February 02, 2014

Seahawks, Groundhogs, and Cold

First, lets consider the most important issue first: Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today, which means 6 more weeks of winter.   This result is consistent with seasonal climate models, such as the NOAA Climate Forecast System Model, which suggest that there will be some persistence to dry/warm/west with cold east pattern we have seen.  The idea of his seeing his shadow implying cool temperatures makes some sense, since that would imply high pressure and cold air is over the East Coast.

Seattle is on pins and needles about the Seahawks game, and for good reason.  The forecast situation is consistent with what was predicted a few days ago.

Today is relatively mild over East Rutherford, NJ with highs getting up into the higher 40s.  A frontal zone is slowly approaching the Super  Bowl site (see image), where it is now partly cloudy.

As shown by the NWS forecast, which I think is quite reasonable, the game will start (6:30 PM) in the lower to mid-forties (under clouds), with cooling to around 37-38F by the end (top panel has temp-red, wind chill -green, dew point-blue, middle panel has wind, lower panel has prob of precip-brown). Very much Seattle-like conditions that will make the Seahawks feel comfortable. Winds from the north at 5-10 mph.
 The big question is precipitation....this is going to be close.  The latest NOAA Rapid Refresh Model runs (they run the model every hour using all available regional observations) suggest that light precipitation...probably rain..will get there at the very end of the game.  The RAP simulated radar image for 7 PM shows dry conditions over MetLife stadium

Here the predicted radar image for midnight--some light showers have reached the venue.

The threat of rain will surely unnerve the Broncos, considering the arid environment for which they are accustomed.

Finally, the Northwest is about to enter a cold period that will be quite dry in Washington.  The surface chart of Tuesday morning says it all (purples are very cold temps).  Over Washington expect offshore (easterly) flow, which ensures sun and little precipitation.  Our high temperatures will ONLY get into the mid-30s!

A meteorological irony is that Washington's cold and sun  gives Oregon and California a chance for precipitation as the frontal zone moves southward.   Take a look at the precipitation for the next 72 hr and the 72h after that.  First, the precipitation through Wednesday at 4 AM.  Oregon gets wet (snow in the mountains there!) and the northern Rockies do very well.  Even CA getting something...but not much.
The next 72 h is dry for Washington and Oregon, but thankfully California get more significant precipitation.  Those poor devils need every drop
And there is much I haven't talked about....like the strong NE winds that will hit Bellingham and NW Washington!   The wind chills there will be serious.  And don't forget the potential western Washington snowstorm on Saturday!


  1. Very exciting! Saw the storm potential in the morning run of the uw wrf. Looks like it could be fairly widespread

  2. I must admit - I was letting the relatively mild recent temperatures sway me into thinking about what early season veggies I might try to sneak in a few weeks early! But as your forecast for the coming week shows, February's a bit dicey for that... oh well.

    March is just around the corner though!

  3. Meh. Really dislike the cold, dry winds ~ they're brutal up here, north of B'ham.

    My son at WSU said it's dumping snow over in Pullman. Cliff, where does that moisture come from when we're so dry over here…?

  4. Fraser outflow winds are really raging from the north here in Bainbridge at 2pm. Currently 36 degrees; was 37 a few hours ago. Don't think we'll see 40 today... or for the rest of the week.

    Now the only question is: are we going to have a second arctic blast in one winter that's a complete bust for snow? Sure hope not.

  5. Cliff,

    Is this another case of the European model being superior to the American model?

  6. we've had a nice little bit of snow in Kingston early (Tuesday) afternoon. No accumulation. It was good to see the Kitsap County trucks out treating the hilly roads this morning in anticipation of frost to come.

  7. Off and on little snow flurries in Kingston this (Tuesday) afternoon. We were happy to see Kitsap County road crews treating the hilly roads for possible icy conditions.


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