December 15, 2011


 The Driest First Half of December in Seattle History!

Extremes of any type are interesting and right now we are in the midst of an unusual December drought.   At Sea-Tac Airport as of Wednesday night we had only gotten .03 inches so far this month, 2.51 inches BELOW normal.  Spokane has had .02 inches, 1.09 inches below normal.
Checking out the record at Sea-Tac, it appears that we have experienced the DRIEST FIRST TWO WEEKS ON RECORD at that site.  Wow.

Perhaps the best way to appreciate the situation is with maps showing the percent of normal rain over the past 14 days.  Reddish colors indicate less than 25% of normal.  Most of the west is red!  And a great deal of the West had less than 5% of normal for the past two weeks.

 Or you can look at the departure from normal precipitation over the period (see below).  We are down more than two inches over the entire western side of the Cascade, with far larger deficits in the mountains.

There is some light rain this morning, but that won't be enough to change the story much.  By 7 AM Sea-Tac has received only .02 inches and the Langley radar shows nothing offshore.  The problem, of course, is the extraordinarily persistent ridge over the eastern Pacific....and though ridge is weakening a bit (allowing some weak and splitting systems to influence us), it should still be in place for a while.

The other side of the coin is that we have been unusually cold... here is the difference of the maximum temperature from normal for the past two weeks...virtually all of Washington State except the Cascades and the eastern slopes are well below normal (by 3-6F).  Some folks are claiming we will have the driest or coldest December on record....I think they are premature.....but the first half has certainly been unusual, and a contradiction to at least one expectation of La Nina, during which entire winter season is usually wetter than normal.

My Lost Dog:   There have been several more reports of my dog in Mountlake Terrace...if you live up there and see her, please let us know RIGHT AWAY! (contact information at the right).  She has been living as a wild animal for nearly three months now.  Either someone has to take her in and call us, or we need a fresh report to rush up there immediately.  Of course, we have been searching ourselves a great deal.  An issue is the town of Mountlake Terrace, which has been tearing down our signs even when they are on private property. 


  1. As much as I disliked last winter, spring, and early "summer" (if you can call it that) due to the rain, I must say now that I miss it. I'd love to see at least rain, if not snow, falling around here and in the mountains right now.

    Just goes to show that monotonous weather, no matter what it does, can get really tiring, at least for me.

  2. The reason for this is that I just bought new skis. According I expect all snow to be gone by the time we get some holiday time to go use them. Expect huge plumes of Hawaiian moisture to sweep in and wash it all away.

  3. The Good News: I did not need rain gear while putting up Christmas decorations. The Bad News: The spawning Chum salmon in my creek are not going to fare very well unless we get rain soon

  4. Well the extended outlook team still has faith in La Nina to have vengeance in January.

    They also had the same for this month. I wonder what the probability was to have "so called" the dice loaded for above normal precip but ends up perhaps driest on record.

  5. Down here is Chehalis area, we have a fairly large and deep pond which normally fills up to overflow pipe this time of year. It briefly got close last month, but is down again. No creek or surface water other than rain.

  6. Cliff,

    So sorry your little dog is still missing. I have been checking Craig's list regularly for any sightings of Leah. You should continue to post on CL to keep her photo out in the public eye. So frustrating that MT keeps tearing down your signs. Can you put up signs in public areas like libraries, stores, gas stations, etc. Hopefully you will have her back for Christmas. Good luck.

  7. Cliff --- it really has been a really weird year in general for weather. I'm beginning to wonder what is really happening to this Earth? Here in Milwaukee, we've had < 1" of snow thus far, 50's for high temperatures in December, wild flooding and warm temperatures this past summer, etc. What's next? Some thundersnow? Check out my article about thundersnow if you are interested?

  8. Yes, as I'm guessing Elmer was alluding to, the CPC has January (and actually all the way through March) looking like classic La Nina in the Pacific NW. But those same folks have the rest of December remaining pretty dry. I hope they're consistently correct this time instead of the weather continuing "consistent" into January . . .

  9. Well its the irony you mentioned earlier, but you stated one half of La Nina has been a no show. But the other half is even more silly.

    I'm sure they factor La Nina to be cooler than normal because of the usual winter long inversion lol. That would be like me using this months data to prove global warming is a hoax.

    I personally feel if you took the air temperature at every mb height. WA, the entire US, maybe even all of North America, it would be the warmest on record. The whole country is feeling the same pain. Except of coarse Arizona, New Mexico, Arkanasas. The usual snowbound areas.

  10. I really hope you get your Leah pup home and safe soon.

    Beginning to think a keister full of buckshot might help educate some Mountlake Terrace city twits as to the concept of private property...

    Good luck, Dr, Mass.

  11. @cliff " An issue is the town of Mountlake Terrace, which has been tearing down our signs even when they are on private property..." yeah, i used to work up in the northwest corner of montlake terrace. and drove thru it everyday. they are their own little kingdom up there. a cop even told me: "we have no tolerance for outsiders and their troubles" as he gave me a ticket for 37 mph in a 35 zone. hope you find your dog.

  12. so sorry about your dog. why don't you post notices on dog club sites and yahoo user groups. if you give me enough information, i'll post on the user group list for my agility club.

  13. Great! We finally get that really cool radar so we can better predict rainfall totals as storms approach and now we're in a ”mini~drought”! I bet no one predicted that! But seriously, Cliff, are we doomed to have another boring and mild winter, followed by no spring and summer, yet again? This is eerily close to last year when we had wild weather before Thanksgiving then Ms. La Nina completely peetered out (as far as stormy, snowy, cold goes). Please say you see a storm coming soon!

  14. I'm with those who say monotonous weather of any kind gets, well, monotonous. As someone else said, it's all too reminiscent of last winter and duller than dull to boot. Although, I'm reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's "The Long Winter" aloud to my younger children just now, and I'll take *this* over *that*!


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