September 18, 2017

Normal Weather Returns to the Northwest (Hint: Mountain Snow, Heavy Rain, Wind, Clean Air)

Just when folks thought that heat and smoke would continue forever, normal weather returned to the Northwest.

Let's see....we had light snow above 5-6 thousand feet, providing a dusting at Timberline Lodge.

Air quality improved over nearly the entire region (green circles) as strong onshore flow brought in clean air and the cool/wet weather put down the current fires.

The infrared satellite imagery shows one system after the other, with an upper level trough and very unstable air moving through the region, bringing heavy showers and even some lightning, as I write this.

The radar image for around 8 PM (Monday) shows bands of moderate to heavy (yellow-orange) precipitation moving through.

And the precipitation totals for the 24h ending 7 PM Monday show rain all over the region, with some places (western Olympic Peninsula and the southern WA Cascades) getting over a inch.  Some locations east of Portland got two inches.  The weather gods want to stop the fires in the Columbia Gorge.

The cause of all this frisky weather?  An upper-level trough that replaced the unending upper level ridge of the western U.S. (see below)

 But there is still a possibility we could achieve an amazing record:  the driest calendar summer (June 22-Sept 21) in the history of Seattle.  

Yes, it is still possible.  The record is .58 inches.  So far we have had about .30 inches.  More rain is coming...   Keep your fingers crossed.


  1. Hopefully this does some good towards the fires!

  2. I am actually happy for the lack of smoke.I actually saw blue skies.. for moment. Curious why you haven't commented more on the exponential number of hurricanes in the tropics. You last posted about La Nina. Curious if this is creating such a strong series of cyclones in both the Atlantic as well as the Pacific.

  3. Is there a ios weather app with a cool infrared loop akin to one posted above. Used to have an app and the server is perm down.

  4. I will keep my finger crossed for no rain and warm temps returning. hey, if you're gonna make a wish, might as well make it count.

    it can start raining in earnest in November. until then, bring back the sun!!!

  5. Probably because Dr. Mass has already commented about the hurricanes and there are not an exponential number.

  6. Thanks for this informative post, Cliff, and for posts about the hurricane season. For Unknown et al, here's another piece about how this hurricane season compares with the historic record:

  7. if you're looking for animated IR images from GOES, try the SSEC's website:

    1. This is the mother of all sat loops!!! Tehehehe. Thks! Took a while to load

  8. Joe, you are right. I'll bet anything it's nice and sunny back home in southern California. So, why not here too?

  9. Taking the weather personal is a self indulgent way to go through life as the center of the universe. Do you really think anyone cares?

  10. Wow, 70 years of records for an area that is 100s of millions of years old; this is one reason why we get confused about human-caused change and climate variation. Seattle city’s records go back farther than Sea-Tac’s, as do white settler records and some oral records passed down in first people’s history. In 1900, a 70 year old human would be a record, today 70 is significant, but not a record. In my opinion, these “records” are interesting though they offer little information about our climate: yet they are presented as if they are much more significant than they are.

  11. For those seriously interested in learning about climate change, I suggest going to Loads of very well informed discussion, mostly by scientists doing the work.

    Note: I'm sure Cliff is right that 'it will take decades more' data for Absolutely 100% Proof Positive' that climate change is altering global and local atmospheric, land and ocean temps, extreme weather events, oceanic and atmospheric wave patterns. Climate scientists are already putting decent error bars around those probabilities. Oh well, way too complicated I guess for this weather blog.

    This 'we must wait decades, at least' argument is like the decades it took to 'prove' that smoking caused lung cancer, coal dust caused black lung disease, and ... well, loads of things like this. In the decades to 'proof positive', which we know now was pretty doggone was well established (very high probability levels) among smoking & coal researchers, hundreds of thousands died, many more suffered, and 'business as usual' kept raking in $$ by doing things that caused the suffering.

    I'd be far more impressed if Cliff provided references to other scientists' published probabilities and % contributions by different aspects of climate change to various weather and climatological events and patterns.


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

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