October 14, 2011

Indian Summer

In much of the U.S. it is called Indian Summer.  In France the term is St. Martin's Summer, while in eastern Europe Old Ladies Summer and Gypsy Summer are often used.  All of these names describe a warm period in the autumn that follows a period of cool weather-- in fact, some demand a killing frost before the warmth.   Well, we don't get too many killing frosts west of the Cascades in autumn, so the term Indian Summer here is usually reserved for periods in mid-fall when the temperature rise to summer-like levels*.  And we have real shot of this on Tuesday of next week.

Well, let me first document that we have had some cool weather--in fact the last two weeks have generally been cooler than normal, and last night there was a real chill in the air (I know about this personally, I was out searching for my lost dog in Mountlake Terrace).  Here are the temps at Sea-Tac airport compared to the normal highs and lows:
 During the last two weeks only one day had max temps above normal and most were far below.  Today will be another cool one.   But this will change in a big way.

Today (Friday) there will be considerable clouds and some light sprinkles, particularly in the central Cascades.
Saturday will be sunny and warmer...very nice...but you won't mistake it for summer--Indian or otherwise.
Sunday a weak trough will bring cooling and lots of clouds (maybe a bit of sun)

But Monday starts the warm-up and Tuesday it will be in full bloom. Want to see some weather maps? (of course you do!)  Here is the upper level (500 mb) chart for Tuesday morning at 5 AM.  Wow...big ridge over us...and a trough over CA that is working its way north.

Here is the sea level pressure, surface winds, and lower atmosphere temperatures at the same time. Good offshore flow with higher pressure east of the Cascades and lower pressure west of the mountains.  You will notice a low pressure area near the Oregon/CA border.

With offshore flow, there will be virtually no clouds and air will be compressed as it sinks from higher elevations.  Here are the predicted surface (really 2-meter) air temperatures at 2 PM on Tuesday.  Temperatures above 70F over land, particularly on the eastside of western Washington and along the coast, downstream of the Olympics. Expect the warmest temperatures in the foothills...like North Bend and Issaquah. 

Western Washington is warmer than eastern Washington in such situations.

So get your bathing suit ready, Tuesday will be your day.  I suspect this will be our last excursion into the 70s this year...better enjoy it.

* Sequim dropped below freezing on Wednesday night.


  1. "During the last two weeks only one day had max temps above normal and most were far below."

    Yeah, but on the other hand only one night had a min temp below average.

    I think min temps are important because they affect how cold the house becomes at night and often the furnace comes on.

    When I look at that chart, I see few extremes, but basically normal conditions.

  2. Holding good thoughts you find her and bring her home!

  3. Cliff - regarding your pooch - I recommend stapling some flyers to telephone poles and asking to tape them in windows of neighborhood businesses, etc. so that folks in the neighborhood will be alerted even when you're not there.

    Good luck!

  4. Good luck with bringing your poor lost dog home--that's brilliant that you have a tracker dog working on the case. Poor pup, poor family.

  5. where is the dog sleeping.. and i wonder what it's feeding on? i grew up with two toy poodles, and i have a hard time imagining them living on their own...

  6. The most effective missing dog poster I've seen was giant and visible to passing motorists on a busy street. I think they did it on butcher block paper. It had a giant picture of the dog and then a huge phone number. They found the dog. I know this because I had seen the dog earlier in the day and called them to let them know where. I really hope you find your pup this weekend!

  7. Good luck in getting your little dog back.

  8. I would sure like to feel 70 next week. The NWS and WeatherChannel are forecasting low to mid 60s for Tuesday. They do capture the warming trend. I hope Cliff gets this right.

    and hopefully then he'll be home with Leah.

  9. I hope you can find your little dog, good luck to you both.

  10. My thoughts are with you, Cliff. My darling Ginger passed away in June, the only thing I can imagine that could be worse is what your family and Leah have gone through.
    I walked Terrace Creek Park on Monday with a pocketful of treats hoping I'd catch a glimpse of her. Here's hoping today is the day she comes home!

  11. Havent found anyone in Sequim area with a killing frost yet. Where did it drop below freezing on Wed. night?


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