June 03, 2010

No windstorm and a decent Saturday

Weather Gods Like Coastal Weather Radars

Earlier this week it looked like a strong low center and attendant windstorm would strike our region. No longer. The weather gods have been satiated. It is quite possible they are pleased with the National Weather Service's decision to bring a weather radar to our coast a year earlier. A sure sign of respect.

In some situations, the models find a solution 5-7 days out and stick with it, in others the weather forecasts don't settle down until 1-2 days out. Tomorrow is an example of the latter situation.

Each forecast run for the past few days tended to weaken the low and bring it in further south. Below is today's forecast: a modest low will cross Oregon and we should see little wind from it. Precipitation associated with this event will move in this evening and extend into tomorrow morning. The rain will be through mid-day for most of the region, with the exception of a fairly strong Puget Sound Convergence Zone in the afternoon (see graphic).
Saturday will be drier and warmer (60s) and then a weak system will dampen Sunday
But next week there may be a major shift towards summer warmth and dry conditions...stay tuned.


  1. Great news about the coastal radar.

    Now we need some more operational ocean buoys and we're set for any winter storm.

    I just read an article that El Nino quickly waned and now we are going into La Nina? That was a fast transition. It also said that such a quick transition is messing up current weather patterns. Hmmm, here could be an example.

  2. There you go...I was just about ready to sacrifice my Oregon Scientific WMR 200 barometer to appease the great air pressure deity...saved by the re-forecast

  3. I'm intrigued by Cliff's comment at the end:

    "But next week there may be a major shift towards summer warmth and dry conditions...stay tuned."

    I'm wondering what he's looking at, as today's 9:00 a.m. NWS SEA Weather Discussion refers to a "mostly dry" Mon-Tue., but then another system about Wednesday, and "Another upper level
    trough is expected to move over the region for the latter half of
    next week bringing a return of the familiar cool and unsettled
    conditions." And the cpc.noaa.gov site's extended forecasts have essentially been calling for the same for a few days now.

    I'd love to believe we're looking at an imminent "major" change towards more summer-like weather since I'm planning to attend an outdoor event the second half of next week in the southern Willamette Valley, so I'm hoping Dr. Mass is seeing something that the NWS forecasters aren't.

  4. Thanks, smokejumper. "Officially," the La Nina warning is here: http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/ensodisc.pdf

    I'd love for Dr. Mass to comment on what this might mean for Pac NW weather.

  5. So was this a tornado, Cliff? Monroe tornado, 6/4/2010 My NC instincts kicked in tonight when I saw those dark greenish clouds... but I'm not sure this "tunnel" (sic) cloud really was a tornado. What does the Doppler say?

  6. I live just outside Monroe... didn't see the funnel but there were three separate times this afternoon and evening when I saw what looked like steam plumes coming out of the trees extending all the way up to the cloud base. They got bigger as the got higher... but I wasn't able to discern any rotation... they just looked like there were fires on the ground with the smoke columns blending in with the clouds. But I do believe they weren't smoke, they were steam. Very interesting.

  7. Jim's comments on "steam above the trees"

    Are you sure it was steam/smoke and not an insect swarm?

    Some local flying insects (emphemerids ... they hatch in mass numbers then mate) will swarm above a ground landmark for mating flights. Spring is the "right time of year" too.

    I've seen them around the edge of Lake Washington (usually in the morning but it could happen in the evening ... it needs low wind speed to form up the columns).

    The most famous example of this swarming is over Lake Malawi in Africa though we do have a similar effect here and over the Great Lakes.

    You can see a description in this Letter to the Editor in s 1884 issue of Science.


  8. Kevin:

    Interesting... I have seen swarms of insects above trees in Montreal along the St. Lawrence Seaway... these were definitely looking like steam. It reminded me of what a rain forest would look like. And the one I saw about 8:30 p.m. just north of Hwy 2, which appeared to be near the western end of Roosevelt Road had kind of an "S" shape like a rope tornado but it wasn't thin like a rope. It was thicker as it got up to the clouds. But none of the three things I saw were solid all the way up to the clouds - there were "holes" in them.

    I wish I had thought about bringing my camera out. darn it.



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