Thursday, November 12, 2015

Profound Rainshadow, Strong Winds, and Floods


First, the good news for skiers.

As a result of recent and forecast snow, Whistler will open on November 19th. Others will joint them if the current forecasts hold.

Today, the westerly atmospheric river reached our coast with substantial totals on the Olympics. The 24h precipitation totals ending 8 PM today (Thursday) exceeded four inches on the lower slopes of the Olympic Mountains. In contrast, there was only .01 inches over the north Sound. A super rain shadow as air descended the eastern slopes of the Olympics and mountains of Vancouver Island. And folks, this ain't over yet. But I am always amazed by our precipitation contrasts, with over a 400 to 1 ratio between the two sides of the Olympics.


The atmospheric river that reached us was clearly evident in the vertically integrated water vapor content sensed by satellites.  Huge amounts in the tropical Pacific, with a narrow atmospheric river moving northward in the western Pacific and then heading nearly due east to us.  

The winds also varied substantially today, with strong winds along the coast and over NW Washington, where both had gusts to 40-60 mph.  Some gusts to the mid 30s over central Puget Sound.  There are a number of power outages north of Everett.



During the next 48h the undulating atmospheric river will bring large amounts of precipitation to the Olympics and north Cascades (5-12 inches)--see below.  

 And snow is still expected over the higher elevations of the North Cascades and Olympics.



After the atmospheric river passes through on Saturday, temperatures will cool and snow will return to lower elevations. Mountain snow fun is in all our future.

KPLU and KUOW

Finally, many of you have heard about the proposed purchase of KPLU by KUOW. I will have a lot more to say about this in the future, but, to put it mildly, I was shocked by the news, as were many of my friends at KPLU.

This is a sad day for the Puget Sound community, as we lose another independent media voice. In recent years, we have lost much of the Seattle PI, KCTS gave up local programming, KUOW went corporate and gave up most local programming, many of the local TV stations hollowed out their staffs, and now this. With a vibrant, growing community our region deserves MORE, not less, depth in our media. The true motivations for this actions are still unclear, but it is a seriously setback for our region. Listeners and comments on local social media sites are overwhelmingly against this purchase.

Is there a way that the public can say no to the loss of one of their public radio stations? Could KPLU change in other ways other than be sold and lost? More on that later... ....cliff


12 comments:

IMFletch said...

Regarding the demise of KPLU, there's always podcasting. Being a UW prof you have access to what I'd assume would be a lot of interesting guests. I know I'd listen.

Gpacharlie said...

Was this Super rain shadow predictable?

lhsouthern said...

There is nwpr out of wsu Pullman maybe you can broadcast your weather thing from there.

Patrick said...

The independent local news voice is a serious loss. What will we have left, the Times that has trouble distinguishing between news and their editorial position? the Stranger, with about one page of actual news each week?

The Drennans said...

KPLU-- are we going to lose one of the nation's few Jazz stations? One station that made Seattle special. What will it become?

JewelyaZ said...

I went to KPLU to follow you and really liked what I found, for the most part, so I am sorry to hear the news. I second/third the podcast thing. I'd actually love to hear you do 2 minutes every day, even though I realize that could be a real burden for you. I would listen. I would contribute to a Kickstarter or even a Patreon campaign to help that fund the program.

JV said...

Hey Cliff...love your forecasts. Still holding out hope for snow between now and Thanksgiving but looks like the epic storm that was forecasted in earlier models for next Tuesday is now looking warmer. Any word on the "mountain snow in our future"?

Here's the latest from NWS SEA forecast tonight talking about the warm rain storm next Tuesday now:

.LONG TERM FROM THE PREV DISCUSSION...
THE GFS AND ECMWF BOTH BRING ANOTHER WET AND WARM SYSTEM INTO THE
AREA MONDAY AFTERNOON. WHILE THE EURO TAKES IT SOUTH OUT OF THE
REGION TUESDAY EVENING...THE GFS KEEPS HEAVY RAIN FALLING IN THE
MOUNTAINS THROUGH WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. IF THE GFS IS CORRECT THEN
LOCAL RIVERS...BARELY FALLEN FROM THEIR PREVIOUS CRESTS...WOULD
HAVE RENEWED AND POSSIBLY WORSE FLOODING. THE EURO SOLUTION IS
MORE REASONABLE WITH A BURST OF WARM RAIN BUT COLD AIR FOLLOWING
QUICKLY.

IN ANY CASE BY WEDNESDAY OR THURSDAY BOTH MODELS BUILD AN UPPER
RIDGE OFFSHORE WITH DRIER AND COOLER CONDITIONS OVER WASHINGTON.
BURKE

Jim said...

Good coverage of the weather situation, Cliff.
Yes, I too feel the kplu managers really don't know how much their loyal listeners value the type of reporting their station has provided this region. To say, as they have, the market can't support two public broadcasters is just an excuse to take the cash and downsize. How many good broadcasting journalists will now have to move to another region? How much bbc broadcasting can one take? It's the local news and weather mixed with the npr programming that I tune in to kplu to hear. Sure, they say they'll keep on broadcasting jazz, but that's just a job for a robot. How long before that kplu crew of talented DJ's are downsized? A sad demise of another valued local source of information.
Thanks for the forum for my rant, Cliff.

brizone said...

Dismayed by the KPLU sale. But Patrick is wrong: The Stranger breaks some of the more important local news out there on the investigative side lately. Strangely, the Weekly has gotten a lot better in the last year too. It's a big change in the media landscape, but there is a hugely democratizing factor in podcasting, which I hope everyone at KPLU can adapt to moving forward (but how to pay reporters? That's the problem...)

Gary said...

Tonight (Thursday) I drove from Seattle to Olympia. Both rain intensity and wind gusts increased the further south I got. During the descent to the Nisqually river crossing, the gusts were so strong that the big rigs were bobbing and weaving (at 70 mph), and my own car's wipers were dancing on the windshield. I couldn't wait to get home to see the big picture on the NW radar loop (http://www.atmos.washington.edu/weather/radar.shtml).

On that drive I also heard the shocking news about KUOW "taking over" KPLU. Apparently the Plan is to completely "absorb" the current 88.5-1 news services and turn it into a 24-hour jazz station. Since KPLU-2 is already known as "Jazz24", changing it into KPLU-1 will at least make it accessible on a non-HD radio. The news piece ended with "No layoff notices have yet been issued". A sad day, especially because the transaction was reported as a fait accompli.

Patrick said...

Brizone, I know the Stranger does break some stories, that's why I bother to open it. But it's got a very brief summary every week plus one long story, which may or may not be hard news. I'll miss KPLU's independent coverage and there's that many fewer full-time reporters. Bloggers can have interesting things to say but it's hard for someone with a day job to dig and dig for the stories that the powerful or connected don't want to come out.

larchitech said...

The news about KPLU is indeed shocking and sad. This morning while I was listening I felt like I was just told someone I love has a terminal illness. Someone on the KPLU site left a comment that rang true to me that went something like this, "PLU does own the license, but it's been the listeners who have been paying the bills." I've been a contributor for decades and a sustaining member for years and I would have dug a little deeper if they would have come out and said that they needed more money or they would have to sell the license. Reading the comments on the KPLU website I think others would have done the same.