February 18, 2009

Spring...and then the return of rain

The models are all in agreement that the next three days should be mild and sunny, with some high clouds invading on late Saturday. Highs in the mid 50s will be widespread, as they were today. The sun is clearly higher in the skies and the days are perceptibly longer. The big transition is on Sunday, when the protective ridge will give way to moderate southwesterly flow and cooler, cloudy conditions, as well as certain rain. This pattern will continue through the week...I have attached a few upper level charts that show the new flow pattern clearly (for Sunday and Monday afternoon). Note how the protective ridge has moved inland and a series of troughs are making their way towards us in the SW flow. With moist flow and falling freezing levels, the mountains will start getting snow again, and it looks like there should be at least a foot over the entire week.

The latest prediction by the National Weather Service's Climatic Prediction Center is for cooler and wetter than normal conditions over the next month. Sounds like a La Nina forecast to me.


  1. Some high clouds "invading?"

  2. Hey Cliff, thanks for the good news about the forecast for the upcoming month! Gives me a good feeling to start the day, even if the short term is going to be awful. :)

  3. Anonymous: Let it go already.

    Looking forward to Spring! Never a dull moment, rain or shine.

  4. 4pm Sat on all three maps.| S-SELY flow with precip over us not showing up until late Sat afternoon. and looks like it should be fairly mild with temps in the upper 50`s to lower 60`s as we have the S-SELY at the surface and aloft as just mentioned that should provide us with the mild temps. However, clouds and moisture look to increase for late Sat afternoon with rain cooler temps coming in for Sunday.




    Sat afternoon.

  5. Andy, your links to the mesoscale loops are not live--at least not on my home PC. And the last bit is cut off so you cannot paste them, maybe a bigger screen than mine would show the whole url.

    Also, the professor's comments often run down along the side of posted images. Usually one word or even just a few characters, making it difficult to read.

    And...if there is a way to post animated gifs, I think that could really freshen up this weather blog. Sometimes we put animated gifs in our graphical afd, but not often enough. (And our color schemes leave a little to be desired, there is no standard).

    The UW loops are great--I especially like to load all hours and run the one hour 4km winds zoomed in on Western Washington. I don't have a boat big enough to go out on Puget Sound, but if I did not only would I consult the forecast, but I'd check the hourly 4km loop, 10m winds, zoomed in on Western Wa. But I'll save my Hat Island diurnal wind scare for another time.

  6. Hey mike of MLT...

    It may be that your screen isn`t big enough to see the whole URL. And what I pasted is just the still pics.

    But as you also stated, it would be nice for us posters to post actual images rather than links on here.

  7. Take the 12zWRF-GFS for what it`s worth, but it`s showing much colder weather for late next week with several inches of lowland snow here in the central sound region.

    Here`s what I posted in another weather forum that I`m on.

    It appears a weak 1000mb low drops north along the central Vancouver Is. coast and then along the Wa coast for during the after midnight hours of Thurs morning, in which 925mb temps plunges to -5c or colder. And looks like we stay in the low-mid 30`s for Thurs as well. 850mb temps drop down to -8, -9c along with N-NWLY flow just above the surface. So if this pans out, it could be a cold and snowy day with several inches of snow over the central sound region.

  8. natchrl8r, shine is dull. What's interesting about it?

    Just curious what Cliff means by invading, that's all.

  9. From Webster's Dictionary: Invading: 3a: to spread over or into as if invading

  10. I hate the fact that people(usually anonymous) feel the need to constantly question the use of words in this blog. Anon- If you don't know the meaning of the word "invading", maybe you should be listening to a hooked on phonics tape instead of reading this blog.

  11. WeatherNerd - you shouldn't be using the same term you're trying to define in your definition. :)

  12. Phil, it's questioning the words used in the entire meteorological community, not just this blog. They are subjective terms, and weather is supposed to be objective. That's the point.

  13. Dan

    I quoted Webster's Dictionary as it is written in there, to validate the definition.
    Sometimes to clarify a definition of a word the dictionary will use another form of the word. Have you seen that before?

  14. Weathernerd, yes I have, but then I'd look up the other word and give that definition. :)

  15. Anon-

    No, the point is you are wasting all of our time by making us read this garbage. If you are going to dispute ever adjective Cliff or any other meteorologist uses, then where is your alternative? All I read is complaints about the words used, but I don't see you coming up with something better. How about just accepting it for what it is, enjoying Cliff's blog and the knowledge of weather that he provides us, and dropping it. Is that too much to ask?

  16. Anon, who ever you are. Dude chill out with the terminology. Agencies need a base point to communicate with. If they Hodge podged their wordage by using terms to everyone’s likening there would be no consistency. If you want to create your own web page for weather terms for instance you could use (enter by force) instead of “Invading” go right ahead. But that language doesn’t work in agency tone, for the public and inter-agency communication. If I am in the field and want a spot weather forecast (fire) I want something –to the point- and consistent with its terminology for that geographical area. Not something that says “yea we are going to have some pretty bad winds man, and you better get ready for the worst, and dry air like that of a blow dryer will come in off the mountains, oh yea, you better drink lots of water to because the air will be dry.


  17. Yes, it's a lot to ask. I offer alternatives. You don't seem to care to listen. I've seen others on this blog comment about the same things I have, so it's not just me. It can't be enjoyed if subjective terms are used that don't allow everyone to enjoy it.

    Josh B, what you wrote is perfectly fine and concise. There are definitely terms that can be used to describe weather in a concise, understandable way for everyone. For example, instead of saying "nice," say "sunny" or "warm" (or "cool" or "cloudy" if that's what you prefer). It's quite simple.

  18. ...and instead of "invading" you could say "moving in."

    I never see anyone say the sun will be invading us tomorrow.

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. ANO

    There is lingo for 6th graders and there is terminology for advance users. If you want the "See Dick run" vocabulary, than watch Al Rocker. If you want to look beyond the blue screen, then learning some of the mets lingo like "invading" is a good start. I think (I don't want to speak for Cliff) that he wants to teach us beyond the basics. He is after all an advance user in the weather game. If you need lesser of him, than you might want to try the weather channel.

    February 19, 2009 6:26 PM

  22. Josh-B (and all),

    Wow, that's rather insulting. I'm a meteorologist myself. I don't need Cliff's info, but I do enjoy reading what he has to say. I don't enjoy the subjectiveness, however. I could tell you my take on everything just like he does. I've BEEN a professional meteorologist before.

    I'm highly considering researching and writing a paper on why most meteorologists don't like weather. That lingo is NOT meteorology lingo. I guess you don't know what is and what isn't, so I'll give you a break. But that's the problem - weathercasters on TV, bloggers like Cliff, etc. do so much assuming that the public now THINKS that those are objective terms. Just like you just did - you really just proved a point of mine!

    I could use terms like vorticity, absolute vorticity, potential vorticity, Q-vectors, quasi-geostrophic theory, hydrodynamic instability, and so on, and so could Dr. Mass, but we don't because we know the majority of the public doesn't know what they mean. But they do know terms like sunny, windy, cloudy, etc.

    It's just really way too bad that subjective terms have been so overused that people actually think they are objective. And I don't understand for the life of me why people who claim they enjoy weather consistently say negative things about it. I personally don't like to say anything negative about something I like and enjoy. I went into the meteorology field because I've always liked weather. And I was forced out of it because no one else did.

    Thank you for understanding.

  23. J

    I am not asking "to talk in jargon only PHD's in meteorology can figure out, I guess I should had clarified. And yes I admit that was a pretty low comment I made. And yes I have been around the block with this weather stuff. But I will keep my ego in check and not talk about that. Just seems most of the terminology is pretty obvious. If not than we've got serious communication issues in this world. What next. Is it Clear skies, or cloudless skies, or absent weather, or nice, or bad, or just Clear skies. Is the glass half full or half empty. I am done with this thread.. Once you are a science watcher of the weather you never leave it. Unless you really put it behind you..

  24. To all idiots: Nobody cares if you like subjective, objective or any other kind of terms, and we are tired of hearing about it. The fact that you are so consumed with this makes me seriously wonder about your mental stability. We don't care if you are or were a meteorologist. This is Cliff's blog, and as he has said in the past, if you don't like his terminology, beat it over to another blog. Enough said.

  25. Brian-

    You grow up. I had a legitimate argument, and you had a one sentence insult? And I'm the one that needs to grow up? Apparently you are one of the "idiots" I was referring to, and took offense. Oh well. As the saying goes, if the shoe fits...

  26. Hi Cliff, I love your blog and your book has become a favorite of mine when I ride the bus to/from work!

    Might I suggest changing the settings for your blog so that people cannot post anonymously? It seems like it would help cut down on the frequency of some of the more contentious, less helpful conversations.

    I love the sun in the winter but we do need more snow up in those mountains! On the plus side, maybe my beloved hiking season will come early this year (as opposed to last year!).



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

Rain without Clouds, the Upcoming Cooling, and Strong Leeside Winds: All in My New Podcast

The radar image this morning at 5:30 AM showed rain...some heavy... offshore. As shown in the satellite image at the same time, much of that...