May 27, 2011

Update and Test: Plus the Memorial Day Forecast

I am testing a new approach to providing my weather discussion---a video podcast using YouTube. Here is a rough first attempt:

Do you think this is worth perfecting? Like it?

Major news today! The antenna and radome were placed on top of the tower for the new Langley Hill Weather Radar. Here is the picture:

Folks..this is getting real now...

The rest of the blog is the same as earlier today:

Since I can't provide the weekend forecast on KUOW today, I thought I would do it here on the blog.

The bottom line. We are in a cool, cloudy pattern, but with no big storms. Relatively cool and lots of clouds, with the best weather expected on Sunday.

OK, lets get into the details. Today we have cool, unstable air over us with lots of showers. Here is the latest radar image--quite a few showers moving through, some with moderate rain (green colors). As the surface warms the air will become more unstable...with more showers. Highs only in the upper 50s. will need a jacket and umbrella today.

The latest infrared satellite below shows a field of offshore showers ready to move in here. You don't need to be much of a meteorologist to know what this means.

Tomorrow an upper level trough will move south of us (see figure), with the jet stream (where the lines are close together) moving into California.

They will get cool, wet weather--very unusual this time of the year. We will be cool, mostly cloudy with a few showers, particularly in the mountains. But less precipitation than today. The lowland will only get to perhaps 60F. More showers in the Washington Cascades and to the south from Portland, south. Here is the probability of precipitation from probcast for Saturday--you get the message (yellows and red are high probabilities)

On Sunday a WEAK ridge will move over the area...and I mean a weak one (see upper level map below). Precipitation should fade further, with the western Washington lowlands being dry, partially sunny conditions dominating near sea level, and a few light sprinkles in the mountains.
The lowlands could warm into the lower to mid 60s over the western lowlands and the passes might climb into the 50s. The jet stream is heading into SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, with precipitation being widespread over the golden state.

Monday will be a day of deterioration as a new trough moves in--clouds and increasing chances of rain later in the day. The first part may be ok.

So my advice....want some outdoor fun or want to enjoy Folklife? Do it on Sunday if you want the best conditions.

KUOW Petition

If you would like me back on KUOW, please sign the following petition that will be delivered to KUOW (click here). I am hoping that KUOW Public Radio folks will consider the requests of their listeners to bring the weather segment back.

Recent articles the last few days on this controversy:

PI writer Joel Connelly
Geek Wire had a story.

Your Picture Can Be on the 2012 Washington Weather Calendar!

KCPQ TV and the Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society are working on a Washington Weather Calendar and they need good weather pictures...maybe yours! Local photographers can submit photos NOW for possible inclusion on this calendar. Go to the Q13 FOX website where you will find the place to submit your photo. It must be of high quality and high resolution, and can be a weather/nature/landscape photo of anywhere in Washington State.

The 2012 Weather Calendar will also contain lots of weather and climate information for Washington State, as well as short weather and climate facts that the students are writing and compiling. The Student Chapter of the AMS will receive proceeds from calendar sales to fund their projects and research and/or a partial scholarship to the U.W. Atmospheric Sciences Department. KCPQ will not get any of the proceeds. The calendar will cost $13.99 and will be available in the fall.

Questions: Contact M.J. McDermott at Q13 FOX. Email:


  1. Cliff - I really, REALLY like the presentation of the forecast on Youtube. I would definitely watch that every day.

  2. Yes please keep up with the youtube presentations! I found just that few minutes very interesting and look forward to hearing you discuss weather systems throughout the year there!

  3. Cliff, your YouTube idea is inspired. I really (yes-really REALLY)liked this! Your descripitions of the weather combined with dynamic graphics like these is a super example of "the whole being greater than the sum of the parts." Also, having a pro like you present this gives us insights into how to make better sense of this sort of information. You hit this out of the park IMHO!

  4. Cliff, the presentation and material is terrific and most educational. It would fill in some of the gaping loss from KUOW censorship for many of us. I still think KUOW is terribly wrong and they should admit to their mistakes. Your generous contributions of your time and more are most appreciated. Your voice should be on NPR on many subjects you have such expertise - without censorship!

  5. the KCPQ links are broken, maybe they got wise

  6. Ack, I wrote a long comment, but blogger ate it. Suffice it to say, for now, I like the video idea. Great potential there.

  7. Professor, I like the You Tube presentation. I appreciated the visual with the words. The mouse pointer is handy. I have learned alot from preading your blog but I am an aural / visual learner and the You Tube really confirms the information .

    Happy to see that I can head to Kittitas without getting hailed on ( like my last trip there a few weeks ago)and that north Puget Sound orchid and wildflower hunting is a great choice for Sunday

  8. Like the content, but when you are done testing, hopefully you'll produce the podcast in a way that it can be subscribed to and downloaded into iTunes and other podcast catching software.

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  10. Yes, Cliff. This is a wonderful presentation. It helped me decipher the weather maps I go to after I read your blog (or those inserted in your blog). The descriptions (popcorn clouds, etc) and the cursor pointing out the patterns are enlightening. I am sure it will refine itself over time and I'll look forward to more but still hope to listen to you on the radio too when that happens. Thanks as always. PS. The only thing missing is a small comment that might be on your mind about something not related to the weather-I enjoy you as well as the weather!

  11. LOVE the video - even better than just listening!

  12. Yes! Please do the Youtube forecast. Even if you do get back on KUOW, this visual is really helpful. I feel like I'll learn a ton from watching forecast in this way. This is GREAT.

  13. Hi Cliff,
    Video is interesting and could be very useful. A couple of thoughts.
    What makes your radio voice/cadence appealing to me is its relaxed--almost story-telling--voice.
    In this video, you are distracted by the technology (the computer) and lost the 'voice' I love.
    I think I'd like it a lot better if you recorded your audio and then add a video track to illustrate your thoughts.
    Also, I don't need to see how you navigate from one application to the next--that's not the weather, not the story I'm interested in.

  14. Cliff,
    I really liked the YouTube presentation. The convenience of being able to see it any time is great. I am not always by a radio and if you miss it... you miss it. This way we can catch up on our own schedule.

    Thank you for this!

  15. Very much like the video. One suggestion: change your mouse pointer settings to make the arrow larger and perhaps try making the arrow black when your video background is light-colored.

  16. Cliff- I liked the Utube video approach. Having the visuals was most helpful. I've emailed my disappointment to KUOW and signed the petition to reinstate you on FB. Steve S sounds like such a nice guy through the airwaves, too bad he had such bad judgement with your firing. Keep up the good work!

  17. Cliff - YouTube video is good. The only thing I suggest is not using the words "today" and "tomorrow" since it's not clear what days you mean since I don't know when you made the video. It would be better to say "Friday", "Saturday", "Sunday", etc.

  18. Cliff, this is good. Using video is a great tool to increase the information you're presenting. I look forward to seeing you continue this.

  19. We loved the YouTube video! The hour by hour precipitation forecast was very helpful - it showed that we should stay in the lowlands instead of heading to the mountains this weekend. Thanks for all you do!

  20. I really like the idea of a regular blogcast. I can't comment on the idea of any future radiocast; because of my schedule, I think I was able to catch you on KUOW maybe once, and I never made it a habit to go listen later on KUOW's website. This blogcast would be better since it includes the visual element and I can watch it as part of my daily check of your blogsite.

  21. Dear Dr Mass;

    I'm afraid that you ran headlong into a news trend that has been disappointing me for the last 20 years. I call it "news as story-telling" and it now seems to have infected all of our media. Anybody who goes off-script must be punished or edited out.

    If you read Deborah Wang's piece on the KUOW website it becomes clearly apparent that public radio has now fallen into the same pit as all of the rest. Despite the fact that they just had a guest on who trashed the UW, and despite the fact that you are presented as a representative of UW you are not allowed to respond. That would have been too much like a real debate, and unlike the simulations that they present in the appropriate timeslot.

    I noticed it first with the whole Microsoft anti-trust mess; I worked there and knew many of the unpublished facts. I eagerly watched for "our" side of the story to be presented in debates but soon learned that any Microsoft presenters were there simply to be beaten up; any facts that they presented that had the opportunity to poke holes in the story were either shouted over or (I discovered later) edited out.

    That experience got me more interested in how our media covers the world, and I have been very disappointed in what I have seen. You find the same story management in any Middle East coverage, coverage of Japan's nuclear disaster, election coverage, financial coverage, or anything else that can actually make a difference in the listener's lives.

    As a free radical presenter from the University of Washington you were not to be allowed to make a point -- heaven forbid that you actually make news on a news program! News is made by the producers, not us peons.

    KUOW should give you a 30 minute timeslot to discuss whatever you want; let's call it "Science and weather in the Northwest and beyond."

    Thanks for your efforts and really thanks for your blog; as an islander and a Northwest boater I really appreciate it.

    George Rankin
    Orcas Island

  22. I love it! Sometimes things happen for the better, and this is a perfect example.

  23. I agree with Liz about your voice but toward the end you sounded more like yourself. Probably the newness of it all affected your voice. Anyway, I think the video presentation is great. I especially liked seeing the clouds that cause the showers and sun breaks and boy has there been a lot of that the last couple of days!
    I hope you can return to KUOW. I was so sorry you couldn't be on the radio to report on the coastal radar which you helped make possible!

  24. Just passed through Copalis crossing to Copalis and saw the new radar. It is very large and very cool!

  25. I like this broadcast because I am being shown the tools accessible to me, and having them and the resulting imagery explained in a way that I can understand. This is really invaluable to me in understanding not only meteorology as a whole, but how it specifically relates to where I live. Thanks Cliff, I really hope you adopt this new approach.

  26. Cliff - Steve Pool is saying another 7 to 10 days of cool and clouds and then high pressure area will form off the coast to give us extended "normal" summer weather. Do you agree?

  27. Cliff, yes yes to the podcast. I love the integration of your commentary with the presentation of your websites, and you point out features. A nice addition to your formerly audio-only or text-only format.

  28. I would listen to this whenever it appeared on your blog. This is just great and so area specific. By looking at the maps, I get a good idea the possibilties for my specific (West Seattle) area.

  29. Great video podcast. I liked it better than KUOW, plus way more convenient.

  30. Cliff- As a weather forecast, of course, it works beautifully.
    If you developed and added a searchable data base it would provide a interest specific link for both your prime passion as well as your other interests which for many are just as interesting, or more so and often, have a longer life. I'm thinking I guess of a kind of Kahn Academy piece slipped in with the forecast and then identified in a data base.
    It would be more interesting to me to see your face during the broadcast to pick up on your very strong visual expressions. Good Luck

  31. Great. I like the educational twist that you add. And no, I detected no real change in your voice. I like being able to see the images and associate your comments with what I see on the map.

  32. Love the you tube forecast!
    I will definitely watch.

  33. Love the YouTube video. Suggest you make it at least a weekly podcast we can subscribe to. Thank you Cliff!

  34. Thanks Cliff this way of doing the forcast was great. Yes keep it up.

  35. Yes,

    This is a good format.


  36. I really like the You Tube presentation! You have a wonderful voice and the added visuals are very informative. I rarely listen to NPR anymore because I can't stand the current state of political discussion so I hadn't heard your show in a long time. As a gardener and ferry commuter, I am very interested in the forecast and as a scientist, I''m interested in the weather and how it works. The webcast will give an added dimension to your weather discussions. I'm very disappointed in KUOW and I signed the petition but you don't need them.

  37. I really enjoyed it. I don't listen to radio because audio-only leaves me unfocused. Having video is far better for me (in other words, keep this up even if you return to KUOW!)

    A couple of comments:
    I like seeing you navigating around. Over time, that will help me find the same resources you are using.

    When you're talking about the forecast, it would helpful if you used days and dates rather than "today" "tomorrow". That video will live on YouTube for a while.

  38. Is there a way you could make it available for Podcast? Maybe you already can and I missed it. thanks!

  39. The YouTube format is great, Cliff. Having voice and visuals really helps. Radio is ok, this is even better. Thanks!

  40. Cliff,

    I am definitely onboard with the video format. One large advantage of this delivery vehicle is that it allows your viewers to watch when they have time to. I, for one, never heard you on KUOW because the time just didn't work for me.

    In addition to that, your ability to use graphics to get your point across will be very useful!


Please make sure your comments are civil. Name calling and personal attacks are not appropriate.

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