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More Wet Weather Expected Later This Week


How much rain has San Diego had since the beginning of 2011? And, can we expect more wet weather later in the week? We speak to a local meteorologist from the National Weather Service.

How much rain has San Diego had since the beginning of 2011? And, can we expect more wet weather later in the week? We speak to a local meteorologist from the National Weather Service.


Alex Tardy, meteorologist from the National Weather Service office in San Diego

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This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh and you are listening to These Days on KPBS. They say March is supposed to come in like a lion and out like a lamb but that's not really borne out by the forecast for the end of this month. Not only did we have chilly windy stormy weather over last weekend there is another storm predicted in the next few days. Joining us to talk about these rainstorms and the forecast for spring is my guest Alex Tardy who is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Diego. Alex, good morning.

ALEX TARDY: Good morning.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now first of all let's talk about these temperatures. It's really very chilly for this time of year. What's causing this?

ALEX TARDY: With another really good storm with a lot of cold air not quite as cold as what we saw in February but nonetheless we had snow levels all the way down to 3000, 3500 feet across Southwest California. That's pretty remarkable for late March and it's not unheard of, but nonetheless it's pretty remarkable. When I woke up this morning looking at my temperature in the mid-40s and how wet it was outside it filled pretty raw.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: How much below average are we right now?

ALEX TARDY: We've been running at least in a fast past week is several degrees below average. It really depends on where you are. In the immediate coast this time of year because the ocean is so cold you know normal temperatures around in the 60s but inland areas can easily be in the 70s and 80s on average. Most places probably 5 to 10° below normal.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So is this a wider pattern (inaudible) these colder temperatures, Alex, also bringing in this unsettled rainy weather?

ALEX TARDY: Here we have specific systems coming out from the northern Pacific and the Gulf of Alaska in late February and then carve it right out across all of California so really producing widespread and quite heavy precipitation across the whole state. The good news is our snowpack is just incredible especially when you get into the important areas like the Sierra Nevada.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Yes it is an important point in all this. How are we doing down here in rainfall totals for the season?

ALEX TARDY: Rainfall totals for the season I was looking at some numbers yesterday and those like in the inland Empire are over 20 inches of rain since December. Us down here we are over 11 inches of rain. So we are seeing, we are up to a point where we are at our water year, precipitation and snow, and we still have potentially a couple more months to go where we could get a couple more rainstorms.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I'm speaking with Alex Tardy. He's a meteorologist at the National Weather Service here in San Diego and we are finding out when actually we are going to see any spring here in San Diego. Actually, Alex, except for the downpour we had in December and a couple of other storms we haven't seen many storms this winter here in San Diego. Is that the result of La Nina?

ALEX TARDY: That's probably a result of La Niña. It tends to be all or nothing with La Niña and we saw that in December with a couple of really big storms especially just before Christmas we went on January there really was nothing we had a lot of wind offshore and it was actually quite dry and warm in February with some remarkable storms that brought us all the way down to 1000, 2000 feet like in Ramona. But the storms have been spaced out and I think that is what has helped with the exception of December that his help to avoid a lot of flooding and that is probably a reflection of La Niña pattern and the coolness of a lot of these storms is certainly a reflection of that time.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I see. There was an earlier storm forecast for this week I originally saw this weekend but is that going to come earlier?

ALEX TARDY: What we are having right now is a series of storms are going to plow through mainly Northern California but we will get hit with some more rain and mountain snow it looks like late Wednesday and certainly Wednesday night and then there will be a series of weaker systems Thursday night and possibly even Sunday night. So don't rule out the weekend as being a wash by any means. Each of these systems are going to be a little bit weaker as we go forward in time but a pretty good rainfall event will unfold again, not as much as what we just saw the other day, about half of it and that will occur Wednesday night.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Are we also talking cold and windy like the last one?

ALEX TARDY: Not nearly as (inaudible) as some remarkable winds blustery and especially in the upper deserts in the San Bernardino Mountains, gusts of 100 miles per out there. Take that and divide by two we should see some gusts over 50 mph in the wind prone areas of the high desert and the San Bernardino Mountains.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Alex I just want to ask you too, there's been a flood of interest in the winds coming over from Japan to California and all of that. Is the National Weather Service tracking any of that?

ALEX TARDY: We always check the weather systems that come because naturally in our northern hemisphere the storms track west east in what we call the westerlies or the Pacific jetstream so we are always tracking clouds, moisture, precipitation and the wind that moves across the northern Pacific but other than that no, we don't track anything else, particulates in the storm.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Do you get a lot of queries from the public on this, I wonder?

ALEX TARDY: We do get a lot of questions, in particular will there be another storm and where is the storm originating from and just naturally most of our storms to come from really anywhere in the massive Pacific basin. In December they came more from Hawaii. Most recently they've come from the northern Gulf of Alaska.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That's why it's so cold.


MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now you said something earlier that peaked my interest. I was thinking okay we get a storm this week, maybe the weekend but that is sort of like the end of our rainy season but you say no we could still get more significant precipitation.

ALEX TARDY: We will have significant precipitation on Wednesday night, the system for Thursday night a lot of folks will get a little bit of rain into Friday morning and even less. It looks like for Sunday nights in some places may get nothing Sunday night. But what I mean is in April it's not out of the question especially this type of pattern to at least get one more storm in April that comes across northern and cuts into Southern California. Climatalogically it is more favorable for these storms want to get into April to move across Nevada and Utah, so the great basin. That is a pretty wet. For them climataogically on a normal year and we tend to get high pressure in April.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Well Alex would you hazard a long-range forecast for spring for us?

ALEX TARDY: The folks I've talked to out by the coast you know what they want to hear is that it's going to be a warmer summer than last year. Folks that live inland and the deserts and mountains it was as warm and above the normal summer last year. So what we are looking at now is that let's say May, June, drier than usual conditions and that's not saying much because that is normally a drier period during that period as we transition into the summer but we do expect to be certainly warmer than 2010 really for all areas because there have been some changes over the Pacific but not any strong signal that will be above normal at least for the immediate coast. We will still have to deal with some colder than normal water temperatures before they warm up significantly.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Alex, thanks so much,

ALEX TARDY: Okay, you are welcome.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I've been speaking with meteorologist Alex Tardy from the National Weather Service here in San Diego and if you'd like to comment please go online to Days. Just ahead we will discuss the demographic shifts the census reveals here in San Diego that is as These Days continues here on KPBS.

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