November 16, 2015

Wet and windy

We are stuck in the same weather situation---virtually an ANTI-El NINO pattern--with persistent high pressure northeast of Hawaii steering moisture nearly due east over our region (see map).  One system after another is traversing the northern part of the high pressure area, right into us.

Tuesday is going to be a particularly wild day.  On Tuesday, the combination of a low passing through British Columbia and an approaching front will create a very large pressure difference across Washington State (see pressure forecast for 1 PM Tuesday below).

Such a large pressure gradient will produce powerful southerly winds, as illustrated by the forecast wind gusts over western WA shown below. Gusts will exceed 50 knots along the coast and in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  30-50 kt gusts over Puget Sound country, with the higher winds over and near the water.  Even higher winds at and immediately downstream of the higher Cascade peaks.

And heavy rain...   On Tuesday a strong westerly atmospheric river will be making landfall on our area, as shown by the figure below at 7 AM that day (red colors indicate large moisture values).

Lots of moisture, plus strong winds, mean big precipitation totals in our mountains and the 48-h total ending 4 PM Tuesday will not disappoint:  5-10 inches in the Olympics and north Cascades.

Drought talk is no longer appropriate....our water situation, including the levels of our reservoirs, is now in good shape.  During the past two weeks we have received enough water to supply our urban areas for six months.   And I didn't even talk about the modest rain and wind on Monday and the system on late Wednesday.

And for those interested in our snowpack, here are two maps, one this morning and the other two days ago....a major increase in snow!  And it is not over....


  1. Anti El Nino indeed.
    Well, as I'm fond of saying: you can't predict the future!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Dang shame that my Davis Vantage Pro wind gauge quite working a while back! Wonder if any local stores sell the newer Vantage Pro 2??? I live on a hill and fully exposed to the SW and Southerly winds and hate to miss the gusts for a Nov. windstorm. Btw, picked up 4.23" for this weekends event. Pretty impressive considering I had 4.30" for the previous rainstorm. Very happy for the water mgrs.!

  3. How's our old friend The Blob faring with storm after storm mixing up the water?

  4. How much of that 5 to 10 inches in the North Cascades will be snow?

  5. If only that H pressure would shift just a little to the North and West to potentially pull some cooler air our direction. If I'm not mistaken that was similar to the setup in the legendary December of 2008.

  6. I had to move my sailboat from Port Hadlock to Everett (for haul-out) on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. I had a windy night in Mats Mats Bay north of Pt. Ludlow. I was grateful I was in a small harbor for the wind protection! The rain came fairly hard all night- I'd say two inches, as the dinghy was ~1/4 full by morning. But I was lucky Sunday: It was cold but mostly sunny- much to my surprise- I was in a blue hole which seemed to reach from about Lynnwood to at least Port Townsend.

  7. I was looking at video about the first winter storm of the season in the Rockies, called Winter Storm Ajax. Everyone is talking Ajax this and Ajax that.

    This is just remnants of the weather that came us the last few days, coupled with cooler temps.

    When the big storms come in here, we just call them a "very wet period" or whatever. But by the weakened storm gets to the Rockies, it has to have a proper name?

    Why don't these big weather events get named before they get to us? Or do they just figure that rain is our thing up here, so it isn't worth getting excited about?

  8. Cliff,

    I love your blog. Thank you very much for your timely updates. I look forward to them.


  9. We could easily still have a snowpack drought, which matters for summer streamflow, salmon survival and Yakima Basin irrigation. We didn't have a drought last year, we had a snowpack drought that started with full reservoirs that didn't get refilled by melting snow -- and salmon streams that ran dry or nearly so. Then again, we could get a huge snowpack. It will be fun to watch it unfold, more fun if we can ski to the bottom of Alpental.

  10. Drought talk is no longer appropriate....our water situation, including the levels of our reservoirs, is now in good shape.

    Correction. It's no longer appropriate, unless you are a climate alarmist looking to tie local weather phenomena and short term events together to weave a scary narrative on which to build an overreaching redistributive social policy.

  11. I figure if we get 10"+ of rain in December that'll bring us into a "typical" wet winter. That being said, we can get beautiful days in late Jan & February.

  12. Cliff,

    Does it ever ***pi$$*** you off when folks bring their politics into the comment section?

    Discussing the weather is fun, especially with a weather expert such as yourself.

    Darn bummer when some folks have to bring up the distribution of wealth...


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

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