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Old Jan 19, 2010, 9:20 PM   #1
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Default I should know better...

... than to believe the weatherman. Yesterday it rained all day, clearing in the evening. The weather forecast for today was for additional rain, snow levels starting at 6,000 feet and lowering to 5500 in the evening after 4 pm. No problem - we'd be home by 5:30 or so and even if it had started snowing, it shouldn't be a big deal, so we drove the Honda Fit.

This is what greeted us when we got home, a lot earlier than 5:30 (the grapevine on my front porch):



View from my upstairs window:



Imagine my surprise when I casually looked at a webcam around 11 am that overlooks my subdivision and saw it was all white. Checked the California Highway Patrol and saw they were going to put chain restrictions on a road a little higher than our home. 20 minutes later I checked the webcam that looks out on the freeway (elevation 4,000 feet) and see that it looks a bit white.

Frantic call to hubby - last time I delayed leaving, thinking it would blow over by quitting time, we ended up not getting home at all. Today it took us a while to get home because the highway patrol was "escorting" traffic (keeping people down to a safe speed). Snow level was no where near 5,500 feet - it was around 3,500 feet.

All right, the pictures are NOT brilliant photography, but I just had to share them.

Looks like tomorrow is going to be a day for the 4WD Wrangler.
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Old Jan 19, 2010, 10:02 PM   #2
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Harriet, you missed all the fun, by leaving the basin before the heaviest storm cells hit - inches of rain, flooding, mud and debris flows, winds as high as 93 MPH, torrential rains, tornados, hailstones the size of ping pong balls. Tomorrow afternoon's storm is to be worse and last longer and Thursday's even worse yet, extending into Friday. When the squall line went through in advance of the front this afternoon, there were two tornados this afternoon within a couple of miles of my house, where it blew and rained so hard while we were under tornado warnings that i couldn't see across the street. All you missed at home was a blizzard. If you drive tomorrow, be sure you take something more substantial than that Fit or you will really have a fit! Usually forecasters overestimate the threat to be on the safe side - this time they have been right on, if not underestimating. If you leave work early tomorrow, you might get home before the worst of it, but if I were you I would stay home Thursday. This weeklong series of a storm a day is supposed to be the worst since 1934 to his Southern California. After today's (the second and expected to be second "mildest" of the series) I believe it!
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Old Jan 19, 2010, 10:48 PM   #3
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I sure heard about it, both on the way home and then on the LA news (wondered if you would be affected). Couldn't believe it when they announced the tornado warning - while they might be common in Michigan, they are very unusual here. What we drove through on the 405 through the SFV was bad enough. We've driven it enough to know enough to avoid the carpool lane - it floods easily. At one point I watched someone hit one of those spots and throw a wall of water over the SUV beside it and coat our windshield in the middle lane. I was actually glad when we caught up to the back end of the escorted traffic, I lost count of the spin-outs before that.

Tomorrow we'll drive the Wrangler Unlimited (it has a longer wheelbase than the TJ and therefore better in the wind). It'll be interesting as I expect the local roads to be icy (its in the 20's F).

Now, the big question I have - did you take pictures of the squall? The one time we had an intense thunderstorm I regretted not trying to get something for a picture, even if it were the black outside the window and the sheet of water that coated it. Instead I only thought about how that sheet of water on the window would make it impossible to try to capture the lightning.
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Old Jan 19, 2010, 11:25 PM   #4
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Harriet and Penolta, don't you know "it never rains in California".

Sounds like you have a few days of messy weather. That means in 4 or 5 days we will be getting the impact here.

Harriet your neighbor's driveway looks like a nightmare to drive up and must be thrills driving down. It's a good thing you don't get snow often.

Lou
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Old Jan 20, 2010, 12:00 AM   #5
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lol...Lol...LOL...LOL...LOL

here in BC Canada, in the Okanagan...we sure don't have that much snow...

And on the coast...the 2010 Winter Olympics...oh boy...
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Old Jan 20, 2010, 1:31 AM   #6
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Never trust the weathemen, they are the only ones I know that get paid for only being right 50% of the time.
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Old Jan 20, 2010, 1:42 AM   #7
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In my business (previous) we need to rely on forecasts to anticipate snow removal activities..I suggest that they were wrong 80% of the time. Granted mountain weather is a challange..but with technology today you'd think accuracy would go up..Not!

I've always used to look up and say..there is a 60% change that the weather man is wrong..LOL

My theory is, they WILL predict rain or snow cautiously, by suggesting a higher percentage of probability. Why?..simply because a majority of people will never be upset with a rain or snow forecast that is wrong...job security...
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Old Jan 20, 2010, 11:10 AM   #8
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Snow isn't that unusual around our area and normally we drive the 4WD if it seems likely. Its just that the weather people made it seem unlikely yesterday, so I ended up taking an unexpected half day off from work because I didn't come prepared (and I was just reading the thread about shooting pictures in a disaster?!).

The snow removal/CalTrans ended up working overtime yesterday, sanding some of the local roads as they became icy later on. It made this morning's commute possible, though slow due to the snow at the house, rain most of the way and pockets of heavy fog here and there. As snowfall in our area goes, this wasn't all that much. Love the scraping sound of the soft top shedding snow.

That particular driveway isn't as bad as some - while it's longer than most, it's not that steep. There are other driveways that are downright impossible - mostly belonging to houses that have been built in the last few years. If the owners are lucky they either have a small apron by the side of the road where they can leave their cars or else they are retired and don't have to leave when their driveways can double as skating rinks.

Littlejohn - I thought the Okanagan was pretty mild as far as weather in B.C. goes. Not like Whistler or some other places I can think of. Besides, you expect snow and ice there, so the roads are maintained properly. Who thinks of snow when they think of California? And you probably have snow all winter and your drivers understand it. Imagine someone in winter driving from Hope to Merritt and stopping for gas wearing shorts and only having a sweatshirt with them. That happens all the time where I live - snow all around, patches of ice and someone who's driving across the mountains stops for gas at the top without a jacket. I'm standing there, next to my Jeep with 4 inches of snow still on the top, calmly gasing up with gloves, down jacket and snow boots, while they are jumping around and blowing on their bare hands while they gas up their clean car and probably wondering about how idiotic it is that someone would voluntarily live up there.
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Old Jan 20, 2010, 1:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
Littlejohn - I thought the Okanagan was pretty mild as far as weather in B.C. goes. Not like Whistler or some other places I can think of. Besides, you expect snow and ice there, so the roads are maintained properly. Who thinks of snow when they think of California? And you probably have snow all winter and your drivers understand it. Imagine someone in winter driving from Hope to Merritt and stopping for gas wearing shorts and only having a sweatshirt with them. That happens all the time where I live - snow all around, patches of ice and someone who's driving across the mountains stops for gas at the top without a jacket. I'm standing there, next to my Jeep with 4 inches of snow still on the top, calmly gasing up with gloves, down jacket and snow boots, while they are jumping around and blowing on their bare hands while they gas up their clean car and probably wondering about how idiotic it is that someone would voluntarily live up there.
LOL... yep they can be entertaining.
As for the OK...its mild, but in the northern part we usually have snow on the ground..not this year well some but its been rainy +7 C making things icy. Its milder this year.

Personally i like when its below freezing...its cleaner that way..I grew up in -30 & -40 F stuff.....so this is tame in comparision.

One thing about drivers tho....they ALL have ADD...every winter..first snow...its bumper cars, and ditches. Then in the summer they complain about high insurance rates...

(when is the BEST time to put on winter tires???...Why AFTER the snow has fall'n of course)

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Old Jan 20, 2010, 2:31 PM   #10
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I sure heard about it, both on the way home and then on the LA news (wondered if you would be affected). Couldn't believe it when they announced the tornado warning - while they might be common in Michigan, they are very unusual here.

Now, the big question I have - did you take pictures of the squall?
A surprising weather fact is that the LA - Orange County area has the highest incidence of tornados of any area west of the Rockies! Granted, most of them are small - the one that came ashore in Sunset Beach yesterday was an F1* on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, the weakest category, but still a Tornado. I didn't get any pictures, because I was in the dark, away from the windows with the drapes and shades drawn as you are supposed to do during tornado warnings in case of breaking glass. One man in Seal Beach whose windows imploded had a large piece of glass imbedded in the easy chair he had vacated only minutes before. One person got a photo of two waterspouts off Seal Beach, one of which is the one that came ashore in Sunset beach, tore off one roof, blew in windows in several others, overturned an SUV, sent Zodiacs from Peter's Landing spinning around in the air, dropped a catamaran on several other boats, and threw a small boat up on a dock. More are expected on the tail end of today's storm and also tomorrow's.

As for the accuracy of weather forecasting, you have to understand that things are constantly changing, and today they rely more on computer modeling based on past records, but the forecasts are only as reliable as the models selected for use. When I took meteorology in college we were told that if the weather changed on the average on once in 10 days, then if you predicted today's weather for tomorrow, you would be accurate 90% of the time. The further East on the continent you were, the better your accuracy because weather systems move from north west to south east and you can see more of a history to base your predictions on. The west coast was the worst, because you didn't know what was happening on the ocean, except for ship reports. Of course, that was before satellites (and before the jet streams were understood), so now forecasting is a whole lot more accurate. Now if you rely on TV "meteorologists," you may not be any better off. Some of them are really very good, but a significant proportion of them seem to have been hired for attributes other than their understanding of the weather - not a few of those airheads wouldn't know an adiabat from a baseball bat! The Weather Bureaus own broadcasts (on the radio weather band) are recorded and not always up to the minute, so we have to rely on radio and/or TV for updated information, but you have to know which stations are the best ones to stay with.

Based on damage inspection and photos taken during and after the incident, the tornado now has been reclassified as an F2.
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Last edited by penolta; Jan 20, 2010 at 3:47 PM.
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