Beaufort Scale from Las Trampas Peak

Las Trampas Weather Station East Bay Regional Park

Early this morning atop Las Trampas Peak in the EastBay hills here in San Francisco Bay Area a storm approached off the Pacific. The storm produced wind gusts to Force 10 on the Beaufort scale. Quoting from the scale, “Very high waves (20-30 ft) with overhanging crests, sea white with densely blown foam, heavy rolling, lowered visibility.” And what does it say about land? “Seldom experienced on land, trees broken or uprooted, considerable structural damage.” The wind ranged from Force 7 with gusts to Force 10. Sailing in the bay or just offshore it is important to remind ourselves that when a weather system moves toward the coast that it is wise to head into the safety of port while the system passes through. Some sailors prefer to remain well offshore and ride out the system as it passes. Last night it was a rather brief 3 hours that the most intense winds blew. Here is the link for the East Bay Regional Parks remote weather stations. You can click on the various stations and get up to the minute, real time information about wind speeds, gusts, temperature, rainfall and a few other details. Our home sits at 900 feet above sea level while Las Trampas sits at 1760 feet. We factor in our lower elevation while reading the data from the peak. I cross reference this data with the National Weather Service’s buoy data. The San Francisco buoy #26 (SF entrance buoy about 12 miles offshore…)showed that at midnight there was a high wind speed of 27 knots from the south. An hour later atop Las Trampas Peak it was steady at 38 knots and gusting to 51 knots and a wind direction out of the south. Approximate elevation differences account for the higher winds. Our home is set atop a ridge and when a southerly howls in from off the Pacific there is nothing to blunt the full force of a storms impact. Looking at the buoy report the waves as the highest winds passed were described as very steep. These very steep waves for small craft out on the coastal waters last night aren’t just a data point, they were an experience, a story to tell, a story some sailor is likely to be grateful this morning to have the good fortune to have found at sunrise his boat is whole and he has lived to tell.

Trail to Las Trampas

Bankrupt Heart                               The Second Novel 

He walked up the gangway and into the parking lot.
The rain was a drizzle, the breeze sent the drops falling diagonally in a
blizzard of mist. As Ry exhaled steam from his breath filled the air. The
swirling flurry of droplets hung weightless in the night air refracting specks
of light from a solitary lamp that hung all but forgotten on a pole. The boats
up in the yard seemed abandoned, alone as if they were waiting for something
better. He gripped his cell phone in his hand. Dew formed in his hair. The rain
so light it ignored the pull of gravity. He walked along the bank of the canal.
He looked back toward the dock where his boat was tied up. The smoke from the
wood stove drifted up above the tips of the masts in the harbor where a fair
breeze seized the cloud and swept it away on a slipstream into the night. The
holiday was all but over. The insistent visitor was upon him. The unavoidable
had found its way back into the center of his mind.

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