The first in the series of cold systems moving into California will hit Thursday night into Friday, delivering mountain snow, metro/coast rain and thunderstorms, gusty desert winds, and cold air so read on for details …
First I will be saying this. As of now, after 23 years, Southern California Weather Force will no longer be naming storms systems, but the category system will remain. I will continue to categorize systems between category one and six based on the expected dynamics. This will still give one an idea if the system is weak, moderate, or strong. This coming system has variable dynamics that will be listed now.
The system is expected to hit on Thursday evening for Vandenberg to San Luis Obispo, spreading overnight through Friday morning for the rest of the forecast area east of there, including Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, the Inland Empire, all mountain/desert areas. Here is what I see with it. The system is lacking low-level jet dynamics. This would ultimately keep coast/valley wind gusts below advisory strength, so I do not expect any damaging winds along the main front. Because of the lack of damaging frontal zone winds, the category will lower. Because of the thunderstorm risk zones and heavy rain at times, I will assign this a category three out of six, which is not a weak system, not a strong system, but a moderate system. A lot of times, cold core systems that are assigned category three do produce thunderstorms.
The system is what I call a west inside slider where it would act as a hybrid pacific storm / inside slider combined. These can get interesting because they dip far enough south to introduce cold air aloft. Cold air aloft with the March Sun angle does produce the better risk of thunderstorms, even if the Sun is not out. The closer to the upper-level low one is, the better chance of thunderstorms.
I will say right now that the lift/instability and trough axis of the system does favor Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, SD, and San Luis Obispo County from Thursday night through Friday for thunderstorm risks, especially aiming Los Angeles proper. On Friday, the upper-level low would be directly over Gorman Pass, which puts from Santa Clarita/Gorman through Lancaster/Palmdale/Edwards/Mojave in a convergence boundary in the mid-levels that can easily be the pattern to produce a separate line of thunderstorms. Elsewhere, pop-up showers/thunderstorms due to the higher Sun angle and instability will be in the cards.
The snow-level with this system will be around 5,000 FT with non-sticking below that. I will not issue advisories separately right now, but consider this entire write-up having a Winter Storm Watch for the Eastern San Bernardino Mountains, especially in the ‘catcher mitt’ of Slide Peak, where the Snow Valley Ski Resort is for heavy snowfall/accumulation due to the southwest to northeast flow within the system.
So there you go for now … this will serve as a base first outlook for the system and I will be working watches/advisories in as the days move closer.
NOTE: Just because this system hits and ups the Los Angeles rainfall total for the season some does not mean it will continue this month for much longer. None of the systems behind this is strong, a weaker inside slider over the weekend with less precipitation, but colder air … The March 2022 forecast is valid to warm up for the second half of the month. Those links are below …
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The following articles pertained to the analysis and prediction of this forecast …
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