Monday, December 29, 2008

Today's Rain and the Upcoming Potential Storm


Well it is back to normal around here. A modest Pacific disturbance is moving through this morning with moderate rain in the lowlands (see high resolution visible satellite image). There is a low center right off the coast...see the notch in the clouds off of Forks...that is where it is. If you ran an animation of the cloud images you would see the swirl (you can do so at (http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~ovens/loops/wxloop.cgi?ir4km_enhanced+12)

The associated front has made landfall...and you can the enhanced band associated with it just inland from the coast. After the front, the atmosphere destabilizes due to cold air moving in aloft and you can see the instability type clouds...cumulus type.. offshore. So we will transition later this morning to showers and sunbreaks.

Regarding the potential big storm on Friday...it is still there (see latest forecast output attached). Once features like this get within 100 hrs out, I really start to take them seriously. But there is still considerable uncertainty. Run after run now is giving a big storm, and multiple models are showing it as well, but they are still varying widely in timing, position, and to some degree amplitude. Some of the runs are predicting a low center of less than 970 millibars. Around here that is a serious low (although nothing special in the Gulf of Alaska). Someone around here is going to get it. But who? Sort of like a bullet being fired from a shaky rifle...something is going to get hit hard...but we are not sure where.

PS: Some people have asked for the placement of arrows on figures, etc. I just don't have the time to do that...this has to be a quick casual thing for me...or it will be too onerous to continue. I hope you understand. Also, some of you wanted a more interactive listserv or twitter function. If some of you want to do that, it is ok with me.

33 comments:

c said...

Could someone recommend a glossary where I can decipher the abbreviated terms in the forecasts? I have looked for something like that on the noaa page, but I can't find one.

thanks!

Bruce said...

The National Weather Service has an excellent Weather Glossary Web page.

You may also want to check the NWS Forecast Discussion Jargon page.

I maintain a list of weather-related references (mostly for pilots) at my Web site.

c said...

Perfect! Thanks!

Mikey said...

What was the low pressure in mbar from the 2006 chanuka eve storm? That storm taught me a lot about being prepared... :)

Anonymous said...

I'm at our second home on the coast. we have a Davis weatherstation set up and just clocked a gust of 56mph at 9:18 this morning. Winds have currently died down to a steady 35mph. Passing hail showers and now the clouds are blowing away. Location Sunset Beach in historic Moclips Wa on the cliff. Temp 41F/95%humidty, .43 rain since midnight Bar 29.71 and rising

Julia said...

Union Mills, thawing ugly: currently raining, stiff SW breeze, temps varying from 37-39F on a minute by minute basis (from a wire probe in a fully protected niche, no less). Overnight low 32.5, 24 hour high 41.2.

I live, as I may have said, on an agricultural 40 in the midst of suburbia. That means the parcel is a quarter mile on a side. It's an example in miniature of the range of microclimates possible in a tiny space. The top of the place is at 320ft above sea-level; the northeast face of that still has some snow clinging to trees. Just below, there's a ten- acre field that has a slightly southward slope; it was entirely free of snow by yesterday afternoon.

My house is placed in the lee of the main NE facing slope, and while I'm still looking at some really ugly ice, I've never lost so much as a shingle off the roof in any of the bad windstorms. It's possible to stand in the century-old orchard just upwind and look at a fifty foot wide gap without a standing tree where the Columbus Day storm roared through.

Michael said...

I just want my garbage picked :-(, its been almost three weeks, and now, on my regular pickup day, is another storm (sigh)

Anonymous said...

Blog formatting request. All of your images are set to "float:right" which causes some terrible text wrapping around the pictures. It makes the text disappear when using a mobile phone browser (outside of course).


Can you instead use "float:none" so there is no text wrapping.


I don't know what blogging tool you use, but adding a paragraph break "p" might do the same thing.


Keep up the good work! Nothing more exciting to see than a university professor who loves to teach!

AnselAndy said...

I just want to say thanks for this blog. It's really helping me to understand the weather, and weather forecasting, around here!

Kevin Purcell said...

The AMS also have an excellent (and very comprehensive) Glossary of Meteorology online for all meteo terms (quick, what's an "absolute isohypse"?).

http://amsglossary.allenpress.com/glossary

You can also browse the AFD with glossary links turned on and click on the links to get them explained (glossary=1 in the URL turns them on).

http://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=NWS&issuedby=SEW&product=AFD&format=CI&version=1&glossary=1

Jessica said...

RE: garbage/recycle:

I know this is probably not the place to mention but put out everything for pickup! I live in Eastlake and work in W. Sea. And our Eastlake pkup is Tues but they were there this a.m. And in W. Sea, the recycle isn't scheduled until next week but they still picked up both this a.m. I had to chase him down the street to come back, because I hadn't put out the recycle.

My suspicion is that its an attempt to develop some goodwill with all of us and to just get it all gathered asap.

fjblau said...

Really gusty out here in Sammamish:

http://seattlebuskers.com/wx/

mainstreeter said...

Gusty in W Olympia had a squall move through from the SW about an hour ago.. probably winds up to 20-25 at one point.

Greg said...

The wind is blowing out here at Elliott Bay Marina. I have gusts at 49kts. Averaging in the mid 30's. Coming for 225 degrees. Not a day to be out boating.

sundodger said...

I think the Dec. 2006 storm was 970mb, but central pressure isn't the end-all note of the storm. I think the Dec. 12, 1995 storm had a central pressure of 954-ish, but didn't do as much damage.

Btw, today's storm is rankling up a bit -- +15.0 Portland/Bellingham gradient. Forks-Bellingham is +7.2

mb in Port Angeles said...

Gust squall just arrived in Port Angeles, blowing show with many different sizes of flakes all coming down together. Earlier we had a brief heavy bit of rain.

mb in Port Angeles said...

typo alert: 'blowing snow' I meant to say. Easing up already, but what a flurry!

Harrison said...

Cliff..Keep your weather blog going! Absolutely fabulous! Got your book for Christmas from my father and just started in. Just had a gust to 51 on my Davis in Kirkland. Great blog!

theartist said...

Excellent observations sundodger!

NW windstorms can be among the most severe in the country, but several factors have to line up. Wolf Read has a wonderful website for anyone wanting to better understand NW windstorms at http://www.ocs.orst.edu/storm_king_site/index.html

I was actually among the 30 or so people that participated in NOAA's "name the windstorm contest" a few years back and submitted "Hanukkah Eve Windstorm". :) My wife has also pointed out that we have had Hanukkah Eve storms in 2007 and this year of course too.

If I were to put $$$ down, odds are Friday's storm will be a good guster, but NOT to the level of the Hanukkah Eve Storm. Those storms come once a decade or so and while it's certainly possible, odds are against a repeat so soon. That does not mean relying on pure statistical chance for the forecast either, curious to see how the models shake out as the week goes on.

kbz said...

This is a much windier day than I had anticipated from the forecasts. I just drove up to Roosevelt High and saw downed limbs all over the place in various parks, such as Green Lake - some of them may have been from the snow, but other breaks looked fresh. And there's a ton of garbage blowing around on the streets. The lid blew off my overstuffed garbage can and was immediately crushed by a passing car - I think the next unanticipated consequence of this wild weather is that the city is going to have to replace a lot of garbage cans and we'll all be picking garbage off the street, and sawing downed branches, for days to come!

Bruce said...

Wikipedia has an article on the Hanukkah Eve storm of 2006. That entry lists the lowest pressure as 970 hPa.

A paper (pdf) available on the NWS Web site correlates minimum pressure with the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.

JewelyaZ said...

Just had a 39 mph gust here in East Bellevue. It is very windy, much windier than I expected it to be here today!

It is made slightly surreal by the accompanying sunshine, but we have had some heavy wintry-mix showers too.

Pressure 995 and temp 40.6F.

Anonymous said...

There were some pretty strong gusts over here in NW Ballard (Loyal Heights) at noon and one of them blew out the power to my street. The finally empty garbage containers have been blowing around in the alleyway also. I rescued mine before it took off to parts unknown.

Anonymous said...

REALLY windy in downtown seattle right now, when I went out for lunch there were officers on 2nd and pike because a large dumpster was blowing onto 2nd. It's great stuff looking out the window at the sound to see all the whitecaps down there, the small boats crashing through with plenty of spray.

Anonymous said...

People should ask me to predict the weather. When a new front comes in, my joints ache like I have the flu and my migraine sensitive-head experiences a "special" form of headache where I feel fine for awhile, then intense pounding, then fine, etc.

I was puzzled because my headache yesterday came too soon for a Wednesday storm.

Now, watching our trees and hearing the branches hitting the roof I know why! I am almost more accurate than the weatherfolk!

Cliff does a fantastic job of predicting all of this. I suspect it's really difficult to determine exact timing right now.

About adding informative content to the charts Cliff provides, I suggest that he might have an opening for a new book -- a weather chart primer.

Still enjoying this site...and becoming a weather junkie.

Anonymous said...

Very windy on Bainbridge Island since early a.m. today -- power outages look pretty likely.

Script Maven said...

Very windy here next to Ballard High School about an hour ago! It was strong enough to tear my garden gate off its hinges — unfortunately my fence catches the west wind perfectly and is about as effective in resisting it as trying to catch a medicine ball with a baseball mitt. I guess I need one of those medieval style door bars (on the outside!) to add extra support.

Today is the 8th and final day of Hanukah (it ends at sundown this evening), so we could call this one the Last Day of Hanukah windstorm if it merits having an actual name :-).

Katy said...

I just have to say THANK YOU for taking the time to blog about the weather here. I've always looked forward to your Friday morning updates on the radio but every day, sometimes twice, especially with all this crazy weather is absolutely AWESOME! Thanks thanks thanks thanks!

JewelyaZ said...

Reminder: there's a new group where we're gathering resources and holding discussions at greater length (and with archives!) of Pacific Northwest weather.

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/PNWeather/

We have over 20 links to useful weather sites and we'd love to see you there, all levels of amateurs and pros are welcome.

Anonymous said...

well whatever the intesity of the storm its a good idea to have a backup source of heat and lighting ( i'm getting more candles and propane canisters). I am curious if there will be a mini baby boom as a r/o the snow. I work in a multi specialty clinic ( has ob/gyn, family med) so I am keeping my eye out!

Julia said...

Lots of squall-line action in Union Mills; intermittant gusty wind and sleet. Fine with me, as I've been attacking the ice in the driveway with a spading fork, and the twenty-minute sunbreaks between the nastiness are about as much energy as I've got for that kind of effort.

Currently 34.7F. On the other hand, my friend in the lower mainland, BC, is having snow, so this is all fine, fine, just fine, no problems.

Mikey said...

Thanks to all of you for the data on 2006's storm. :)

It's getting pretty windy here (E Woodinville, about 300' up), but there are lots of sun breaks. Earlier it was raining pretty hard.

There are branches and trees down everywhere (from snow weight) and the windstorm hasn't even hit yet. In fact, today I saw the tree that cut our power off @ 730AM xmas day.

Waiting for Wednesday's proposed snow and Friday's wind, and good old Walter says that it will 100% snow Sunday.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how the storm changed since last night? I mean, as of last night there was not even a small craft advisory for puget sound. Today? 55 mph gusts at west point, seattle.