Saturday, February 6, 2010

Wild Weather in Southern California

As I stated in my introductory blog, one of my great interests is weather and meteorology. I have been fascinated by weather since elementary school and I have been a SKYWARN Weather Spotter for the National Weather Service for the last 8 years. Some more uninformed people out there would question why someone interested in weather would now live in Southern California. However at the last several weeks have proven, there is plenty of interesting weather in Southern California. So, I thought I would blog about some of the recent weather items I have observed in the last few weeks.

First I would like to address the significant mud and debris flows that occurred early this morning near the Station Burn scar (02/06/10). Los Angeles county was hit very hard this morning by showers and thunderstorms. Based on reports from the National Weather Service (NWS), rainfall rates in excess of one inch per hour were reported across the county, including near the Station Fire burn scar. Unfortunately with such intense rainfall, the mud and debris flows that occurred this morning were essentially inevitable. Overall, I think everyone was lucky there were no injuries. In retrospect, I must say I was very impressed with the forecasts and warnings from the NWS. The NWS forecasters were calling for significant rainfall with the possibility of mud and debris flows near the burn areas for the last several days. Then this morning, they were able to issue a Flash Flood Warning for the Station Fire early this morning before the problems began.

Second, several weeks ago, there was a period where Southern California was bombarded by several storms within one week. When all was said and done, this series of storms produced over 10 inches of rainfall in some foothill and mountain areas. Overall, just a very impressive week of rainfall. However in my mind, the most significant event of this week was a tornado that formed in the city of Ventura on January 21st. This tornado damaged numerous buildings, including homes and garages, but fortunately did not injure anyone. Thanks to investigators from the NWS, the event was determined to be a tornado based on the observed damage and imagery from the Doppler radar. Admittedly, this tornado was not anywhere close to the ones observed in the Midwest, but for this area, it was very impressive.

Finally for this blog entry, I would like to quickly discuss an "entertaining" weather nut I have discovered here in Southern California. His name is Kevin Martin and he operates something called the Southern California Weather Authority (or SCWXA for short). As far as I can tell, this person fancies himself as a meteorologist although I doubt his credentials. From time to time, I think I will blog about his rather entertaining brand of weather. Suffice it to say, I am glad that the NWS is around to handle the weather in Southern California.

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