January 03, 2009

The Wet Warm Up Late Tommorrow

Right now there are a few light showers to the north and on the western slopes of the Cascades, but little else going on (see radar) in the area. But when I took at the latest satellite picture, I was taken aback (see attached)--a huge plume of moisture over the Pacific headed for the West Coast and the Gulf of Alaska...and we will get a piece of that starting tomorrow evening.
The approaching system will bring much warmer temperatures and rain in the lowlands and over the lower slopes of the Cascades. But the initial few hours could very well bring snow to the normally cooler locations...and even wet snow to the lower elevations. Cold air will be in place and falling precipitation will cause cooling due to evaporation in the dry air near the surface and melting of snow into rain. I have attached 24-h snow maps ending 4 AM Monday and Tuesday so you can see this. By the second 24-h time period the lowlands are all rain..but the mountains will get hammered with snow above roughly 3500 ft. Perhaps the ski resorts can catch up on lost business...

PS: Thanks for all your help with the questionnaire...will let you know the results...


  1. The forecast doesn't matter. Still gotta go to work.

  2. Cliff, do you have a general sense of what else may come our way this winter? I recall a previous post that indicated this is neither an el nino nor la nina year, which means extreme weather is possible. I'm hoping for another big snow event this winter - does that seem likely? What months traditionally provide that in the PNW - January or February? Thanks for your informative blog.

  3. Anonymous...neutral years tend to have normal snowpacks...but the big lowland snow events (like we had in December) tend to occur in neutral years. Not much else to say unfortunately..cliff mass

  4. A fun map to look at is the Western Wa 1 hour snow fall loop 12k

  5. Thanks for the blog, Cliff! However, I must agree with a previous commenter (earlier this week), that the formatting of pictures plays havoc with the text flow.

    If you post the pix sans alignment tags, it'll look a lot better.

  6. Where do you get the 24hr snowfall maps? I love them, and hope they are accurate with the next storm!

  7. That is a fun map HYDRO1. Thanks for the link.

  8. A little bit late to post this but there were some beautiful superior mirages over Puget Sound yesterday lunchtime and afternoon.

    The view from Alki over to Bainbridge and with mirrored ferries and particularly West Point Light showed the building floating "in the air".

    Rather interesting because I've always though of these as summer phenomenon (as it says in chapter 10 of Cliff's book) with warm air above cold water. I guess despite the air temps in the thirties there was enough warming to get the curvature over a long reach.

  9. "T'was the week before Christmas, and next to the Sound,
    Not a creature was stirring, for all were snowbound.
    Greyhound busses quit running, no matter the fare,
    And the mail men and garbage said they just couldn't get there!

    The children were sliding Queen Anne Hill on their sleds.
    While roofs were collapsing on old people's heads.
    And mamma in her boots and I in my cap,
    Were stuck in the snow and ice and such crap.

    When at the Home Depot there arose such a clatter,
    I trudged from my car to see what was the matter.
    A group of sad souls were waving their cash,
    They couldn't buy shovels, they'd sold in a flash.

    Tires were spinning and just wouldn't go,
    And chains lay broken in the dirty old snow.
    Then, what to my surprise did my eyes look over and see?
    Eight representatives of SDOT,

    With a fat politician so lively and quick,
    I knew in a moment it was Mayor "Salt Nick".

    More rapid than gun bans, his excuses they came,
    "To save our environment the roads stay the same!
    On Broadway! On Boren! On Yesler and Denny!,
    To clear off these roads would cost such a penny!

    Sliding down Thomas and onto a wall!
    The busses hung over I-5, ready to fall!
    Still, he insisted it wasn't his fault,
    As the world's greenest mayor he wouldn't use SALT!

    That stuff's corrosive, could hurt the fish.
    (But the Puget Sound's SALT WATER you ignorant kish!)
    So snowy Seattle continued to stew,
    But Mayor "Salt Nick" just hadn't a clue.

    While I stood there astonished, on nearby TV sets,
    I saw the airport was packed, no de-icer for jets.
    Since others couldn't get down the roads to the ferry,
    The city decided to close Denny and Cherry.

    Police cars and firetrucks were highly impaired,

    Citizens got no impression that Mayor Salt Nick cared.

    A house that caught fire, or a rape in progress,

    Was less important than "going green" in Seattle - I guess!

    An accident closed the I-90 bridge,
    And people couldn't drive down Phinney Ridge.
    Shovels, and salt had just flown off the shelf,
    And I laughed when I heard him in spite of myself.

    A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
    He tried to convey we had nothing to dread;
    He spoke many words, but did little work,
    Yet Seattle knew they should never have elected this jerk.

    Then thumbing his nose at his citizens' plight,
    He turned to the crowd and exclaimed "We've done right!",
    And then to his limo refusing to yield,
    He left to get solar panels installed on Qwest Field.

    But I heard him exclaim, as he skidded past me
    "Happy Christmas to all, heck, I give myself a 'B' ".

    For those not aware, Mayor Greg Nickels is rated by many as a buffoon.

  10. hello Cliff, ..

    With reading through your initial posting yesterday, I’d clued onto your having touched - briefly, on the idea of there having been some potential for a “pineapple express” situation setting up. (I’m from California, and so took note of this idea perhaps more than others reading through your blog.)

    With the slower movement of main cold air longitudinally east, further west, out over the Pacific, though there still appears to be plenty of moisture present, at this point its looks as if this potential has pretty much moved off the table.

    Do you see this slower movement of main cold eastward being caused to continue ?

  11. I've really been enjoying the blog, thanks. I was wondering if you could put a FAQ or some kind of primer on the sidebar on how to read the different kinds of graphics you are posting on the site. With some you have posted, especially around the pre-Christmas storms, I had no idea what I was looking at. Thanks.

  12. OMG Jeff - that was hilarious. Sending that to friends post-haste.

  13. Is that a Jeff Original? Well done if so.

  14. I should have included "Author Unknown" because there is no reason in the world I deserve credit for someone elses clever writing. I received it via email and just knew I had to post it here with all the salt vs. sand discussions. Someone out there should come forward and take credit for it!

  15. I'm even raising my carbon footprint by sharing paper copies of Jeff's post, with title
    Mayor "Salt Nick"
    (Author Unknown, search in process)
    and a tad of reformatting.

  16. Olalla: We had a magnificent sunrise this morning! We could see the Olympics for the first time in days, and there was a horizontal pink band above the mountains all the way across the western horizon. As it majestically moved down toward the mountains it seemed to become less and less intense in color, then - suddenly - alpenglow! Now we can see that there's a thin cloud layer, not enough to block the view of the mountains but enough to visualize the pink light of morning.

    Of course we had frost - 32 at about 8:00, and dead calm.

    - Pete

  17. Olalla:

    I should add that I need to get a better thermometer. The temperatures I report here are normally 1 to 3 degrees higher than the nearby ones shown on the map at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/mwmap.php?map=seattle.

    - Pete

  18. Union Mills: have to say that this morning leaves me hoping that the post title is correct. Currently Cloudy, 26.2F, overnight low 24.4, 24 hour high 37.2. In a perfect world I'd have a temperature sender up on the hill, which still has six inches or so of December's snow.

    Speaking of which: in 1973, the last of the parking lot glaciers (at South Sound Center, on the road after which a well-known rock band got its name) didn't melt until May. I notice that the current practice is to lose 1-4 parking spaces in every row, instead of stacking the whole lot in the far corner of the lot; given the flooding that happened in Lacey in the spring of 73, that's probably a good thing.

  19. Jeff, that was a pretty bad poem. It's bad enough it calls snow "crap," but to put down someone that much?

  20. As, you can see from the email-copy below and my Comments re the Survey below, I disagree with "Anonymous" that this poem is "crap," and that both Jeff and I disagree with some of the poet's messages, which AREN'T Jeff's!

    Subject:Sharing your Mass Blog Poem Post?
    Jo and Bob 11:21 PM Dec 3

    I like your poem so much that I've done a copy/paste/edit to Word, with a few tweaks in layout and syllables to fine-tune the scan,and I'd like to share the attached version with friends in my Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Church tomorrow, and then with our Social Action/Great Turning ("Green Save-the-Planet") group on Monday evening, where we'll probably be discussing my suggestion (posted last week) that we replace salt (sodium chloride) with the best of several [allegedly] green salt-subsititutes that lower the melting temp of ice and snow, now marketed for residential driveways and walks/stairs. As I'm sure you know, your lines are only half the picture:

    "That stuff's corrosive, could hurt the fish.
    (But the Puget Sound's SALT WATER you ignorant kish!) "

    since streams and lakes and the ship-canal are fresh water, with many inhabitant animals and plants that would be poisoned by sodium chloride or most other "salts" so Nickles doesn't want to dime them to death, and maybe we shouldn't buck his basic mission -- does that make cents?
    [Bob's addition at 3:10 -- is this money-talk/punny-talk distracting?]
    So, I'd appreciate your feedback on this, ASAP.


    Bob Moore

    Jeff Denton 5:19 AM
    I thought after I posted it I should have included “Author Unknown” because there is no reason I should get credit for someone else’s wonderful cleverness. It was sent to me from my girlfriend who received it from a friend so on and so forth. As soon as I read it I knew I had to put it on Cliff’s blog because of the subject content and all the recent discussion about salt vs. sand. So yes, you have my permission, which you don’t need, to do what ever you want with it.
    Personally I disagree with using salt but I won’t get into that here. Your idea of salt substitutes is probably a good idea but I suspect it would cost more.
    Jo and Bob 7:43 AM Dec 4
    Thanks so much, Jeff!

    The poet deserves pubic recognition, if you can track him down. Maybe, for now, we should post some of our email exchange. I have to scoot off to church and won't have time to compose a careful edit until afternoon, but you're welcome to do whatever feels right to you. (Right now, I'll hooked on Puzzlemaster Will Schortz on KUOW -- I'm a Sudoku junkie and big fan of Leanne Hansen!)

    Bob Moore

  21. Another posting re Anonymous'
    "Thanks for the blog, Cliff! However, I must agree with a previous commenter (earlier this week), that the formatting of pictures plays havoc with the text flow.

    If you post the pix sans alignment tags, it'll look a lot better."

    I (Bob) agree that the pix (maps, charts, etc) make the text hard to read when they are so big that we get a narrow string of half-words on the left!

    But, I just discovered that, at least with this posting, if you click on a pic, it enlarges to "Full Screen," so I'd suggest as a better alternative:
    (1) shrink each pic to less than half a screen-width, even if that makes it virtually unintelligible (since we can still see if it's a map, chart, satellite photo or local camera shot), then
    (2) add as a caption below each
    "Click on to Enlarge," so folks who aren't web/blog junkies can learn how to view the full-screen copy.

    Check this out with this posting: it's really useful in the bottom two snow-depth forecast maps for Monday and Tuesday.

    But, the snowflakes I'm seeing out the window NOW at 3:30 in SE Lake Forest Park above the lake are suggesting that we need a similar map for Sunday! (However, we're still seeing temps above 32F, so it probably won't stick until the temp drops...)

    What's coming TODAY, Cliff?


Please make sure your comments are civil. Name calling and personal attacks are not appropriate.

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