November 02, 2011

Mamma Mia! That's a Nice Front!

Some nights are better than other for weather lovers, and tonight was a good one, with the strongest front of the fall moving through the region.

The new Langley Hill radar made it very clear that the approaching front was worth of some respect, with an extensive area of moderate and heavy rain. In the old days, we really would not have known this.

And we could savor the front as it made landfall and moved across the western lowlands.

Precipitation totals over the central and southern Sound were quite respectable, as shown the Seattle Rainwatch: .25-1 inch in many locations. Mayor McGinn introduced Rainwatch this week and it sent out warnings before the event.
Seattle Rainwatch 24-h totals ending around 9 PM Wed.
And the winds.... on the coast and over the eastern Strait, the winds gusted to 40-55 mph, while here in the lowlands, winds hit 30-35 mph, particularly over the water.   Here is a plot of the wind gusts at Destruction Is, off the central WA coast---gust to 49 knots....56 mph.  More than many folks saw for "Hurricane" Irene in NY and New England..

The strong, turbulent winds picked up the prodigiously falling leaves to create quite a spectacular scene in my neighborhood.  Driving rain, gusting, roaring winds, a torrent of leaves--folks, it doesn't get better than this.   And to frost the cake, during the next few hours light snow will fall in the mountains above roughly 3000 ft.

Northwest storm season has begun.

Finally, here is a marvelous video of today's show, starting with dense fog this morning that surges in and out, then clearing skies, followed by lowering cloud decks from the approaching front, and then heavy rain. Watch the speed of the clouds...the atmosphere goes into warp drive later in the day:

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Thursday Update: Snow in the Passes

No skiing....yet.


  1. It was a beauty, absolutely Cliff! I tuned in to the UW radar map late this afternoon and enjoyed watching that puppy roll in. It's great comparing radar to my webcams pointed to the southwest out in Tokeland:

    It certainly got gusty on my walk home from work about 5:30pm. Looks like Portland's getting hammered now! Thanks, as always, for your insight!

  2. I am itching to get to the beach for a good storm watch.

    I am hoping Langley Hill will allow for some good "Hit the Beach" alerts

  3. Warp drive indeed. It was quite the revelation to check the radar early in the afternoon and see that powerful front coming in offshore.

  4. I can't wait to see a huge windstorm come in on the Langley Hill radar! Ahhhh!!!!

  5. I saw that front approaching and booked it for home right at 5pm. I managed to ride my bicycle right at the front edge for the whole 16 miles heading East. 15 minutes after I got inside it went from light rain to downpour.

    Gotta love that new radar unit!

  6. For the 36,000 at the Sounders games on Wednesday, the front crossing was perfectly aligned with game time. Great soccer weather.

  7. Cliff, I think you have already answered this question, but I couldnt find any specific references to it. The question is whether or not our seattle and langley w88 radars are operation in dual polarization mode yet, and if not when is that upgrade scheduled for. Could you also tell us if the appearance of the radar images on the noaa site will change as a result of this?
    Thanks Much

  8. Unlike GaryP I ended up biking home from work during the height of the storm, mostly along Burke-Gilman. Awesome experience and worth it, even with gear that took 24 hours to dry out!


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