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December 29, 2018/report

December 29, 2018

Summary: This is the coldest  morning of the year, so far, as widespread mid to upper 20s are prevalent.  As of 6:00am, Rio Bravo was down to 26 and Fowler, Ivanhoe, and Mcfarland were reporting 27.  No doubt before the sunrises this morning, a few locations could hit 25.


Upper level high pressure is off the California coast this morning, extending northward into British Columbia while a low center is over the Four Corners region.  The winds aloft between these two features are out of the northeast, pumping cold, dry air into California.  With low dew points, fog simply cannot get a foothold as the air is just too dry.


A shift in the pattern will occur Sunday as the eastern Pacific high slides farther to the east, turning the winds aloft briefly out of the northwest.  New Year’s Eve and Day will see the high building northward, ridging into British Columbia while a new trough of low pressure races southward through the Great Basin then into the Desert Southwest.  This will again turn the winds aloft northerly then a strong surface high will set up shop over the Great Basin, creating a relatively strong off shore flow at the surface.  This will renew the influx of cold dry air moving in from the north, potentially resulting in even colder temperatures than we experienced this morning.


We could see readings in the low 20s in those low river bottom and similar locations, possibly New Year’s morning but the better chance will be Wednesday and Thursday of next week.  Each air mass is different and this one is not a classic freeze pattern as the winds aloft will be out of the north rather than the northeast.  Still, it will be a cold one and bears close scrutiny.


The good news is this will be a very short event as by Thursday a flat zone of upper level high pressure will set up over the eastern Pacific, allowing the westerlies to break through and blocking any more cold air.  Models are still hinting at the possibility of rain after the sixth, so we’ll see.


Forecast: Other than occasional high clouds and patchy early morning fog, it will be mostly clear and cold through Sunday.  Mostly clear to occasionally partly cloudy New Year’s Eve and Day and colder.  Mostly clear and cold Tuesday night through Wednesday night.  mostly clear to occasionally partly cloudy and warmer Thursday through Saturday.


Short Term:                                                                        

Madera 53/27/54/28/51 Reedley 53/28/54/29/52 Dinuba 51/26/53/28/51
Porterville 54/28/54/29/52 Lindsay 53/26/54/28/51 Delano 54/28/54/29/52
Bakersfield 53/32/55/34/53 Taft 54/38/55/39/53 Arvin 53/28/55/29/53
Lamont 53/28/54/29/51 Pixley 54/27/54/28/51 Tulare 52/26/53/28/51
Woodlake 52/28/55/29/53 Hanford 53/28/54/29/51 Orosi 53/26/54/27/50


Seven Day Forecast:


Patchy fog/mostly clear



Patchy fog/mostly clear



Patchy fog/mostly clear



Partly cloudy



Mostly cloudy



Two Week Outlook:  January 5 through January 11:  This model indicates a higher potential for rain during this time frame.  It’s possible lower latitude storms could affect the area.  With generally a westerly flow, expect temperatures to run above average.


January:  This model shows generally above average temperatures for January over the western one-third of the United States while near to below average temperatures will prevail east of the Rockies.  There is no firm indicator of really above or below average precipitation although it does forecast below average rain in the Pacific Northwest.


January, February, March:  The western half of the United States is projected in a very general sense to have above average temperatures for the next 90 days.  Like the 30 day outlook, it seems to want to project near average precipitation, which would be nice.


Winds:  Winds will be generally less than 6 MPH with periods of near calm conditions through Sunday.  From late Sunday night through Tuesday, winds along the west side and especially along the Interstate 5 corridor, expect winds of 15 to 25 MPH beginning out of the northwest then out of the north through New Year’s Day. Elsewhere, winds should generally be in the 5 to 10 MPH range.


Rain: Expect dry conditions for the remainder of the year and quite possibly for the first five days of January.

Frost Discussion: Coldest locations this  morning are in the mid 20s with widespread 26 to 29 degree readings common throughout the entire region.  I would anticipate similar conditions tonight as the only sky cover will be occasional high, thin clouds and fog will be patchy at best.  A northeast flow aloft is still present, sandwiched between upper level high pressure just off the coast and a low center which has moved into the Four Corners region.

The winds aloft Sunday will briefly be out of the northwest as the eastern Pacific high tries to nudge into northern California.  It will be unsuccessful, however, as a fast  moving arctic low pressure system dives into the interior west then forms a new low over Arizona or possibly even northern Mexico.  This will create a north/south upper wind pattern and as a surface high builds over the Great Basin, a relatively robust off shore flow will develop.  One model places Porterville at 27 degrees Wednesday morning, which would put colder locations in the lower 20s.  for now, we just take a wait and see approach and watch wind patterns as they evolve.  At this point, I can forecast at least mid to upper 20s Tuesday through Thursday with Wednesday and Thursday being of the most concern.

Just for planning  purposes, there is roughly a 30% chance of lower 20s in unprotected low spots Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

If there’s any good news in all this, by Thursday night a flat zone of high pressure off shore will break into California and eventually will spread across the country.  With westerly winds aloft and an on shore flow, temperatures should moderate  nicely by Friday.  There’s even a hint of possible rain about a week from now.

Coldest locations tonight will dip down to 24 to 25 degrees.  Generally flat terrain will range between 26 and 29 degrees with hillsides in the low to mid 30s.

The inversion tonight should be fairly decent with readings at 34 feet from 4 to 7 degrees warmer.

The forecast for Monday morning is a bit more difficult as we could see some cloud cover from that low diving southward through the Great Basin.  For now, I would put upper 20s to lower 30s in your hip pocket.  The cold air will be driving into our region Tuesday morning with mid to upper 20s likely.  Mid to upper 20s are likely Wednesday and Thursday mornings with the possibility of low 20s.  I’m going to go out on a limb for Friday and Saturday and forecast temperatures in the 30s.


Lows Tonight:

Terra Bella














Tea Pot Dome














North Bakersfield




Orange Cove




Lindcove Hillside


Sanger River Bottom


Root Creek


Venice Hill


















Holland Creek


Tivy Valley


Kite Road South


Kite Road North


AF=Above Freezing                

Afternoon Dew Points Today: Low to mid 30s.  Kern: Low to mid 30s.

Humidity: Porterville: 65%/90%, Bakersfield:  45%/75%

Actual Humidity December 28, 2018: Delano, 97%/57% Porterville, NA


Percentage of Sunshine Today/Tomorrow: Visalia: Today: 90%, tomorrow 90%  Bakersfield: Today: 90% Tomorrow: 90%


ET Rates Over the Past Seven Days: Stratford .29, Parlier .20, Blackwell .29, Lindcove .17, Arvin .27, Orange Cove .20, Porterville .19, Delano .26  Courtesy University of California *=estimate, NA=not available. 


Seven Day Soil Temperatures: Stratford 55, Parlier 53, Blackwell 54, Lindcove, 59, Arvin, 53, Orange Cove 56, Porterville 54, Delano 51


Record Temperatures: 69/24. Average Temperatures: 53/35

Heating Degree Days this Season: 755 -311

Courtesy of the NWS

Average temperature for December so far: 49.3 +4.7


Precipitation:  Seasonal total/average/above or below average

Since Oct 1, 2018  Fresno: 2.33 season. or -.93, Month to Date: .56 -1.00

Since Oct 1, 2018,  Bakersfield:  1.30, or -.55.  Month to Date: .62 -.29

Water year season is from October 1st through September.


Chilling Hours November 1st through February 28: Orange Cove, 338,  Parlier, 368 ,  Arvin, 295 Shafter, 388  Stratford, 349, Delano 362, Lindcove, 548, Porterville, 735

.   Hours at 45 or below 45.


Sunrise: 7:11 am  Sunset: 4:52 pm. Hours of Daylight:  9:41

Yesterday’s Weather:

MAE   : Madera               253 : DH1600 /  56 /  32 / 0.00 /

FAT   : Fresno Airport       333 : DH1600 /  53 /  35 / 0.00 /

HJO   : Hanford Airport      242 : DH1600 /  54 /  32 / 0.00 /

NLC   : Lemoore Naval AS     234 : DH1600 /  53 /  31 / 0.00 /

BFL   : Bakersfield Airport  496 : DH1600 /  51 /  38 / 0.00 /

VIS   : Visalia Airport      292 : DH1600 /  52 /  32 / 0.00 /

ATEC1 : Avenal               787 : DH1534 /  52 /  41 / 0.00 /

PTV   : Porterville Airport  442 : DH1600 /  54 /  33 / 0.00 /

TFTC1 : Taft                 759 : DHM    /   M /  36 / 0.00 /

LOSC1 : Los Banos            120 : DH1600 /  54 /  35 / 0.00 /




Rainfall:  Water year Oct 1st through September 30th

24hr             Season        %            L.Y.               %               Ave.      Ave. yearly total

STOCKTON                      0.00    5.88   131    0.96    21     4.50    14.06

MODESTO                       0.00    4.49   116    1.03    27     3.86    13.11

MERCED                        0.00    3.87   117    1.11    34     3.30    12.50

MADERA                        0.00    2.99    85    0.41    12     3.53    12.02

FRESNO                        0.00    2.33    71    0.41    13     3.26    11.50

HANFORD                       0.00    1.87    65    0.41    14     2.87    10.10

BAKERSFIELD                   0.00    1.30    70    0.07     4     1.85     6.47

BISHOP                        0.00    1.57   104    0.16    11     1.51     5.18

SALINAS                       0.00    4.77   129    0.78    21     3.70    12.83

PASO ROBLES                   0.00    3.60   105    0.27     8     3.42    12.78

SANTA MARIA                   0.00    2.74    72    0.12     3     3.80    13.95


Next report: Saturday afternoon/December 29