Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Most Boring Late Fall in Years

What does a meteorologist fear most?   Severe thunderstorms, heavy snow, a powerful tropical cyclone?   Or perhaps a powerful midlatitude cyclone?

Nope.   What we really fear is boring, pedestrian weather, and November and December of this year is proving to be  terrifyingly dull.


The stormiest weather of the year in our neighborhood should be the last two weeks of November.  Not this year---little rain and lots of sun.  And the forecasts for the rest of the month are not promising.

As described in my previous blog, November 2019 was one for the record books--the driest November in 43 years in Seattle and most of Washington State.

Winds?  We got to 19 mph one day, here in Seattle, and the big potential storm headed to northern California.

Snowpack?   Right now, it is well below normal-- roughly one-third of what we usually have this time of the year (see plot).  As a result, the North Cascades highway is still open.


OK...this is depressing.  Surely, we will be getting some active weather soon, right?  Well, a modest low pressure system will move south of us on Friday and Saturday morning (see surface map at 8 AM Saturday), but that will dump most of its precipitation over California (see 24-h total ending 5 PM Saturday).  California gets the winds and precipitation...we get the leftover.   Thanksgiving is way past--I am tired of leftovers.




But then the unthinkable happens:  a series of ridges (high pressure) will build over the northeast Pacific providing generally dry conditions through mid-month.  Looking at the highly skillful European Center ensemble system, its predicted  precipitation anomaly shows drier than normal conditions over us).


Major storms?  Intense atmospheric rivers?  Forget it.  The origin of this dull situation?  Persistent high pressure over the northeast Pacific and the our region.    You want interesting weather?  Head to California.



58 comments:

  1. I find it rather nice to have 'boring' weather.

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  2. cliff i love this blog its on point and you just got to the point saying no winter lol you gave me a laugh with my dad haha, its ok tho put last enter into mind cali gets there turn we had our turn last winter now its california's turn.

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  3. As an anesthesiologist, I can tell you the equivalent: boring might be... well... boring for me. But! Exciting is nearly always bad for the patient.

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  4. Oh well. Maybe Jan and Feb will be interesting. I can't imagine the amount of money ski areas lose every day they stay closed.

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    Replies
    1. Our season passes get more expensive everyday the resort is delayed in opening. Poo!

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    2. It's out of control inflation more then the weather. EVERYTHING is getting more expensive. Disneyland is literally for the rich now including other theme parks which this year they have been way less crowded then usual causing a lot of changes to be done.

      As long as minimum wage (without the rest of the wages) goes up it will price things out of business. That's just how economics work not the feel good BS tactics taught in liberal ran school.s

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    3. For those 70+ years old: There is a semi-secret Senior Premium Pass for Stevens, but you must call to buy it; it isn't shown online as an option. The Senior Select Pass is online, but that excludes a lot of peak season and weekend days.

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  5. NOAA 6-10 and 8-14 is still painting an inverted picture vs euro model showing high ridge and dry much further south and above average precip for PNW... why the contrast?

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  6. I have noticed the Northerly thrust of our persistent ridge by Saturday night will nearly bisect the jetstream on the Canadian model. All that cold up North will have go somewhere. Maybe there things worse than just being bored, we might just be bored and cold, very cold.

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  7. Here in North Idaho, it is indeed boring. Our two "exciting" events were 50 mph north winds last week, and 2-4 inches of snow in the valleys a few days ago, but it has mostly melted now. To be honest, though part of me is sad because I find big snowstorms and cold waves exciting, from a practical perspective I have no problem with this benign weather. It makes life easier, if a bit boring. :)

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  8. Frankly, I prefer this weather to 80 mph winds, inches of snow and feet of rain.

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    1. Agreed. There seems to be something in the water here that makes people WANT horrible weather. I've been to all 50 states and I've never seen this anywhere else.

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    2. you must fly a lot then my dad does the same and he flew to cali and he got stuck there because mammoth mountain got huge amount of snow

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    3. It is simply something to break up the monotony. And frankly except for extreme events our 'horrible' weather is just inconvenient and rarely deadly. Whereas in other areas horrible weather events more frequently involve loss of life or property. I can tell you living on a 1200' ridge with a Western exposure, 80 MPH gusts sound pretty exciting. Only had to replace the roof once, well, once on the house, and once on the pole barn. :P I am just at the elevation my weather is frequently very different from just a few miles a way.

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    4. I'm sure people are just being facetious, no one actually wants horrible weather.

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    5. rember if you want feet of rain 1 inch of rain is = to 1 foot of snow

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  9. I like the conversational style of this blog, Cliff! It pairs well to give your personal experience of the weather along with analysis.

    You're certainly not boring. So, I can imagine adventure and excitement is around the corner if you seek it out--enough to keep the boredom at bay until the weather changes.

    Cute doggie!

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    1. i agree just wait it will be a surprise for all of washington lets hope we smash every record set for washington winter

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  10. Not only is it dry. It is warm. Even the northerly winds and Fraser River outflows at the end of November were very modest in terms of cooling. Those events typically bring very cold air. So even though temperatures during that period were below normal, they were nowhere close to record levels.

    https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/climate/yeardisp.php?wfo=sew&year=2019&span=Calendar%20Year&stn=KSEA
    https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/climate/yeardisp.php?wfo=sew&year=2019&span=Calendar%20Year&stn=KBLI

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    1. The graphs you linked to indicate that temperatures during the autumn of 2019 have been just about as average as can be at both locations, particularly since the beginning of September. It appears as though their may have even been slightly more below-average temps than above-average temps, especially at SEA. Either way, any argument that this fall (from September 1 to present) has had above-average temperatures is not based on the data represented by the linked-to graphs.

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  11. As long as I can take the first few minutes of my work day to read one of your blog posts I could care less about the weather. Just keep writing Prof. Mass, always enjoy learning something outside of my profession.

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  12. I miss more diverse weather coz it equals more snow, and better for our ecosystem. Caliboring weather, day after day of sun & drought is not what we need

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    1. what i'm thinking vanzand is that it will be warmer than normal til around the 20th of december and we will get cold spell going into january and february with more snow than last year but are weather can rely on williams lake BC and Anchorage .AK

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  13. i live near pairidise at 4,000+ feet and i only got 3 feet at this time of the year i should have 7+ feet

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    1. Are you at the National Park Inn / GSI Employee?

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    2. That's really interesting, since Paradise at 5400 feet elevation only has 12 inches of snow. Three feet of BS maybe? Or maybe "Pairidise" is a totally different place that I'm not aware of. 🤣

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    3. the cat guy on different points of the mountain i'm working for the national park and they have lodges of different sides of the mountain you have no clue were im pinpointed at my elevation is 3rd known for its snowfall i never said i live up at paradise im slightly below it thank you if you have anymore questions let me know lol nd have a different response man kinda rude

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  14. stevens pass should start there season up soon its either they get 30+ inches going into December 19 or 62 inches soo lets hope they get this dump and in flagstaff they got 112 inches of snow insane!!

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    1. SAT
      7 DEC
      Snow
      31°28°
      70%
      WSW 3 mph 99%
      UV INDEX SUNRISE SUNSET MOONRISE MOONSET
      0 of 10
      07:39
      16:12
      14:17
      02:31
      Snow. High 31ºF. Winds WSW and variable. Chance of snow 70%. Snowfall of 1-3 inch.
      SAT NIGHT
      7 DEC
      Snow Shower
      --28°
      60%
      W 4 mph 99%
      UV INDEX SUNRISE SUNSET MOONRISE MOONSET
      0 of 10
      07:39
      16:12
      14:17
      02:31
      Snow showers. Low 28ºF. Winds W and variable. Chance of snow 60%. Snow accumulations less than 1 inch.
      SUN

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    2. WED
      11 DEC
      Snow Shower
      31°27°
      40%
      W 3 mph 95%
      UV INDEX SUNRISE SUNSET MOONRISE MOONSET
      1 of 10
      07:43
      16:11
      16:08
      07:00
      Snow showers. High 31ºF. Winds W and variable. Chance of snow 40%. Snowfall of 1 inch.
      WED NIGHT
      11 DEC
      Snow Shower
      --27°
      50%
      SSE 3 mph 95%
      UV INDEX SUNRISE SUNSET MOONRISE MOONSET
      0 of 10
      07:43
      16:11
      16:08
      07:00
      Snow showers. Low 27ºF. Winds SSE and variable. Chance of snow 50%. Snowfall of 3-5 inch.

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    3. Not sure where you got this data - Stevens currently has a base depth of 8" with a further 1-3" expected over the next week through 12/14, otherwise dry (boring) cloudy weather is expected.

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  15. November 2019 to October 2020. Winter will be warmer and rainier than normal, with below-normal snowfall. The coldest periods will occur in mid- to late December, early and mid- to late January, mid-February, and mid- to late March. ... September and October will be warmer and rainier than normal. cliff is this ture

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  16. I always said this area has boring weather compared to most of the rest of the country!

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  17. Cliff is our dryer and warmer weather due to the blob? Us skiers are beginning to get a little nervous. When are we going to get a couple of nice big dumps to get the season started?

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    Replies
    1. i don't want to ski on fake snow we don't need that

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  18. For me, the wind is one of the most exciting aspects of the wet season and, typically, we get plenty of it in and around Bellingham. Not this year, though, and I really have missed it. This is the first November in my period of record in which I did not measure a gust of at least 40 MPH. BLI has measured a couple of 40+ MPH gusts this season but they've been northerly and my anemometer is, unfortunately, fairly well-protected from such winds.

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  19. I don't understand all the negativity in this post. In my experience it's been 'nice' weather. Boring weather doesn't cause floods or property damage, anyway.

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    1. A lot of us like some rain and some wind. Indeed, some of us native NWers enjoy it.

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    2. We probably get the, if not THE nicest summer weather of anywhere in the country or even Planet Earth. At some point though, we need to recharge the snow pack and the aquifers. AKA: Pay our dues.

      Even then, we get off so easy compared to most places. Snow is huge news here. Tornadoes? Stop the presses! Wind at Hurricane Cat 1 (or less)? OMG. End of the world. Polar Vortex? Whats that???

      Other regions of the country? Yah its just Wednesday. Schools delayed an hour maybe. Please do not poke the bear on this.

      The PNW is Mediterranean but its not a desert so please respect others wanting to see some spice in the weather dept. Endless sun is a desert. Deserts do not have to even be scorching hot. Refer to the Gobi if need be. If that is what you want, please look up the climate of Northern China.

      Also, half or more of "property damage" are people building in risky areas. They can't say they did not know the risks. If Rainier ever wakes up, well... the lahar routes can be seen on Google maps. Just as an example.

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  20. Cue the forthcoming headlines about extreme drought and the inevitable catastrophic forest fires next summer.

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    1. I imagine if this continues into January you will start to see that. I think at that point Cliff would agree there is some cause for concern if we're still at 1/3 snowpack. Luckily, a wet January and February can catch us up nicely.

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  21. Yay! Boring weather. This was a hilarious piece, I loved it.

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  22. I would still like to see some research done on the rate of extreme weather events (broken weather records, etc) year vs year.

    I have lived here my whole life and it feels like we are experiencing a higher rate of extreme events each year, especially in the last few years.

    And yes, this has been the most boring fall ever, especially for people who love storms (such as myself).

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  23. One nice thing for me is the opportunity to do astro imaging way later in the year than normal.

    When you get lemons, make lemonade!

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  24. haha I laughed at "Thanksgiving is way past--I am tired of leftovers." Great blog.

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  25. I do appreciate some variance in the weather, but having a 100-foot cedar tree fall on my house during a windstorm this past February tempered my enjoyment of wind events. I'll take "boring" over that experience any day of the week!

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  26. The Weather Channel model is predicting(PNW)Above Normal Rainfall.We'll see.

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  27. Hey Cliff, (speaking tongue in cheek here)

    what's with all the TV meteorologist personalities that feel the need to burn fossil fuel and fly down to the most recent extreme weather event to report the weather standing in the knee deep water, with fire embers raining down on them, trying to resist getting blown over by hurricane force winds or dodgeing storm surge and downed power lines?

    Can't they just find local reporters to do that "show"?

    On a serious note t heli-skiers.

    Please consider not supporting North Cascade Heli-ski corporation. Their past disregard for being good stewards of our Wilderness quality mountain terrain and attempts to cover up the owners involvement in environmentally destructive behavior is well documented on the public record. As is one of the owners attempts to harass and intimidate a witness who tried to bring this issue to justice.

    Chris H.
    Heli-free North Cascades

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  28. As a scientist, shouldn't a deviation from "normal" be more interesting?

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  29. It's 52 and sunny where I live (SJC), and I'm about ready to pack it in. I loathe this tepid-bathwater weather. I white-knuckle it through miserable summer (nonstop sun is, for me, a lot like having a blonde cheerleader following you around and screaming in your face constantly), only to end up with this. If I wanted this horrible, constant sun I would've stayed in SoCal (I HATED SoCal). This weather is starting to feel downright vindictive. A cloudy, chilly day is balm to my soul. Sun is.... not.

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  30. Any clue, or science to explain WHY the area of high pressure has persisted for over a month? Typically the jet stream and other forces moves it eastward within 7 to 10 days (except in July and August). The presence of the high pressure that has pushed the wet weather south seems just descriptive.

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  31. When we have nations using ways to lift the atmosphere to drive weather events it will cause weather elsewhere to 'shuffle' or get stuck. If you pay attention to a line about 143 west that is where there is a lot of funny activity going on. It's best to get raw maps that are not edited in any way. The storms go up to Alaska and drive down the east side of the nation due to the funny activity and some of it goes over the UK due to the Greenland Low.

    The UK has had a record wet autumn and a few dry days with frosty nights to start the month with more lines of storms about to pound the UK and central/southern Europe.

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  32. This is the best source to get news on the 'other' side of the pond. Net Weather.TV. They also opened up their 'learning center' which used to be scattered in their forums. We need something like that for our end of the globe.

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  33. I'd like to especially see something along the lines of this.https://www.netweather.tv/forum/learning/

    https://www.netweather.tv/forum/learning/basics/uk-winter-setups-r4/A revised version of the earlier "Winter Snow Setups/Non-Snow Setups" topics, this goes through the range of winter setups we can get.

    As in summer, the main determining factors in what sort of winter weather we get are the positioning and strength of the jet stream. A strong jet stream means that depressions will frequently move from west to east, giving a "zonal" pattern over the UK. Because the Atlantic is relatively warm and moist, assisted by the warm North Atlantic Drift, zonal types often tend to be mild- but not always.

    A weak jet means lows track less frequently from west to east and blocking highs can form more readily. Whether we get cold wintry weather depends on the positioning of the high.

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  34. It may be boring now...but that just means Mother Nature will likely play "catch up" come January and February.

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