Does this explain why 3rd ave channel was ripping while SFO was reading low 20's today?
I think you are probably right about the SFO winds.
As you can see in the image above the standing waves produced by the 975mb winds at about 1000 feet aloft touch down in pretty well-defined bands and my guess is that SFO was just on the edge of a band.
Today we also have strong surface winds AND strong winds at 1000 feet. But there is a big difference!
Today the winds just aloft are more NW so they hit the coast range at an angle that allows them to flow through the W to NW facing gaps in the coast range as in the #1 image below. So they smoothly enhance the surface wind as you see in the #2 image below.
While yesterday the winds aloft hit the coast range at near 90 degrees which is much more likely to create wind waves.
Compare today's wind distribution below with yesterday's in the above image. Really dramatic.
This wind direction aloft also allows the surface wind to build earlier since we don't have to wait for the standing waves to form.
And the winds should be a bit steadier today since the standing waves have rotor wind in the lull areas between bands which create crazy gusts and lulls.
If you have ever sailed or kited the Gorge you know how crappy the winds can be in the corridor. This is because such bands are very common in the Gorge. While in the Bay Area they only occur when the 975 winds are more westerly and strong which is rare.
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