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January 29, 2021/update

January 29, 2021

Summary: Heavy rain is currently pounding southern California but will come to an end down there during the late evening hours.  This, in some ways historic, storm is all but over for central California.  It its wake are tremendous amounts of new snow which have buried the Sierra Nevada.  Anywhere from 5 to 15 feet of new snow has been measured over the high country.  Fifty seven inches of new snow has been recorded at El Portal which is near the Merced County entrance to Yosemite.  Many locations in the valley have ended up with 2 to 4 new inches of rain.  The next system is much weaker and will move through northern California late tonight and Saturday with light showers down to a Bay Area/Sacramento line with increased cloud cover tonight over the valley.


Weak high pressure will maintain itself over the southern 2/3 of California through Monday morning.  the high will break down by Monday evening, allowing a trough of low pressure to extend from British Columbia to central California Tuesday.


A cold front will  move down the valley Tuesday with widespread light shower activity. Some models show showers all the way into Wednesday.  as this system pulls into the interior west Wednesday night and Thursday, it will form an intense winter storm over the Rockies and Midwest while a massive  high covers the eastern Pacific with a ridge building into the Gulf of Alaska. This will set up a north/south flow over California.  Models show weak waves of low pressure diving southward into the Great Basin, spawning periods of off shore winds from time to time.  This is a cold pattern which we will study in the coming days for frost potential after Wednesday.


Forecast: Partly cloudy this evening.  Becoming mostly cloudy after midnight.  Mostly cloudy Saturday morning.  mostly clear to occasionally partly cloudy Saturday afternoon through Monday morning with patchy night and morning fog and low clouds.  Increasing clouds late Monday.  Mostly cloudy Monday night with a chance of rain after midnight.  Light rain likely at times Tuesday and Tuesday night.  a chance of showers early Wednesday.  partly cloudy Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night.  mostly clear Thursday through Friday with patchy night and morning fog.



Short Term:                                                                        

Madera 36/58/34/60 Reedley 35/57/34/61 Dinuba 35/56/33/60
Porterville 35/57/33/62 Lindsay 34/57/32/62 Delano 35/58/34/63
Bakersfield 39/60/38/63 Taft 42/55/43/60 Arvin 38/59/36/62
Lamont 38/59/36/64 Pixley 35/57/34/62 Tulare 33/57/32/61
Woodlake 34/57/33/61 Hanford 35/57/34/62 Orosi 34/56/32/61


Winds: Winds during the night and early morning hours will be generally at or less than 5 MPH with periods of near calm conditions through Monday.  Winds during the late morning and afternoon hours will be generally at or less than 10 MPH and variable in nature.



Rain: Expect dry weather through Monday evening.  The chance of showers will begin to increase after midnight Monday night, becoming likely Tuesday and Tuesday night with the chance of a few showers lasting into Wednesday morning.  dry weather begins Wednesday and will last through the following weekend and well beyond.


Frost: All locations will be above 32 degrees tonight, possibly slightly above in the coldest locations.  There’s a somewhat greater risk of low 30s in typical low lying frost pockets Sunday and Monday mornings.  Tuesday and Wednesday will be above freezing.  After Wednesday, we’ll see a colder pattern set up, one that deserves closer study.  Models over the past several days have indicated a massive high will build over the eastern Pacific with a ridge as far north as Alaska.  A cold northerly flow will ride down the eastern rim of the high and into the western U.S., transporting  modified arctic air mainly east of the Sierra Nevada.  Surface models also indicate a relatively strong off shore flow will develop, possibly help to transport drier air down to the surface.  For now, I believe upper 20s and lower30s will begin Thursday morning with possibly a string of frost nights to follow.


Next update:  January 30/am