Monday, July 26, 2010
We are now in a stretch of magnificent summer weather, with day after day warming above normal (see graphic above). In fact, way above normal (roughly 10F!). This week we will continue the sun, but with some cooling and more clouds, so we will head to more normal territory.
This time of the year a key aspect of the forecast problem is deciding how much onshore flow we will have. A lot and we are cool and cloudy all day. Modest onshore flow and we get morning clouds with highs in the mid 70s. Little flow or offshore flow, 80s and 90s.
A key parameter that meteorologists watch is the onshore pressure gradient or difference. Two big favorites here in western WA: Hoquiam minus Seattle and North Bend,Oregon minus Seattle pressure differences. If you read the National Weather Service forecast discussion they talk about them all the time!
This afternoon and this evening the Hoquiam minus Seattle pressure difference has risen to roughly 2.4 millibars (or hectopascals). Such a difference typically brings a weak onshore flow. Get to 3.5 or 4 and we get a major push. This change is associated with the passage of a weak trough aloft. So expect tomorrow to be 5 degrees cooler or so and the clouds on the coast pushing at least into SW WA.
Talking about the clouds, take a look at tonight's visible satellite picture. Plenty of low clouds offshore and these will make some progress inland overnight. In fact, the latest fog imagery (satellite pictures enhanced to show fog at night) indicates the movement of the coastal stratus inland. Hoquiam is in fog and cool SW flow has hit Shelton, which is 10F cooler tonight than yesterday at the same time.
If you look in the southern portion of the image you will see debris from some thunderstorms over Oregon.
Posted by Cliff Mass at 9:49 PM