Saturday, July 18, 2015

Saturday Afternoon Update: A Non-Dolorously Welcome Rainy July Day in Southern California; The Same Ol' Same Ol' Summer Here in D.C. (UPDATED WITH LOTS OF INFO)

**This entry was posted on July 18th, 2015, and it was updated on July 18th and July 19th, 2015.**

UPDATED 9:55PM 7/18/2015: See bottom of entry for significant additional content and pictures on today's record-breaking San Diego rainfall.

This is a screenshot of an online beach-cam view I found of the Pacific Ocean at a place called Pacific Terrace located between Mission Bay and La Jolla in San Diego County at about 11:30AM PDT (2:30PM EDT) July 18, 2015.

See below for more info on the Southern California rainy July day.

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Saturday afternoon.

I need to get to the gym although I'm hardly feeling like it.

I'm still groggy and hung over after going out last night and being semi-sleep deprived earlier in the week. I went to Larry's Lounge, where it was the usual gay tragi-comedy and barely concealed opium den.

Two guys hugging at Larry's Lounge, Washington, D.C., 10:45PM July 17, 2015.

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It's too bad I don't have a better attitude there. As it is, nobody particularly likes me and there are some people I just don't like. It's kind of a chicken-and-egg thing with bad attitude and not liking people. With Gary, it is the exact opposite -- everybody loves him and is thrilled to see him.

It has always been that way.

Larry's Lounge on a Friday night, Washington, D.C., 11:06PM July 17, 2015.

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Thereafter, I went to No. 9, where I think bored all the bartenders (Jose, Aaron, and Eric, in that order) with the Pluto New Horizons findings (even explaining to Jose how Pluto and Charon are tidally locked to each other and orbit about a common center).

Finally, I went to Nellie's (via a taxi), and there things got fuzzy (although I talked to one of the twins who work there about Pluto stuff -- he is deeply fascinated by astronomy).

Oh, yes, on my way home from work (en route to Dupont Circle from L'Enfant Plaza), I had my first ride -- you might say it was my  MAIDEN VOYAGE! -- on the new 7000-series Metrorail cars, specifically, car 7022, from Metro Center. They really are quite different from all the other car series that preceded them.

Metrorail Red Line car 7022 leaving Metro Center, (under) Washington, D.C., 6:54PM July 17, 2015.

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Anyway, the reason for this afternoon entry ...

As is my wont when there is unusual (read: rainy) weather in Southern California, I would like to note that there are scattered showers and thunderstorms across that region including in San Diego and Los Angeles right down to the coast and especially in the mountains.

A lightning bolt splits the sky and strikes the ground in an out-of-season thunderstorm in downtown Los Angeles earlier today, July 18, 2015. Source image here.


MacArthur Park -- yes, THAT MacArthur Park, MELTING IN THE RAIN! -- is the foreground.

The rainy weather is news in Southern California (see here).

The weather information graphic issued by the Los Angeles / Oxnard (LOX) NWS Forecast Office for the weekend of July 18 - 19, 2015.

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The rain is due to the tropical moisture from Tropical Storm Delores located off the Baja Peninsula that is being fluxed in on a favorable flow. Delores is still located quite some distance away -- abeam of the lower Baja -- and is already sending tropical moisture into Southern California to both coastal and inland desert locations.

The 8AM PDT July 18, 2015 National Hurricane Center (NHC) graphical advisory for Tropical Storm Delores.

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As the 8AM PDT NHC advisory map shows, the remnants of Delores are forecasted to get rather close to Los Angeles, so the forecast could change -- to even more rainfall for the L.A. Basin.

Any drop of rain that Southern California -- or, for that matter, anywhere in California -- gets is (or should be) deliriously welcomed. The state has been in a tremendous, even scary four-year drought and might run out of water by next year.

However, the tremendous warm ENSO that is ongoing now SHOULD give California a wet winter, although the phase of the PDO could affect that was well.

Below are some NWS advisory and radar images:

The NWS weather advisories as shown on the San Diego NWS Forecast Office (SGX) webpage updated 11:15AM PDT July 18, 2015.

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The NWS point grid forecast with icons for downtown Los Angeles (actually, East L.A.), July 18 - 20, 2015.

You don't see this in mid-July very often in Los Angeles.

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The NWS advisories for the entire western U.S. valid 1801UTC (11:01AM PDT) July 18, 2015.

The dark greens are flash flood watches. There are some flash flood warnings (the deep crimson red).

Of note, the forecast zones in the western U.S. are not based on counties but actual local physical commonalities (i.e., the local terrain) that drive the local climate. I'm not quite sure how to phrase it but you get the idea.

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The Los Angeles (VTX) NWS radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity, 11:01AM PDT July 18, 2015.

The NWS radars in Southern California cannot "see" over the mountains so it often looks as though precipitation just shuts off (although the mountains frequently act as physical barriers). Regardless, this is not your typical mid-summer radar for the Los Angeles area (AND THAT'S A GOOD THING!).

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The San Diego (NKX) NWS radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity, 11:11AM PDT July 18, 2015.

As with the L.A. one, this not your typical mid-July radar image for the San Diego area.

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As for the weather here in D.C., it has turned kind of shitty with mid-summer excessive humidity and forecasted 96F heat tomorrow. Oh, and thunderstorms are forever in the forecast but keep failing to materialize. Yes, I know we've had a lot of rain this summer, but it basically stopped about a week ago.

NWS weather advisories for the eastern U.S. with legend, updated 2:12PM EDT July 18, 2015.

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I'm not sure why Sterling LWX doesn't at least have a heat advisory in effect for tomorrow with heat indices of around 105F. There are heat advisories and even excessive heat warnings in much of the Mt. Holly (PHI) CWA which includes most of New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania and parts of the Delmarva.

LWX is always weird about not issuing heat advisories.

OK, that's all for now. I intend to post a jukebox Saturday night update. I also need to post a general update and the New Horizons Pluto images although I might not be able to do that until next week. You can find them on the New Horizons mission webpage, including in the news archive section.

UPDATED 9:55PM 7/18/2015:


It was a very wet San Diego gay pride event today. This is Jeff Ali in the rain. Hmmm.

So I just wanted to post additional weather advisory and radar images for this historically record-breaking rainy Southern California day including a phenomenal rainfall event in San Diego today that has already been captured in local news media accounts (and where it was gay pride day!). Indeed, the San Diego pictures that follow were taken from the his San Diego Union-Tribune article and image gallery.

Through 5PM PDT, San Diego area has had widespread rainfall totals of 0.5 to 1.5 inches including 1.03" at San Diego / Int'l Airport Lindbergh Field climate station (KSAN).

Needless to say, that was a daily record -- the previous daily record was 0.01" (yes, 0.01") set in 1922 and earlier in 1910 -- but it was also an extreme event for the month. It also set a new all-time wettest July record, surpassing the 0.92" set in 1902 and the 0.87" set in 1990.

Los Angeles Int'l Airport (KLAX) has had at least 0.27" and downtown L.A. / USC (KCQT) has had 0.14" -- through 5PM PDT.

The Los Angeles / Oxnard (LOX) county warning area (CWA) advisories as of 5:18PM PDT July 18, 2015.

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The San Diego (SGX) county warning area (CWA) advisories as of 5:14PM PDT July 14, 2015.

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The Phoenix (PSR) county warning area (CWA) advisories as of 4:57PM MST* July 18, 2015.

*Remember -- Arizona does not switch to daylight savings time so that MST = PDT but is not "the same time zone." The exception to that is on the Navajo Nation lands, which does shift to MDT. However, as the linked page explains, its more complicated than that because Hopi lands located geographically inside of it do remain on MST with the rest of the state.

Yes, there is a flash flood watch out for Death Valley.

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The Pacific Southwest sector of the U.S. national composite mode radar mosaic at 2308UTC (4:08PM PDT / 4:08PM MST), July 18, 2015.

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What follows are a series of radar images and interspersed with parts of the LOX (see below) area forecast discussion issued / updated at 4:48PM PDT.

As for the radar images, some are in base reflectivity mode while others are in composite mode. The latter usually looks more dramatic because it is showing activity inside the clouds. However, some of these radars are located mountainous areas that causes them to be unable to see "over" the mountains, especially in base reflectivity mode.

Gabe and Joanna Gonzalez walk under an umbrella along the Coronado by the Pacific on a record-breaking rainy day in San Diego, Calif., July 18, 2015.

They look confused. They should be happy! The caption to the picture said that they are from Arizona.

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Also, I should point out that in the case of Southern California, the four main NWS radars -- VBX (Vandenberg AFB), VTX (Los Angeles, or rather, Sulphur Mountain just to the NNW of the city), SOX (Santa Ana Mountains), and NKX (San Diego) -- are not located at the NWS forecast office sites.

Jeff Hoinacki helps Melisa Flores jump a gushing stream of rainwater sluicing down University Avenue during the San Diego Gay Pride event on a record-breaking rainy day, July 18, 2015.

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This means that the radar identifiers are different than the NWS forecast office identifiers, which are LOX for the Los Angeles / Oxnard NWS Forecast Office and SGX for the San Diego NWS Forecast Office. In the case of the Baltimore/Washington NWS Forecast Office in Sterling, Va., the radar is located right there -- and so both the radar and forecast office have the same "LWX" abbreviation.

(Gary said by text that I'm becoming obsessed with "LOX".)

Santa Ana Mountains NWS radar (SOX) in enhanced base reflectivity mode, 4:22PM PDT July 18, 2015.

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SYNOPTICALLY...TROPICAL STORM DOLORES WAS AROUND 700 NM SOUTH OF LOS ANGELES AT 1 PM PDT. THE STORMS THAT DEVELOPED TODAY WERE FROM THE LEADING EDGE OF THE REMNANTS OF DOLORES. THE SECOND AND MAIN MOISTURE PLUME WILL COME FROM THE MAIN CORE OF DOLORES SUNDAY AND MONDAY AS IT QUICKLY MOVES TOWARDS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.

Santa Ana Mountains NWS radar (SOX) in enhanced composite mode, 4:17PM PDT July 18, 2015.

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EXPECT PERIODS OF SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ACROSS THE ENTIRE FORECAST AREA THROUGH MONDAY. A FLASH FLOOD WATCH WILL BE ISSUED FOR THE MOUNTAINS OF LOS ANGELES...VENTURA AND SANTA BARBARA COUNTY AS WELL AS THE ANTELOPE VALLEY AND CUYAMA VALLEY AS WELL THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH MONDAY EVE. PRECIPITABLE WATERS ARE OVER 1.8" ALREADY...

Los Angeles NWS radar (VTX) in enhanced base reflectivity mode, 4:30PM PDT July 18, 2015.

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AND WITH THIS SECOND SURGE OF TROPICAL MOISTURE OVER THE AREA SUN/MON WITH PWATS EXPECTED OVER 2"...ANY THUNDERSTORMS THAT DEVELOP WILL BRING THE CAPABILITIES OF FLOODING...ESPECIALLY IN THE MOUNTAINS AND DESERTS. THERE WILL STILL BE A CHANCE OF LOCAL STREET FLOODING WITH STORMS ACROSS COAST AND VALLEY AREAS AS WELL IN AND AROUND THUNDERSTORMS.

Los Angeles NWS radar (VTX) in enhanced composite mode, 4:25PM PDT July 18, 2015.

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STEERING WINDS OF THUNDERSTORMS WILL BE A TAD STRONGER THAN WE USUALLY LIKE TO SEE...BUT STORMS WILL LIKELY BE TRAINING OVER THE SAME AREAS AND THEREFORE THE WATCH WAS ISSUED. HAVE RAISED POPS FOR AREAS N OF POINT CONCEPTION BOTH SUNDAY AND MONDAY AS WELL. THE CONVECTIVE PARAMETERS SUCH AS LI...K INDEX LOOKED MUCH MORE UNSTABLE WITH THIS MORNINGS RAP...AND NAM MODELS.

San Diego NWS radar (NKX) in enhanced composite mode, 5:34PM PDT July 18, 2015.

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ALSO...MODEL SOUNDINGS WERE INDICATING QUITE A BIT OF CAPE ACROSS THE AREAS WHERE THE FLASH FLOOD WATCH HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR. THE ONE CAVEAT THAT COULD HINDER THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT FOR SUNDAY COULD BE A VERY THICK CLOUD SHIELD OVER THE MOUNTAINS AND ANTELOPE VALLEY FOR SUNDAY.

A lightning bolt in a thunderstorm is captured in this image by Brook Taylor of Sacramento, Calif., on his honeymoon at the Hotel Del Coronado, Coronado, Calif., during a record-breaking rainy day, July 18, 2015.

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Interestingly, all this moisture is from Tropical Storm Delores -- which is still over 700 miles south of Los Angeles itself -- and the remnant low / depression is forcasted to get significantly closer. Many places in Southern California could get quite a bit of rainfall, not just in the mountains but right down to the coast.

A extremely unusual rainy but still very prideful gay pride parade in San Diego, Calif., July 18, 2015. Awesome.

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I am back from the gym -- although I was so late as a result of posting this entry (before the update) that I had to skip showering / shaving and just go straight there. I was able to shave in the shower after I got out of the pool. (Well, I shave in the shower everyday anyway, except at home.)

OK, jukebox Saturday night entry to follow.

End of Update.

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Second Update 3:10PM 7/19/2015:

Here are a number of official NWS climate station rainfall totals in Southern California for July 18th, 2015 -- and note that every one of them is at least a daily record (and in KSAN's case, an extreme event for the month that also set a new record monthly total):

Ramona Airport (KRMN): 1.25"
San Diego Int'l Airport (KSAN): 1.03"
Lancaster / Fox Field (KWJF): 0.72"
Riverside Muni Airport (KRAL): 0.55"
Palmdale Airport (KPMD): 0.53"
Thermal Airport (KTRM): 0.53"

Downtown L.A. (KCQT): 0.36"
Long Beach Airport (KLGB): 0.35"
Oceanside Airport (KOKB): 0.33"
Palm Springs Int'l Airport (KPSP): 0.33"
Los Angeles Int'l Airport (KLAX): 0.32"
Fullerton Airport (KFUL): 0.23"
John Wayne Airport (KSNA): 0.18"
Bob Hope Airport (KBUR): 0.29"

Ontario Int'l Airport (KONT): 0.24"
Paso Robles Airport (KPRB): 0.08"
San Diego / Brown Field (KSDM): 0.07"

End of Second Update and of Entry.

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--Regulus

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