Wednesday, October 14, 2009

CoCoRaHS Workout In California, Unusual Record Set

A huge storm slammed into California on Tuesday with hurricane force winds across the higher elevations and heavy rain across both high and low elevations.

Locations in and around Los Angeles saw anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of rain. Some foothill locations in Ventura County and the Santa Barbara Mountains saw over 10 inches of rain.

Rocky Butte in San Luis Obispo County saw over a foot of rain!

Trees and powerlines were down in places like Merced and Fresno, while there was flooding in Hanford.

The winds created a dust storm that resulted in a multi-car pileup that killed 3 and injured 6 others on I-5, just north of State Road 119 in Kern County.

Power was out to over 250,000 California residents at the peak of the storm.

Here is a record you don't see everyday...Sacramento had a record low pressure reading for the month of October recorded at 3:44 pm. The air pressure was 29.39 inches.

So if you live in that area and felt poorly in body, that may have had something to do with it.

The CoCoRaHS observer in Santa Clara County, 6.1 miles south of Los Gatos, challenged the limits of the rain gauge with a 24-hour total of 11.09 inches!!!

That was the highest CoCoRaHS total in the nation on Wednesday.

Los Gatos is in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains so there was definitely precipitation enhancement due to the terrain. In meteorology, we call this orographic lifting -- that is simply where the winds, which in this case were blowing on shore and up the mountain chain, force the air to rise and squeeze out all the moisture it can -- thus enhancing the amount of precipitation.

October is usually a dry month for the region. The rainy season starts in November but really gets going in late December through early March.

Nearby in Santa Cruz County, the observer 1.2 miles SSE of Ben Lomond was close behind with 10.76 inches of rain in 24-hours.

This area is located on the central California coast, south of the San Francisco Bay area.

California needed this precipitation -- maybe just not so heavy all at once.

The rainy season is still ahead so let's hope they get a lot of much needed moisture.


  1. The people in California probably really needed that rain.

  2. My grandparents used to live out there.