April 12, 2009

Is Sequim Really Sunnier?

A frequent question is have gotten is about Sequim. Sure it is dry..but is it sunnier. The answer is probably yes..and today (Sunday) is a good example. First start with the weather radar below. World-class rain shadow northeast of the Olympics ! Now look at the high-resolution visible satellite image--and examine it closely. You can see a break in the clouds NE of the Olympics....some sun was clearly getting in there!

Want some ground truth? Look at the cam at the purplehaze lavender farm in Sequim...pretty bright! I have include two other Sequim area cams to show that the ground was dry and there was clearly breaks in the clouds.
Finally, look over the surface chart (the last figure). The winds are plotted at a number of stations (the pennants are pointed in the direction the winds are blowing). Do you see the eddy NE of the Olympics? That is, the winds are going in a circle...with calm winds in the middle. In contrast, the winds are blowing strong from the SE over Whidbey! Sequim means "place of calm waters" in the native american language...and they knew what they were talking about...the wind can be light in the middle of the eddy...thus calming the waters.

PS: I you are interested in going to my lecture on weather and gardening, you must sign up using the link to the right.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. In 2001 I spent the summer (mid-June to October) in Sequim. There were a grand total of two sunny warm days.

  3. Certainly less rain.

    With cactus in W Wa, it's probably a good bet that it's sunnier there as well.

    It's a fascinating micro-climate that even leads to types of cactus
    appearing in the Sequim area and near Cattle Pass on San Juan Island.

    I've made a mental note on places in the state that have cactus, such as the Wahluke Slope, some of the hottest recorded temps in the state and the area around Priest Rapids and also along the Columbia near Patterson, all very low rainfall. Scorpions, too.

    Record Minimum Annual Precipitation 2.61 1930 Wahluke

    Sunshine data is not as readily available, as there are NOAA weather
    reporting stations only at wider intervals: in Port Angeles, Oak
    Harbor (Whidbey Naval Air Station) and Friday Harbor.

    Here are some relevant ones:
    Port Angeles: 26"
    Sequim: 16.74"
    Sequim (2 miles east): 16.24"
    Port Townsend: 19.34"
    Olga (Orcas Island): 29"
    Coupeville (Whidbey Island): 20.7"

  4. It's so amazing... it's hard to believe it until you actually see it, by driving from grey, dreary, rainy Seattle up to the ferry, then across the water in the wind and bluster, and finally over the Hood Canal... where things start getting brighter! And then you are in Port Townsend or Sequim and you can take off your Gore-tex and walk on the beach without getting soaked!

    I've deliberately chosen to LIVE in the rain because I love all the green things and don't mind the constant drip-drip, but I also enjoy a trip to the drier side when I start growing some moss between my toes. Washington state is amazing.

  5. Hey Cliff....and thoughts about the ridging for this weekend?

    I`m hoping for a warm, sunny weekend, but from what is shown in the models, they have really backed down on the amplification of the ridge and showing it to be not be as strong. Though looks like Sat could possibly be a dry day.

  6. Andy...yes, it looks like a heat wave this weekend and early next week...cliff

  7. On This Day, April 14, In 2005, Two Mornings Of Record Breaking Freezing Temperatures In Yakima, Washington, Led To An Estimated 50 Million Dollars In Damage To Cherry Crops. Temperatures At The Yakima Airport Dropped To 20 Degrees On The 13th And 23 Degrees On The Morning Of The 14th.

  8. "Is Vashon Island Really Cooler?"

    Cliff, and local bloggers,

    We just visited the wonderful Mukai gardens on Vashon Island (the only Japanese garden designed by an immigrant Japanese woman) last Friday, and have another visit scheduled for early May, in order to see cherry blossoms in that garden and elsewhere on the island. We saw NONE last Friday, but most of the trees in our neighborhood in Lake Forest Park, the UW Quad, and places we can see in Kenmore and Kirkland across the lake are in full bloom already.

    So, I/we have 2 questions:

    (1) what sort of weather differences (temp, rain and/or snowfall,etc) might explain the blooming differences; and

    (2) what blooming patterns are others living around the Puget Sound seeing -- Bainbridge,San Juans,and
    Mercer Islands, Bellevue, Issaquah and Cascade foothills, Olympia, Bellingham, etc?

    I'm also reading a lot of material concerning strawberry farming by the Mukai family and others on Vashon, Japanese and others on Bainbridge and in Bellevue, etc. This suggests wide variations in ripening patterns in "Strawberry, Fields, Forever..." that must be related to this. I'll welcome any perspectives on all of this that Cliff or other bloggers can offer!


  9. OK, I'm moving to Sequim. Aren't we all ready for some sunshine!?

  10. Jason...you asked us all "if all ready for some sunshine". The answer is...(drum roll) Yes we we are! :D

  11. You said it Joe....time to hike is right!:D I`ve already been up to Tiger Mountain think like 3 weekends in a row now and may go again this Fri or Sat.


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