October 25, 2016

Big Low and Big Waves Off of the Northwest Coast

A huge, deep low pressure system is right off our coast, as shown by infrared satellite image on Monday evening. You can see the cloud bands spiraling into the low center....the more turns, the deeper the low.  To paraphrase Donald Trump--its HUGE.

The UW WRF forecast for 8 PM Monday night shows the pressure distribution at 8 PM.  An extremely large system with an intense pressure gradient, and thus strong winds, over the eastern Pacific.  Fortunately, we are just outside of the action.

The forecast wind gusts are substantial with peak gusts over 70 mph, with strong winds extending to just offshore of the Washington/Oregon Coast.  The lowest wind speed?  In the center of the storm!

Big waves can be generated by three things:  strong winds, long duration, and long fetch (length over which the winds interact with the ocean).  With this strong, large, and slow-moving  system, these requirements were available in spades.

Here is the forecast wave heights for Tuesday evening from the NOAA/NWS WaveWatch III system. Up to 10 m (32 ft) waves off the WA coast!  If you were planning a cruise offshore, you might pick another activity.


I-732 is perhaps the most important ballot measure in decades, please support it.

 I-732, the revenue-neutral carbon tax swap, will help reduce Washington State's greenhouse gas emissions, make our  tax system less regressive, and potentially serve as a potent bipartisan model for the rest of the nation.  More information here.   

Some opponents of I-732 are spreading false information, suggesting that I-732 is not revenue neutral.   This claim can be easily disproven as discussed here.  

I strongly support I-732 as do many UW climate scientists.  We have an unprecedented opportunity to lead the nation in reducing carbon emissions and to establish a model that could spread around the country.
And, if you are interested in learning more about the potential of nuclear power to help with global warming, you might want to attend the next "Climate on Tap"  gathering on Nov 1.  More information here: https://www.facebook.com/events/353541914987425/


  1. That storm is not only "YUGE", but "NASTY" if you happen to be in North BC or SE Alaska.

    (Sorry, can't help myself. Thank God it will end soon.)

  2. With all this storm action, this has to be helping churn up the Blob 2.0.

  3. LOL at the "Yuge" and "Nasty"!

    But I honestly think that's a beautiful spiral in that satellite image.

    Also, I still like this weather better than a hot summer day.
    - obligatory mushroom/fern/moss shoutout

  4. I had to be outside today and happen to love weather, but I have to observe, Cliff, that this rainstorm, that I'd expected to be a regular October rainstorm, turned out to be, less the wind, what I'd expected the REALLY, REALLY, Columbus Day YUGE storm to be, but it wasn't. Some day forecasting will get there. Right now, mom nature has the upper hand.

  5. Cliff wrote the Stranger endorses 732

    "We Believe You Should Vote No on Initiative 732"


    "The four members of the Stranger Election Control Board whose names appear at the top of this post voted against endorsing I-732. The remaining three members of the board voted to endorse. The Stranger's publisher, who does not vote on endorsements but has veto power, overrode the 4-3 vote to endorse I-732. It was the only time he used his veto this year (or in any recent year)."

  6. Too bad there were no windmills out there to take advantage.


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

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