Dealing with closed lows is always fun. Of course, I am being sarcastic, but rarely do the computer models get it right days ahead, and sometimes just a day ahead. Since the middle of last week, I have gone out and said that the current closed low sitting west of northern California would bring the possibility of showers and thunder to portions of California this week. I still think that is going to happen, though with some modifications.
The low is still devoid of any important moisture and is more easily apparent on water vapor satellite pictures than on more conventional infrared or visible pictures.
This is problem one and two. When does the low moisten, and how much moisture will there be? The low is also sitting a little farther off the coast and is now expected to move farther south than southeast. This is problem number three. A more westerly track would keep what moisture, and instability, it had more along the coast and offshore through Wednesday, and it would take longer to work its way into southern California.
To help you visualize this, the GFS 500 mb charts for Wednesday morning and Thursday morning are below. Again, just so you know the European is pretty much in the same camp.
Taking this track, there might be a shower in spots around the Bay Area tomorrow, but it could as easily be rain-free, and I would classify the chance of no better than 20 percent. By Wednesday, it seems a shower, perhaps a thundershower, can occur along the Central Coast and maybe to just south of Pt. Conception in the afternoon. Odds are increasing that it does not rain in the Los Angeles and San Diego area during the day Wednesday. The best chance for precipitation in southern California comes Wednesday night through Thursday evening as the low heads east across the area. Here the European is a little slower than the GFS. Still of concern is how much moisture there will be. Instability will be pretty good, especially during the day Thursday, so it seems pretty likely there will be at least scattered showers and a thunderstorm. How far north will the showers occur Thursday? I think Central California from San Luis Obispo to the San Joaquin Valley on south may have a shower or thundershower is about as far north as they will be with the chances increasing as one heads south.
Parts of Southern California are likely to have temperatures near 90 degrees again by Monday and Tuesday.
A prolonged rain-free pattern is setting in.
By this time in 1998 there was twice as much rain that had occurred to date compared to 2015-2016.
Could an unusual El Nino precipitation pattern be as simple as looking at the state of water temperatures?
One thing that I find interesting is that the pattern since fall has not been your typical El Nino storm pattern.
There are signs of a possible stormier pattern beginning the week of Jan. 18.