Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Chambers Bay Weather Secrets

With media from all over the world descending on the Chambers Bay Golf Course, it was inevitable that local meteorologists like myself would start getting calls.

The few I talked to were amazed by how perfect the weather has been this week:  clearly they were expecting rain and clouds, as befitting Northwest legend.   When I told them that the south Sound possesses a Mediterranean climate with dry summers and low humidity, they could hardly believe it

In fact, you could hardly pick a more ideal venue for the U.S. Open than Chambers Bay in mid-June:

1.  Very low chance of thunderstorms or heavy rain
2.  Mild temperatures that are easy on the crowds and players
3.  Climatologically dry conditions (much drier than virtually anywhere in the eastern 2/3 of the U.S)
4. Low to modest winds.

The meteorology of Chambers Bay is heavily influenced by the nearby Sound, which substantially moderates the temperatures year round.   The course also slopes down to the Sound (see picture above and map below).  As a result of these two factors, the lower holes tend to be cooler and windier, getting air coming off the nearby water.   The wind can pick up a bit during the late afternoon as the southern part of the Sound Breeze reaches the course. During the evening, as the land cools, there is a tendency for for air to drain downward towards lower elevation.


A new weather station in Chambers Bay near the water, shows some of these characteristics, on Monday, June 16th.

The weather should be ideal on Wednesday and Thursday, reaching into the mid-70s.   The big question is Friday.  An upper trough will approach our region (see the 500 hPa upper level map for 5 AM), which will make Friday a cloudy day.

As the trough approaches on Friday, showers are expected, although most of the rain should be north of Seattle. (see forecast below for three-hour rainfall ending 5 PM).   So if you are going to Chamber's Bay that day, bring your (golf) umbrella....or at least a water resistant jacket and hat.

The good news is that the weather should rebound over the weekend.


joanne said...

i personally am tired of the warm weather and relentless sunny skies. what happened to juneuary? port townsend has been hot and sunny during the day and windy at night. i'm hoping for a modicum of rain on friday.

hi said...

Great article as usual Cliff, I'm going to pass this along to GeoffShackelford.com for his coverage of the US Open. We both appreciate the land and weather.