November 15, 2011

Snow, Wind, and Progess in Seattle

It is a funny thing about the weather...when things get interesting EVERYTHING seems to happen at once.  Or let me put it this way.  Sometimes there are ingredients for a major explosion laying around...the fuse, the matches, the explosives.   The question is whether they will all come together to produce the big bang.  Explosion or not, a lot is going to happen during the next few days! 

The last few days have been colder than normal (see figure) and ironically the first two weeks of November has been considerably drier than normal (by about two inches here in Seattle).  That will change.
Red lines show average high, blue lines average low
You are about to experience a weather roller coaster.  Tomorrow, a strong warm front will move up the coast (see surface chart) and before it passes powerful southeasterly winds (sustained 30-50 mph with gust far higher) will strike the Vancouver Island coast. (see wind graphic) and strong southeasterlies will strike the waterways of NW Washington (30-40 mph gusts).

This warm front and its associated low will bring heavy precipitation to the region...rain below 2000 ft and snow...lots of it.. in the mountains.  Here are the predictions for snowfall during the the next two 24h periods:

We are talking about the potential for several feet in the mountains and significant snow on the eastern slopes of the Cascades and northeast Washington (produced by easterly upslope flow as the front and low approach).  Travel in the passes could be problematic...especially the higher ones.  Prediction:  some of the ski areas will be open for Thanksgiving.

But then we get to the fun part.  The warm front moves through, followed by a cold front.  Cooler air moves in.   The low center moves southward to the southwest top of Washington and cool air is drawn in through the Fraser River Valley.  Some of it strikes the Olympics around Sequim, producing some light snow.   (see figure).

This is getting close to the western Washington snow pattern except for two important issues:  there is little or no precipitation by this point due to lack of upper level support...maybe a few showers--yes even snow showers.  And the air is not quite cold enough to guarantee snow.   But remember what I said about explosives....a lot of the ingredients are in the vicinity, if the evolution is a bit different than could get interesting.

Seattle School Board Victories

   The Seattle School board race faced incumbents, who supported very poor math textbooks and who were extraordinarily uncurious about the illicit and wasteful activities in the district, against some excellent challengers.  Two days ago, one of the challengers--Marty McLaren--was declared the victor by her opponent.  Today, Sharon Peaslee moved ahead of incumbent Peter Maier and it is clear that she will win.  This is an extraordinary victory for Seattle's kids and the city in general.  A game changer.  Both Sharon and Marty support world-class math instruction that will allow our kids to be competitive with student in Singapore, Finland, and other top education countries.  They both prize the opinion of parents and the community--opinions the incumbents have ignored.  Sharon and Marty are not in "blame the teacher" mode that is so popular among the incumbents and their monied allies from the eastside.  They will ask questions and will want to take a careful look at the "books". These new school board members, plus continuing members that have shown a willingness to listen to the community, can promote a new direction for Seattle Schools, and I trust a quick exit for the current mediocre Acting Superintendent Susan Enfield, who has made one serious error after another.   The Seattle Times has played a very negative role in this race--supporting the incumbents because they were "professional" and because they knew where the problems were (since they caused them!).  The ST even had an editorial complaining when one of the challengers won and blamed it on "the unions."  and crowed that Peter Maier handily beat his challenger.   I have been embarrassed for the ST and hope they rethink their shallow and uninformed editorial approach to the Seattle Schools--the community deserves better, much better.

PS:  It is fascinating the difference between the early and later voters in this race.  Later voters broke overwhelming for the challengers.  Why?   The last few weeks brought headline and headline describing illegal and ill-considered actions in the district.  The challengers worked very hard to get their message across.  And perhaps the early voters were retired or disengaged folks that follow the recommendations of the ST (a bad idea!), while many of the later voters were busy parents who knew what REALLY was happening in the district.

Sharon Peaslee
Marty McLaren


  1. I'm hoping the models change the weekend system to drop closer to us. They all been consistant of it being futher offshore into CA. But that could be our best chance of widespread snow.

  2. Some of us "retired" voters supported the challengers also -- we're not all disengaged!

  3. Cliff,

    I worked "in the district" for six years. New Board Members mean nothing.

    You may get what you want. You're educated, white and economically advantaged.

    But what others need they will not get. Competitive Math scores will not solve the issues our country faces, nor will help the majority of students in Seattle Public Schools.

    Thanks for the Weather info, THAT is interesting.

  4. Yep, my father, a retired aerodynamics engineer, had plenty to say about the poor state of math education throughout his retirement...I remember him laboring to teach me practical ways to do division back in the day when some newfangled New Math program was chewing on our school district. Retirees have seen decades of the pendulum swinging between one math program and another!

  5. jno62

    Regarding competitive math scores, India and China disagree with you. They are not white, and many of their citizenry is hardly economically advantaged.

    We have all had our experiences that shape our opinions. But you have to be careful not to become a prisoner to those experiences and to the past.

    As to the weather, meh. So far it's been a relatively blah November and I don't see much in the charts that that is going to change outside of a little flirtation with a few flakes this weekend.

  6. jno62, this board will select the next superintendent. That will mean something.

  7. What was up with The Stranger's attacks on Buetow? She is squarely on the right side of the math issue, as well as the need for community input and hands-on director leadership. I know you supported her in her race against lackluster Harium. Curious as you know something about media entity attacks. ;-)

    And would you support Martin and Buetow in 4 years? I've already heard that both said they will run again. Personally, I am not that thrilled with the election results. I wanted all 4 incumbents gone.

  8. Can we please talk about the weather And NOT schools, I understand the need for better education more specifically math but when a weather blog is intertwined with education notes I find it very distracting when trying to find info relevant to the blog post.

  9. oh yeah! The start of my NWS pet peeve season. The liberal and overuse of winter weather warnings.

    This tradition started a couple years ago at CWU. I noticed a winter full of advisories and warnings, but I'd always wake up to a dusting, maybe an inch of snow so many times. I kept scratching my head.

    So now I keep track of snowfall amounts (highlighted situations) of forecasted and actual. Today range was 3-7 to 2-4 inches. Just measured 2.5cm. Off to a bad start.

  10. Certainly interesting weather this afternoon. The wind is blowing hard enough to send up large plumes of sea spray once again on Rosario Strait. I don't know what the wind speed threshold needs to be for that to happen.

  11. You forgot to add Rain to your title because it really did pour. I live by Anacortes and at about 9:50 Wednesday night when the red went over us on the radar it rained like I had never seen it before. My weather station recorded the rate as 12.5 inches an hour for about 20 seconds and we got one tenth of an inch in about a minute.

    It was the hardest rain I had ever seen and standing out in it I got soaked within a few seconds. For us in the western edge of the rainshadow where we barely got any rain today it put on a real show after dark.

  12. There was a pretty fun squall in the north sound right around 22:00pm wed night. I havent seen it rain like that for a long time and it was blowing a good 40 knots. Its pretty visible on the NW radar loop.

  13. bosaanova, how about you finding a better weather blog then you will not have to come here and get distracted. How much effort in writing blogs and other volunteer work have YOU done to feel right to criticize some other person who does so much for us all?

  14. We had some really nasty SE winds in Sequim Bay yesterday, as forecasted. I saw 35 knots at my boat several times. And last night a touch of rain and this morning some gorgeously sunny snow showers. Rainbows are nice, but snow in the bright sunshine is quite novel and beautiful.

    I was warching the precip on the radar parting last night (the Sequim rainshadow was alive and well), with just some light stuff that finally managed to overwhelm the shadow and give a few sprinkles, and then this morning's snow dusting (our house is at 1200 feet).

    November seems to be slowly drifting into winter without any drama and lots of sunshine. I like it this way.

    John M

  15. Talk about crazy weather...thought you might like to see this.

    I took it this morning in Port Townsend.

    Love your blog by the way. As a newcomer to the area it helps a lot to get a grip on the crazy weather out here.

  16. Been playing around with future cast and it shows 3-6 of snow by friday am in the northgate area.Any chance of this happening have the forcast changed? All sites i"ve looked at still reporting no snow for western wa least not much more then a dusting.

  17. I read your comment about early voters being retired and disengaged, and it just made my jaw drop. Have you ever heard of the term ageism? May you live long enough to experience it. When you do, it's going to REALLY set you off. Believe me.

    Apologies to your readership are in order!


    A LATE voter...
    VERY MUCH engaged!!!

  18. Hope is a good breakfast, but a bad supper

  19. Cliff,
    I just read the forecast discussion and couldn't help but notice the talk of a monster storm that *may* make it's way to us Monday night- and endure through Tuesday night. I also noticed the winds, forecasted for 70-80 knots at the coast, were forecast for 850mb. My first question is what would that wind translate to at the surface, and if that forecast comes to fruition, wouldn't that be quite similar to the December 07 storm? Reading between the lines makes me think this could be an epic event- am I reading too much into this? Thank you, sir!

  20. Well it's snowing North of Bellingham up into Canada.

    By the way Cliff what happened to the radar:

    Why is the resolution so crappy now? What changed, and can it be changed back? It was far better resolution and color before. Whatever is running now on this page is terrible. Please fix it!


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

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