NOAA’s Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary advises San Francisco Bay Area boaters to watch out for and steer clear of whales, which migrate into the San Francisco Bay Area in large numbers during the spring and summer. Gray whales are at a particularly high risk of collisions with vessels, as they often travel near shore and may even wander into the bay. San Francisco Bay and Tomales Bay always have a few springtime gray whale visitors.
Boaters should use caution year-round, but springtime presents a greater chance of coming into close contact with whales. From March through May, thousands of migrating gray whales make their way north from breeding grounds off Mexico to feed in Arctic waters near Alaska. Many of these whales travel through busy shipping lanes off San Francisco in the Gulf of the Farallones sanctuary just outside the Golden Gate.
While they also migrate south through the sanctuary in the winter, gray whales – including mothers with newborn calves – swim closest to shore in the spring. Cow-calf pairs can sometimes be seen from shore, and may even pause in the surf zone for the calf to nurse or rest, and to avoid killer whales.
Boaters should watch for the gray whale’s blow—or exhalation—which looks like a puff of smoke about 10 to 15 feet high, since very little of the whale is visible at the surface. A whale may surface and blow several times before a prolonged dive, typically lasting three to six minutes.
Boaters should not:
- Approach within 300 feet (the length of a football field) of any whale
- Cut across a whale’s path
- Make sudden speed or directional changes
- Get between a whale cow and her calf – if separated from its mother, a calf may be doomed to starvation.
Specuation is increasing that there will be an El Niño later this year, bringing with it the wet fall and winter weather we’ve been missing.
However, NOAA’s consensus forecast, based on an analysis of 18 individual climate models, is that there’s 50/50 chance of an El Niño event in the fall of 2014. The good news is that this is a higher forecast probability of an El Niño than we had in 2011, 2012, or 2013. The bad news is that it’s something short of “likely”.
ENSO-neutral is expected to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2014, with about a 50% chance of El Niño developing during the summer or fall.
But some in the media are overly optimistic. The San Francisco Chronicle ran an AP story with the headline “Here comes El Niño; good news for US weather woes”.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Relief may be on the way for a weather-weary United States with the predicted warming of the central Pacific Ocean brewing this year that will likely change weather worldwide. But it won’t be for the better everywhere. ...
Mike Halpert, acting director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, says the El Niño warming should develop by this summer, but that there are no guarantees. Although early signs are appearing already a few hundred feet below the ocean surface, meteorologists say an El Niño started to brew in 2012 and then shut down suddenly and unexpectedly. ...
Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, who wasn’t part of NOAA’s forecast, agreed that an El Niño is brewing.
Maybe. Maybe not.
Dr. Kim Cobb, a climate scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is already alerting fellow scientists and disaster preparedness agencies that 2014 could be a big year for El Niño and they should be ready for it. But in email to Coastsider, she agreed that those of us who don’t have to prepare for the worst should be more cautious:
Operating in this uncertainty means different actions by different stakeholders: scientists who do not want to miss this chance at getting out there should get ready! However, CA water resource managers will want to make decisions based on the most conservative route - that an El Nino will not materialize to help CA’s water woes out this next winter.
The County recently applied to SMC Transportation Authority (TA) for funding for planning/permitting of the southern segment of the Midcoast Highway 1 Parallel Trail, from HMB city limit to the Coronado intersection in El Granada.
Competition is fierce for County Measure A sales tax funds for pedestrian and bicycle projects, which are generally considered every two years. For the current cycle, the preliminary staff report [pdf] recommends only the top 10 of 23 projects for funding. The Midcoast Hwy 1 Parallel Trail is ranked #11, only 0.6 points behind #10 in the scoring system. No Coastside projects were recommended for approval—apparently there are no points added for geographic diversity.
The TA Board of Directors will hear the initial staff presentation of proposed funding allocations at their meeting on Thursday, March 6, at 5PM, at 1250 San Carlos Ave, 2nd floor, San Carlos (Agenda Item #11a). Final decision on funding allocation will be made at their April 3 meeting.
The Midcoast Community Council wrote in support of the grant application [pdf] last December. Community members can email their support for this project to the TA Board members (email@example.com), or speak at the March 6 meeting.
More information is on the Fog Fest website.
I think we all enjoyed the beauty and power of the ocean over this weekend. I, like many others, was down on the beach enjoying the huge surf and watching the brave few paddle out to ride the monsters. For those of you that missed it, here are a few pics I took of Mother Nature’s show.
La Costanera Restaurant, at the south end of Montara Beach, is applying for permit amendments to allow them to open in the daytime on Fridays and weekends (10AM – 2AM). Environmental review documents are now available for public comment the MCC website.
1977 State and County permits for the restaurant limit operations to between 5PM until normal closing time, in order to share available public/private parking between beach users in the daytime and restaurant users in the evening.
The Initial Study and Negative Declaration addresses the potential environmental impacts of the proposed expansion in operating hours, installation of exterior lights, signs, and patios, and grading, drainage and other improvements of the adjacent dirt parking area owned by State Parks.
In addition to the County-issued Use Permit amendment, a Coastal Development Permit amendment will be required directly from the CA Coastal Commission for the project described above, as well as for the repair of existing drainage systems and riprap. Until the CDP Amendment is granted by the CCC, the County Use Permit amendment would be considered inactive.
Public comment must be received by County Planning Dept no later than 5PM, March 31, 2014. Contact person: Camille Leung, Project Planner, 650/363-1826. The MCC March 12 agenda will include this item.
|Case #||Date & Time||Location||Description||Factual Circumstances||Arrestee (If Applicable)|
|01665||02/26 0704||0-100 block of Paseo HMB||Outside agency assist||Deputies assisted an outside agency in serving a search warrant.||n/a|
|01678||02/12 1400||900 block of Ave Balboa, El Granada||Lost property||Lost property report||n/a|
|01709||02/26 1407||SR1 @ Kelly Ave, HMB||23152(A)VC- 23152(B)VC- DUI 12500(A)VC-Unlicensed driver 11-82-Traffic collision||Deputies dispatched to non injury collision, determined that the driver appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. He failed field sobriety tests and was arrested and transported to First Chance.||Male, Age 43 Of Moss Beach|
|01723||02/26 1950||100 block of Harbour, Princeton||Misdemeanor warrant||Deputies made contact with a subject wanted on a misdemeanor warrant. He was cited and released on his promise to appear in court.||Male Age 52 Of Unincorporated SM County|
|01732||02/26 2020||300 block of 4th Montara||Misdemeanor warrant||Deputies made contact with a subject wanted on a misdemeanor warrant. He was cited and released on his promise to appear in court.||Male Age 19 Of Montara|
Despite yesterday’s surf warning from the National Weather Service, Coastsiders were startled by just how heavy the surf was at Surfers Beach this morning.
Organizers of the Pacific Coast Dream Machines announced their March 3rd meeting will be open to the public for comment and input relating to the 2014 event, scheduled to run Sunday, April 27 from 10 am to 4 pm at Half Moon Bay Airport.
The meeting will be held at 7 pm on Monday, March 3rd, with the public comment period from 7-7:30 pm, at the Coastside Adult Day Health Center, 645 Correas Street, Half Moon Bay.
For information on the 2014 Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show, call the show office at 650-726-2328 or visit www.miramarevents.com/dreammachines
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