Satellite image at 4pm (one hour to sunset), with sunset angle overlay. Note that SC is set up to skunk, with the sun setting into at least 300 miles of mid-level clouds.
Satellite image at 5pm (sunset). Santa Cruz now barely makes the cut, and burns.
Based on the most recent satellite data (4pm), and an expected trend toward clouds moving west: I did make the correct call, a skunk in SC. The setup, however, changed just enough in the last hour -- in the opposite direction -- that the light squeezed through. Yikes! Sky cover was low, thanks to a big blue hole, but it did light up bright red near the horizon.
Here is a video taken in Big Sur: https://www.instagram.com/p/BbioO9GgCQN
Look carefully and you'll see all the telltale signs of a mid level burn on the left side, but nothing at all on the right. Indeed, it was all blocked off further north. The change is visible just before sunset in the video, with the clouds on the right finally starting to glow, and then the whole thing burns pink.
Perhaps the lesson from all this is, you never know the fine details for sure -- and when things are borderline, we should go for it.
Applying the same advice to this morning's sunrise, however, would have told us all to go out, despite knowing it was risky, because a small shift could have caused it to light up big time. This is what most of us did -- but there was no light that time.
So... can't win em all! I'm sure more is on the way soon :)