November 17, 2009

Watch Out Olympics!

Today was a fairly quiet day...the front passed through this morning and with the low going north of us, winds relaxed substantially this morning.

Classic post-frontal showers and sunbreaks (see latest infrared picture)....and using the radar one is able to time outdoors activities, such as biking, to stay dry. Weather radar can change your life!

An enhanced band of convection should arrive later tonight...just in time to dampen the views of the Leonids. I would head to Vantage if I really wanted to see them...or hope for a short break in the shower clouds.

Tomorrow another low will approach (see forecast graphic), but it will head far north of us...thus, no windstorm in the lowlands...with one MAJOR exception. Strong southeasterlies will again develop over NW Washington from Whidbey Island north to Bellingham and east to the San Juans (see graphic of forecast wind speed). There will be several days of moderate to heavy rain on the Olympics and the mountains of SW Washington (see graphic for 24-h precipitation ending 4 am on Thursday). Flooding will probably return to the Skokomish.

By the way, I have noted a few media outlets and environmental groups have suggested that yesterdays heavy rains are some indication of global warming's effects. That is simply not true. I gave a talk on this subject today at the UW. There is NO evidence that we have been getting heavier rains lately in the Northwest. There is no trend over the last half-century. Global warming due to mankind's ejection of greenhouse gases MAY change the amount and intensity of rain later this century, but you can't blame our pineapple expresses on human intervention. Check the chapter in my NW weather book on local climate change to get more information on this subject.


  1. any guess on the weather for Thanksgivng and the Seattle Marathon

  2. Ken...too far...but climatology is rain and wind!..cliff

  3. Cliff, in the last few weeks, every time you've posted that MM5-NAM graphic projecting a prominent rainshadow over Sequim (I think four times now), we've gotten dumped on. Yesterday was no exception; the Sequim area got an inch or more of rain. So here's one finally showing moderate rain for the Sequim area - I wonder how to read that. Needless to say I'm not putting a lot of stock in that particular graphic for my area :-) ... not complaining, but I just didn't want anyone interested to miss that Sequim has gotten soaked over the last month. It seems the rainshadow has either taken up residence elsewhere or is taking some time off.

  4. Only commenting because you mentioned this and were correct. Just drove I-82 between ellensburg to yakima. Pure darkness for 30 miles under crystal clear skies, not a cloud around. Great show from the confines of my car.

  5. Cliff, I was so glad to read your comments about global warming toward the end of the post.

    I believe that the earth has warmed, and I believe that we need to determine how much of an influence man is (or may be) having on said warming; however, it's frustrating that so many weather events that are within the range of normal are automatically blamed on global warming.

    --Paul (

  6. All quiet in the Northwest Interior at this time. SW winds picking up a little. Getting ready for the next gale.

  7. It's been a little breezy here in Lake Stevens all morning, maybe 15 to 20 with a few gusts.

    KOMO is still stating for a major wind event. I haven't looked at the latest images this morning, but I've lived here long enough to know that most of our major wind storms are predicted as such at the last second, so I'm still hoping for a windy evening.

    I also noticed that lake stevens has no wind advisory or wind watches, yet we are in the middle of being the northwest interior and everett area. This same thing happened earlier this week, yet we got pounded by the wind. I'm not sure why we are missing out on these warnings.

    Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing what happens tonight.

  8. Cliff you should post a primer on using radar for activity planning. As someone who picked the wrong 15 minutes to go home last night it would have definitely helped.

  9. Cliff, I don't know if you have seen Greg Craven's "how it all ends" series of videos (as well as the book and DVD he's produced) on global climate change (or as he says is a bit more appropriate global climate instability)
    He's an educator in Oregon. I've found that his materials and his method of presenting it seem to be sound (basically he is asking that people inform themselves rather than pushing any specific point of view)

  10. Still no wind advisories or warnings for lake stevens area, but we are seeing gusts in the 40s now already.

    It definitely stepped up a notch the last 30 minutes, went from breezy 20 mph winds all day to gusts in the 40mph range in just a few minutes.

    I still don't understand how we miss out on the warnings though when Everett has them posted from this morning. Odd.

  11. Scott, is that you I see posting on the KOMO website also? I think I might be just as obsessed with the weather as you!

  12. Nice storm over here in Kingston. Am wondering if the bridge will close tonight. We are getting some nice gusts that feel like they are in the 40-50mph range.


  13. Last 3 hours (3, 4, 5 pm Wed) sustained winds at the Kelp Reef buoy out front of our house have been 45, 47, and 48. These are the highest readings I've seen in this series of storms.

  14. I'm gonna be honest here, I would'nt mind seeing some tree trunk busting gusts, nothing gets my juices flowing like a good storm.

    Ive got trail mix and a handfull of candles so I'm set.

  15. Right after I posted, I got a 32 gust and a sustained 14 at winlock (as reported by king 5 schoolnet)

    Not a bad start, I'm hoping for a 60 gust.

    At 80MPH I will be curled up in a fetal position in the corner with my thumb stuck in my mouth!

  16. Sorry to comment a little off topic, but can anybody point me in the direction of good online sources for predicting persistent wind shifts over the Puget Sound? I know it's a little tricky. I don't have Cliff's book handy at the moment, and I forget whether he specifically covers this. I am mostly interested from the perspective of sailing, and info on tides would be great as well!

  17. This one is being much worse up here in the San Juans (West side of San Juan Island, Yacht Haven area) than the earlier two. Top 3/4 of tree just came down on side of house. Don't think it breached the integrity -- well built house -- but it smashed two 3800 gallon water tanks and took out part of the deck rail. Won't know all the damage until morning -- way too dangerous to go out now to check. But those who initially said this one was going to be no worse then the first two got it big league wrong. And the NWS pinpoint which predicted 29-32 is way, way off. This one is bad up here.

  18. dayn_1 said... Right after I posted, I got a 32 gust and a sustained 14 at winlock (as reported by king 5 schoolnet) Not a bad start, I'm hoping for a 60 gust.

    You must not live where trees are ready to come down on your house, or you wouldn't wish for what just happened here.

  19. RobbyRob, yeah that's me on komo...and yes I'm obsessed with the weather. Ask anyone I know, it's pretty much all I talk about..and I keep a web browser open with about 4 or 5 weather related websites open all the time. :)

    Back on topic, Lake Stevens strongest winds were between 4pm and 5pm, it's slowed back down to maybe gusts in the upper 20s now.

    Funny thing is, we finally got our Wind Advisory...AFTER the winds came and gone. They were about 3 hours late on the advisory. Suppose to expire at 1am, but the winds outside now aren't even as strong as they were when I woke up this morning.

    I guess I have 2 more storms to put some hope into before the weekend. :)

  20. Wednesday evening, Port Angeles. Ferocious little knots of wind. The lights went out for about 90 minutes, I got all the alternate light sources lined up; piled extra blankets on the bed (electric heat); and then the power came back.

  21. Christopher commented: You must not live where trees are ready to come down on your house, or you wouldn't wish for what just happened here.

    I cut them back, had one hit my house before.

    Sorry about the direct hit Bro, hope the damage is'nt too extreme.

    Ive also lost a car to a tree, so I can relate.

    I cant help that I jones for extreme weather, their just doesnt seem to be any treatment centers around here, even if their was, insurance probably wouldnt pay for it anyway.

  22. Cliff, I saw you stating that it is "simply not true" that there will be an increase in precipitation due to global warming.

    In a graduate climatology class analyzing PNW SNOTEL data we found a weak correlation between time and total annual precipitation (trending up). Also a not as weak correlation that average annual snow level was rising. Not exactly something I would state on the news, but nonetheless the aggregate data kinda sorta suggested more total precip. Have no idea about storm intensity, however.

  23. Radar can also be used to time your activities to enjoy a little light rain (or snow!) once in awhile. Satellite is even more helpful to allow you to enjoy it when clouds are overhead.

  24. Actually Ken, it's not too far away for Thanksgiving, at least to give preliminary indications. Maybe it was yesterday, but not today. It's only seven days away. Models are trying to bring a system in late next week with a cool front coming in Thursday evening. However, timing has been slower with each run. It looks like an unusual dry spell will move through next week, and I would venture to say that most if not all of Thanksgiving could be dry. A chance of rain late afternoon into the evening, with most rain Thursday night with the front. Of course, there's time for this to change, but this my best forecast at the time.


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