Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Potentially Severe Thunderstorm Threat Today for Washington and Oregon

The NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center has a severe thunderstorm warning out right for for large portions of Oregon and Washington (see below)

And the the 1 PM radar showed storms moving northward on the western side of the Cascades.


The anvils from the approaching storms was apparent at 1 PM from the SpaceNeedle PanoCan.


This morning's forecast models predicts quite an event this afternoon.  The UW super-high resolution (4/3 km grid spacing) WRF model indicates major thunderstorms on the western slopes of the Cascades at 2 PM.


And by 5 PM, western Washington is covered, as well as the northern Oregon Cascades and portions of southeast Washington.


Why all the action?   The atmosphere is relatively unstable, with high levels of CAPE (Convective Available Potential Energy)--some places of 1000 J per km (blue colors).


And there is upward motion associated with an upper level low on the coast (see 500 hPa, ~18,000 ft) map below.


The problem of these events for thunderstorm lovers in Seattle is that the storms tend to weaken rapidly moving west from the Cascades--but we well might enjoy a few showers from the convection and maybe a few boomers.

Enjoy the show.


20 comments:

  1. Mammatus clouds over Bellevue at the moment (2:14pm)

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  2. We need some rain so 4 July is protected for us folks not in the safe spaces of Seattle and UW.
    Thanks Cliff for your information- and fact- focused blog.

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  3. I wish! I'd love to see a good storm like the July 1984 or August 1999 event. It's been a looooong time since we had a really good lightning show. Seeing the storms fall apart as they approach the Sound on the radar it does not look like today will be it.

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    1. We've been taking a pounding in Glacier, near Mt Baker, yesterday and even more tonight including lightning and hail. Love it!

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  4. I used to live in AZ. Although I do not miss the weather 99% of the time, I do miss a good afternoon thunderstorm.

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  5. I'm not excited at all about the potential for wildfires. God bless the firefighters that risk their lives to put out all those fires

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  6. So far just some dark clouds in Seattle. Several ominous predictions of late have turned out to be non-events.

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  7. I was in the Columbia gorge at Multnomah Falls paddleboarding atwith my kids, and at 3pm a huge gust of wind hit for about 15min. After that it lessoned a bit but continued steady. Once back home in East Portland, we were taking the bedding out of the tent the kids have been sleeping in since school got out, when suddenly a huge wind hit and blew the tent away, knocked down our potted plants, and debranched some of the large trees. The thunder and rain was about 10min later. What causes the wind? It was from the East both times. Is that air rushing in to take the place of all the air that is being pulled upward into the thunderhead, hence why it slightly preceded the dark clouds being overhead?

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  8. Interesting and also disappointing. Watching the UW radar loop from last night at about 9pm a huge area of green, yellow and red probably 50 miles across was heading north from the Portland area heading straight towards the Olympia area where we really could use some rain, it completely dissipated by midnight before getting here... bummer, there were some pretty good showers earlier but they were hit and miss and where I live we pretty much got missed.

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  9. 0.51" of precip in NW Bellingham since midnight as of this morning. Monthly precip now more than 3X what it was at this time yesterday. This seems like one of the most substantial precipitation events to have occurred during the June - August period in the Bellingham area in years.

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  10. A big boomer and lots of lightning and rain hit Portland around 7 last evening. Haven't heard anything that loud in over seven years here, almost a Midwestern - type storm.

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  11. does your climate modelling say anything about the future of thunderstorms in the Northwest?

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  12. 0.68" of precip in NW Bellingham between midnight and noon. This is now the rainiest June at my location since at least 2017 (possibly since 2014) and this event has produced more precipitation than any since 4/16/19.

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  13. Here in the foothills of the Coast Range, 15 miles north of Hillsboro, we had the biggest hailstorm I have ever seen in western Oregon. Marble sized hail, 1 - 1.5 inches deep on the road.

    Long time listener, first time caller. Very good blog, keep up the good work!

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  14. No word about how France is roasting?

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  15. I'm disappointed! I live in the convergence zone between Bothell and Mill Creek, and I got NOTHING! just a trace of rain, but no thunder and lightning.

    The last decent thunderstorm I've seen remains the set of 3 in May 2017.

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  16. Same thing here above Goldendale Wa.Never seen anything like it,Shreaded gardens and all green shrubs

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  17. It's official! KBLI has now measured more precipitation this June (1.2") than in any June since that of 2013 (1.62"). Since 2013, 1", or more, of precipitation has been measured during June at KBLI in only 3 years (2013, 2014, 2019). Average monthly precipitation for June at that location is 1.68".

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  18. Over 46 years I've seen little slowdown (if any) in the pace of summer rain events. If anything, there may be more energetic storms than when I first arrived here from Pennsylvania and the Midwest. Oh, how I missed lightning and thunder in the 70s, but summer rain with all the thrills seems common now. Some propose redefining the "irrigation season" here as April-Sept, but that seems to reflect something other than reality...given actual observation and general trends.

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  19. Blogger Jonathan Doe said...

    "It's official! KBLI has now measured more precipitation this June (1.2") than in any June since that of 2013 (1.62"). Since 2013, 1", or more, of precipitation has been measured during June at KBLI in only 3 years (2013, 2014, 2019). Average monthly precipitation for June at that location is 1.68"."

    .9" of that is attributable to one day (6/27). Only 6 other days had any precipitation and 4 of those were very small, so you are looking at only 3 days with any significant rain. Whatcom County remains quite dry. Bellingham is approximately 5" of precipitation below normal for both the 2019 calendar year and the current water year, which began last October 1.

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