Thunderstorms, and a rare sighting for me anyway, lightning, although the thunder-part can be often heard. And sparked not too far away, either, judging by the time interval between the two parts.
This morning, too, a decently-heavy hail volley for a few minutes, which rattled the timbers, so to speak — the NWS confirms.
The hail-fall caused an accident on 101 here in Mckinleyville — Lost Coast Outpost has the story. The photo there illustrates the strength of that brief little storm of ice-balls.
Of course, this is only the beginning, as this year’s particular El Niño is already way-off and way-running — from the LA Times this morning:
“Of all the years in which there was a strong El Niño present in the tropical Pacific Ocean, this is the wettest start to any of those years that we’ve observed in the Pacific Northwest, both in Portland and Seattle,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at Stanford University.
A storm system also is targeting Northern California this week.
It’s expected to bring as much as 8 inches of rain along the North Coast, 3 inches to the San Francisco Bay Area, and feet — not inches — of snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains over the next few days, climate experts said.
Southern California could see the tail end of this storm by the end of the week, though precipitation here is not expected to be significant.
These heavy rains show that the infamous “ridiculously resilient ridge” of high pressure — the weather phenomenon that pushed storms away from California and fueled years of severe drought — has not returned this winter.
The absence of the high pressure mass now allows powerful storms to barrel in from the North Pacific.
The forecast comes as a new report Thursday morning by the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center announced this year’s El Niño is still on track to be one of the strongest on record.
But the heavy rains hitting the Pacific Northwest are a preview of the effects of El Niño expected to sweep through California in the coming winter months, said Swain, the Stanford climate scientist.
“These rains are shifting southward,” Swain said.
“The northernmost part of California is now starting to get in on it this week, and it will see some decent rains down to the Bay Area between now and Sunday.
“Even Southern California will see some rain,” he said.
“It won’t be particularly significant, but it will rain at some point over the next week.”
Buckle-up, and hold on to your butts…