Learning how to Blog: a few year-end reflections on two years of blogging
Pacific Storm Update: Friday evening

Pacific storm update: Friday mid-day

We're in the early stages of one of the strongest storms to hit Paso Robles in decades.  We're expecting between 6-12 inches of rain at Tablas Creek, with winds upwards of 60 miles per hour.  We're closing the offices and tasting room at 1PM today, and sending everyone home.  I'll keep updating on what we're seeing here over the next few days.  A satellite image (courtesy of the National Weather Service):


The warnings from weather.com are perhaps even more impressive:

The strongest in a series of storm systems is plowing into the West with its impacts spreading far inland to the Rockies this weekend.

Already, the wind and heavy rains have hit the southern Oregon and the northern half of California. Winds in the coastal mountains either side of the Oregon-California border gusted over 150 mph during the morning. Winds gusted to near 90 mph in the San Francisco Bay Area causing a great deal of tree and power line damage. Winds gusted to just over 100 mph on the hill tops around Oakland. Winds have also gusted to between 60 and 70 mph in the Redding and Sacramento areas.

Heavy rain totals in the coastal mountains north of San Francisco have reached 8 inches.

Heavy rain is gradually shifting southward from northern California into central California and finally into Southern California. Rain totals will range from 2 to 5 inches in the valleys and along the coast to as much as 1 foot in the coastal mountains. Flash flooding is likely along the entire California coast and will not be confined to burn areas.

Snow levels will plummet in the northern California mountains and the Sierra now through Saturday morning with levels reaching valley floors over northern California.

A foot or two of snow will fall in parts of the Cascades of Washington and Oregon. In the mountains of California, hourly snowfall rates could reach 6 to 8 inches. Snow accumulations between 2 feet (valley floors) and locally 12 feet (ridge tops) will bury the Sierra by the end of the weekend. White-out, blizzard conditions will make any travel through the Siskiyou and Sierra Mountains deadly.

Damagingly strong wind gusts will continue over California especially in the vicinity of a strong cold front, ranging from between 50 and 70 mph at the lowest elevations to as high as between 150 and 200 mph at the ridge tops of the Sierra. Strong and damaging winds will also impact western Washington and most of Oregon, where winds could gust over 60 mph.

Swells along the Washington, Oregon and northern California coasts will peak between 30 and 35 feet overnight and high surf warnings have been issued. Snow and damaging winds will increase through interior parts of the West this weekend, impacting Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and the Colorado Rockies. Several feet of snow could fall at the higher elevations with wind gusts to over 80 mph.

Heavy rain may reach into the Desert Southwest this weekend, including the Las Vegas area and the lower Colorado River Valley. Rain and mountain snow will also increase over parts of Arizona and New Mexico.

We need the rain, so this is welcome... and the vineyard's cover crop is growing nicely, so we hope to avoid too much erosion.  Still, a historic storm like this provides some nail-biting moments.  I'll keep updating as I have information.