Monday, January 16, 2012

Major Snow Event

This is going to be brief...I will provide a more detailed view tonight.

I have just taken a look at the latest (18 UTC) NCEP (NWS) model runs, the U.S. and ECMWF ensembles, and the runs from major modeling centers (UKMET, CMC, etc).  The trend is much more threatening for Wednesday and it appears that we will have a major, highly disruptive snow event.

The big question for days...the question on which the forecast depended on...was where the trough/low pressure would go.  Head north of us, we get perhaps 4-8 inches of snow, followed by a few hours of rain and then the whole thing starts melting.    The snow would start around 3-4 AM on Wednesday AM. This is the best case (if you don't like a crippling snow event)


But some models...some very good models...were taking the low farther south, which would extend the period of snow or prevent a turn over to rain altogether.  The Canadian GEM and UKMET office were going this way.  Then then NWS NAM for the 12 UTC (4 AM) run.   In the 18 UTC run both the NAM and the NWS GFS (normally the best NWS model around her) is taking a more southern route.  And the 15 UTC NWS SREF ensembleis doing the same thing (at least the ensemble mean).  Ok, this is getting a bit techy..sorry. 

The bottom line is that there is a serious threat on Wednesday of 8-15 inches of snow over the region, with a minimal turn over to rain.  The biggest snowstorm in years. Anyway, before anyone goes out and buys a snowblower, lets see what tonight's runs show.  If they continue this trend then Slushmageddon might be replaced by Snowmageddon.   In almost any conceivable case, Wednesday morning is going to be very problematic for travel...I suspect there will be a lot of school cancellations and the like. 

The main roads around Seattle are in very good shape now, but the Wednesday event could dwarf the weekend snow.

More tonight.

More excitement:  My lost dog Leah was just spotted near 64th Ave W & 222nd St SW in Mountlake Terrace.

88 comments:

  1. Yep, I've been seeing some of the same thing, keeping copious amounts of moisture rolling in, but also sucking down major cold air into a major snowstorm going most of Wednesday, and that's after a few more likely inches between now and Tuesday. NOAA and local forecaster looks like they're starting to push back the "change to rain" timing. NOAA is going with Wednesday night, meaning Wednesday is a loss for getting around.

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  2. What do you think accumulations in the North Sound will be like because I have heard that if it stays all snow the North Sound would not get as much precipitation?

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  3. I just looked at the animated satellite view...wow, scary,..keep us posted.

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  4. How exciting for you guys! Is there anything you could tell us for the Portland/Vancouver area?

    We did get about an hour of wind-driven big flakes this afternoon but now it is raining.

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  5. Thanks for this update... sounds like my husband's Thursday morning heart surgery at UW *will* be cancelled. So frustrating!

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  6. Cliff ~ All the other news stations & blogs keep saying the "greater Seattle/Everett/Tacoma area" will be getting all of this snow, and some others say all of Western Washington.... I'm in Eatonville, and we usually warm up faster than anyone else, but is there heavy snow forcast for everyone, or is it going to stay in the Puget Sound area? Sorry, but it gets frustrating that the media forgets that Western Washington covers more area than just the greater Seattle area and north to Bellingham.....Thanks for your blog! I can always count on you for more precise and accurate information.....

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  7. Thanks for the update, I've been waiting to read yours. (Rather then some others that I honestly believe got their degree online by mistake thinking they were just filling out a sweepstake.)

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  8. I keep seeing mention of wind Wednesday too. Hope you can mention in your update this evening.
    Connie

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  9. You have a great blog here Cliff! I just moved from washington DC and was obsessed with the Capitol Weather gang blog that they have out there. I bet they are jealous of this potential "Big One" coming cant wait for more updates!

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  10. what does this mean for us here in chehalis?

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  11. More importantly: have you found your dog yet?

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  12. Any accumulation amounts between now and wed?

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  13. Our kids are far too happy at this news!

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  14. A good 7"+ at 1000 ft on Chuckanut Mountain this afternoon. If the models confirm, we could be nearing 2 feet, by the end of Thursday.

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  15. Yep, it's good to focus on the coming snow. But folks ought to simultaneously prepare for wind, rain and The Big Melt. All this water will need to go somewhere. Remember that storm 12 or 13 years ago, that dumped a foot of snow then immediately began dumping rain? Major flooding everywhere.

    Sand bags are available at a number of Community Centers in Seattle. How's your sump pump working? Do you have a cracked foundation or leaky roof you need to keep an eye on? Are drains and downspouts clear? Are you prepared for power outages? Is your home unoccupied right now, and do you need to arrange for someone to check on it?

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  16. WOOT! Bring it on. 6" on the ground in Snohomish. Waiting for it to pile up.

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  17. I would love to see information specific to the Tacoma area. We always get Seattle's forecast and then wonder what it means for us.

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  18. Looking back at comments posted barely two days ago, seems there may be crow on the menu for those who were so quick to criticize Accuweather and their long-lead prediction of a major winter storm for Seattle in this instance:


    Blogger Cliff Mass Weather Blog said...

    Well...Ilovewinter...that Accuweather "meteorologist" is really confused and clearly inexperienced with NW weather. In general, I would not believe an accuweather forecast...cliff

    January 15, 2012 12:35 AM

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  19. Wow...MORE?? Here in West Oly at 200ft elev. we have 6-8 inches already and it has been snowing hard since 1pm. Glad I stocked up on food at the store this morning... Any more information about wind accompanying this storm would be appreciated

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  20. "highly disruptive snow event" I like the sounds of that.

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  21. YAY LEAH!! Our family has been actively hoping for snow, mostly because we know snow brings your blog traffic and more traffic means more chances of Leah getting found.

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  22. Hope ya get your dog back asap! Thanks for taking the time to update the blog and let us know your thoughts - always love getting the information as it is still developing.

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  23. Bring on the snow, but more importantly I hope Cliff brings his dog home soon. The sightings are really encouraging, hope it is just a matter of time.

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  24. Good luck finding your pup Cliff. I hope she's located and home before long.

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  25. who cares about snow...I'm more excited about the new Leah sighting. Hoping that she is safely home soon.

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  26. go get LEah! Bring her home and feed her all the hamburgers she wants!

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  27. Wow, she is back on the other side of I-5... thank God for fences. Hope you have a tracking dog and a few "eyes" in the area and get her found.

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  28. Go find Leah before the storm really hits!

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  30. She's moving south Cliff, closer to home. I hope you find your girl!

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  31. Sure hope you nab Leah before the snow arrives.

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  32. We really hope you find your dog! That is exciting and promising that she was spotted. GOOD LUCK!!!

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  33. I'm still on the fence whether I believe this will be a major storm wednesday and stick with snow.

    With so much uncertainty between the model runs I have serious doubts.

    Looking more short term, we are suppose to get 3 to 6 inches tonight (Monday Night) in my area (Spanaway). But even then the forecast for that storm seems to be uncertain as time gets closer to the event.

    I've lived here long enough to know that I can't ever 100% trust the forecast for snow events, not even major ones.

    Cliff, you said it yourself last week "Don't believe the hype".

    I'll still believe it when I see it with my own eyes.

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  34. Oh yeah, I forgot about the wind on Wednesday.

    From my personal experience, when we have wind storms we usually don't have rain at the same time.

    If it is indeed really windy on Wednesday that leads me to believe the rain (or snow as the case may be) will be a lot less than predicted.

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  35. Hoping you are reunited with Leah tonight!

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  36. so glad you still have hope for your pup. my cat once went on a 6 month journey and turned back up. and thanks for the info on the weather!

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  37. The world shouldn't stop because we are looking at a record snowfall on Wednesday. Everyone now (thanks to our wonderful Cliff Mass and the National Weather Service among others) has ample warning to get prepared and plan with food, provisions for warmth as needed, and even transportation.

    Hey folks, this is something that most of America experiences in a normal winter. Yet here (in my native Pacific NW), many think it is something that stops the world from spinning -- it doesn't.

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  38. I really hope you find your dog.

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  39. I hope you find your dog... sending positive thoughts your way.

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  40. Stoked! Bring on that orographic snowfall!

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  41. Good luck - I hope the Leah-sighting means you are very close to finally getting her home!

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  42. Do you need to have a big dog hunt? Like having lots of people showing up to look for her? A search and rescue day!

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  43. Good to hear Leah is seeming to find shelter in the cold. Keep the faith!

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  44. Cliff, I just watched King5's Jeff Renner and then looked at NWS 3:30 forecast discussion and it looked like Renner was living in an alternative universe as to Wednesday's forecast. I look forward to your later blog tonight to find out if he's just betting the later model runs will keep him from having to panic the citizenry . . .

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  45. Who cares about the snow, I want to know if the dog sighting leads to anything positive! Cliff, I certainly hope this recent sighting means a well deserved homecoming for Leah. Especially in this cold weather. Thanks for your climate and weather updates.

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  46. Who cares about the snow, I want to know if the dog sighting leads to anything positive! Cliff, I certainly hope this recent sighting means a well deserved homecoming for Leah. Especially in this cold weather. Thanks for your climate and weather updates.

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  47. Thank Good your pup is still being seen. I think I speak for us all when I say we can't wait to read that you've got her bundled up in your arms!
    Isaac

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  48. Glad your Leah has been spotted. I hope she gets back home safe and sound soon.

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  49. I always visit this blog when I want the big picture on weather. Thanks Cliff! And yippee on dog sighting:) I hope she comes home soon.

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  50. Love your work Cliff! Thank you for sharing your gift with us.

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  51. Dr. Mass, I so hope you can find your lost pup and get her home! Thanks for the update, and I'm looking forward to reading more tonight.

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  52. i hope leah makes it through the storm OK!! i'm crossing my fingers that you'll be reunited with her soon!

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  53. What a bad time to have a "doughnut" on my Subaru. Outside of that....SWEEEEEEEET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  54. Hoping you can find Leah soon. My daughter and I have been checking in to see if you've found her yet. She's an 8th grader and has been emailing your latest snow forecasts to all her friends.

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  55. I do hope you get your dog back soon. I'm in Sequim yet I feel your loss and pain. There was never a purer love than that between man and his dog.
    You have been separated too long, it is time for it
    to come to a peaceful end. It will be so, I so will it.. Bill

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  56. Hi Cliff, your weather blog is an invaluable resource for someone who is new to the PNW. Most of all, I hope you get your dog back so you can snuggle up before the snow comes.

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  57. Thanks for you info.. and I hope you are able to find Leah.. good luck!!

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  58. I live two blocks from where Leah was last seen. As a school teacher I have the day off tomorrow so will go looking for her. Will bring treats and a leash.

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  59. I am so happy to hear your dog has been spooted again. It is amazing that she has evaded capture for so long! Hope she gets back to you soon.

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  60. Cliff -

    Thank you for taking the time to let all of us neophytes what to expect. I look at the weather forecast on my homepage... and then I generally pop right over here to get the real scoop. You'ved saved our bacon a couple of times when big storms were forecasted and we were debating the merits of braving the pass.

    Thank you so much, and please keep it up!

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  61. I SO hope you find your dog!! If I was in MT I'd help look.

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  62. I SO hope you find your dog! If I was near MT I'd help look, sending positive thoughts!

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  63. the Wednesday event could dwarf the weekend snow.

    It wouldn't take much for that to happen. I have not a flake on the ground here in Richmond Beach. I'm so bummed!

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  64. I know this has nothing to do with Wednesdays "event", but do you have any input on what the system moving abruptly southward, just shy of Alaska's north shore, may or may not have impact on the system lolling in the Pacific at the moment. It seems as though the jet stream has been affected greatly by the low pressure system we are currently under, but if this arctic mass continues moving as quickly as it is, the potential for another "event" seems certain. I know once it hits landmass, it should slow down, and dissipate greatly, and forecast models can only anticipate what information is relative and on hand... but the way these two systems are behaving (the pacific, and the arctic) I think we may have more than anyone bargained for... http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/satellite/animateweb_e.html?imagetype=satellite&imagename=hrpt_canarc_ir_m_..................jpg&nbimages=1&clf=1

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  65. I'm so happy your dog has been seen. Hope you can find her and bring her home before the big dump!

    I'm polishing up my flying saucer. wooo hoo!

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  66. How did it go with Leah??? That's the crucial question.

    And then, will I be buried alive Wednesday morning on Vashon? That's my second question.

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  67. Cliff, I passed the info about Leah to my homeschool mailing lists and Facebook. Some of the folks on those lists probably live in the Mountlake Terrace area. I'm hoping the best for you.

    I'm not stressing about snow, but you can believe I've stocked up on batteries and brought in wood in case we need to use the fireplace.

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  68. Heavens, Steve, some of the heaviest snowfalls I've seen were at temps above freezing. If you take an ice cube outside, does it melt instantly? No -- and snowflakes falling from cold air into warmer air don't melt instantly either.

    Good news on Leah, Cliff; we're all pulling for that reunion soon.

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  69. Best of luck with finding your puppy Cliff.

    Huge lazy flakes coming down in s. bellingham right now. About 2-3 inches on the ground here, but eastern parts of town have at least 6 inches.

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  70. Cliff this is me. First Snowflake Freakout Lady. Totally.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7zptjhuVe4

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  71. Chiming in on the hopes that Leah will make it home to you. Perhaps the snowfall will lead her to mosey up to someone's door for a handout, or maybe leave tracks to help people find her. She has obviously got some hybrid vigor going on!!

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  72. So glad you found your dog!
    Thanks for all of the great info!

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  73. Hoping you and the dog are reunited very, very soon!

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  74. I really hope you find your dog Cliff!

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  75. I'm all for a find Leah day/weekend - coordinated or adhoc. What's her favorite treat? is she super shy? what can we do if we spot her?

    and, i LOVE your blog. I'm always talking about you. Your balance of insight, education, humor and diversity make me come back regularly. thanks!!

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  76. Who cares about the snow, here's hoping you get your dog back!

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  77. The kids and I are planning on venturing up to the intersection where Leah was last spotted tomorrow morning, bright and early. With hamburger! (and sleds) since Seattle Public Schools are planning on being 2 hours late tomorrow. Can't wait to see if my wee ones can lure her to the car. Meantimes...not seeing any new snow in Lake Ciry. Even at this late hour, all is drippy, slushy, and melting fast! No smell of ozone that precedes Seattle snow. My hunch is that maƱana brings very cold rain.

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  78. Hoping your dog gets home safely before the snow comes in! Thanks for actually informative weather information.

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  79. We need a blog like yours for Eastern WA, especially the Yakima Valley area.

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