January 28, 2021 at 8:43 am

FINAL FORECAST: Major Pacific Storm EDGAR Impacts Southern California as a Category Five Starting Later Today, Goes Through Friday; Complete Model Image Suite

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Major Pacific Storm EDGAR has been assigned a Category Five here at Southern California Weather Force and will impact the metros later today, into tonight, and through Friday in multiple impulses in what will be the strongest system precip-wise of the year.  We usually get one each season and it is based on the flood risk, wind risk, thunder risk, and damage expected.  Edgar has been busy west of Los Angeles over the last day or so, giving damaging winds to the central coast and now it is moving eastward finally and will impact the entire forecast area through Friday so read on for details and to see the extensive model image suite SCWF offers…

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Major Pacific Storm Edgar’s cold-front is impacting the Santa Barbara County area at the time of the forecast release.  Expected time through Santa Barbara at 3pm, Ventura 6pm, LA 8pm, OC 9pm,and the IE and San Diego after 11pm tonight.  This is the first frontal zone.  The front has a lot of southerly flow into it so expecting the snow-levels to be above pass-levels through the main part of it.  However, the southerly flow will make for strong to damaging wind gusts with it, and trees and power-lines will come down, given the saturated grounds.  The strongest winds will be the Metro High Desert.  Intensity 6 on the Martin Wind Intensity Scale is being projected on the images below.  It also has level 7 in Adelanto so you know this storm means business.

The southerly flow will make the front look like a snake on the radar.  We call that an S-bend radar return and that means that low-level shear is strong enough to bring the squall-line look about.  There is an isolated lightning risk along it, but it is not that strong of a signature.  It however does have strong low-level shear for non-thunderstorm producing waterspouts that can come ashore as small and brief tornadoes.  The real thunderstorm dynamics come on Friday morning to evening in the same areas impacted tonight.

After the front passes, cold air will filter in behind it.  Moisture still being plentiful, additional impulses will move through and this is when the mountain passes will see the snow-level drop to critical.  As with the SCWF snow model image below, the Cajon and Gorman Pass will be too dangerous to travel at any time on Friday.  I’m bringing the snow levels further down than any other source simply because this system has convection with it behind the main front.  Any strong thunderstorm cell will cause a cold downburst and lower the snow level.  It even lowers into the Antelope Valley on my models so this is definitely something to watch out for.

The thunderstorm risk elevates on Friday with cold-air aloft and instability in, along with strong mid-level forcing.  It also has a tornado risk with it in any of the cells.  Because it will be daylight out there when this hits, I expect to see a lot of good pictures, including the structure that resembles the Midwestern storms.  Because this is expected Friday morning into the evening and starts early, I cannot issue a thunderstorm product for it right now.  I will work on that and bring it to you if needed this evening.

FLOOD RISKS ON BURN AREAS:  One thing I will note is the flood risk zones near Oak Glen or any other burn area.  Most of the time you are in the snow-level so the risk of lahar-type flooding like what we saw in Santa Barbara County a couple of years ago is low.  The snow-level being so low will damp any flooding potential that could have happened with this system in a saving grace if the snow-levels were high like with a tropical air-mass system.  You will have snow-melt, but the rate will be slow over the next week and it should only fill up the rivers and lakes some, not take trees and houses with it.

The SCWF model image suite below is so you can see your zone region covered.  Keep in mind that these are the most comprehensive images around.  They are touchy to the micro-climate and in the rain and flood risk model, you will only see the expected risk or amount.  Those models actually cancel out the snow so before you saw flood risks covering the mountains.  The new models remove that and make it easier to know what to expect.

SCWF Premium Members:  Click here for your model suite member section where you can control and zoom into anywhere covered.  Keep in mind, these are updated hours before social media.  The rest of the viewers read on and view below on what’s offered for Major Pacific Storm EDGAR.

I control 10 counties in Southern California so there is a lot to say for various areas. The best I can do is let the images below speak for themselves. They are separated into six rows of six. Four zones that I control. If you are in Southern California, you are in one of these. Each is identical so zone 1 is the same on all the rows and so on.  Image 5 is Cajon Pass, and Image 6 is Kern Mountains including Gorman for you travelers.  Here is the key to the rows below.  They are extremely detailed.

Row 1 – Alert Zones
Row 2 – Events Expected by Micro-Climate
Row 3 – Flood Risk
Row 4 – Rain Risk
Row 5 – Snow Risk
Row 6 – Wind Risk

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Row 1 – Alert Zones


Row 2 – Events Expected by Micro-Climate


Row 3 – Flood Risk


Row 4 – Rain Risk


Row 5 – Snow Risk


Row 6 – Wind Risk

Martin Wind Gust Intensity Scale –

8. Extensive widespread damage.
7. Trees are broken or uprooted, building damage is considerable. – High Profile Vehicle Roll-Over CERTAIN.
6. SOME Trees are broken or uprooted, building damage is possible. – High Profile Vehicle Roll-Over Likely, Do NOT recommend Traveling in this zone
5. Slight damage occurs to buildings, shingles are blown off of roofs. HIGH WIND WARNING CRITERIA – High Profile Vehicle Roll-Over Possible if weight is not corrected.
4. Twigs and small branches are broken from trees, walking is difficult.
3. Large trees sway, becoming difficult to walk. POWER SHUTDOWN THRESHOLD WIND ADVISORY CRITERIA


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