Sunday, September 22, 2019

Early Cold and Snow Heading for the Region

Would you like to see some snowflakes this week?  Anyone living in Washington State will be able to do so with a short drive, as unseasonally cold air will be moving in.

In fact, if this was November or December I would be warning the Mayor to get the snowplows ready....but not in September.   Seriously, the large scale atmospheric configuration is a dead ringer for the one that provides lowland snow.

Let's "warm up" by looking at the latest 5-day forecast for Sunrise on Mt. Rainier from the Weather Channel folks.  High of 35 on Thursday, with snow showers.  High of 30F on Friday with snow showers.


Turning to the latest forecast from the European Center...here is their seven day snow total forecast for the next 7 days.  Some light snow in the WA Cascades, but nearly a foot in BC.  But take a look at the Rockies... lots of places getting a foot...and a few favored locations more.  And even the lower terrain in Montana gets a snow dump.  This is an unusually early snowfall for that region.


So what is going on?  The key point is that atmosphere is moving into a cold configuration for the Northwest, with a big ridge offshore, northwesterly flow over the West Coast and a sharp trough moving south into our region.  The classic snow/cold pattern for us.   But let me show you.

Let me start by presenting the upper level  (500 hPa) heights (like pressures) over the Pacific Ocean.

5 AM Friday...bit ridge (high pressure) in the middle of the Pacific, with a trough over us.  Cold and moist.


Two days later.....another trough...even stronger...but same general pattern.


Wet-Tember will get even wetter...and colder. 

Here is Seattle the Weather Channel 10-day forecast (which is very good by the way), which shows only a high of 57F on Friday. And fifties for the end of the forecast period. The normal highs this time of the year are in the upper 60s, so we are talking about being 10 degrees below normal.  Not good.    I suspect we have very active winter ahead.





23 comments:

  1. Regarding your 12 August 2019 blog about "existential threat"...I recently read the IMF article ( https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2019/12/natures-solution-to-climate-change-chami.htm?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery) Nature's Solution to Climate Change. It suggests increasing the world's great whale population to 4-5 million as a low tech "cheap" way to sequester a significant amount of CO2. A great whale carcass sequesters about 33 tons of CO2. And the increase in phytoplankton from increasing the whale population would sequester an additional significant amount of CO2 according to the IMF article. Cliff, wondering if you have any thoughts on the IMF proposal.

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  2. The current pattern suggests "a very active winter ahead". It also seems that another "blob" of unusually warm water is forming off the Pacific coast, which in my recollection was associated with low snow winters the last time it formed. Any idea how these two seemingly opposite trends will resolve?

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    1. More here:
      https://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2019/09/a-junior-blob-off-west-coast-but-still.html?m=1

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    2. To be fair, he did say "very active" not cold and active :)

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  3. When can we expect the next drought proclamation? Why not get it over with and declare a drought for 2020 now, there clearly is no accountability for being wrong:

    ...2015 (the infamous "wet-drought" year and a "harbinger for things to come..."); the fear-mongering for 2016 ("the climate deck may be stacked against us..."); the loud whisper of drought in 2017 ("the third driest July-September on record..."); the push for drought in 2018 ("the entire state is abnormally dry..."); 2019 ("It's only May and Washington is already in a drought...")

    All of those quotes are either from newspaper articles or from govt agencies for the year given.

    Seatac precip by water year (Oct 1 - Sep 30), percent of normal:

    2015: 121%
    2016: 122%
    2017: 129% (represents 10+" over normal, as did 2012 and 2014)
    2018: 96%
    2019: 96%

    Anyone out there believe any of this anymore?

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    1. We live on an active planet. Try to keep up. The earth isn't flat and the sun doesn't revolve around it.

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  4. my question is will it do what it did this last winter they said we were supposed to get el nino but we got similar whether that la nina would produce ?!!

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  5. Max temp in NW Bellingham so far today was 57.5F at 9:35AM. Min temp so far was 54.4F at 1:32PM.

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  6. The Blob has degraded since it first re-appeared and may only be around as a apparition of it's former spooky self, besides the warmth means a lifting of water vapor into the the atmosphere and when that moist air makes it's way into the PNW all you need is some cold air from up North and Poof! Snow...

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  7. The Blob has degraded since it first re-appeared and may only be around as an apparition of its former spooky self, besides the warmth means a lifting of water vapor into the atmosphere and when that moist air makes its way into the PNW all you need is some cold air from up North and Poof! Snow...

    Edited for spelling

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  8. I've now measured 3.23" of precip for the month so far. This is the highest monthly precip total at my location since December 2018 during which 3.42" accumulated.

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  9. https://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/water_supply/wy_summary/wy_summary.php?tab=4

    Here is another set of precip. data in the nw for several years. Not so rosy.

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    1. Those stats appear seriously understated for how wet the last 5 years have been. We get 10” above normal at Seatac for 2017 and the “Middle Sound River Basins” are reported at 94%? Give me a break. The SPU reservoirs have been overflowing for the last 5 years, with major dumps frequently even in this “drought emergency” year of 2019. You hear anything from SPU this year about a water shortage? No. Why? Because we didn’t come remotely close.

      But hey, don’t let me stop you. Btw, where’s the person who kept telling us in May and June that the Methow River was going to flow at one of the driest rates on record? That prediction didn’t work out so well, currently running at 107% of avg. But, you know… the fear-inducing prediction is where it's at these days.

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  10. I suspect that we're in for a cold and active winter. the warm blob is a key player in the formation of ridging that is favorable for cold outbreaks and we're already seeing precursors right now.
    What a wild year so far, the biggest snow event in decades, the biggest thunderstorm event in decades, what's next? the biggest thundersnow event in decades? Kidding. But then again, who knows?

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  11. "The normal highs this time of the year are in the upper 60s, so we are talking about being 10 degrees below normal. Not good. I suspect we have very active winter ahead."

    Given that we're just officially entering Autumn, Professor, your comment sounds could be read to be a 180 day forecast. That's atypical for your. Do you scientifically intend to be understood to mean it?

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  12. Its perfectly believable.

    A better measure of drought should be MoM soil moisture content, though. Its what the plants see as opposed to a rain gauge specific to one location in a region full of micro-climates. Heavy rain can run off and an ample snow pack can be easily wiped out by Pineapple Express storms or an early spring heatwave. The moisture that fell can easily be construed as being above average in spite of this.

    Well, anyone can have a year that resulted in 121% more income, but if it was mismanaged than you can still end up broke or in the hole. Also 30 inches of rain falling lightly over more occurrences is better than 50 inches over far less. Granted YMMV depending on the soil type.

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  13. September snow is quite a surprise! I'm up for an active winter this year, Cliff.

    The blog's enlarged images are working well for me--good move.

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  14. question, is the blob wearing off because last year we had it and we got snow for 2 months straight!! I live up near roesiger with my dad jake c brediger and we had snow till around march ! will it happen this year??

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  15. lows were i live are plummeting to around 35F is that normal for my elevation sitting at only 564 ft above sea level?? will we get snow this early time of the year??

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  16. If this was going to be a warmer than normal winter, the global warming cult here would be in High Lecture Mode. Colder and snowier than normal for two years in a row? "It's not climate, it's weather."

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  17. I'm all about the snow! I just bought a Jeep this summer so I'm ready lol.

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