January 31, 2015

Supersize Superbowl Storm and the Most Amazing Fog Picture I Have Ever Seen

Today is amazing weather picture day.

You want to see a HUGE storm that covers much of the North Pacific?  Here is an infrared satellite picture at 10 AM PST today.   The center of the low center is in the middle of swirling clouds south of the Aleutians, with the associated front extending to the Pacific Northwest.

Here is the 6-h WRF forecast verifying the same time (solid lines are isobars, lines of constant pressure, shading is temperature).  Wow..that is a BIG storm and a very deep one, with the central pressure of 956 HPa.

The forecast wind gusts at 7 AM this morning are scary, exceeding 70 knots (81 mph).

Big storm with strong winds means big waves.  Here is the forecast for the same time  (7 AM)  from the NOAA Wavewatch III system.  Waves at that time were getting to 11 meters (36 feet).

And now the most amazing fog-related picture I have ever seen, courtesy of  Shari Bradbury, a local professional photographer (her website is here).  This image was taken in downtown Seattle yesterday (Friday) around 9:05 AM.   You can hardly believe it is genuine.  Photoshop heaven?   I think it is real...what do you think is happening?

My theory is that we had some broken fog.   Sun was getting  in and reflecting off the glass of the tall building (the Russell Investment Center) and then illuminating the fog.  The structure of the illumination of the fog reflected the windows and variations of that side of the building.

Here are some other pictures of the building, you can see why two areas of light come off the building (with less windows in the center) and that the building is highly reflective.

There have been some other strange optical effects associated with this building, one of which would warm the heart of any Seattle resident:


The Northwest Weather Workshop, the major annual meeting for those interested in Northwest weather, will take place February 27-28th in Seattle at the NOAA Sand Point Facility.

The draft agenda (which will change) is found here.

Registration is required.  For more information about the meeting and online registration, go to the meeting website.


  1. I work in that building (Russel Investments Building) and we got some pretty crazy light around 5:30pm when the fog/clouds were doing funky things with the very direct low-angle sunlight all around us. Some coworkers were taking pictures of glare from buildings we couldn't see through the thick fog -- just a blanket of grey fog with shiny white spots occasionally shining through. Anyway, kind of cool to see it all from another angle.

  2. I worked in the Union Station offices for a few years. A couple of mornings I saw something like this looking north up 4th Avenue toward Columbia Center. It was when the sun was just beginniing to burn off the morning fog which is seasonally quite dense. The time I viewed this there was still fog at ground level (I was on the 4th floor) so it looked like the window reflections were floating in the sky! Then the fog disappeared and the building was revealed. At the time I wished I had a camera (it was the days before good camera phones). My coworkers did stop and stare in wonder, though!

  3. So when and where is this Superstorm going to land? Are we going to be impacted?

  4. I saw a fog effect very much like that off the Westin building in late afternoon on Friday.

  5. Aaaah, which way is that huge storm headed, anyhow?

    My trees are cringing at the very idea.

  6. I saw this just before 9am from 99 and was stunned. Wished I hadn't been driving. Managed to get a quick pic but nothing like these. Thanks for sharing

  7. I saw the effect of that building on Friday as I was out for a coffee break. It was pretty neat.

  8. It is so interesting to see how man made buildings affect local climates. I found this one in London to be interesting....http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/09/03/218536265/death-ray-ii-london-building-reportedly-roasts-cars

  9. It also appears to be vaporizing the fog in addition!

    And it makes sense...suntan anyone?

    The fog cuts off right there.

    That had to have looked intense from the inside of the building facing the Sun.



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