Forecasting tips for SB area
There is potentially a lot to say about forecasting. Here are some basics for SB.
Start off by simply using good resources. A forecast for “Santa Barbara County Mountains” technically includes an area that is hundreds of square miles large.
There are various resources and weather models NAM, GFS, ECMWF. Different models have different strengths and weaknesses, but you need to know the model being used first to be able to factor these in. Looking at forecasts from multiple models is ideal and is important for more advanced forecasting.
For basic forecasting the free “Windy” app/website (Windy.com) is good for forecasting winds at various altitudes throughout the day, but also cloud cover, chance of precipitation at a particular time in a particular place, near real time satellite imagery and radar, and a bunch more. It’s probably the single most useful free forecasting tool we have in our arsenal now. Start playing around with it, it’s quite easy to use. For more advanced forecasting with Windy you can use the sounding plugin. https://www.windy.com/plugins/windy-plugin-sounding – some docs at https://github.com/vicb/windy-plugin-sounding/blob/master/README.md
Also suggest using the “WindAlert” app/website for recent reading from actual mini weather stations (colloquially called “wind talkers”) that are scattered all around the SB area.
Also, you can use the quick look weather page from the SBSA for real time read outs from a curated list of wind talkers in our local mountains. http://sbsa.info/weather/quick-look-weather-sb-mountains/
If you want to get started doing basic lapse rate forecasts for our SB mountains, there is a guide for that here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YaqdrwLQmTGUptMnF1ouii9k4OOJFXrTDXgstIdGvzc/edit
Hopefully that helps get you started!