The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge at its January peak.
That drizzle we had over the weekend was just a warm up. This morning we're getting the real deal: Rain, and by the standards of this dry as $4 toast year, lots of it.
According to officials at the National Weather Service, we could see rain straight through the weekend, as another storm is moving fast towards us behind the current one. San Francisco has already reported three-quarters of an inch, the Oakland Airport a half an inch, and Larkspur more than an inch. In total, the storm system is expected to bring as much as an inch of rain to the Bay Area. The rain also snarled traffic, as a big rig crashed on I-80 at 5:30 am in San Pablo, slowing the commute in both directions. The amount of rain is not expected to reverse the overall dry trend in California, and the official drought declaration remains in effect.
So what happened to that Ridiculously Resilient Ridge of high pressure off the coast that was keeping rain from reaching the state? According to the climate blog of Stanford Ph.D. student Daniel Swain, Weather West, it's still there—it's just moved further away. Like a safety playing far back downfield, that distance allows more rainstorms to reach us. That's not much consolation, though, as "January 2014 will probably go down in the record books as the warmest and driest in California history."
Perhaps more alarmingly, a string of extreme weather events in the Northern Hemisphere—our drought, the Midwest's polar vortex, the wettest January on record in the UK, and high level of snow in Europe, "is part of a striking wave-like pattern of large-scale atmospheric anomalies" that "an increasing body of evidence suggests [...] may be linked to the observed rapid decline of Arctic sea ice."
So there you go: Not enough rain to matter, and not to mention, it's probably going to be weird weather like this for basically forever, because global warming.