January 30, 2012

Destruction Hits Two Sacred Weather Locations

I was worried last week that when I revealed the secrets of the Devil's Weather Triangle near Napavine that some of the weather deities would be displeased.  Such are the risks I take for this blog.  Unfortunately, my fears were realized and two of the most sacred weather sites of the Northwest have been struck and damaged by sudden and unexpected severe weather.  Not strong enough to destroy them, but enough to deliver a message.  This can not be consider a coincidence.

My Napavine Triangle blog went out late Tuesday, and by Thursday morning a terrible fate struck my favorite weather-themed seafood restaurant:  Ivar's Mukilteo landing.  A strong westerly wind surge 

pushed down the Strait of Juan de Fuca early Thursday morning, and the combination of large wind-driven waves and high tide resulted in strong wave action pushing under the restaurant.  The water shoved the floor of the bar up by 8 inches and water surged upward through the unlatched hatch in the floor (see image).  A geyser hit the ceiling, inundating Ivar's pride with brine and blowing out a window.  This happened around 5 AM in the morning, according Bob Donegan, CEO of Ivar's.  Fortunately, a maintenance worker was in the restaurant at the time, and at considerable personal peril, closed and locked the hatch during a lull in the waves.  He deserves a years worth of chowder.  A KOMO-TV story and video can be accessed by clicking on the image.


Using considerable resources, Ivar's brought in a large team to repair and dry the restaurant and on Friday it reopened, to the relief of many.  As an aside, the ferry Cathlamet came in to the dock around 5:55 AM and the captain (Torger Skolman--I AM NOT MAKING UP THIS NAME) had to run the engines at half speed ahead in the dock to keep the ship form heaving in the slip and popping the auto apron off the car deck.  A piling contractor in Everett Harbor measured gusts to 47 mph.

    As many of you know, this restaurant was destroyed in another (and stronger) westerly wind surge through the Strait in October 2003.   For this week's event, we started with relatively high tides (see tide table below), with the peak around 7 AM.

On Thursday morning, a low pressure system moved eastward over southern B.C., resulting in a large pressure difference building down the Strait (rising to about 6 hPa between Quillayute and Bellingham by 3 AM, and nearly as high at 4 AM).  Air accelerated down the Strait, producing strong westerly winds over this gap and immediately downstream (see wind plot at 4 AM below).   So with strong

winds building the waves, relatively high tides, and northwesterly winds pushing water towards the restaurant, Ivar's Mukilteo Landing restaurant was in Neptune's crosshairs.

But I was still worried.  Was the sacrifice of Ivar's enough to placate the anger of the weather gods?  Would they take on my most cherished weather site, the Langley Hill radar?  The answer came quickly.
The Langley Hill Radar: Exposed and vulnerable
 On Saturday morning, the radar showed a line of intense precipitation approaching the coast (see image at 2:35 AM, 9:53 UTC).  Reds indicate very intense precipitation;  such precipitation rates are often associated with thunderstorms.

Sure enough the U.S. lightning observation network (which can determine the location of lightning strikes by the electromagnetic radiation being emitted by them) indicated a line of lightning strikes associated with the strong radar echos (see below, for half hour ending 2:30 AM)

As the band of high precipitation and lightning passed over the Langley Hill site, the radar ceased to function, and was taken out of service for several hours until National Weather Service personnel could restore its function.   A taste for the intensity of the lightning could be sampled by this wonderful image from Greg Johnson's webcam near Hansville (see below) at 1:36 AM.

I suspect there is only one way to stop the meteorological carnage: we must place some sort of sacrificial offering at the top of the Langley Hill tower.  But what?  Or whom?

3 PM Monday Update:  KING-5 Jim Forman is now leading the polls for the great honor of appeasing the weather gods.  With the parka, of course!

Weather Blogs Must Be Stopped!


  1. As to your sacrifice, you may find some guidance from this successful appeal to the sky god in 2007:


  2. "...but we've certainly seen some of the strongest winds this year. Reporting live from Ocean Shores, Jim Foreman, KING f-- ZZZZAPPP!"

  3. Ivar's should have rebuilt a couple of feet higher above the pilings...

  4. What are the +- on the lightning strike chart?

    The polarity of the discharge? On what physical principle would that be determined?

  5. I recommend that we as a whole sacrifice none other than Jim Foreman at the base of KGLX IMMEDIATELY, he is the only one who will appease the Pacific Northwest weather God ( Whom I am certain is a Woman )

  6. In that same blow our Sandy Point community on Whidbey took a beating too. We're a point near Langley with one side facing East and the other North. It's usually the Southerly that slams the East side, as was the case the day before Thanksgiving this year. This time the Northerly came right down Saratoga on a high tide and hammered the North facing beach, flooding yards, trashing decks and tossing around everything can could move, firewood, boats, driftwood, furniture. Then it took a big part of the beach with it when it left. Wow.

  7. Thankfully the Ivars maintenance guy knew how to keep clam.

  8. Cliff, You need to upscale you food tastes. Ivar's...fantastic a decade ago, now, not so much. Not to mention the grease, its bland and tasteless. Maybe this was not a threat from the weather gods, but a suggestion that you find more fresh, local, well prepared food to munch upon and become your "favorite"?

  9. How about a stack of "discovery math" books piled at the top of storm king for a sacrifice? Put them to a meaningful use for once.

  10. Cliff, One of your most humorous blogs posts in a while! Maybe the weather gods like Arnie's (just a couple of blocks up the hill) better?

    If we need to sacrifice, I'm not sure it will be that easy to find a virgin. Maybe we could just offer up an old weather station... On the other hand, I did like the Jim Foreman idea. Maybe he's a virgin?

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. Can you tell the weather God's to take a visit to Silverton Oregon please?

  13. See this link for a nice time-lapse sequence of the silver-thaw in the Columbia Gorge in recent days: http://vimeo.com/35921920 Bet some of your readers would be interested.

  14. Only one offering will appease; A Langley Hill Dome full of clam chowder...

  15. I can't muster any sympathy for the restaurant, or for the sand-buried houses in a previous post. They built on the ocean, so they have to expect oceany things like tides and sand to happen.

    I just hope my home insurance won't go up because of these folks who deliberately court disaster.

  16. Cliff, do you know where I could download hourly wind speed vs direction data from the WSDOT Mukilteo ferry terminal anemometer? I'm looking to do some wind speed vs direction studies for a nearby site.



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

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