May 29, 2010

Not Good

I am afraid I am going to have to update the forecast substantially...and the changes are not good for tomorrow.

Yesterday was very wet, particularly over NW Washington...take a look at the 48-h rainfall ending Saturday morning from RainWatch (, a system we developed for Seattle Public Utilities (see graphic). Some places--N. Whidbey and nearby locations--had 1-2 inches of rain. I had some people asking why the rainshadow area was so wet. The reason: the winds yesterday were from the north and northeast and Sequim and N. Whidbey were no longer in the rainshadow of the Olympics.

Now lets get to the depressing forecast. Right now (Saturday morning), there is considerable cloudiness over the region (see image). With NW flow aloft the rainshadow is now TO THE SE of the Olympics where it is normally wet (so head to Shelton!) There is clearing over eastern Washington to the east of the Cascades as well...a very good place to be today. Drier air is moving in from the west, and the situation should improve starting at the coast. Upslope flow should keep clouds and light rain over the western slopes and crest of the Cascades and a Puget Sound convergence zone could keep some clouds and showers over northern Puget Sound.

Eastern Washington still looks good.

But that is pretty much the same story as I told you yesterday.
The problem is that the next Pacific disturbance is moving in faster than initially forecast. Here are the new forecasts for 3-h precipitation for tomorrow, ending 8 am, 11 am, and 2 PM. The rain is on the coast by daybreak and moves into western Washington during the morning. Eastern Washington remains dry on Sunday.

This situation is a good example of a timing error in our simulations--the system is coming in about 6-hr earlier than suggested by yesterday's forecast model run. And on top of it all, the NWS weather radar at Camano Is. is broken again. In such situations I look at the Canadian radars:
or the Portland radar.

Monday will be showery and generally cloudy, with a few sunbreaks, particularly in the afternoon.

Anyway, the Sunday window is something right after breakfast and you might be fine, but by lunchtime the murk will be back.


  1. 2010: The Year without a Spring.

  2. Hey Cliff,
    Tom Nelson from "The Outdoor Line" radio show (710 ESPN Seattle WWW.theoutdoorline,com). Would you consider joining us on air next Saturday June 5? Sometime around 8am?
    I have enjoyed your TV news segments and I know our listeners, primarily fishermen & outdoors folk would love to hear your take on what the heck the weather is pulling on us this time! Shoot me an email if you're in. Thanks, Tom

  3. When will our long regional nightmare be over?

    Dreary, cold, drizzly, un-fun!

  4. that you posting from Northbend?

    Anyway, models do show much lesser of sunny day than several days ago and looks like see a good deal of thick overcast tomorrow with rain/ showers by the afternoon.

    Looks like today was a good day to be east of the Cascades per the Leavenworth weathercam.

  5. Can someone explain to my why the NWS radar on Camano Island seems to be down about as often as it's up? I have never seen a radar site with such poor reliability.

  6. WA Springs = totally unpredictable

  7. There is a trade off for sunshine in E. Wash. Wind! High less than 60 and wind gusted to 40mph all day. Just nasty and raw.

    So if you drive over for nice weather, just go past the crest where the clouds break up to picnic or camp. Go any farther east, near or past the tree line, the wind will drive you nuts.

  8. I check the weather in the Western Pacific regularly because my son lives in Japan. Today the band of clouds hitting the Pacific Northwest stretches all the way to China. I've never seen this before. What's causing it?

  9. Why, exactly, would anyone want to live in the pacific northwest weather?

  10. Actually has struck me as a not too abnormal spring. A little dry, my raised beds have needed a lot of watering, we've been outside a lot weeding and mowing (no lawns, just fields very close to house). Res NW weather in general, my definition of a great climate is something that a T-shirt and Sweat shirt will get me through 95% of my time outside.

  11. Started raining in Port Townsend @ 1:30p Sunday. You nailed it..sadly.TonyG

  12. I love the rain, but my garden could sure use some sun.

  13. I can't find anywhere with sun in the forecast within 2 hours of Seattle--am I missing something?

  14. SUN!! SUN!! SUN!! very windy but SUN! in West Oly.....must run outside and stand in it...


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