Tuesday, July 9, 2019

JAWS is Making Landfall on the Northwest Coast

Yes, JAWS. 

A July Abnormally Wet System (JAWS) is approaching the Northwest coast as I write this blog.  The view from space is scary and unusual for this time of the year.  It looks like a November satellite image.


And the Langley Hill radar this morning is picking up on the approaching rain bands .


The latest high-resolution UW WRF model forecast shows the rain coming into Puget Sound this evening--earlier on the coast and to the southwest. 
During the next few days, western Washington and Oregon should be wetted down, with potentially several inches in the high elevations of the Olympics, north Cascades, and mountains of southern BC (see below...total accumulation through 5 PM Friday).  The heaviest rain will be overnight tonight, but there will be plenty of showers tomorrow.


Remember the movie JAWS?  There were several sequels...and this situation will be no different.    JAWS2 will move in on Sunday--here is the 48 h total precipitation ending 5 AM Monday.  The NW part of the state gets  hit hard.


Why JAWS2?  Because another upper level trough will come through the region.


Unbelievably, the latest model runs promise JAWS3 between July 19 and 22. It will have even bigger (or wetter) teeth.

You may notice that the heaviest precipitation of all the JAWS storms is over western and NW Washington, exactly where the suggestions of local drought are being made (see latest drought monitor image).  Let's see whether they update this image.


It is clear now that this will be one of the wettest Julys in decades for our region, with a profound implication for NW wildfires and smoke.  Extended forecast models have been predicting this abnormally wet situation for at least a month--which is of great satisfaction to those of us working on longer term prediction.

49 comments:

  1. "A July Abnormally Wet System (JAWS) is approaching the Northwest coast..."

    groan-

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    1. Beats 95 and smokey by a lot IMO.

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    2. Grand Solar Minimum much? Not surprising with the amount of particulates from world wide volcanoes creating increased cloud nucleation. Oh, and the increased cosmic Ray's with a weakening magnetosphere.

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    3. Kelly-

      A bunch of nonsense. June 2019 is the warmest June on record worldwide.

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    4. One wet month does not a solar minimum make. Long term trends are still warming and we just had our warmest june ever. Last winter was the fourth warmest ever. Let's acknowledge that climate takes more than a single even, month, or year, to track trends. The fact that of the top ten warmest years ever, five are less than 20 years old, and the graphed trend line has been heading up for 50+ years.

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    5. I was not referring to temperatures as replies to me went straight to the brainwashing of global warming. If you reread my post, I was merely commenting on all the volcanoes spewing ash into our atmosphere which causes increased clouds...this why we may be having a cloudy rainy time of it here and worldwide with all the flooding that has been reported as historic and unprecedented. That my friends are facts not nonsense.

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    6. What is the Grand Solar Minimum?

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  2. Does this mean we need a bigger boat ;)

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  3. So summer will be either as unpleasant as any other seasons of the year OR smokey. Got it. To echo all the other comments since yesterday, what a great place to live!

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    1. Pleasantness is a matter of perspective. I'm disheartened to hear that our relatively nice (much sunshine, moderate rain, moderate temps) has been an unpleasant experience for you. I have greatly appreciated our nice but 70ish degree days.

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    2. Love it or leave it. To many people moveing here that dont even like it.

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    3. Lived here my whole life and this summer is a giant bummer. May was nicer.

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  4. Congrats on your predictions panning out, it's an inexact science but you do it better than most. Long may it continue.

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  5. I have my furnace on.. in July! I wonder if we are going to pay dearly for this beautiful, cool July by burning up in August?

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    1. It will probably allow more grasses and wildflowers to grow, which may extend the time it takes to dry, making dry grasses to start fires with in September instead of August.

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    2. some summers we never have a heat wave. (most historically) so far this summer is just like I remember from the 70's and 80's so far. there may never be a fire season, there may not be a heat wave and it may rain all summer long. (just the way I like it)

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  6. So, sure it is a "wetter" than normal July, but it doesn't take much to do that. Given we've had almost no measurable rain at our South Whidbey Island farm for two months (thanks rain shadow), our soil is as dry as it was in 2015. I am thankful for the cooler temps though, since if we added the 2015 temps to this dryness, we'd be in real trouble.

    So I GET that you hate the drought monitor, and I understand that it has many problems, but for many locations in W. Washington, we ARE in drought conditions. Many of us haven't had any major precipitation since the February snow melt. I know in Seattle, you guys have had some good rain recently, but we keep missing it. I'm getting very concerned for the health of our forests, since this is now multiple dry years in a row.

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    1. Annual precip has been above normal every year here since 2013, particularly in our "forests". You can argue all you want that seatac isn't a fair measurement but when compiled annually it gives a very solid snapshot, particularly for the Cascades. 2014:129% of normal; 2015: 120%; 2016:121%; 2017:127%; 2018:105%. (source Seattle Weather Blog)

      Those are not small numbers. And yet all we ever hear is drought. Like clockwork, every year. Please provide stats that show our forests - evolved to thrive in wet winters and dry summers - have had "multiple dry years in a row". It is 100% not true.

      Cliff just posted - not once, but twice - about the fact the "drought" claims this year are overstated. And that did not include the recent, or now projected, precip. Wonder what it looks like now. Maybe we should ask the drought monitor [sarc]

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    2. Try telling that to the Cedars.

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    3. Yearly rainfall totals only give us a snapshot into the bigger picture of what is going on. In some of these wet years we have also had some of our longest dry stretches. Above normal rain from November-April doesn't do much when you get to September running on little to no rain since June. This type of weather behavior causes droughts.

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    4. Sunsnow , same situation up here in SW BC. The last rainy season was a soaker up against the mountains. Above nornal precipitation.

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    5. It's true- our "wet" climate is uneven. On the East coast it alternates between rain and sun frequently enough that one rarely feels deprived of either.

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    6. "Above normal rain from November-April doesn't do much when you get to September running on little to no rain since June."

      Do you want to make the case that that is somehow different than what these forests have evolved to over the last, say, 1,000 millennia? Cliff has done multiple posts over the years on it, and drought is well documented historically/scientifically particularly in tree rings from trees alive way before we got here. Summers are dry here. Sometimes really dry, and it shows up in that data. Sometimes the forests burn and before we got here they would burn in swaths we can't even imagine.

      The idea that the last 3 years are different is not historically true in the long run. If anything, the case can be made that they have been wetter than normal. Dry summers (sometimes very dry) happen here. Looking more and more like 2019 will not be one of them.

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    7. Lovin' JAWS. Rust don't tan.

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    8. sunsnow12, we were firmly in the last ice age 1 million years ago. A millenia in 1,000 years. 1,000 times 1,000 equals 1 million. We have had many centuries of a climate that was stable and consistent, over the last few decades our average temperature has risen at a clip that matches the amount of carbon we have injected into our atmosphere. Over the last decade or so that has been enhanced by longer, drier hot stretches during our summer months. Evidence exists through multiple dry weather records that have fallen over the last several summers, which is now leading to an increase in fire activity (although I do have to admit we should consider how many of these are started by dumb humans). You're right, we have dry summers, we have for centuries, but we are trending towards longer dry stretches that include warmer temperatures during the summer which dry out our land more so than it has in the past,this also goes along with heavier rains during our wet season (a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture when wet systems are present) which can skew year long water numbers for us (higher amounts) but that one data point that you referred to only tells us one aspect of the situation.

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    9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geologic_temperature_record#/media/File:All_palaeotemps.svg -- looks the opposite of "consistent" to me but the climate 1 million years ago was not my point. The evolution of our forests and their evolved resiliency was.

      The Douglas fir "evolved in northern Mexico about 50 million years ago" according to: http://nwconifers.blogspot.com/2015/03/focus-on-douglas-fir.html . So yes, there were Douglas Firs here one million years ago. Lots of them.

      And then of course what we all know: "Douglas fir is historically a fire-dependent species. Since it is not shade tolerant, it depends on fire or some other disturbance that opens up the canopy and leaves bare soil for its seeds to germinate." Wonder what those fires looked like a when we weren’t here. Wonder what the summers were like for the last 999,900 years we weren’t here keeping records.

      The idea that we are suddenly making forest history or beginning a permanent "trend" based on three years of drier than normal summers is so ridiculous it makes my head spin. Did we not learn our lesson with the “California Permanent Drought” that ended up doing nothing but damaging the credibility of all of this once again? Or is everything just about fear now?

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  7. I'm in Whatcom county and any rain we get has done nothing to increase base soil moisture. I do like being able to work outdoors without a mask, but having planted a ton of warm weather crops it's kinda sad to watch them just sitting there. Hopefully the 'interesting' weather spooks a few more newcomers back to where they came from though.

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  8. Incredible rain! Good long term forecasting, Cliff. I hope my dahlias still bloom as they have a late start.

    Jaws was a fun movie and it scared me when I first saw it in the theater. We used to go to the Gulf of Mexico regularly and spend lots of time in the ocean--along with whatever creatures were in there with us. But, we were brave and daring. Those were good times.

    Who knew Jaws would be coming to the PNW!

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  9. The smoke last year was horrific. Having to wear a mask, seeing the brown haze, having reduced ability to take a deep breath...this is AWESOME!
    Beginning to take my Vitamin D. But that better than an inhaler

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  10. It's Jaws3 that scares me, because our "summer" usually ends about August 15th.

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  11. I'm betting it can't hold a candle to summer 1993 for coldness and wetness. Let's hope, anyway.

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  12. This may turn out to be an interesting summer for the wine industry. I imagine that the Eastern Washington climate is also somewhat impacted. As a tennis player this is not fun though.

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  13. Hopefully this will help keep the risk of forest fires down this year.

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  14. And will Seattle Times update its story about the wildfire danger? Nope

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    1. Of course they will not!
      They are all in for the global warming/severe drought/massive wildfire season theme.
      Morgan Palmer , weatherperson on KIRO TV, is another example of the all-in crowd in this area.

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  15. Hopefully this will help bring some of the river and reservoir levels up. We're sitting pretty low right now due to the lower snowfall from this winter.

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    1. River level (NWRFC) 120-day predictions across the state have significantly increased (and in some cases doubled) since the dire predictions of just a month ago (I screenshotted it on June 18th and in every case - every river - the prediction has significantly increased; much of this was solely based on the early meltout skewing the stats.)

      The majority of reservoirs across the state are in perfectly fine shape and again, Cliff just posted that, and prior to this precip. What low snowfall? We had an early meltout, not low snowfall and certainly not a lack of precip this water year, that has been documented repeatedly.

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  16. So... are we going to get a summer this year? We tend to have one year every 3-5 where summer just doesn't happen, and it's been quite a while. Any hope for this year?

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  17. I'm rooting for summer being cancelled, although I do wish it was 5-10 degrees cooler than it is now. Grey and rainy is fine, but grey, rainy, and hot enough to break a sweat standing still outdoors is miserable.

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    1. You gotta be kidding, this is quite comfortable. Compare it to tropical humidity- where the human race originated. I actually miss the humidity of the east coast at times.

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  18. Poor Jay Inslee! He won't be able to use the "drought" in his presidential campaign. Couldn't happen to a smarter guy. LOL

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  19. I don’t see any indications of Jaws2 or Jaws3 on other weather outlets- how probable are these systems?

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  20. I'm entirely sick of this cruddy weather.

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  21. Picked up 0.10" of precip in NW Bellingham since yesterday evening.

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  22. Haven't pulled out my green tomato recipes just yet. It has been a couple of years since we needed them.

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  23. Today felt like a typical soggy and rainy east coast summer day. If we get many more of these, maybe some of the recent east coast migrants might find their way out of here and back to where the sun shines at least sometimes. No loss to us, for sure.

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  24. NOVA produced perhaps the best and most pertinent documentary I've seen (and I'm a buff) about our changing climate and the science behind global climate change. It's on the internet and now on Netflix: DECODING THE WEATHER MACHINE. It's fascinating and, though alarming, ("Our window of opportunity is rapidly closing.") is also somewhat heartening. Watch it and you'll see what I mean.

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