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The sequences of planetary events leading to the Feather River floods in California in late December 1996 and early January 1997 are a classic case study of the influences of planetary motion on the storm gate in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). In that year a major rain pattern set into the PNW and the floods in N Cal at the new year of 1997 were part of the unusual rain patterns for the northwest in the fall of 1996. The significance of this is that in 2006 the eclipse grid will be in a somewhat similar position to the eclipse grid of 1996/97.
The sequences for the Feather River new years floods began with movements by the lunar node aspecting the western eclipse points, on the 13th of December,1996. These aspects put a strong high-pressure value on the 72° jet curve from the solar point in the western Pacific (strong block). The 72° jet curve was right against the southern coast of California. This was a significant placement for a strong high-pressure impulse, as we shall see. On the next day the 14th of December, Saturn moved to low pressure values on both of the eastern pair of eclipse points (red lines). This put strong low-pressure values on the 72° jet curves from the eastern pair. The resulting very broad low-pressure area dominated the eastern Pacific up into the eastern Gulf of Alaska.
A low that had been stationary in the western Gulf of Alaska began to drift to the south as its circulation came under the influence of the predominantly low-pressure areas of the disturbance diamond located in the eastern Pacific. The lone high-pressure value of all of the jet curves of the eclipse diamond was on the 72° jet curve from the solar point in the west. However, this was a very strong value since both Pluto, which was also near to the eclipse points, and the node moved to high-pressure aspects to the solar point on the same day. This type of coincidental motion in arc event is most often at the source of unusual weather sequences. When Pluto and the node moved, an intense but small high formed in the disturbance diamond near the 72° jet curve (H in blue area) and wedged against the Sierras to the south. The center of the high was just off of the coast of Southern California. It was intense but it was wedged in between three other 72° jet curves that were aspected to low-pressure in the west and the Sierras to the east. This meant that it couldn't surge and expand but it could block, and block it did.
A low that had formed on the 45° jet curve from the lunar point in the west (large red area with L) dropped to the south from its position in the Bering Sea. The block against the Sierras stopped the eastward motion of the low and it remained over the ocean for the next few days gathering strength. As it sagged towards the coast over the next few days the high against the coast was compressed into a narrow ridge running north into the PNW.
On the 17th Jupiter moved in arc shifting the eastern pair of eclipse points to a split between high and low-pressure. Jupiter was very remote from the eastern pair at this time. However, it was the only planet that was moving within 90° of these points. This made it active in the field of the eclipse grid. The shift was a weak one but it changed the pattern in the disturbance diamond in a significant way. Specifically, the 72° jet curve from the solar reflex point changed to a weak or intermittent value (dashed blue line). Most often when this happens a situated block will move off of an established position. This shift dislodged the block against the coast, and it drifted to the west on the easterlies due to its position at a low-latitude (blue curved arrow). Most often a high that is dislodged in this manner will seek the nearest high-pressure jet curve as it tries to make its way towards the pole. All high-pressure areas in the northern hemisphere move towards the north pole and all lows in the northern hemisphere move towards the equator as part of the climatology of the northern hemisphere. The 45° jet curve from the solar point was the source of a strong surge of high-pressure up into Alaska. . When the dislodged high moved northwest towards the 45° jet curve from the solar point the deepening low that had been building was no longer blocked from moving to the east. The large low swung eastward and the circulation around the high and the low pulled down cold air from the north (large blue/red arrow) that converted the warm moisture laden front into a snowstorm as the storm made its way up the slopes of the Sierras. This brought the curious combination of thunderstorms that produced abundant wet snow. This was an image of the hybrid nature of this system. The lightning flashed and the snow fell and blanketed the mountains on December 22nd and 23rd.
As the snow was falling in the eastern Pacific, a profound shift was happening in the mid Pacific. The high that had migrated to the 45° jet curve from the western solar point suddenly found support for a large surge. This support came in the unusual placement of a Mercury station on the 22nd that put strong high pressure on both the eastern solar reflex point and the western solar point. With this shift Mercury stood on station at an angle of 90° to both of these points. It is rare for a planet to go on station at such a sensitive place. A planet on station at 90° to both of the points will generate a very strong northern surge on the jet curves associated with the aspects. It also happened that this shift put a high-pressure value on the other eastern eclipse point, the lunar reflex point. This meant that high-pressure on both of the 72° jet curves from these points was suddenly enhanced (dashed blue lines) . These high-pressure jet curves were in the eastern Gulf of Alaska.
A strong growth of high-pressure here pushed northward along the coast range and surged into Alaska. A few days earlier the node had shifted to a strong low-pressure aspect on the lunar point in the western pair(red lines). This put a strong low-pressure value on both the 45° and the 72° jet curves from that point. At that time a strong low that had been forming on the 45° jet curve in the Bering Sea formed a front that sagged south from the low, moving towards the low-pressure value on the 72° jet curve from the same point (thin red arrow). The surging high pushing up the coast forced the front coming off of the low to the south where it picked up abundant moisture. For the next few days the front approached the West Coast but it couldn't pass easily into the coast because of the high-pressure values on the two 72° jet curves that were surging to the north (dashed blue lines). The front slowed as it approached the coast and waves of storms spun into the coast bringing much moisture with them (large blue to red arrow).
The front became what climatologists call a Pineapple Express directing warm moisture from Hawaii to the West Coast. As the storm came ashore the warm rains began to fall on the wet newly deposited snow. The fresh snow melted quickly in the warmth of the new storm. Torrents of rain cascaded from the slopes of the precipitous Feather River Canyon as a wall of water formed in the canyon and broke on the town of Chico in the central valley bursting dams and levees and inundating the farmland for miles. The second storm hit the coast in full force on New Years day and created heartbreak for many families over the Holiday Season.
Had the storm cycles been reversed a Pineapple Express wet storm would have filled the reservoirs and the colder, snowy storm would have then settled into the mountains with a good water reserve for the summer. As it turned out, most of the water ran down into the valley and into the ocean without being adequately preserved. The syncopated motions of the planets had created a situation where the atmospheric responses to motion in arc events along the eclipse grid formed a rhythmical sequence for the history books.
In 2006 the placement of the eclipse grid is in a somewhat similar position to 1996. The placement of the disturbance diamond portion of the grid so close to the Sierras is a factor to be reckoned with this year. The position of the eclipse disturbance diamond in the PNW gate is also significant and foretells possible radical shifts in patterns as were explained in this article. Finally, the position of the lunar node is over the western Atlantic and is close to the positions of Uranus and Neptune. This suggests a dynamic relationship between these planets close to the eclipse points. In the west both Jupiter and Saturn are close enough to the western points to create dynamical changes. In summary the rapid shifting of climate patterns in 1996 may prove educational for weather watchers in 2006. This is another example of how the system in Doc Weather can reveal interesting climate patterns that occur in decadal time frames.