Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Another Record Cold Month?

Folks, I don't have good news. During many Mays there is a period of warmth....real warmth...somewhere in the middle of the month followed by a return to clouds and the typical June gloom. But I am not optimistic right now that we will get our warm spell...

To "warm up" this blog, lets start with the temperatures at Sea-Tac the last two weeks as well as the normal highs and lows:Only two days of the last 14 have reached the normal highs, and none have exceeded normal. Today we had a ridge (see upper level map for this afternoon) over us and the clouds finally dissipated during mid-afternoon

....very nice for a while. Here is an educational video of today's clouds. First we start with the low murk coming out of the south, then mid-afternoon it breaks and you can see the large wind shear in the vertical, with westerly winds aloft. Later in the afternoon, high clouds start pushing in aloft and if you look carefully you will see a 22 degree ice cloud halo around the setting sun.



But it won't last. A moderately strong front is bearing down on us and tomorrow will dawn cloudy with rain by midday. Here is the visible satellite image for this afternoon. Very nice front stretching from Vancouver Is. to the the southwest. A large field of low clouds off of California (very typical in spring). You can tell they are low because they don't push past the coastal mountains. Behind the front you can see the speckled instability clouds (open cellular convection in the biz) associated with cold air and a nice little low is spinning around in the Gulf of Alaska.



Now the depressing part.

You see the deep trough over the Gulf of Alaska in the upper level weather map above? Such troughs are associated with low -evel cold air. That trough is going to move south and the settle over the eastern Pacific for a long time. I mean a LONG time. Here are the forecasts for Friday afternoon and Monday morning:

Upper level troughing dominates the entire period! Let me put it diplomatically....this is NOT a warm pattern for us and it will produce highly anomalous cold and precipitation into central and northern CA.

Well, what do my friends in the National Weather Service have to say? Here is the 6 to 10 day temperature forecast probabilities. It is probable that whole West Coast will be colder than normal and northern CA and southern OR WAY colder than normal.



And precipitation for the same period? Do you have to ask?

35 comments:

Scott said...

Thanks for the heads up. Sincerely.

Ruth said...

Downright depressing!

Skokomish said...

Make. It. Stop. Please.

kaybradley said...

If the west coast stays cooler than normal - does that mean a higher than normal chance of tornadoes in the "alley" again?

Alex said...

But but GLOBAL WARMING is imminent!!!!

smokejumper said...

Here's a warning though, mother nature will flip the switch. And since we are use to constant cool, any heat above climo will make us complain.

It got 76 today in Eastern, and it felt like 96.

We're don't get acclimated without our normal seasonal weather.

Placeholder said...

oh sh!t

James said...

I used to think that May heat wave was a given, until the last two years. Man, I cannot remember what it feels like to have warm air outside. What an incredibly long cold season this has been!

wanderchow said...

This long range forecast makes the Game of Thrones books I'm reading seem downright elfin and cheerful in comparison. "Winter is coming!"

Heather said...

I really look forward to your informative posts, Cliff. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us.

seussnelson said...

Is there enough data available to suggest when La Nina weather effects typically dissipate?

Christopher said...

Do you have any information to share with us about that huge seagoing radar shown on today's (Wednesday's) PI? Where is it normally stationed, what does it do, who runs it, etc.? Is it anything to do with meteorology, or is purely a military radar?

MagnoliaBill said...

Why can't you lie to us, Cliff?

Tyler said...

What a great year to move to Seattle. Not putting the best foot forward, PNW springtime. Just my luck.

JewelyaZ said...

April was a record-breaking month all over the country, with many places having much worse weather than here. http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/article.html I am ready for dead average, really boring, weather.... :-)

P.S. I really don't understand how climate change deniers can read things like this and still not get it. They are scarier than the weather!

Maggie said...

Is this related to all the polar ice that has fallen into the sea recently?

John said...

May temps will be below normal,but very unlikely to end up at record cold levels--1962 and 1955 will be very hard to beat.Sea-Tac has a decent chance of being colder this month than May 1999, though.
However, one record that may indeed fall is the one for the latest first occurance of a 70 degree maximum temperature.If I am not mistaken, the Sea-Tac record is May 16th 1967.( I hope that someone at the NWS can check the entire period of record back to 1891.)Assuming that there is not an unusual amount of warm air advection from this offshore low on Friday, this record should be easily broken.

Alex said...

Here's a warning though, mother nature will flip the switch.

Like she always does, and humanity somehow survives!

Just AboveNOAA said...

I pity the farmer and the local vacation industry, but having been born here i'm quite pleased with the current weather. Good for cycling, vigorous exercise, and easy on the skin cancer. If you get the credit for the sunny weather, then I'm here to thank you for the cool and non-bright weather: thankee!

MK said...

The phrase "typical June gloom" should not exist. That it is accurate only makes it more wrong.

Mark said...

If history is any guide, it will be like this until the morning of July FIFTH.

Kiara Buechler said...

Lame, lame, lame. Good thing we are headed to Mexico in a few weeks for a respite from the cold.

Woodrat said...

The swallows are going to die :(
The apple tree will bloom and there are no bumblebees in the rain to pollinate it. It's more than depressing. But I appreciate your incredibly detailed information!

Donna & Chris said...

Is this a 10 year cycle? Can anyone even predict that?

This IS truly awful--I didn't think it could be worse than last year but yet...

Ferdi said...

Definitely raining today. Now, if only that upper level low would retrograde a little out into the Pacific...sigh.

Targhee said...

Well, we have our great coffee and incredible beers to enjoy...
..and as I explained to one store clerk yesterday: we don't have tornado outbreaks, hurricanes, get 24 inches of rain in a month (ok Quillayute might), blizzards or oppressive heat and humidity.
..it's almost beer thirty ;-)

zephyr said...

Sheesh....i will go crawl back under my rock now....sniff snifff

mainstreeter said...

It's a plot by the Seattle Schools to get back at Herr Mass

Tom said...

For sale. Complete backyard observatory with imaging setup with several telescopes, computer and camera. Order before midnight tonight, you'll even get a bonus sailboat and a bicycle!

Alex said...

P.S. I really don't understand how climate change deniers can read things like this and still not get it. They are scarier than the weather!

The fact that you insist there are "climate change deniers" speaks volumes about your movement. Who denies that the climate is always changing? What people like me oppose is the idea that it's primarily human-driven change.

feb71a70-34e9-11e0-8dae-000f20980440 said...

Nice site. Seeing it for the first time. I am not from the PNW, but have lived here for a few years now. These last two springs are driving a bunch of people I know nuts. We were sick pretty much the entire month of March. My wife is from No.Cal. and we moved up here from Orange County. I know people in the PNW like to bash CA, but at least you get a break from the weather there. Things are so bad here lately that a friend of mine and I (both Gulf Coast natives) are actually looking at buying a condo in No.Cal. to have the ability to escape this weather and restore our sanity. It's just like that. Best of luck to everyone trying to deal with it. Hopefully, you can get out of it sometime soon.

Katie said...

i can't handle it

Targhee said...

Looking out at the sun this morning, and patchy frost here in North Tacoma, I've realized the accuracy of forecasts over the last week or so approaches the futility of the Mariners batting average. Sunday's "rainy day" enabled me to get a 45 mile bike ride in. Monday and Tuesday's "sunny day" forecast caused me to bike in leg warmers and three layers (the sun finally appeared after 2pm on Tuesday). Yesterday's 65 and rain forecast actually instead produced several record low maxima temps established for the date, and today and tomorrow's forecast (as of yesterday) for 55 and rain, are seeing sun and I might even open my windows. I guess we have to expect exactly the reverse of whatever is being forecasted...

TVN said...

I have to keep reminding myself that this is preferable to tornadoes, wildfires, flooding, droughts, etc.

Here's hoping I don't have a house full of kids inside for the kids' birthday party next weekend.

Leisure Log said...

As the Guru of local weather here in the PNW, thank you for what you do. Can you make a post that shows us the all time records and how our current weather compare? I am under the impression that March of 2011 was the wettest March on record and that April was the coldest. How about May?
Count Enrico Ferrari