Thursday, December 18, 2008

Update

This is clearly turning into a significant event in portions of central Puget Sound with some areas getting 3-6 inches. We have had the northerlies moving southward from NW Washington at low levels, and moist unstable flow from the southwest surmounting it. Thus, the thundersnow and snow showers. Looking at 11 AM at the latest radar, it appears that the worst will be over by 1-2 PM. ...cliff

39 comments:

Lindsey said...

Cliff,

Don't you mean "the best" will be over by 1-2 p.m? :-)

Anonymous said...

cliff,

can you talk about the thundersnow? it was SO loud and shook the whole house!

it has been the talk on facebook amongst my friends.

Shane Robinson said...

Yes, do tell more about the thunderstorms. That was the loudest thunder I have ever heard in the NW. Coming from Colorado, I would even call that a proper thunderstorm :)

Anonymous said...

I, too, would like to hear more about the thundersnow. I'm in Bellevue and it was so loud it rattled the windows. And yet the strike was apparently quite a ways away. I've seen thundersnow before but that was wicked loud.

Anonymous said...

Cliff, please discuss the thunder early this morning. The two loud bursts were so intense it rattled cupboards and doors in our house in the Madrona/Central District area. If I had not expected some intense weather I would have sworn it sounded like a gas main exploding. It scared the pets so much so they are still in hiding, and reminded me of some the the more intense thunderstorms I experienced in central Ohio before moving to the NW.

Anonymous said...

best blog evar

SeaRod said...

Okee Dokee.... Happy Now!

Jason said...

Yes, I sure do remember the 1990 event. It hit like a ton o snow and seemingly caught everyone by surprise. Seattle schools weren't closed until how many inches fell? And Metro drivers let kids out to walk the proverbial miles in the snow...
This one seemed to also catch most meteorologists by surprise, even with all the new modeling, satellites and Doppler imaging. I happened to be up by 4:45 and nothing on the ground where I live. No hints via television forecasters and the NWS had only a watch, not a warning.
OK it is really hard to predict snow in the NW. We get it...

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why the UW Seattle has "normal" operating conditions today (i.e., people are expected to go to work) . . .? Given the extremely dangerous travel conditions it seems irresponsible to ask any but essential personnel to show up. Most Metro buses are not operating on route either. Is there some kind of state law involved?

Anonymous said...

"Extremely dangerous"? Just a bit overstated don't you think? This is a nice dry snow that is coming down very slowly, with almost no ice.

With just a little care and patience is all that is needed and you can get around OK, a law is not needed, just common sense.

Brad said...

I think I must have heard the thundersnow this morning all the way over in Poulsbo. I was laying awake in bed a little before 5:30 waiting for the automated call from the school district about delays/closures and faintly heard something like thunder. We had the humidifier running in our bedroom and I barely heard the rumble over that, so I figured it must have been my imagination.

Scott K said...

I know the blog says the 'worst' will be over by 1 or 2pm...but looking at the radar it doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon and it's almost 1pm now.

Anonymous said...

"Extremely dangerous"? Just a bit overstated don't you think? This is a nice dry snow that is coming down very slowly, with almost no ice.

With all due respect, I was out driving this morning and people were spinning out all over the place. It is indeed dangerous driving conditions unless you have a 4-wheel drive. I agree that it's irresponsible to expect or ask people to drive in this weather. Even chained Metro buses are suspending a great deal of their operations -- it just warned on TV that they will be closing several routes this afternoon. If you're at work and are relying on a bus to get you home, be careful, as your bus route may be shut down this afternoon. Check with Metro.

Don't drive unless you absolutely must. This is NOT the East Coast or Midwest, folks -- crews out here are simply NOT equipped to expeditiously clear and salt the roads.

Also, ice will form on the interior roads as the temps continue to drop, which will only increase the hazardous driving conditions.

climo man said...

I think the snow will continue beyond 1 or 2PM, judging by how the snow bands keep reforming and training on Seattle.(Where is that Winter Storm Warning?)I`m up to about 6" here on Beacon Hill--Another 5.5 inches and It will have equaled the 1990 snowfall on this date. It looks like weather history is repeating!

Anonymous said...

Yea for snow! It really is beautiful. Reminds me of Minnesota without the bitter, bitter cold. I hope I can get home tonight (downtown --> Kent). It will be an adventure.

And, I "ditto" everyone else - hurrah for this very interesting blog. LOVE the maps.

JewelyaZ said...

It seemed simple and non-hazardous when I left the house with 2" of snow on the ground at 10 am. Less than a mile from home, I realized that I was in trouble and that I was not going to get my destination which was about 1 mile further away. Treacherous and very slippery snow, even though there didn't seem to be much ice. As I sat at a stop sign for a moment thinking of the best place to park and abandon the car, someone came up from behind me way too fast and hit my car hard. My baby was hysterical because the noise was so loud but neither of us was hurt. Thank goodness for $250 Britax carseats!

Nothing is much more fun than dragging a stroller with a baby in it a mile through the snow to get home... thankfully, I always prepare my car with adequate winter clothing for all of us and snacks and bottled water. Stupidly, I don't have chains.

Anyway, it's 1:15 and it's still snowing very hard here, just uphill from Lake Sammamish in the Phantom Lake neighborhood of Bellevue. We've got 5.25" on the ground now.

It's really going to stop by 2 pm? Seems unlikely. The temp here has dropped from this morning's "high" of 31.1F to 30F exactly. Wheee.

Jeff said...

Lots of snow here in West Seattle. I measured 5 1/2" on our deck, which was bare when I went to bed last night.

LJansen said...

Hey, Cliff's right. We've got partial blue sky out here by Magnuson Park at 2 p.m. Still some snifters though.

Teresa said...

Wow! Are you ever right on the money.
it is 2:10 and it is the first time that it has totally stopped snowing here in West Seattle since I woke up at 5:10!

JewelyaZ said...

2:16 pm and still a few flakes (but also sunshine) in Bellevue. I take my doubts back! Good forecast overall though I am surprised at how much snow we got... our deck and other outside surfaces which were clear at 6 am have a full 6" of snow on them now.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the danger of driving out here in the snow... I think it's mostly a matter of practice. Most of the people out here have little practice driving in the snow, and when they get the chance they choose to stay home (because it is dangerous when people aren't experienced at driving in snow/ice conditions).

Also 2 other differences, it doesn't get really cold here so you get a lot of ice, vs Minnesota where its not really the same kind of icy because it's so cold it never has a chance to melt like here. 2nd is, Seattle is hilly, unlike the plains states :)

Anonymous said...

Here in the Cascade foothills at Rockport we have over 2 feet of snow more in some places. The northeaster is starting to affect those of us in the path of the Skagit River drainage (Newhalem to south of Rockport). It was snowing steadily in the entire Skagit Valley all morning. Plow are definetely not keeping up and temps are low 20's

J-Ren said...

The wonders of Puget Sound micro-climates... here in Shoreline, it's 2:30, 29F, 2" accumulated and still coming down with a nice wind to whip it up occasionally.

Oh and the roads are extremely treacherous. A bus went off the road up here - with chains on.

Matthew said...

It's 2:36pm and still snowing in Wedgewood. Hasn't stopped since I woke up at 7:30.

Anonymous said...

Still snowing here in Crown Hill, but you can definitely see it winding down on the radar images. We have less than about two inches on the ground. I can still see the grass in spots around the yard.

I wonder if we have less snow up here because of proximity to the Sound, or due to the hit and miss nature of the snow showers.

Anonymous said...

3:06 and still snowing - lightly - in Burien.

SeaRod said...

3:27 and First Hill is getting what looks to be the last snow shower... overall, it looks to be 5-6 inches.

rainycity1 said...

Anonymous said:
"Regarding the danger of driving out here in the snow... I think it's mostly a matter of practice. Most of the people out here have little practice driving in the snow, and when they get the chance they choose to stay home (because it is dangerous when people aren't experienced at driving in snow/ice conditions)."

No, there is a little bit more to it than inexperience driving in this snow storm. My husband grew up driving in Detroit, and has *never* (seriously, never) missed a day of work with the snow that we get here, even when everyone else stays home. This morning he headed out from W.Seattle at 6 am, drove 3 blocks and came back home because he felt the driving conditions were too hazardous. That is quite literally a 'first'.

Anonymous said...

It's 4 p.m. here in Sedro-Woolley, the snow appears to have finally stopped. We have an average of 17" of snow. Beautiful, but enough already!

JewelyaZ said...

4:15 and it's been snowing again for half an hour in Bellevue even though we already have 6" on the ground. Temp is 28.1F. Looks like this might be the Bellevue/Redmond storm, at least in the Seattle area! Not too often that we see the worst of it here.

fjblau said...

25.3 and snowing in Sammamish still. Just came up the hill and it is starting to ice over... caution is in order!

Anonymous said...

Even travel on foot is getting dangerous. Someone fell really badly on ice in front of the UW Medical Center and is being put onto a stretcher right now.

Kevin said...

On Capitol Hill, Seattle (Thomas St P Patch and environs) there is just over 4" snow on the ground (averaged over serveral measurements) at 4:30pm. So we added just over an inch or so over the day (NWS got that one right).

Snow seemed to slowly taper off into lighter and lighter showers and pretty much running out of steam at 3pm or so but snow still fell slowly after that.

Best moment: returning from Volunteer Park to see an Annas Hummingbird on a feeder on E Federal. Air temp 28F. He's been around defenidng territory for the past few feezing days. But I was suprised to see him out in the snow without the sun.

mainstreeter said...

Cliff, when you update for the weekend, could you include the high wind watch for the Puget lowlands or anywhere else as well?

I-5 is nasty at Maytown, been snowing off and on all day in Olympia.

Jason said...

We have a couple of hummingbird feeders and the birds are so needy! Putting one of the feeders out early this morning caused two of them to land on it before it was even in place.
I'm also interested in Cliff's view(s) as to winds this weekend. We seem to be in the midst of a very real winter and it ain't even January yet!

Seven Trees said...

The big snow of 1990 started off with thundersnow. It was the freakiest thing I'd seen/heard. The sky was that white-gray snow color, then lit up from behind by orange lightning. It dumped so much snow, so fast, people were stuck mid-commute.

It took me hours to get the few miles from Georgetown to High Point, and once I got there, I was stuck for days.

I live north of Bellingham now, and we got maybe 6" yesterday.
I hate it!

Lindsey said...

Cliff,

Concerning the upcoming Sat. night/Sun. storm:

Now it sounds like the big story will be freezing rain more than snow, and a little faster warm-up right after than what had been predicted the previous couple of days (http://www.wunderground.com/US/WA/507.html#SPE). What has "changed" that has put the forecast more in that direction? Realizing that things can still change, do you agree with the stress on freezing rain (and I know that the east wind might be the most impactful element of the coming storm; it just doesn't interest me as much).

Lindsey said...

And now they're saying freezing rain probably will NOT be much of an issue . . . But doesn't look that impressive for snow in the Seattle-Tacoma area . . .

Anonymous said...

Love your blog. Thank you!
17" snow yesterday near Stanwood.