Thursday, January 19, 2012

The End (Of Lowland Snow, Cold and Ice) is Near

This snow/sleet/freezing rain evident is basically done.  And we are not talking about forecasts...observations show its demise.

First, only a handful of observing sites in the south Sound are indicating a few light snow or freezing drizzle showers...this will end soon

The radar shows NOTHING offshore:


But most important of all, the profiler at Sand Point in Seattle shows southerly winds and warmer temperatures rapidly descending towards the surface, at this rate we should see the end of the cool northerly flow over the Sound and a replacement by warming southerlies by daybreak (latest observations on the left side).  I have indicated the northerlies and southerlies on the figures.  Temps in red.


Finally, a neighbor of mine, Wally Powelson, who is an Alaska Airlines jet captain, shared a few pictures from Sea-Tac showing the substantial icing on the planes...no wonder many flights were cancelled.  How often do you see icicles on planes?  This was a historic freezing rain event, the most significant since December 1996.



Now I hate to bring this up.... but the forecast models for the next week indicate some intense weather in store for us.  Heavy rains, strong windstorms, and the arrival of frigid arctic air.   Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel may have to come back for another visit.

44 comments:

Kelly said...

Jim Cantore was here??!!?? Wow he is the best!!!
Just kidding Cliff! Thank you for all your hard work these last few days. It was a wild ride I'm hoping is over for a little awhile. THANKS!!!

"Maureen" said...

Most of the employees/managers at my office live in walking distance, or at least on level ground. I live in West Seattle, leaving me the only one that really shouldn't venture out unless it's necessary so I've been trying to do as much as I can from home. For a couple days that works, but eventually I need to be in the office. I'm just wondering if there's a chance of me being stuck at home again next week so I can try to find a place for me and my dog to stay downtown. Thanks!! :)

Mrs Flitter said...

I was feeling pretty good until that last paragraph! I guess the end is just another beginning, as they say.

Unknown said...

Thank you cliff! Always look forward to your blog when the weather starts to get interesting.

About next week...Really? Frigid arctic air? Next week just sounds fabulous. xD

The Drennans said...

hmm, how strong a wind, how heavy a rain, and how cold the next arctic blast. Those are the questions ---which will be answered by a some kind of stochastic model, which has a small chance of getting it right, but hey let's hope the winds are under 40 mph, the rain < 2" and the arctic blast is not as strong, and not as long! We had 8" and 4 snow days--- that's enough!

Unknown said...

Hum. High beta is all I can say.

Charlie Phillips said...

Tonight's 00z Euro was spot on for another arctic blast. Do you know what the upper-level configuration was for 1950, and how it was so much more intense than our other cold snaps? You should write a quick blog on that at some point. Thanks for the great blogs, hopefully we'll have some interesting weather to discuss on Tuesday!

Snowking said...

Bring it on Love a good ol wind storm. Hope the next batch of frigid arctic air Bring a good wind storm mixed with some snow.Can"t wait finally some exciting weather.

C.P.O. said...

Cantore's got nothin on Forman!

jship said...

Cliff I appreciate all your hard work. I know you just forecast the weather but it seems like this warming pattern is going to be hell on the all the trees that are loaded down with snow and freezing rain. If we get wind as forecasted it will be even worse. I'm just curious why you don't mention stuff like that?

roryt10 said...

Just heard about your blog today..love it! I'm from the northeast and absolutely love the snow!! I reallly hope Jim cantore, the notorius major weather events/ storm tracker, is back next week and we get another winter storm!! I'll definitley be following your blog in the days to come. Great work!

Rory Taylor
Live from the U. District where it's still 30 degrees w very light snow is still coming down at 3am!

Buzz's Marine Life Puget Sound said...

Hey, I saw a guy with a sign that said that......"The End Is Near"......that wasn't you I hope.....I might lose faith in future forecasts. The most unbelievable thing about this storm iis we didn't lose power....knock on wood.
PS. Love your book.

Upupaepops said...

I would be very frightened by a strong wind event next week

Trees that were weakened this week might meet their fate then

I am going to try to head for Long Beach this afternoon.

Old Navy said...

32 and calm winds in Port Ludlow at 6:40am.

ILoveWinter! said...

Like many others I'm wondering about your "tease" in the last paragraph....How strong of winds, how heavy of rain, and how "frigid" of arctic air are you talking...and any more snow with that arctic air? Especially would be interested in the winds...like another comment said, many of the trees weekened by this ice/snow may easily come down if the winds are strong enough. Thanks Cliff...you're the best!

Mike L said...

Thanks for the updates Cliff.

bothellguy said...

Thank you so much for your blogs, Cliff. Yours are the first I turn to. You are doing man of us a great service educating and informing.

ILoveWinter! said...

Cliff ~ when do you think the arctic air might come back? All of th local stations keep us way above freezing through next Wednesday/Thursday....

Colleen said...

Hmmm...I'm thinking this event will simply bleed into the next for those of us up at the Canadian border. Below 20 outside this morning and still some cold northeast wind. Should see some freezing rain today, followed by warmer temps & a bit of flooding before we plunge into the next major arctic outflow. Re the comment from "Snowking" above...s/he's welcome to come up here and enjoy (ahem!) "exciting" weather more often. Bring some gear so you can help on the farm while you're at it & get the full experience. : )

Rob Keenan said...

Currently in my part of Mukilteo it's above freezing for the first time in 72 hours,with light LIQUID rain.

Yes,Kelly,Jim Cantore,who I agree with you about.

Scott K. said...

I haven't seen mention of concern about winds with today's weather. If we get even 10 to 15 mph winds we could be seeing massive trees and branches coning down with more power outages.

lizch said...

I would love to learn more about how meteorologists postmortem a week like this. How do they figure out which variables in the models were missing or incorrectly applied? What's the range in how long it takes to go from the new data to a change to the models? Sometimes a few days? Always more than a few months? Years?

October said...

Thank you Cliff! We appreciate your knowledge and perspective on what is happening. This has been most interesting.

It is warming here on the west side of Port Angeles.

Currently overcast and calm, 29 degrees, at 200 feet elevation.

Megan Baldwin said...

Things are FINALLY beginning to thaw up here in the Issaquah Highlands... Don't see any snow-dusty trees on the foothills and everything is dripping and sloughing off at a slow to moderate pace. A little too slow for me, considering I haven't been to work all week but it's not that I haven't tried!

Yesterday, my car was thoroughly entombed in layers of ice, 6 1/2" of snow, an addition 1/2" of ice with another inch of snow on top of that!! YEESH! It's been locked solid despite my best attempts to break into it but I didn't want to risk damaging the vehicle so I finally had to give up and rely on Mother Nature to warm things up. You just can't rush this sort of thing, so I'll just sit here and wait patiently while I happily sip coffee.

I made no attempt to drive up or down the hill yesterday, seeing that anything or anyone making the attempt either skidded in circles or fell flat on their butts... Nay, I refused to take any risks and have rode out the storm with flying colors.

My fiancé and I were without power all day on Thursday, having lost it around 8AM and finally got it back some point around 11PM. Though, it did flicker out a few more times before ultimately returning in the early morning hours. Gotta give a huge thanks to PSE for all their efforts to restore power to the area! We were really starting to freeze our butts off without heat! Our kitties were like leaches, curling up on us at every opportunity to bask in our warmth. When the power finally returned and the electric ignition to our gas fireplace clicked on, the kitties made a bee line for the hearth and stayed there until they were good and toasty.

All in all, I enjoyed the stay-cation. I even got to build a snowcat and have plenty of pictures of that and the whole snow/ice-mageddon escapades, to remember it by.

As a woman from the Southeast (Charleston, SC) and Seattle-lite for the past two years, this has been quite an experience and I finally feel like a true local having survived yet another harrowing winter event!

Cliff, I offer you my greatest thanks for sticking through this event despite all the insanity it incurred... Even without power, I still had cell service and accessed your blog via smart phone just so I could feel more at ease in knowing that the end was nigh!

Two thumbs for your excellent service! You were the guiding light in a difficult time and I'll always be grateful to that!

andrea said...

thanks so much for your great blog
It really was helpful this week.

Unknown said...

I'm a regular reader, good weather or not. I love the information you provide. I'll be watching with great interest for your predictions of upcoming weather. I'm going on a business trip next week and want to know if I need to turn off my water and drain the pipes before leaving (to avoid coming back to a house full of frozen pipes!) Sounds like that could happen! Crazy weather we're having, but I love it!!! Thanks as always for the forecast! I really appreciate your hard work!

Unknown said...

Ok, I work construction at Seatac International. One of my contractors is claiming a schedule impact caused by inclement weather. The contract defines inclement weather as:

"Normal inclement weather shall be defined as the most recent five-year average of accumulated
record mean values from climatological data compiled by the US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) monitoring
station at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport."

I can find a monthly average based on a 30 year record. Does anyone have a clue about this requirement? Maybe we need to change the contract language for future projects. Thanks for any help. Regards, Dave

Chris said...

Given now wrong so many forecasters were about TODAY, right up until last night, I'm not going to be too concerned about what they think's going to happen next week.

For example, last night at about midnight, weather.gov was still forecasting that we'd be at 40 by 4am. Well, here it is 9am, and we're still at 34. MSN's weather STILL forecasts 43 degrees at 9am, while they're listing the current temperature at 34. And weather.com claimed we'd be above 40 by now too, but have us at 33.

I think the moral of the forecasting of this event is simply to say "we don't know" more often, and do a better job of converging a forecast towards reality as the timeline decreases. For the past week I -- with no expertise whatsoever -- have been able to make better 24-hour predictions than the pros simply by looking at current conditions, comparing against earlier forecasts, and extrapolating those differences into the future.

Yesterday afternoon, for instance, it was clear that things were not moving as quickly as most thought, temperatures were remaining low and precipitation continued well into the late afternoon/evening. At that point it was clear were weren't going to be seeing 47 degrees today or 40 degrees by 4am, but no one updated their forecast! So instead of being well into a thaw with the possibility of actually getting to work today, many of us are stuck at home yet again, with the forecast having given us false expectations about what we would see today.

I understand that weather forecasting is hard, and volatile, and it's going to change. What bothers me is the false sense of certainty that I always see, and the lack of modifications to a forecast when it obviously needs to be modified.

blackcap said...

Mid-30s in West Seattle and it sounds a bit like a bull is paying a visit to a crystalware shop outside: melting ice is continually falling off the trees and shattering as it hits the ground. The sound of the marine air winning, as it always does.

Regarding next week's outlook, looks like all of our La Niña action might end up being squeezed into the latter half of the winter!

Thompsonized said...

Cliff, don't scare us with "The End is Near"...it is 2012 :) Thanks again for all you do!!

Mike said...

I blame the Mayans

Plasmanoir said...

OK now it's noon and there is a big ugly blob of moisture working it's way across W WA. Living near the Canadian border we still have 2 feet of snow on the ground and today is the first day out of the teens for temperature. What going to happen next?

Thompsonized said...

Wow, I feel privileged (and honored) to have affected your title :) You are amazing for us amateur weather geeks!

Zoey said...

Soo....does this mean there is a possibility of more snow? Heavy rain, and frigid arctic air!! I'm a kid...so honestly I'd be thrilled! :)

Unknown said...

I've said it before and I will say it again: Whatcom County needs a competent Meteorologist to blog the emerging weather trends up here. The comments in this blog frequently do not apply here as is evident from this morning's freezing rain in Ferndale and what is occurring out my window at this moment. The sleety, slushy mess is just beginning here. Who will step up to the plate?

Placeholder said...

Geez, I hate to pile on, honest I do. I am really not part of the "let's bitch at the weatherman" club. But holy cow, where's my 47 degrees?

Neil Chasan, PT, MMT said...

Cliff, thanks for this blog...kept me sane...

Unknown said...

Thank you for updating us as conditions have changed. I've been checking your blog for the latest scoop at least twice a day for the past week. The radar pics have been fascinating.

Love the plane pics, too. Crazy stuff!

Frederick Woodruff said...

What about the dog? Please post an update.

M'sFan said...

Very interesting drive home to Aberdeen from Olympia today around 1PM. Left Oly (sea-level) and the temp was 33. Trees were covered in snow and ice. In the Black Hills around Summit Lake (900 feet above sea level) the temp shot up to 44! The trees were bare, and no freezing rain on them. On the downward side, we went back into the cold air between McCleary and Elma (100 feet above s.l.?) where there was obvious freezing rain and the temp dropped back to 34. Pretty amazing.

adam said...

The 15 inches of snow was amusing to play in. It was the ice storm that came afterwards that devastated our trees and yard that we were completely unprepared for. Our power went out Thursday morning, just before the ice storm warning was finally issued. We had no updates until Friday afternoon..Just watched one tree after another crash to the ground. That is the real legacy of this "snowmageddon"...It was all about the unpredicted follow-on ice storm.

Jward said...

Hi Cliff - you sometimes make fun of the local weather yokels, but that last paragraph is right out of the weather-caster play book. "Armegeddon is nigh,; film at 11".
LOVE your blog - thanks for the hard work. You are a local weather rock start. Sign my breasts. Jeff

Luke said...

So you guys get millions of dollars for that wonderful new radar but your predictions are still just as bad... Add that to the list of things this state has wasted money on... Would have been better spent cutting down some trees and burying the power lines if you ask me.

Jondroot said...

How about an update on this next Arctic blast? All the news channels are saying mid 40s through next week. However looking at the pacific satellite shows an ominous looking Arctic front trying to work its way across the pacific