November 06, 2014

Very Strong Front Followed by Strong Winds

The weather radar this morning was amazing and a wonderful example of how much having a coastal radar improves weather prediction around here.  The first image at 4:39 AM (today, Thursday) shows an unusually strong, wide, and well defined band of precipitation associated with the incoming front.  That strong front would have been invisible before the Langley Hill radar (near Hoquiam) was installyed.

 By 6:11 AM, this fast-moving front was moving inland/
 At 7:11 is was reaching Puget Sound
 And by 8:09 AM is was here.

At 7:54 AM, the radar showed a VERY intense band of precipitation (red color) with the actual front.  It was AMAZING.   I was watching from my home and it looked like being in a bathroom shower out there.  But an hour later I biked to work perfectly dry and in the sun.  Weather radar can change your life!

And this afternoon the winds will pick fact this has started.   A modest low is associated with the front and as it moves north of us, the pressure gradient and winds will build.  Here are the sea level pressure forecasts from UW WRF for 10 and 4 PM today.  See how packed the lines (isobars) are as the low passes north of us?  That means strong winds.

As of 11 AM, the strongest winds in the area  over the past 24 h are shown below.  Over 60 mph on the coast.  30-40 mph gusts over Puget Sound, where the winds will increase somewhat between 1-3 PM over the interior of western Washington.

Friday and Saturday should be this is the time for outdoor fun.  Weak front on Sunday.  No snow in the mountains, so you can enjoy a hike (albeit a soggy one).


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  1. At one during the most intense point we were seeing leaves blow in circular directions like we were in the middle of a small cyclone. Amazing weather.

    Then it got beautifully sunny and stayed that way. Like we were in the eye of a storm - in this case, the "Goat Eye" of the storm (google Goat Eyes and you will see the shape of the iris). I just coined this new weather term for here and you are welcome to use it.

  2. This looks interesting:

  3. We had a morning gust of 36 mph SW and then an afternoon gust of 36 mph N. I love the symmetry though it wasn't as strong as I hoped (?) it might be in Bellevue today.

    Cliff, would we have been "caught" off-guard by this storm without the coastal radar, or were there other clues? That sounds dumb, but I wish one of your students could do a project that researched/studied/quantified the improvements to predictions that the coastal radar has brought. My impression is that "bang for the buck" has been fantastic but it would be great to have numbers.

  4. Cliff,
    Just read this on I've always thought most of there journalism pretty good. I'd be interested in you take on this El NiƱo piece.

  5. Tonight's GFS is ONLY producing 40 inches of snow at my Eastern location at the end of the week.


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