one whole storm...why am I so darn tired?

Post-Hyperbole Overload Syndrome, anyone?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunny Outlook

I'm an optimist, I always have been. The glass is always half full in my world. Don't go thinking that I'm just a soft, Pollyanna-Type...I'm not. I prefer to expect the worst of my fellow humans, so as not to be constantly disappointed by typical human foibles and follies. When people stumble into good behavior-land, I'm rewarded every time...psychically speaking.

With the news of the impending storm coming to NorCal, and the opening of Boreal Ridge Ski Resort this week, my friends and family are all checking in to see if I've checked out of the Ancestral Digs, and gone back up the hill to begin my season on My Mountain. I direct them to Boreal's website so they can see for themselves what "Ski Season" in October looks like. Boreal's Mountain Cam shows them reality in all it's ManMade Glory.

I disabuse them of any fantasy that My Mountain will open following the much ballyhoo-ed "Pattern Change" that the TV Stations have named the approaching storm...I tell them: The Reno NWS says there'll be 3-5 inches of rain at the Pass Level, and that it will surely wreak havoc on Boreal's ManMade Patches Playland...we're still on for Thanksgiving.

When the Jet Stream winds that will bring the Super Typhoon's Remnants to the Sierra Crest blow across the ridge tops at 100 mph, then proceed to blow over miles of fences at 45mph in Reno Tuesday, Ski Season will be a distant concept once again. Pictures of wind damage looking for all the World like scenes from "Tornado Alley" make better Live TV Remotes than just another Die Hard/Early Bird Snowboarder wearing goggles and a goofy hat, gushing in some Neo-Text-Language.

Timing is everything they say. This storm is perfectly timed to help bored Bay Area TV Meteorologists get excited for the first time since Spring. Those of us who work on the Mountain will take it in stride, answer questions from distant friends and relations, and keep getting the off- season life wrapped up for when the season really gets started.

In other news, SturgeUrge and I couldn't have timed our trip any better than we did on Friday. Early arrival of dense fog caused the Blue Angels to cancel Saturday's Fleet Week Performance after just two passes by the throngs assembled along San Francisco's Waterfront. Today I tuned in to KSFO to hear that today's show will go on, but it's going to be a Horizontal Show Only, due to the overcast hanging over the Bay.

So there's my reward for planning on seeing the Blue Angels practice while halibut fishing on Friday. Looking westward into the sky Friday afternoon warmed my face, though the brisk wind didn't let me feel the Sun until I was off the water remembering that I only applied SPF30 once Friday. The Navy's Blue Angels always warm my patriotic Heart, and I was warmed again Saturday when I heard of the cancellation. I feel an illicit amount of satisfaction when I out-think, or out-plan the Masses.

That's the same feeling I get on those Sunday mornings during Storm Periods when I'm heading home from my week, tired but satisfied, and the thousands of weekenders are backed up at the onramps to the Westbound Interstate, where chain controls and a slow grind over the Summit stand between them and home. I'm just a minute from home. Ahead of me are a hot shower, a Hot Toddy, and my weekend.

I'm smiling that smile, and feeling good all over just thinking about it!