Sun Oct 25 2015 08:18 AM
Olaf May Impact California

In this year of vastly above normal SSTs in the Central & Eastern Pacific, one has to reach way back to find analog years in the tropical cyclone record - and what we often see during moderate to strong El NiƱo events is a propensity for storms from the tropics to add lots of additional juice to the weather in the southwest.

And then, once in a great, great while - exceedingly rare - the available reasonably reliable database holds that a still intact tropical cyclone has actually made a direct hit or even complete landfall along the California coast. The intensities upon impact of these mere handful of California tropical cyclones going back to the mid-1800s range from Depression to the once-only Category 1 hurricane, The 1858 San Diego Hurricane - Link is to a PPT Presentation

Hurricane Olaf is presently a strong 80 knot hurricane, and has been a Major more than once in its lifetime thus far. While no model is suggesting a still-hurricane Olaf strikes the west coast, more and more model runs, including runs from the most reliable models, show a still relatively intact, albeit weakening Olaf, bringing wet and blustery weather onshore in California later in the coming week

Sun Oct 25 2015 05:06 PM
Re: Olaf May Impact California

Several of the 12z runs have backed off landfalling Olaf as a bona fide tropical cyclone, in favor of either more of a hybrid or remnant low moving into the Golden State, or not at all. In fact, several of the previously more bullish models now weaken the cyclone in the face of increasing shear and ever lowering SSTs, to then take Olaf, or its remnant low, on a loopty loop, and send whatever is left back out west around the southern edge of a building ridge.

12z model runs decidedly not in the loopty camp are the GFDL and GFS, with the former sending a strong tropical storm undergoing extra-tropical transition into the coast of Northern California, and the latter sending what appears to still be a tropical depression, albeit a decoupling one, southbound just offshore of Southern California.

It is worth noting that regardless of whether Olaf is intact, or merely sheds off moisture and decays well offshore, rains forecast for midweek are likely to be enhanced, which of course is a really good thing for this part of the world right now.

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