October 29, 2010


The heavy rains are still on track for Monday and early Tuesday for the Olympics and North Cascades, although the current runs are not quite as extreme.

The intense storm in the Gulf of Alaska is now forming--here is the wind field over the Pacific for 11 PM tomorrow. Just amazing. The white areas are higher than 55 kts sustained winds....essentially hurricane force. This IS a hurricane...but a midlatitude one. And keep in mind that strong winds, a long-lasting storm, and large fetch produce big waves.

And yes, the waves are forecast to be enormous...here is the prediction from the NOAA Wavewatch 3 model. The pinks are waves greater than 15 meters (49 feet). These waves are NOT heading here.

On Monday a strong current of warm, moist air will be heading right into us..at 5000 ft the winds are forecast to be 50 kts and 50F from the southwest. Here is the latest rainfall forecast for the 24 h ending 5 AM on Tuesday. Not quite as extreme as last night's prediction with only a small area with more than five inches. Still plenty to bring some of the rivers of the Olympics to flood stage. And one has to watch some of the North Cascade rivers like the Skagit and Stillaguamish..if you are near either of these I would be prepared. The National Weather Service is now putting out hydrological statements outlining some of the threats noted above.

One final note...snow melt might add to the available water. We had quite a bit of snow earlier this week above 3500 ft and a lot of that is going to be melting very fast on Monday.


  1. Cliff - Can you explain why these storms aren't followed and hyped like the Atlantic storms are? Not that I want the hype, but this is clearly a storm of some significance...

  2. I have seen the the radar has located a mesocyclone at the base of the Olympic Mountains tonight, I quite often see horizontal circular clouds in the same area that don't seem to orient themselves up and down like a tornado. Quite often meaning a couple dozen times in the 40 years I have gazed in that direction. What gives with this phonomena.?

  3. @ Marit
    East coast bias, Marit. Check out Cliff's posts a few down from this one. The midwest recently had the "biggest" nontropical low in US history. Not even close. Cliff goes on to explain how North West storms easily dominate the storm in Minnesota. Cliff puts it well by saying, "classic US media myopia."
    Seattle and the Pacific North West remains as the last frontier. We live amongst the wild. Our existence is little know.


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