April 25, 2017

Darth Vapor Strikes Again (And Again)

The ominous music rises...in a galaxy far, far away... a band of unnatural moisture strikes incessantly on a sodden land ...

The satellite-observed water vapor imagery tonight highlights the menace, unimaginably wide and extending across the largest ocean basin of the planet. Its tentacles spread so wide that is covers the entire west coast of the U.S. Extraordinary for April.

An infrared satellite imagery at the same time shows a disturbing form, something out of horror/sci-fi films.

And a strange ship has just docked in Elliot Bay.

But this is a scientific blog, so let's consider the facts. During the past week, as much as five inches has fallen on the windward side of the coastal mountains from northern CA to the Olympics, with similar amounts over the Oregon/southern WA Cascades.

And it is not over.  The forecast for the 72hr total precipitation ending Friday AM shows as much as 2-5 inches in the Cascades.

The dark side of the atmosphere has produced, well, dark skies, as illustrated by the Space Needle cam later this afternoon.  No sun glasses needed.

And as noted in my previous blog, we are experiencing the wettest October 1- April 30th in the history of Seattle, as depressingly shown in this figure of cumulative precipitation at Sea-Tac for the water year (starting October 1).  The dark green show the amount above normal (44.69 inches total so far).  At this point in time, we should have 30 inches.

Did you know that the West Coast has been so wet, that San Francisco had more than Seattle's normal precipitation this water year?  Unbelievable but true. 
Here is the proof, with a cumulative precipitation chart for San Fran--more than 30 inches so far. 

No wonder the SF imports in our high-tech industries haven't run back to the Bay area...it has been savage even there.

Darth Vapor will hold its grip on us for a few more days...


  1. Can or would you please comment on the Bill Nye CNN interview?

  2. Can I get you to consider saying "average" instead of "normal"?

  3. We are having a lovely, mostly sunny spring day up here in NW Washington. Nice to be north of the plume for a change.

  4. This climate has been called "changeable" by some (for example, Walter Rue, who wrote a book extolling the virtues of the NW climate). Precisely the opposite is true! This climate is NOT changeable by comparison with nearly any other place in the U.S. save possibly southern California. Rather, our climate is prone to what I call Entrenchment. It gets stuck in one or the other mode. For a few weeks in summer we can't get enough rain to water the garden and suppress the fires in the woods. But for the rest of the year, we can't get any sun. It's insufferable. Right now we are suffering from six months of hardly any sun.

    The Eastern two-thirds of the country has it better.

  5. Bill Nye. A TV personality with a BS in Engineering, masquerading as a scientist. What a coincidence that his scientific views match with what is politically popular and popular in the media.

  6. I keep reading these blogs about all thus rain. Meanwhile Anacortes has had no rain since April 15th.

  7. Over 8" for April in the hills behind Longview. Silly wet.
    PRISM -2017
    Jul 0.9 1.33
    Aug 1.2 1.44
    Sep 2.3 4.22
    Oct 5.5 20.21
    Nov 10.8 10.52
    Dec 9.4 9.99
    Jan 9.1 5.28
    Feb 6.7 12.34
    Mar 6.5 13.52
    Apr 5.2 8.26
    May 3.5
    Jun 2.6
    year 63.73 87.11

  8. It's not just this water year (or even last year). Seattle (SeaTac Airport) has observed about four normal years of rain in the past three years. It's been very wet.



    Re: San Francisco rains: The opening two paragraphs from San Francisco Chronicle sports beat writer Henry Schulman in a story tonight on the Giants home game:

    "Hey, atmosphere, if I wanted to live in bloody Seattle I would have moved to bloody Seattle. Stop this. Immediately.

    It's misting here at AT&T Park. I presume this will go away in time for Wednesday night's game, which pits Johnny Cueto after his first loss of the year and Dodgers left-hander Alex Wood."

  9. eprman I disagree, my Anacortes weather station has recorded 0.31" since April 15.

    Fidalgo Island has a large range of microclimates.

  10. It's amazing - less than three years ago there was constant fearmongering and/or incessant whining about the drought conditions, both in the NW and in CA. We're all going to burn up, the forests are going to disappear under a mountain of ash, etc. But now we're exposed to the direct opposite - it's too wet, I can't plant my garden yet, blah, blah, blah. My goodness, if some folks are going to get so exercised about stretches of bad weather that they don't agree with, they should try living in the Upper Midwest for a few years, and get back to us. Lincoln was right - happiness is really a choice you make.


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

A Good Chance of Seeing an Aurora Tonight over Northern Washington State

A moderate solar storm provides the potential for an aurora extending southward into Washington State tonight and tomorrow night. In fact, q...