October 31, 2015

Serious Weather

During major weather events like this, everything seems to happen at once.  Consider the Saturday AM National Service warming map for our region (see below).   We have flood warnings, gale warnings, flood watches, winter storm watch (snow), small craft advisories, and more!

The rain totals over the last 24 hr (ending 7AM Saturday) have been substantial, with some mountain locations getting over 4 inches (see map below which shows locations that received over 1.5 inches)

Yesterday afternoon an extraordinary Puget Sound Convergence Zone set up around Everett (see radar image below fro 1:13 PM), with intense rain brings .5 to 1.2 inches in an hour to some locations in the lowlands.  As described in previous blogs, the Puget Sound CZ is the result of air converging on the leeside of the Olympics.

A number of major western WA rivers are surging now towards flood stage, as illustrated by the Snoqualmie near Carnation (below).  And water worries for Seattle are rapidly disappearing as the Chester Morse and Tolt reservoirs go into rapid refill mode.

And there were strong winds with this event (see map of wind gusts over the past 24 h).  Note particularly strong westerly winds on the eastern slopes of the Cascades as the flow accelerated down the lee slopes of the Cascades.   Winds were gusting to 60-80 mph on exposed peaks in the Cascades.

The next surge of rain is moving in now, something well illustrated by the latest (7:15 AM) radar image

There is plenty for precipitation to come, as shown by the UW WRF forecast for the 72h period starting 5 AM this morning.   You will notice the huge contrasts between the rain shadow region east of the Olympics, mountains of Vancouver Is, and Cascades and the windward sides of the barriers.

And there will be be the high-country snow....but that will be tomorrow's story....


  1. 92mph gusts at Mission Ridge at noon on Friday.

  2. Cliff,
    Your first illustration (warming map) has several buoys shown. On some calmer day, I would love it if you could cover the network of buoys which provide some of our weather data. 'Maybe a picture of one or two, info on power source(s), lighting, data provided, and data communication details. Perhaps you could provide your current overall take on the importance (or non-importance) of these data on our modern weather forecasting and in our understanding of weather dynamics.

    Thanks again for the obvious effort that you put into educating us all!

  3. Easy question most likely, but with a rather large ocean to the left of us and an express of pineapples making its way onshore hour after hour, what stops Texas-sized (or any number of areas from the news--many tend to be in the SW or SE part of the country) rainfall totals from happening in non-mountainous areas of the PNW, especially the coast? Is it merely air and/or water temperature? Note: I'm not referring to hurricane remnants, as what happened in TX recently preceded that.

  4. at least next week looks dry. bring back the sun!

  5. Anybody else noticing how the rain is (at 245pm) literally JUST missing Seattle? The radar shows a massive blob of rain to the south that goes as far north as the southetnmost areas of Seattle. SeaTac will be registering totals considerably higher than what has actually fallen in the city; SeaTac is right in the line of fire and the city is just getting some leftover sprinkles. That may change; I find it interesting how areas so close to each other can have such different conditions.

  6. I wonder if this will be enough to change the drought status.

  7. Wow, looking at the USGS website for Morse reservoir, the water level is up 10 feet in 2 days.



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