Last year found her in Africa filming her elephant translocation special. This year, she plans to highlight the endangered Sumatran and Javan rhinos, African spotted dogs, and Mexican grey wolves. “I love my main job as a weather forecaster, but I’m also passionate about preserving these species,” Midcap said. “A lot of people don’t know these animals are endangered.”
The Beach & Bay Press recently caught up with her to ask about San Diego’s recent rainy and chilly weather. While Midcap certainly didn’t need to prove her weather forecasting credentials with us, we were definitely impressed when she predicted the exact time the rain would end on Saturday, which cleared the way for our quick photo shoot at Crystal Pier.
“I figured the rain would taper off at about 2 p.m.,” she said. “And it did.”
BBP: The winter months are usually the rainy season for San Diego. But has the amount of precipitation been more than normal?
DM: San Diego’s water year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 1 and it was a rather dismal start with October and much of November running well below normal precipitation ranges. But through December, January, February, and now the first half of March, we have made incredible strides forward in nearly illuminating the drought conditions not just in SoCal but the entire state. We've seen record rainfall totals right here in San Diego with Palomar Mountain setting a record for 10.10 inches in a single 24-hour period.
BBP: Where is all the precipitation coming from?
DM: Our California snow pack levels are also at record levels in many parts of the all-important Sierra range. The pattern shift occurred late 2018 with the jet stream dipping down south into our neck of the woods. This is important, because it allows for the passage of low pressure systems, storms, following the path of the jet stream and as a result delivering rain to our drought stricken region. The other element of this record precipitation does not come courtesy of the Pacific Northwest storms, but rather the unique atmospheric rivers that have been creeping across the Central Pacific basin, transporting massive amounts of water from tropical waters all the way to San Diego and beyond.
BBP: Also, it’s usually brisk during the winter months, but it seems colder than normal. Why?
DM: As a result of that jet stream dipping farther south we have been seeing weather patterns that are more likely to transport temperature change, such as cold air to warm locations. When weather patterns move parallel to latitude lines, west to east, they transport very little temperature. When weather patterns move parallel to longitude lines, north to south, they transport massive temperature changes, such as outbreaks of polar or arctic air to more southerly regions, or the coldest February in LA in 60 years.
BBP: How has climate change impacted San Diego’s usually wonderful weather?
DM: Climate change is a global phenomenon – this planet is a shared living space. When we dump pollution into the air, sea, land on the other side of the planet, we are bound to feel those results here in time. Long term climate models are in general agreement regarding San Diego's future climate. Our wonderful Mediterranean climate is predicted to become warmer and drier over the next 10-15 years. As the climate continues to shift, weather extremes will be the norm. Hot, dry, cold, wet... more extreme.