Water Year 2016 Summary

Water Year 2016 Summary

October 15, 2016

CW3E provides a summary of the top ten precipitation events based on the Northern Sierra 8-Station index during Water Year 2016 (Oct. 1 2015 – Sep. 30 2016). The top ten events occurred over a total of 27 days, and resulted in 30.09 inches of precipiation representing 51.89% of total water year precipitaiton and 60.2% of normal water year precipitation. All events were associated with an Atmospheric River (AR), with 6 considered strong ARs (IVT >750 kg m-1) s-1. For event specific reports refer to the CW3E News Page. For up to date AR forecasts and analysis visit the CW3E AR Portal.

Click here for a pdf file of this information.


 

 

 

 

 

Summary provided by B. Kawzenuk, and F.M. Ralph

CW3E AR Update: 4-9 November 2016 Outlook

CW3E AR Update: 4-9 November 2016 Post Event Summary

November 4, 2016

Two consecutive ARs are expected to make landfall over the Northwest U.S. and Southwest British Columbia. Current forecasts show both ARs with moderate strength, although there is high uncertainty in the forecast of the second AR. Despite high values of integrated vapor transport (IVT) forecasted precipitation values of the Northwest U.S. are modest due to the southwesterly orientation of the ARs. However, this orientation is favorable for precipitation production over Vancouver Island, where 5-day precipitation forecasts are >12 inches. For up to date AR forecasts visit the CW3E AR Portal.

Click here for a pdf file of this information.


 

 

Summary provided by C. Hecht, B. Kawzenuk, and F.M. Ralph; 3 PM PT Fri 05 Nov. 2016

CW3E AR Update: Post-Event Summary: 14-17 October 2016

CW3E AR Update: 14-17 October 2016 Post-Event Summary

October 20, 2016

CW3E gives a post-event storm summary about two Atmospheric Rivers that made landfall over the Pacific Northwest during 14-17 October 2016. This event was an R-Cat 3 event and produced over 15 inches of 72-hour precipitation.

Click here for a pdf file of this information.

NCEP GFS Analysis – Valid: 0000 UTC 12 Oct 2016 – 0600 UTC 17 Oct 2016

 

NEXRAD Radar: 0000 UTC 14-17 Oct 2016

  • Radar imagery shows widespread precipitation over the Pacific Northwest during 14-17 Oct 2016
  • Severe convection on 14 Oct produced multiple tornadoes in OR and high winds across the region
  • Throughout the period the PNW was impacted by several alternating periods of stratiform and convective precipiation


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CW3E AR Update: 13-15 October 2016 Outlook

CW3E AR Update: 13-15 October 2016 Outlook

October 12, 2016

A series of ARs are expected to make landfall over the Northwest U.S., including Northern CA. The first AR is expected to make landfall on 13 October 2016 followed by a second AR on 15 October 2016. These systems have R-Cat 2 rainfall potential as some areas could see >12 inches of precipitation in 72 hours. For up to date AR forecasts visit the CW3E AR Portal.

Click here for a pdf file of this information.


 

 

Publication Notice: Extreme Daily Precipitation in the Northern California Upper Sacramento River Watershed Requires a Combination of a Landfalling Atmospheric River and a Sierra Barrier Jet

CW3E Publication Notice

Extreme Daily Precipitation in the Northern California Upper Sacramento River Watershed Requires a Combination of a Landfalling Atmospheric River and a Sierra Barrier Jet

July 18, 2016

Ralph, F.M., J.M. Cordeira, P.J. Neiman and M. Hughes, 2016: Extreme Daily Precipitation in the Northern California Upper Sacramento River Watershed Requires a Combination of a Landfalling Atmospheric River and a Sierra Barrier Jet. J. Hydrometeor., 17, 1904-1915.

The top 0.3% most extreme daily precipitation events in the key Sacramento River watershed all involved both a landfalling atmospheric river and a Sierra Barrier Jet. Thus, forecasts of extreme precipitation are related to the skill of forecasts of each of these key phenomena, and can be enhanced by evaluation of, and enhancement of, skill in predicting each of these key processes. This study was led by the CW3E Director, was supported by the California Department of Water Resources, used data from NOAA’s Hydrometeorology Testbed collected over a decade, and epitomizes the focus of the “Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes,” and its partnership with NOAA Research’s Physical Sciences Division and Plymouth State University.

Contact: F. Martin Ralph (mralph@ucsd.edu)

Abstract

The upper Sacramento River watershed is vital to California’s water supply and is susceptible to major floods. Orographic precipitation in this complex terrain involves both atmospheric rivers (ARs) and the Sierra barrier jet (SBJ). The south-southeasterly SBJ induces orographic precipitation along south-facing slopes in the Mt. Shasta–Trinity Alps, whereas landfalling ARs ascend up and over the statically stable SBJ and induce orographic precipitation along west-facing slopes in the northern Sierra Nevada. This paper explores the occurrence of extreme daily precipitation (EDP) in this region in association with landfalling ARs and the SBJ. The 50 wettest days (i.e., days with EDP) for water years (WYs) 2002–11 based on the average of daily precipitation from eight rain gauges known as the Northern Sierra 8-Station Index (NS8I) are compared to dates from an SSM/I satellite-based landfalling AR-detection method and dates with SBJ events identified from nearby wind profiler data. These 50 days with EDP accounted for 20% of all precipitation during the 10-WY period, or 5 days with EDP per year on average account for one-fifth of WY precipitation. In summary, 46 of 50 (92%) days with EDP are associated with landfalling ARs on either the day before or the day of precipitation, whereas 45 of 50 (90%) days with EDP are associated with SBJ conditions on the day of EDP. Forty-one of 50 (82%) days with EDP are associated with both a landfalling AR and an SBJ. The top 10 days with EDP were all associated with both a landfalling AR and an SBJ.

Mesoscale Frontal Wave AR during CalWater-2014

CW3E Publication Notice

An Airborne and Ground-Based Study of a Long-Lived and Intense Atmospheric River with Mesoscale Frontal Waves Impacting California during CalWater-2014

May 10, 2016

Neiman, P.J., B.J. Moore, A.B. White, G.A. Wick, J. Aikins, D.L. Jackson, J.R Spackman, and F.M. Ralph, 2016: An Airborne and Ground-Based Study of a Long-Lived and Intense Atmospheric River with Mesoscale Frontal Waves Impacting California during CalWater-2014. Mon. Wea. Rev., 144, 1115-1144.

This study provides the most comprehensive observations to date of a mesoscale frontal wave associated with an atmospheric river, including its structure offshore, landfall characteristics and impacts on precipitation. It utilizes research aircraft, a unique array of coastal hydrometeorological measurements and inland data. This paper reflects the broader scientific collaboration between CW3E and NOAA/PSD, and adds to the knowledge of phenomena that are critical to creating extreme precipitation on the U.S. West Coast – a major thrust of CW3E. Dr. Ralph contributed to this paper by proposing the experiment (Ralph et al. 2016 BAMS), identifying the science objective for the flights (i.e., mapping out the structure of a mesoscale frontal wave with dropsondes and airborne radar), laying out the flight tracks, guiding the mission onboard, having been the PI of the major projects that created the unique land-based observing network (NOAA HMT- Ralph et al. 2013 BAMS, and the DWR-sponsored EFREP mesonet – White et al. 2013 JTech) used in the study and contributing to the analysis and interpretation of the measurements in this paper.

Contacts: Paul Neiman (paul.j.neiman@noaa.gov) and F. Martin Ralph (mralph@ucsd.edu)

Abstract

The wettest period during the CalWater-2014 winter field campaign occurred with a long-lived, intense atmospheric river (AR) that impacted California on 7–10 February. The AR was maintained in conjunction with the development and propagation of three successive mesoscale frontal waves. Based on Lagrangian trajectory analysis, moist air of tropical origin was tapped by the AR and was subsequently transported into California. Widespread heavy precipitation (200–400 mm) fell across the coastal mountain ranges northwest of San Francisco and across the northern Sierra Nevada, although only modest flooding ensued due to anomalously dry antecedent conditions. A NOAA G-IV aircraft flew through two of the frontal waves in the AR environment offshore during a ;24-h period. Parallel dropsonde curtains documented key three dimensional thermodynamic and kinematic characteristics across the AR and the frontal waves prior to landfall. The AR characteristics varied, depending on the location of the cross section through the frontal waves. A newly implemented tail-mounted Doppler radar on the G-IV simultaneously captured coherent precipitation features. Along the coast, a 449-MHz wind profiler and collocated global positioning system (GPS) receiver documented prolonged AR conditions linked to the propagation of the three frontal waves and highlighted the orographic character of the coastal-mountain rainfall with the waves’ landfall. Avertically pointing S-PROF radar in the coastal mountains provided detailed information on the bulk microphysical characteristics of the rainfall. Farther inland, a pair of 915-MHz wind profilers and GPS receivers quantified the orographic precipitation forcing as the AR ascended the Sierra Nevada, and as the terrain-induced Sierra barrier jet ascended the northern terminus of California’s Central Valley.

CW3E AR Update:Post-Event Summary: 7-10 April 2016

CW3E AR Update: 7-10 April 2016 Post Event Summary

April 13, 2016

CW3E and WRCC give a post-event storm summary about two cutoff lows that made landfall over Southern California during 7-10 April 2016. Precipitation was widespread throughout the Southeastern United States with 72-hr accumulations generally ~0.5-3 inches. While the low pressure system entrained moisture from the tropics, spatial characteristics of IWV >20 mm and IVT >250 kg m-1 s-1 did not meet the necesarry requirements to be considered an Atmospheric River.

Click here for a pdf file of this information.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CW3E AR Update: Post-Event Summary: 5-6 March 2016

CW3E AR Update: 5-6 March 2016 Post-Event Summary

March 10, 2016

CW3E gives a post-event storm summary about a moderate strength Atmospheric River that made landfall over Northern California on 5 March 2016. The AR was an R-Cat 1 event and produced over 10 inches of 72-hour precipitation.

Click here for a pdf file of this information.


 

 

 

 

Northern Sierra Precipitaiton: 8-Station Index

~7.5 inches of precipitation measured by the 8-Station Index

Increased water-year-to-date accummulation from average to ~115% of average

Lake Mendocino Storage

Increase in storage of ~8000 af

Storage remains above the Target Water Supply Storage Curve

SSMI Integrated Water Vapor: 0000 UTC 3 March – 0000 UTC 7 March

  • AR developed over the Central North Pacific and made landfall over Northern California
  • AR entrained moisture from previous decaying AR off California coast prior to landfall

GFS IVT Analysis: 0000 UTC 3 March – 1200 UTC 7 March 2016

Cazadero, Ca Snow Level Radar

Heavy bright-band precipitation began ~0600 UTC 5 March

Large drop in snow level post-frontal

Bodega Bay 0200 UTC Sounding

  • Saturated atmosphere up to ~550 hPa
  • IWV = 31.9 mm
  • IVT = 878.3 kg m-1s-1
  • Winds >50 knots throughout the troposphere
  • Majority of water vapor flux between 950-700 hPa

Event Summary

  • A moderate strength Atmospheric River made landfall over Northern California during 5-6 March 2016
  • Maximum 48-h precipitation of >10 inches occurred over the Sierra Nevada
  • Widespread precipitation >6 inches occurred over the Coastaland Sierra Nevada Ranges
  • Several rivers reached above flood stage in Northern California