July 07, 2016


OK--it won't be quite as bad as January, but compared to our expectations for this period, it will feel like it.    And the weather maps are reminiscent of mid-winter.

Is it REALLY July 7th?

Let me "warm up" by showing you the infrared satellite image this morning. Clouds extend from the Northwest to far out over the Pacific.

The precipitation maps for the next 6 days would discourage anyone thinking about outdoor fun.  The next three days precipitation total has rain over the entire region. with North Cascades getting particular attention.

The subsequent three days has light rain west of the Cascades crest, but very large amounts over western Montana and eastern Idaho.

The latest weather.com forecast for Seattle has clouds, showers, and temperatures in the upper 60s 

The forecasts for the mountains?   You don't want to know about that.

This cool/wet/cloudy weather is associated with persistent low pressure (troughing) over the region.  

 Now you really want to see something amazing?   Here is the upper level (500 hPa) map (showing heights and temperature) for 5 PM Saturday.   Stunning.   Deep low off the WA/OR border with the jet stream (where the lines are close together) pushing southward into northern CA.

The temperatures at this level will approach daily low records at local radiosonde stations (Quillayute, WA and Salem, OR).   

Any snow with this pattern?  Of course!  Here is the snowfall for the 24h ending 5 PM Monday.   Parts of Idaho, Grand Tetons, and Yellowstone will get snow.   That will surprise some visitors!

This pattern of troughing/low pressure over the Northwest has been persistent for weeks and the latest Climate Prediction Center 8-14 day forecast continues the cool (see map)

These is a good chance this will end up one of the coolest Julys in years for the Northwest.  And remember:  climatologicaly the driest/warmest period of the entire year is only three weeks away!


  1. Fascinating and refreshing weather, but what I really want to know is whether or not I'll stay dry during an outdoor photo shoot in Seattle on Saturday morning. Weather.com says 20% chance of rain Saturday morning. NWS says 40% chance.

  2. Will be interesting to see if this pattern continues through fall/winter or if it will warm up and we'll have a late summer.

  3. I remember a Seattle summer from many years back that started with some hot days in May and early June, but then we never got past 80° the rest of the summer.

    Here's to a repeat! (Ducking...)

  4. yay.. happy weather is here.. we got seriously ripped off this spring.

  5. It's only a drizzle here in Sequim but the sun hasn't been around much and all around it is very very wet and cool. Such a dramatic difference from last year.

  6. Dang good for my late planted lettuce...should turn out great...

    Thanks, Cliff.

  7. Good thing I am going to the Colorado Rockies!!! That should get me out of this mess, according to the maps!

  8. Yay! Saturday rain hike.
    Yay! Wonderful normal weather.

    Saturday morning rain hikes are the best. It's easy to find some solitude, and the drizzle and areas of clouds/fog in the mountains helps the hiker feel closer to nature (it's right there touching you!). We hikers like mountains, and that means seeing the brother and sister mountains, but not at the expense of the nearby trees; to their nearby beauty, some of us need to turn our eyes more often.

    I'm willing to grant that having rain every weekend starting in October gets a bit old by the end of May, without some break in the clouds, but this is very welcome weather and much happier than that heat-induced Maylaise we had to endure.

  9. Though I'm a transplant from the midwest, I think after twenty five years here I can finally claim my NW badge- I'm absolutely loving this summer- there is actually plenty of sun, and if you go out and enjoy it when it's here, it's warm and delicious. But not enough to bake and dessicate us!
    The cool days are soooo refreshing and pleasant.

  10. I really don't get why people love clouds and rain so much. Not only is it depressing, for the astronomers in the Pacific Northwest those of us with telescopes are getting mighty tired of it. I haven't been able to get my telescope out in weeks!

    I want my sun and 80°-90° days back.

  11. "I really don't get why people love clouds and rain so much."

    In my case a lot of it is a pretty intense case of Summer Depression (variant of SAD). 80-90 degrees and sunny weather makes me incredibly miserable and extremely depressed.

  12. "I really don't get why people love clouds and rain so much."

    Move then to somewhere it is consistently hot! You have almost 70% of the country to choose from!

  13. It will be interesting to see if the polar vortex becomes a major factor this coming winter. If the jet stream becomes buckled and wavy, then there could be a lot of potential for the polar vortex to retrograde out west over us and cause some wild weather if this cool trend lasts through the winter. I believe NOAA has their long term projections as a neutral to slightly cooler than normal winter so it would seem the odds are better.

  14. Natural selection at work. Those who move, live, stay here aren't sun lovers. They mate with other rain and weather lovers and become fruitful so as to increase the number of cloud-loving people.

    Eventually, PNW children will be born with rain gear already fitted. Our pale skin will mark us as a new sub-species.

    Homo Sapiens Pluviophile.

  15. I agree Steve, I too have a telescope. The NW slugs that populate this page don't get it because they never look up. Mud dwellers.

  16. Believe me, cooler is better! I am in Phoenix. It was 108 deg yesterday - LOTS of blazing sun- and still 96 last night at 11 pm. Yikes! Everyone's confined in air-conditioned spaces here .and I'm envious for the cool air and cloudy skies of home.

  17. Mark and Steve - your comments beg the question: why on earth are you living here? The Western regions of the PNW must be among the worst areas for amateur astronomers, yes? I would think that if you both moved to somewhere like the SW you'd be a lot happier with the opportunities there, would you not? Complaining about overcast skies in the PNW is akin to complaining about the constant sun in Arizona.

  18. Mark and Steve, "because they never look up" is the exact opposite of reality. I look up to see the clouds, to see the rain coming, to see if I'll need welder's goggles to get to work without going blind...

    I can provide another anecdote regarding stars, though my experiences are slightly outdated and I'm not able to back this up with data, only personal experience. I'm not an amateur astronomer, but celestial navigation is one of my hobbies. Believe it or not, in the Seattle area I remember it being easier to see the stars in the winter. Why? In the winter we have cooler nights and the clouds dissipate more rapidly, so we have clear crisp evenings possibly with some high cirrus. One generally gets to see the entire sky, except perhaps for a bad patch here or there. In the summer, on the other hand, we have these huge swaths of low-mid medium-dense clouds all night long, so it's hard to see the sky except in patches and the seeing is generally bad because the heat bands seem to lead to lots of lensing, and all the stars go sliding around while you're trying to make measurements.

  19. I am happy to see a bit of weather that was relatively common in the 50s, 60s and 70s in the Puget Sound area. It is nice that the "Tacoma Aroma" is pretty much gone these days,I must say. The low clouds would clear and you could smell it forever.

    Whether or not the jumbo slugs will make a re-appearance in Kirkland, is another question. In 1964 they had the Kirkland area on the ropes...LOL...

  20. I just read yesterday that the blob of warm water in Pacific just off the coast has reappeared. If that's the case, the effects are negligible. Maybe this points to a warm August before the onset of LaNina. (?)

  21. I mean, it is what it is. The weather, for the most part, is horrible here during an "average" year. A lot of us moved here for jobs, or in my case for a spouse's job. We suffer through the endless dreary grey winter in hopes of a decent summer. In a year like this one, when summer doesn't arrive, it just flat out stinks. I understand why the gloom lovers live here, but I fail to understand why they have to gloat about a crappy summer.

  22. I don't mind a "decent" summer, it just doesn't have to be broiling like the last four! Enjoying the cool!

  23. We're not gloating, we're celebrating! (Well, at least, I'm not intending to gloat. Suppose I can't speak for everyone.)

    It's as others have said: to some of us, hot weather makes us lethargic, uncomfortable, insomniac, irritable, and basically depressed. Sunscreen stings our skin (well, on me it does), no matter how non-irritating it's supposed to be. The direct sun in our eyes is a hazard while driving or biking. The inside of the car turns into an oven, unless you're blasting the A/C, which in a lot of cars doesn't work sufficiently well. Our Northwest houses don't even HAVE A/C usually (mine doesn't), and are designed to trap heat, not to stay cool, so they quickly become miserable if it's above 80 outside too.

    And the astronomy issue is part of my problem with summer! We only get six or seven hours of true dark night up here in the summer months, and I generally have to use those for sleeping. I find myself missing night itself during summer, and part of the thing I adore about the approach of fall is that I get to see stars again! I recommend Hawaii or Arizona if you want constant warmth *and* starry clear skies. Thus the observatories in those places. :)

    All that said, I completely get the unhappiness of having to live somewhere where you don't like the climate, so I do sympathize. I lived in the Sacramento area for three years for grad school, and the summers there are of course second only to Abu Dhabi's or Death Valley's when it comes to being scorching and hellish. I never acclimated to that, and fled back to Seattle after graduating. But I'll admit I liked the winters there, which were like our Northwest spring and fall--mildly cool and rainy.


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