June 14, 2016

Winter in June

It is snowing in the mountains right now and the temperatures aloft are more appropriate for January than mid-June.

Let me "warm up" by showing you the latest cam shots at Mt. Rainier's Paradise Ranger Station at approximately 5500 ft, where temperatures are around freezing and it is snowing.  You want to throw a snowball...no problem.

Or a Hurricane Ridge in the Olympics, at a similar elevation?  Yes, snow is falling.

And Crystal Mountain is a winter wonderland:

Or Stampede Pass, in the central Cascades, at only 4000 ft?   You  guessed it:  its snowing:

Our friends at the Seattle NWS office even have a winter weather advisory for parts of the Cascades, warning of winter-like conditions and 4-8 inches of snow!

The temperatures over us are unusually cold and much more like the typical conditions of January.  I can prove this using the marvelous upper air climatology capability available from the NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center.   Here is the climatology of 500 hPa (about 18,000 ft) temperatures at Quillayute on the Washington Coast.  Red shows daily record highs, blue indicates daily record lows and black is average.  The black dot show this morning's observation.

Today is a virtually tie for the record low for this date, or any date in June.  BELOW NORMAL TEMPS ANYTIME OF THE YEAR.

No...this is not global cooling, just the impact of a very deep trough over the West Coast.

Over the lowlands, it will be a cool, blustery day with convection and thunderstorms.  The latest visible satellite image shows a large fields of cold air with lots of convection ready to move into our region.   Only portions of central Puget Sound, shielded by the Olympics, may escape the showery fun.


   My graduate student, Connor McNicholas has developed a wonderful FREE weather app that collects pressures on Android smartphones and gives you all kinds of valuable weather information.  We believe we can revolutionize weather prediction using dense collections of pressures from smartphones.  We need folks to try this app (and it already has been evaluated by dozens of folks) to ensure it works well.  If you are willing to help, you can get more information and download it here: https://www.cmetwx.com/


  1. there was rain with sleet half an hour ago

  2. I'm really looking forward to trying out this app, but I believe the author needs to make some changes. Even though some larger devices include the proper hardware, it is unavailable for both the Nexus 7 (2013) and Nexus 6P (2015) devices.

    As always, your blog is one of my favourite locations on the internet and I visit knowing I'll always learn something new. Please keep up the great work. We're lucky to have someone as knowledgeable locally in the Puget Sound area, and even more so that you're willing to give so much back. Thank you for all your efforts!

    1. My Nexus 5x was also left out despite having the sensor.

  3. Crystal Mountains web cams http://crystalmountainresort.com/mountain/weather-cams/

  4. YAY SNOW!

    I was on Dirty Harry's Peak early Saturday morning and there was overnight slush still on the trees, with rain coming down steadily from that 32F layer up around 850mB. Hiking in shorts and a tshirt, with just a rain jacket, it was comfortably "not hot" at the top, particularly with the narrow trail and the water+slush rubbing off the trees.

    It was so very exciting and energizing a morning that I got up again Sunday morning and went back to visit more trees and trails.

    Snowqualmie National Treeland was happy Saturday.

  5. uWx works great on my LG V10. Fun watching the pressure change as I ride the elevator (yeah, I'm easily entertained...)

  6. The new app works great on my Galaxy S7. To calibrate the barometer I had to make sure I had a very strong wifi signal.

  7. Just did a run on Mt Teneriffe. It was snowing pretty hard up top and at least an inch down on the summit. Thanks for the heads up cliff. I would never have packed the wool hat and gloves if I had not read your post yesterday.

  8. Cliff,

    I think my last comment did not go through... I see by your graph that there is much lag between the max temp at sea-level and that at the 500 mb level- why is this? (Late Aug vs. July 30 over the land.) Since the atmosphere has low thermal inertia compared to the seas... where the SST maxes about the end of August.

  9. I'm sorry to keep beating this drum; however, I would like to know whether Cliff believes the immediate Seattle proper area will manage to squeeze some measurable, beneficial precip out of this fascinating and rare event. Yesterday (the 14th) it was hard to miss the amazing, beautiful sight of black-dark clouds surrounding Seattle, in every direction, with visible abundant precipitation falling from them. I later heard on the news that there was even hail and thunderstorms. Yet, somehow, again, Seattle proper (I don't know about Seatac) remained in the sun, and got next to nothing, apart from a few drops lasting under a minute.

    The point being that Seattle proper is oddly,inexplicably, and repeatedly missing out on these very interesting events. As I write this, the sun has been shining uninterruptedly all day here at the Space Needle despite the thick dark clouds visible all around.

    So I ask: do you think Seattle might manage some measurable precipitation out of this current meteorological event? And if not, is there any kind of explanation, or theory, (apart from sheer coincidence) for this odd, repeated avoidance of the immediate Seattle area? Other readers have noticed this as well - one cleverly made the analogy of "kriptonite", given this continued odd avoidance. Thank you!

  10. They won't let me install the uWx app because I am in Canada.
    Southern Vancouver Island is only 80 air miles from SeaTac.
    I try to be a good neighbour!
    Oh well, perhaps some day.....

  11. In response to tracksdc89, rest assured Seattle proper isn't the only area missing out on the precipitation. In the case of my area (north Whatcom County) ~ we saw far less rainfall last winter than farther south. And most of the rain events this spring haven't dropped much moisture right around here. Tuesday & Wednesday the ominous dark clouds were visible all around and seemingly shed rain nearby, but my own yard & garden received nothing more than a smattering. It really is hit or miss.


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

Cool air and snow showers on Friday for the western lowlands. More crazy stuff in California.

 No, there won't be accumulating snow near sea level, but don't be surprised if you see a few flakes west of the Cascade crest on Fr...