La Nina - equatorial SST indicates some slackening by june 00...return to
near normal SST expected overall La Nina effect close to forecast, but extremes
more severe (except cold)
Similarities between July 99 and June 00. Hot then much below normal. Warm water advection and clamp on turnover. Fishing drops dead in July both years. SST both time near 58 at time of clamp. Late striper runs in Oct 99
Periods of dry/very wet 34.34" for year Persistent pattern of upper lows
drifting N/S off coast then pivoting inland. Rains come in 4-5 major periods
with long dry periods in between. Rains start in Oct..near on schedule
Major Oct. storm brings 35'+ surf to pier, shutting it down
Near record dry in Dec99
Near record wet in Feb 00
High rain totals for two day periods twice exceed 6" following dry periods - several pineapple connections from stalled lows off SoCal on depressed EPAC High
Continuation of above average rains inplaces and near avearge most other
No major freezes, overall cool summer
All time record heat in June00
All time greatest TStorms in Sept99 (two times)
Repeat basic pattern of upper lows off SoCal drifting NE starting again in June00
Wet/moderate spring and heavy flora growth
High death rates of beached whales/seals/dolphins
JULY 1999 MONTHLY REVIEW Warm to start the month, cold with drizzle at the end. 4th of July was unusually pleasant, and warm, clear and WINDLESS conditions prevailed. Our coastal weather was primarily dominated by subtle changes in wind flow patterns along the coast. With the hot spell of early in the month, winds either blew from the NNE, or were light/absent -indicating a slackening and even slightly offshore pressure gradient between the coast and inland (Sacramento Valley, etc.) During the second week, wind direction gradually shifted to more typical WSW. But instead of remaining there, troughiness to our north caused winds to shift to SSW. A prime effect of these SSW winds is to move relatively warmer southern latitude water northward, and SST is now up to 56-58F in the imediate area. The warmer water is quite shallow, but it is sufficiently warm to cap ocean waters and prevent turnover/upwelling. Because the warmer water is jucier air, fog is enhanced, to the point of widespread drizzle along the coast and unseasonably cool temps at times in the valleys. A great example was during the first week, temps in the northern Sac. Valley (Red Bluff) set temp records of 118F. Temps closer to home (Gilroy) got to 113. However, by the second week, hi temps in Stockton were in the low to mid 70's...a good 20-25 degrees below normal for this time of year. Despite the locally warming Pacific coast waters, long range ENSO models now show a continuation of La Nina conditions is expected through the Winter of '99-'00. With global atmospheric heat further dissipating after the El Nino of '97-'98, this years La Nina influenced winter may be drier than last...possibly very much drier.
AUGUST 1999 MONTHLY REVIEW
Anomolously cool temps for August, with a mean temp for the month only 60.8F. By comparison, August 1997, with El Nino just starting to gain strength, mean temps was 64.1F. A dramatic example of the cool air has been temps in the Central Valley, where highs should be between 95 and 105F, but this month were hard pressed to hit 80 on several occassions. On a brief trip to Lake Tahoe and Reno, we encountered high temps in the San Juaquin Valley of only 74F at 1430..a good 25 degrees below typical. Here in Pacifica, on the 30th, we had a low of 49.9F, the first time in memory we had a sub-50 reading in August. Temps were kept quite moderate by 2 factors...cold upper level cutoff lows kept diving down the coast to off SoCal, then pivoting to the coast in a NE direction, dragging it's cool pool of air and increased stratus along with it, and a return to below normal SST's. Once again, (twice in last three years), significant rains fell in August, a time of year when any rain is noteworthy. 0.19" fell from the 4th-6th from a very Autumn like storm from the GOA, as high temps failed to make it out of the 50's on the 4th and 5th. Overall, 8 days of measurable precip, mostly due to heavy fog and drizzle (except for the 4th-6th). SST is dropping back down to the middle 50's after briefly hitting the low 60's in late July. The rapid swings in SST is playing havoc with the ocean life - red tide and purple (warmer) surface water blowing up from the south one day, then cooler water from the northwest cools things off and water turns back to typical silty green. Anchovy have been incredibly thick up and down the coast, and Striper fishing has ceased after what only seemd like a two week season in mid July. The whereabouts of the Stripers is a mystery..most theories hold that the fish are still out there, but stuffed to the gills with bait. I for one am not buying that explaination, as I have caught many fish with dozens af bait fish in the stomach. Even when stuffed, an agressive Striper will still hit a lure. My thinking is that the fish have moved out into deeper water to find better water conditions. Flora conditions continue to suffer, and most fruit bearing trees have below normal fruit in both size and quantity. My apple tree has almost no fruit, despite being historically a fine producer.
SEPTEMBER 1999 MONTHLY REVIEW2 major lightning storms highlited
this month. The first, on the 8th-9th. brought continuous activity for almost
15 hours straight in Pacifica, and the second on the 22nd, lightning but
no rain for almost 6 hrs before dawn. By all accounts, the 8th-9th was
the most intense and long lasting of any lightning event in Bay Area history.
At it's peak, the NWS reported 217 hits in a 15 minute period along a line
stretching from Salinas to just north of the Bay Area. Locally, I counted
17 hits in 1 minute around 2100 hrs on the 8th. Lightning was observed from
6 different cells all working simultaneously at that time all around the
Bay. Massive cloud to cloud and cloud to ground strokes were observed,
with some of the cloud to cloud chaining along the underside of the cells
- one stretching from south of Half Moon Bay to Daly City, a distance of
almost 30 linear miles. Some discharges lasted for up to 2 seconds as repeat
strokes seemed to continue indefinitely. Peak intensity locally occurred
at 0430 on the 9th, culminating a virtually sleepless night, with deafening
thunder and massive cloud to ground lightning striking the hill in back (250
yards. or so) of my house. The storm was triggered by another of our now-typical
cool cutoff lows which suddenly tapped into moisture from dying hurricane
Gregg, off Baja California. The morning of the 8th started out clear, and
satellite imagery showed only a few high clouds off Pt. Concepcion and the
typical stratus along the coast. The squall line formed in a matter of hours
along the NE edge of the low starting around 1200 hrs and by 1630 hrs, the
first thunder was heard in Pacifica. Upper level air, warm and moist,
rode up and over the cool sea air below, with temps at sea level in
the 50's and high foggy conditions, but clear and temps in the mid 60's at
elevations >1,000'. Heavy downpours in the area produced rains >1",
however, a meager 0.15" fell here, most in one quick burst. Even
some brief, minor street flooding was reported. One lightning strike hit
a huge tire disposal site in the Sierra foothills, and started over 7,000,000
tires ablaze. Officials are concerned that this fire may burn for months,
as there is no current way known how to extinguish it. Many stations in the
area reported "Black Rain" as oily smoke mixed with rain to form off-colored
The second event occured almost 2 weeks later on the 22nd, as moisture from Hurricane Hilary got trapped in the circulation of yet another cutoff low off the SoCal coast, and brought a repeat performance of lightning which lasted about 6 hours. No measurable rain fell here, although we get some occassional big drops. Temperature-wise, most of the month had temps averaging cooler than normal and close to August numbers. A highly unusual low temp of 47.9F was noted on the 5th. September is usually the start of our warmest period of the year, however it wasn't until the last week of the month that we got to 80F and above (topping out at 87F on the 28th). Even with the last 5 days of above average temps (and warm nights from offshore winds), the mean temp for the month was only 61.2F. SST has remained in the mid 50's and appears stabilizing. 60F water is still 60 miles offshore, and La Nina seems unwilling to break her hold on the area.
On the Flora/Fauna front, many trees have started to drop leaves prematurely....some such as the local Elm trees are 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule. Our local flock of Golden Crown Sparrows returned exactly to schedule on the 28th, but not in typical numbers. Normally, the birds arrive in good numbers quite quickly, but so far only a few have been noted on my backyard feeder. Despite the warm temps at the end of the month, the sky has a hazy quality to it, and conditions "feel" like Autumn. Another round of La Nina appears set for this Winter, however with most of the residual heat from the El Nino of two years ago now a distant memory, I think lower than normal rains are in the offing and much below temps in the central coast regions may bring major damage to crops and other ecologically sensitive areas.
OCTOBER 1999 WEATHER REVIEWOctober is histOrically the start of our rainy season, and this year was no exception. A minor trough on the 6th brought light rain, which was then followed by a prolonged period of our "Indian Summer", with temps generally in the 70's and 80's until the 21st. Temps after that cooled rapidly as an unusually strong GOA circulation began ushering in cooler ocean air. On the 27th, a major low pummeled the Pac NW, and pelted the Cent. Calif Coast with 1-2" rains, winds to 40mph locally, and up to 60mph along the NW coast. What was unusual was the wave heights, which topped 30' in Pacifica, and an estimated 55'-60' surf at Mavericks, on Pilar Point, 11 miles south of Pacifica. 60' ocean sea/swells claimed 6 lives off the Oregon Coast and 2 people were washed out to sea in the Santa Cruz area. Locally, the Pacifica pier was closed for 2 days, where some local beachfront flooding occurred. No major damage, fortunately. After the wild storm, another period of tranquility, as temps again climbed, and by Halloween were back in the 70's...a most unusual condition.
NOVEMBER 1999 WEATHER REVIEWA slightly above normal rain total for the month with 4.12". While Pacifica may be near normal, the rest of California except for the far Northwest corner is slightly to much below rainfall to date. SoCal has had virtually zero rain to date. As is common in La Nina years, storms rapidly loose steam as they approach then drop southward along the coast as dry Continental air evoporates the fronts as they advect to the east. Temps were near to slightly above normal, with a minor frost in the low lying areas on the 22nd following a cold trough passage on the 21st that dropped brief, heavy rain. The pattern does not remind of drought years when blocking highs shunt storms completely out of our area. In fact there was no real shortage of rain days, as we had 11 days with rain...however only 1 day exceeded 1" (1.06" on the 7th). Most fronts, despite being juicy up north, are dropping only around 0.5' to 0.75" of precip here. The general pattern seems to be a gradual decrease in upper air dynamics as SST's hover in the low 50's near the coast. Because of mild temps, many trees that started their annual drops in October still have much foliage left...and some vine plants such as our Morninglory is currently in a growth spurt . The local apple tree still has >50% foliage and the remaining leaves are still a healthy green. Also due to the below average rains in the Central Valleys, tule fog has beem limited to just patchy areas, with no widespread valley fogs as yet. If this pattern remains consistant with previous year's, we can expect low rains in December and chilly temps, expecially toward the end of the month. Last year saw some of the coldest temps on record and a very unusual snow in Pacifica on the 20th..which led to a cold, dry early Winter with near-normal rains and continued chilly temps in late Winter and early Spring.
DECEMBER 1999 Wx REVIEW
A very stagnant pattern for most of the month, with near record LOW rains in many areas of the West, especially from SFO south. Pacifica received only 0.72", with the bulk (0.54) falling during a brief trough passage on the 9th. No appreciable rain has fallen since then. Mean temp for the month was a warm 52.8F (normal is near 50F), and temperature records throughout the month were set in many areas of the West. Monterey in fact, reported 8 days of 70+ temps immediately before Christmas..a new record for December to be sure...and an unconfirmed record of the longest 70+ streak for ANY time of the year. Here in Pacifica, we topped out at 69F on the 20th, with a very warm stretch between the 18th and 22nd. Christmas was especially pleasant, with temp at 64 under clear blue skies. The main pattern has been a blocking high sitting off the West Coast and bridging with a strong Continental high over the Big Basin. This creates a strong East-West pressure gradient and a period of prolonged offshore winds (and Santa Ana's in SoCal). Locally, E and NE winds over 50mph have been clocked over the East Bay hills....with 25mph wind from the NE on the 22nd here. Wildfires in SoCal have become a problem in the tinder dry grasslands/hills. Because the winds were so dry, no front stood a chance of penetrating to the coast...and what little energy remained after slamming into the dry air mass, was shunted over top of the Western states and channeled into the upper mid-west. The dry air penetrated to tropical latitudes and the ITZ was unusually quiet. Continuing the pattern for over a year now, no tropical or "pineapple" connection took place, and unless the ridge is pressed much farther south than it's current location, we should not expect one this Winter. This warm December is somewhat similar to near record warmth we received last year in early December. However in 1999, the end of December brought near record cold to most of the West.. and this year brought only more warm weather. Curious to see if January brings an unusually cold snap as so often happens after a warm spell in La Nina years.
January 2000 Wx ReviewOverall, a highly variable month precipitation wise, and moderate temp-wise. Mean temp of 52.1 was just about average, and no real cold outbreaks to speak of. No days of frost were noted here or in the vicinity for the month. January began dry and cool, with no rain for the first 11 days and temps failing to break the 60F mark. However, as the month wore on, the large blocking high of the last 2 months off the cent west coast starting eroding by an increasing series of Pacific impulses, with the first to really break through arriving on the 11th. As the high became further depressed to the south, a dominant GOA low began spinning in regular impulses of energy and drawing moisture up from the tropics. Copius moisture from the SW started flowing onto the cent. west coast along the EPAC high's and GOA low's periphery and by the 18th, a classic (and long lived) pineapple express started to really take shape. Various parts of the coast from Pt. Concepcion all the way to Washington got hosed on over the next 2 weeks as the narrow rain band worked up and down the coast.. The tropical hose anchored over the Bay Area on the 23/24th, and dropped 5.14" of precip in 48 hrs in Pacifica. This was the second largest 2 day total in my records, topped only by the 8+ inches in 26 hrs during the record January '84 flood event. Fortunately, the ground was very dry from much below average rains of the last 2 months and little flooding or slides ocurred. By month's end, 9.19" of rain accumulated, well over the normal 5.67". This was the first month in the last three that exceeded monthly norms, and the most significant exceedence since the current 2 year La Nina event began. By months end, a more zonal flow pattern was taking shape, with tails starting to dig ever farther south. With storms starting to trane across the Pacific, the pattern is starting to look a bit more El Nino-ish instead of La Nina. A continuation of this trend may portend a wet and stormy February.
FEBRUARY 2000 WX REVIEWOur unusual La Nina pattern of above average
rains continued in many parts of No.Calif, as Feb. became a record
month in terms of # days with rain..with SF setting a record for measurable
precip on 21 out of 29 days (leapyear). Here in Pacifica, where my "daily"
time window is from 0000-2400, we had rain on 18 days. 11.36" fell, which
is the third wettest Feb. in my records. While 11"+ is impressive for any
month, it is dwarfed by the 13.59" in Feb.1998 (El Nino).
The month started out continuing late January 's Pineapple Connection pattern of tropical moisture being pumped north by a depressed EPac High and interacting with impulses swinging underneath a semi-permanent GOA low. With both features fairly stable, moisture streams from deep in the tropics took dead aim on the Cent. Calif Coast..leaving huge rain totals in the Santa Lucia Mountains (27"+) and other orographically favored areas.
Rain rates locally peaked between the 11th and 14th, when well over 6" fell - the second time in less than a month that a Pineapple Connection had left around 1/2' FOOT of rain in a single visit. However, due to the very dry fall and early Winter period, ground saturation took a lot longer to occur, so flooding was minimized. After the mid-month hosing, the general storm track started to quickly evolve into a more Spring like pattern, with cutoff lows starting to track much more N-S, bringing heavy rain at last to SoCal and then inland, producing unusually early season severe weather in the southern plains through the Gulf Coast. As these lows moved past the coast, some of the heaviest winds of the season were noted, with winds peaking at 56mph on the 26th. Here's an interesting sidelight - while many places along the coast and especially inland experienced briefly severe weather in the form of hail, T' Storms and very heavy downpours, (numerous funnel sightings near Fresno on the 28th) Pacifica seemed to escape the brunt of these events. Pea hail fell only once on the 28th, and no T'storms or heavy frontal passages occurred all month - mostly wind and steady rains during the Pineapple hosing early in the month, and lighter steady rain intermixed with moderate rains later on.
Weather Summary March, 2000March and Spring showed their
colors early on, as the last? of the season's main rains ended suddenly on
March 9. Temps climbed steadily until peaking at the end of the month
with near record warmth and very fall-like offshore winds. Overall, 2.79"
fell (about 1" below normal), and was concentrated in the first 9 days. Winter's
final gasps came in the form of a series of potent upper lows slipping directly
along the West Coast but out at sea, then turning inland over SoCal and No.
Mexico. Prolonged rains hit the Phoenix area early the second week of the
month as a cutoff low which hammered SoCal and gave moderate rains here,
anchored over the four corners. Somewhat unusual for intensity and longetivity,
but if it does happen down there, this is the time of year when it does.
Two spells of 70+ temps, with the first of the year occurring on the 21st
and 22nd, with near 80F on the 31st. Early April should see a continuation
of this warm pattern.
In Pacifica, rainfall to date for the season now stands at 29.92", almost 7" above our total yearly average. We currently stand at around 135% of normal to date, which is somewhat higher than the 110-125% of many areas in the vicinity. The seasons last snow measurements in the Sierra were also above normal, continuing an unprecedented 6 straight years of above average precip for Central and Northern California.
APRIL 2000 WEATHER REVIEWEarly April continued the unusually warm and dry mid/late March pattern, culminating an extended dry period lasting nearly 5 weeks. Temps were in the high 70's very early, and no rain fell until the 13th. This Mar/Apr dry period immediately followed a Feb./Early Mar wet period which saw a Feb. record set for 21 days/rain in San Francisco (but no record here) and almost 15" total rain, with over 6" of it coming in a single 72 hr.period. By the middle of April, the dominant EPac High finally slackened, allowing yet another repeat of a SW-NE oriented tropical moisture surge getting funnelled over the west coast causing prolonged moderate/heavy rains (especially in orographically favored areas which favor juicy SW wind flows). This was the fourth time this La Nina-fueled-Winter that a cutoff low/trough dove anomalously deep into the tropics off the coast then, coupled with circulation around the depressed EPac high, flung heavy rain plumes NE over California. In hindsight, I believe this is a similar pattern to the incredible Summer T'Storms of last year, which had prolonged rain on the NE flank of an offshore low. After rain on 5 of 6 days, very mild Spring-like conditions for the most part set in for the last 10 days, (save for a mild rain on the 22nd) with temps mostly in the 50's and lo 60's, and shallow fog along the coast burning off most mornings. .Rain for April was 2.8", with 1.89" of that falling in a 36hr period on the 16th/17th. Rainfall to date stands at 32.73", or nearly 10" over yearly normal. As this La Nina Winter winds down, almost 40% of our YTD rains have occurred during the four major surges...which as noted earlier, have been seperated by prolonged, extreme dry periods.The Feb./March/April time frame was a classic example, as heavy rains both preceded and followed one of the driest spells during this time of year in memory. Overall April temps were quite mild, with four 70+ degree days (continuing March's anomalous run of several 70+ days). After a toasty 79F & 78F on the 1st and 2nd ended a three day run of high 70's temps, we barely nudged 70 only twice for the remainder of the month. Persistent onshore conditions and chilly SST's (51F off Pacifica), kept a clamp on any serious heating along the coast. By month's end, a very typical pattern of weakening GOA lows brushing northern sections with light rain and increased stratus has evolved. Because of the mild temps, lighter than normal winds and the heavy April rain a couple of weeks ago, wildflowers are in major bloom seemingly everywhere. With many trees in full foliage, the flowers are incredible when set against the deep green of new growth on trees and grass. The California Golden Poppy, our state flower, is particularly brilliant and plentiful this year. Offshore, mammoth schools of krill are showing up, bringing huge schools of Salmon along the coast. It will be interesting to see if the humpback whales return to feed as they did 3 years ago, during the last krill explosion. Of interesting note, in recent months almost a dozen gray whales have been found washed up dead along the ocean coast and inside the Bay. Biologists are stumped as to the cause, but malnurishment is being suspected....odd given the amount of food just offshore. Usually, El Nino conditions are cited as cause for the food chain to collapse, as lack of upwelling produces nutrient starved waters. Gray whales feed very little during their annual migration up the coast from Mexico and Hawaii, doing most of their feeding in Summer months in the Gulf of Alaska. I wonder if La Nina has caused a food shortage or had some other effect in the Winter breeding grounds which weakened these creatures? While overall the fish populations seem up, this may be due to now 6 straight years of above normal rains and the resulting improved spawning conditions.
MAY 2000 WEATHER SUMMARY With periods of wildness punctuated throughout, May was at the least an interesting month overall. Well defined and long-lived weather patterns produced extremes in both rainfall and temperature. The most common weather feature for this time of year is a strong onshore pressure gradient which generally starts evolving by late March or early April, but this year failed to materialize until the last week of May. As a result, the average velocity of NW winds typical for this time of year was markedly reduced and the mean temp of 57.1 was significantly higher than average (55F). Usually, warmer temps this time of year in Pacifica would be a strong indicator of increased Sea Surface Temps - however not so this year....SST's were actually a bit below normal at 51-52F near Pacifica. Lower than normal pressures off the California coast produced N-S and offshore gradient winds, allowing a very warm period to evolve by the middle of the month, with 7 straight days of above average warmth (18th-25th). Interestingly, unusual storminess marked the beginning and end of this pattern. Early in the month, a strong westerly jet in a nearly-perfect zonal flow carried abundent low level moisture that at one time stretched from Asia to the U.S. Midwest , and directly over Cent. California (see Fig.1). Numerous stalled eddy lows (six total in the Northern hemisphere of the Pacific) north and south of the jet, helped pump moisture and energy surges into the stream, and set up another pipeline that has been so characteristic of this La Nina Winter. Between the 7th and 8th, 0.82" of rain in the form of persistant light rain/drizzle fell in Pacifica, with higher amounts (3"+) in orographically favored areas and in isolated pockets where showers amplified rainrates. Because the main flow was almost directly west to east, temps were steady and cool. By the middle of the month, the jet retreated far enough north for lower pressure to develop off the coast which first gave us prolonged offshore wind conditions and much above normal temps, before evolving into a rain producing eddy low directly over the Bay Area. This low on the 23rd, was highlighted by temps in the 90's in the East Bay, and 80's elsewhere, with mid-high level stratus thickening and eventually producing widespread shower activity. At one point around 1700 with light rain falling, fog and temps in low 60's were screeming at an estimated 50+ mph along the immediate coast then inland through the Golden Gate, while2,500' up temps were in the high 70's, and elsewhere balmy (80's-90's) with light winds prevailing. By month's end, moderate onshore conditions returned and typical Summer weather prevailed. (F&LCATCEIN&M)
JUNE 2000 WEATHER REVIEWJune 14th. 0545hrs. Already, it is a record 81F outside after a low of 52F at 2100 during the previous night (or, an astounding 30F rise in temp overnight). By 0900, temp is now 91F, on the way to a new alltime record high of 95.8F. Throughout the Bay Area, and Central California, this day would be remembered as the hottest overall in recorded history. Most places on the Peninsula recorded readings well over 110F, with an unofficial 117F in Foster City. Official all-time record readings were recorded in San Jose and downtown San Francisco and over 20 other locations. The pattern responsible was a continuation of one that has been noted in my postings all Winter long: i.e. a major low/trough digging N/S down off the coast then inland instead of a more typical NW-SE or W-E track. The leading edge of the trough brought our entire monthly rain of 0.33" to Pacifica on the 7th and 8th as it passed by then stalled off the South Cent coast before finally swinging inland on the 11th. The heat spell was well forecasted as the strength of the building high was readily apparent and the pattern quite familiar. News reports said 21 people died, mostly from heat related problems...11 of them in San Mateo County alone. Usually by this time, Winter patterns are over and our typical summer fog in the morning is well entrenched.....but not in this La Nina fueled season. A very curious paradox is that despite the heat, Sea Surface Temps were slightly below normal. And in light of a pronounced below normal onshore wind pattern for most of the month, which fosters upwelling and SST cooling, the lower SST's are obvious signs of the continuation of the La Nina that has dominated our weather for the last two years. For the just ended climatological year (July-June), our total rain amounted to 34.34". It was a record 6th consecutive year of above normal rainfal and 8 out of the last 9 years.
By month's end, fog and low clouds had finally returned, and drizzle had actually started to fall along the coast..much more typical for this time of year. Lower pressure and troughiness developed over the coast and the NW, and below normal temps into early July at least are now being anticipated...a pronounced shift from the heat of earlier in the month. Historically, La Nina patterns are punctuated by extremes in both temp and precipitation, and certainly this two year La Nina event is no exception. From the near record cold of December 1998 to the all time record high of June 2000, this La Nina is indeed fitting the classic pattern. As for flora and fauna, due to the late Spring rains and absence of a significant Winter freeze, wildflowers and most other flora are in great abundance, and many wildflowers remained much later into Spring, especially on north facing hills. Fishing in the ocean has been on/off, as good schools of both Stripers and Salmon were found near the coast until mid month, then moved out and south. Baitfish in particular have been curiously absent with only minor schools noted, however the size of the bait, especially Anchovy, is exceptionally large (what bait there is). Also, in seeming response to now 6 straight years of above normal rain for California (and 8 out of 9), Striper numbers are way up compared to the last 20 years or so, and fishing in the Bay has been especially outstanding. Surf fishing also has been excellent on occasion with many more big fish noted despite no real runs to speak of (mostly due to a late exodus from the Bay and lack of nearby bait). On a sadder note, all along the California Coast unusually large numbers of whales continue to be washed up dead along beaches and in the Bay, and many seals are reported dead/dying along the SoCent coastal areas. Many animals appear malnourished, but experts believe that lack of available food (as might be caused by population increases) may not be the real culprit, but water born toxins, such as plankton or bacteria...as other non-mammalian animal life does not appear seriously affected at this time.