Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Easterly Windstorm Forecast and a Clarification



First, some of you noted that you had strong winds and feel the NWS didn't give you warning. I should note that next generation model resolution--which is not available generally--might have helped. Here is output from the new 1.3 km resolution WRF model at the UW and you can compare to the 4-km, which has been around awhile. The 1.3 km is far better, with stronger winds and even got the winds hitting Bainbridge island. The NWS uses a 12km model that does not have much of Puget Sound--only at 1.3 km can we do a reasonable job. They do a good job with tools they have.

Events such as Saturday's are extremely complex, with large gradients in wind speed.


Finally, a personal note based on a few complains.

This blog IS NOT a forecast service.
I will not be blogging about every event, even major ones.
It will NOT be available all the time.
You should NOT depend on it for warnings about serious weather events.

The National Weather Service provides 24-7 service and does a very good job in general.

My goal for this blog is not to provide continuous forecasts and warnings, but to provide explanations for major weather features and as scientific outreach to the community. It is about science education. And once in while I will talk about my other interests, such as math education.

53 comments:

bridgid10 said...

Right on Cliff...one would hope that the utiliztion of one's cognitive abilities would will out...rock on!

Graham said...

People! I love everything you post and I learn a lot from your blogs. Thanks!

Lee said...

Re: the personal note... Ignore the haters and the trolls, they're everywhere. You'd think that a scientific weather blog would be safe, but I guess not!

My daughter is 12 and loves weather. She watches the radar, has gone through your book, and has a renewed interest in science and math largely because of this blog. Keep it up!

ninaf said...

I hope the comments won't stop you from posting about future/past weather events. I love hearing your prospective in addition to the NWS.

Jim said...

I for one thank you for the generosity of your time and knowledge. you do a wonderful job of explaining weather phenomena and events around the area. I have learned more here about weather and related sciences than throughout my life. You'll always have ungrateful crybabies due to the great lack of respect being taught by parents over the past generation. Don't let it get you down!

Cheech said...

People have complained? Seriously?

tophalope said...

Thank you for all the great information and insight into the weather of the area. The problem with being so good is that people begin to take it for granted. In any case, keep up the great work & thanks again!

denisejoines said...

Cliff, please know that your blog is so much appreciated by so many. I've learned an enormous amount about how weather works in our region, and have been delighted by your obvious joy in describing events when they occur here.

I hope you don't allow a few complainers to dampen your enthusiasm for informing the vast majority of us that are simply awed by our weather and want to learn more about it -- and we are, thanks to you.

THANK YOU!!

John said...

Like many things in life it is best to be prepared for what the weather might be rather than what you (or someone else) thinks it will be. Being informed and knowing your surroundings are the best way to be prepared for whatever comes along.

Your blog and the things you present go along ways to satisfying our need to understand and be prepared for weather. Thank you for your good work.

John Acord, Whidbey Island

sooray said...

Cliff, I'm confused. I was preparing for a major even, similar to December 2006. I went to bed at 10 on friday, woke up at 1:00 and 4:00 AM. Not a branch stirring. Up at 7:00 AM saturday, the same. GOt a few gusts of less than 20 MPH around 11 for a short time, maybe 40 minutes. WHat gives?

We live in NE Woodinville, halfway between Woodinville and Duvall, just south of the SnoCo line.

Eric said...

Thank you for all you do on this blog Cliff! I like how you keep us up to date on all the new tech, procedures meteorologists use, and weather pattern explanations. I personally consult NOAA for all my current weather info. Thanks again!

cbloom said...

"This blog IS NOT a forecast service.
...
My goal for this blog is not to provide continuous forecasts and warnings, but to provide explanations for major weather features"

Hear hear!

I love reading the straightforward, scientific explanation of weather. You've made me very interested in modern weather science - please keep it up! (I'd love to hear more details about the computer simulations and ensemble methods)

trav said...

Don't people realize what a blog is?

For what it's worth, Cliff, I've really appreciated all the information and thoughts you've written here. I hope you continue.

robin peterson said...

I really enjoy your blog.... no complaints! thank you.

philamatic said...

With all due respect Mr. Mass I deem your statement that these easterly winds are relatively rare as inaccurate. I have lived in the Black Diamond Area for 30 years and we have this situation develop several times every year usually from November through March. For many years when SE King county was less populated, major power outages from these pressure variances would go unreported as they didn't effect the major metropolitan Seattle-Tacoma area. One thing I have noticed that is particularly usual is that the first real blast of the season will occur without any fanfare and cause disruption then the media seems to monitor these conditions that create these blows that funnel through and pick up speed in the cascade gaps.

SoftSpirits said...

I sure appreciate what you do. Its nice to have something a little more analytical to read about than just the forecast discussion posted by NWS, and its kinda impossible to analyze a forecast for accuracy until AFTER the event occurs!?!? Anyway, please keep doing what you do, there are a lot of us that really enjoy and appreciate it.
BTW: I think its gonna snow tonight!!!

natchrl8r said...

Hi Cliff;

Thanks for the clarification. I know that I, for one, clamor for more attention up north in Bellingham but I think most of us realize that you are neither a weather forecasting station or a 24 hour weather news service. I have always appreciated your interpretation of the processes of weather phenomena whether they come before or after an event. Keep up the good work!

JordanP said...

Cliff,
First off, thanks for the blog and all the useful information. While you often bring up interesting weather before hand, it really is your post event evaluation that provides the most information.

I like that newer wind forecast map. For my location in West Seattle, it was more accurate on the wind speeds that I saw here. Realize these are always incremental improvements.

JayNorth said...

Just a word of support - hard to believe people would look to your blog for their forecast info. It's pretty clear that your blog is educational and not intended to be used for forecasts. Your blog, along with your books, fill a huge gap in providing really good explanations for NW weather - I've learned a ton, and I thank you! Don't let those silly people who don't understand all this get you down.

windlover said...

I've noticed the comments have been a bit more negative and critical lately...not just on this blog but on all of the "comment" sections of all articles in general. Maybe it's the time of the year? Wait until you get the radar installed on the coast...then they will really be demanding perfection! Anyway...you do a great job at keeping us informed and in explaining things to us Cliff! I have learned a lot about weather in the northwest by following your blog. Thank you! Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year! Signed....a very satisfied viewer :)

James said...

Cliff: thakns for all your work on this blog, which has been very educational and informative. I trust that the vast majority of readers do not depend on you for actual forecasts or alerts. as you note, others do that: I always check NOAA

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?site=sew&smap=1&textField1=47.619583333333&textField2=-122.04875

Anyway -- thanks!!

James said...

http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?site=sew&smap=1&textField1=47.619583333333&textField2=-122.04875

Cliff: keep up the good work -- educational and informative! people wanting an "offical" forecast can use the above link.

Christopher said...

"
This blog IS NOT a forecast service.
I will not be blogging about every event, even major ones.
It will NOT be available all the time.
You should NOT depend on it for warnings about serious weather events."

Fair enough. That's not your job. I do very much appreciate what you do do to explain things to us, and you've often given fair warning of problems that will be showing up soon so we can keep an extra careful eye on the NWS forecasts.

Will that 1.3 km model be available to the public any time soon? I do enjoy checking out the modeling at the UW atmos site, and would love to find the 1.3 on it.

d33ann said...

Thanks for what you actually do, Mr. Mass! I've learned a ton of weather science from you, and am constantly passing the information (and your website) along to local friends. I too logged on Sat. wondering if you had written something about the unexpected high winds. When I saw that you didn't, my only thought was "oh well, too bad, I'm sure he's such a busy man." Sincere thanks to you, I love reading your blog and don't let a few nasty comments get under your skin.

Gary in Olympia said...

The Sea CL software that Cliff posted about a few weeks ago provides the "fine Detail" for wind forecasts.

When I checked prior to a Coastal wind storm about 10 days ago, I was amazed to see 30 mph gusts forecast for just the N half of Budd Inlet (which is only 7 miles long).

garyLambda said...

Well I guess that the observation that worst storms are over by the end of November needs to be modified to "end of December" Seems like most of the weather in November was a "non-event". (less one snow storm.)

Cliff, It's always good to read your predictions here even if you don't promise to tell us about "ALL" future events.

Michael DeMarco said...

A big thumbs up for your blog!

Joseph Ratliff said...

Professor Mass, it was because of your blog, and your book, that I took an interest in the local weather beyond the "typical forecast" on the news.

Complainers, meh, ignore them, I'm interested in any insights you wish to provide.

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

jL said...

Cliff, I very much appreciate your scientific outreach on this page. I think you do a very fine job of science popularizing and communicating, and your enthusiasm is evident.

I'm sure Carl Sagan would be very proud. For me, it's about Wonder. Wonder for atmospheric phenomena in this case. Your offerings here enrich that wonder.

Thanks,
Jonathan

wavelength said...

luv you cliff

---jim foreman

WanderChow said...

Professor Mass, I appreciate this blog for the insights you've given into Northwest weather. Had I found it when I first moved here I would not have railed so much at the weather. Please keep up this blog! And would you please comment on the havoc going on in California, weather-wise? Pretty crazy down there right now, with "meteorologists scratching their heads" according to LA Times. :)

Ferdi said...

I'm new to your blog but never expected forecasts from it. I think you are doing a great job and wish I had tuned in earlier.

As you know, I have been very critical of the National Weather Service wind forecasts for the eastern San Juan Islands region. I think there are some local factors that enhance winds here and today was again such a case. But in their forecast for tonight they make special mention that winds might be stronger in the island region. So maybe they are starting to take note. It would be good if Anacortes had a good anemometer up on Cap Sante.

Broadview Missus said...

Cliff,

I always appreciate your education and insight into our region's weather. If you happen to offer any aspect of a forecast, great. But, as anyone else should, I understand that you have a life and career outside of this blog!

Thank you for all that you share on this blog.

tonechuck said...

Dr. Mass - your efforts are MUCH appreciated! Sounds like you are a victim of your success - I was originally referred to this blog by KING & KOMO - both which basically implied you were a weather forecaster, rather than your actual forte (and more important in my estimation) weather analysis.
Never the less - please keep up the good fight!

Josh said...

First California had dryer than normal weather in a El Niño year. Now they have a wetter than normal in a La Niña year (which usually brings wildfires in Southern Cal throughout the winter. Whats up.... So long short term climate prediction.

LVDLM said...

For Christopher, in case Cliff doesn't get around to replying soon: The 1 1/3 km experimental WRF-GFS HAS been available to all of us for a while, at http://www.atmos.washington.edu/data/ > Northwest MM5/WRF Regional Prediction System > Experimental
High-resolution
WRF-GFS . This last click is in the upper right part of the page. Being an experimental product, it's slower to appear online than the traditional (12 and 4 km) model-generated products.

Let me add my appreciation to Cliff for taking the time to write for this blog, which I find very, very informative. If any complainants are reading, may I point out that a blog is exactly that, meaning that if there's something you don't like about one, leave it in peace and go read another one. Most of us understand that THIS blog is to help us layfolk understand better the very valuable stuff that UW Atmos Sci Dep't. puts on the Web, and I, as well as many others, I'm sure, am deeply grateful for the help. I also appreciate all that valuable stuff from the Dep't. When I've traveled away from the Pac NW I've looked in vain for an equivalent for other regions. Kudos to Cliff and to the UW meteorology staff who've made this available.

Paul said...

Cliff:

Just one more THANK YOU for being you. You are appreciated.

Paul

Seattle Lifer said...

Dumb question time: We live in the Black Diamond Cumberland area, we experience wind storms regularly, as I understand the cause, it is due to high pressure east of the mountains filling a low here on the west side. However, since last Friday the wind has not stopped at all. Usually after 24 hours or so everything seems to even out. It is now Tuesday night and then wind keeps blowing from the east. What gives with this current event?

Kris said...

Cliff, I'm sorry to see that people have unreasonable expectations for your blog.
I first discovered it in 2008 when local media turned to you for expert insight during the snow we had in December.
Since then I have looked to your blog as a place to explain why things may happen when a significant event is predicted and why things happened the way they did afterward.
I tell people this blog is a great place to understand how weather works and that you explain it in such a way that is understandable.
You provide a fantastic educational resource here for those who wish to partake of it and I appreciate it to no end.

Rene Peterson said...

We love your blog, Cliff! I cannot believe that someone actually complained.

James said...

Cliff,
In reference to your blog you wrote "It is about science education". Page views last month - 592,498. Close to 4 million site hits. Looks to me like you are successfully reaching a large audience.
Keep up the good work, I certainly appreciate it.
Jim H
Bainbridge Island

dayn_1 said...

Leave Cliff alone!

Everytime he mentions my name on here ratings go through the roof.

Jim Foreman

dayn_1 said...

Seriously though, keep up the good work Cliff.

WX said...

One look at the past 72 hours watervapor over the Eastern Pacific from UW Should make anyone appreciate how hard it is to forecast anything at all. You guys do amazing things. TJ

btracy said...

Cliff, great blog. I have recommended it to many friends and even newcomers to the Northwest.

stevemcn said...

Let me add my name to the folks who own your book, and really appreciate your insights and time you spend here.

Chuck Pefley said...

Cliff, it's very nice to see all the positive comments on your blog. Thanks for the time and effort you put into your informative posts. I know what that is like, having not missed a single day's post in almost 3 years.

Best wishes for a fabulous holiday season!

Michael said...

Cliff

I certainly enjoy your insightful and data-filled analyses...always a bonus to the regular weather service forecast...please keep it up...Thanks

Kilgore Trout said...

Cliff, don't let the troll clowns slow your awesome blog down. I am super super stoked to have found your writing here and value it tremendously.

sitapixie said...

I have always enjoyed reading your blog. It lets me understand WHY our weather does the things that it does and sometimes why it doesn't do the things we expect it to do.

I've been reading this for around 2 years now and really appreciate the window into the science involved in weather.

Thank you for writing this blog and I hope that you had a great holiday.

Looking forward to future posts!

WS said...

Sorry to hear you have drawn haters - especially "mildly threatening" - believe me, we have been through that ourselves, and have learned some of the best tactics for dealing with them - including reporting them to the police when necessary.

As for your readers' expectations, we'll do our small part by describing you as a weather analyst from hereon out, rather than forecaster, which we have been guilty of. I hope you know just how renowned and appreciated you are - for example, we might publish a link to the NWS forecast on our site, and if you have something different to say, our readers will promptly inform us of that!

Thanks for the service. We certainly consider it a service (and, also from experience, we'd suggest that if you ever decide to get serious about it, you could probably derive some income from it too - ads for umbrellas, snow tires, basement pumping, etc. :) ...). - Tracy at W. Seattle Blog

Melissa said...

Thank you for all you do to raise awareness about the inadequacy or lack of science and math education. For those of us on the front lines of education, your efforts are very much appreciated!