January 15, 2021

New Podcast: Upcoming Cold and Potential Snow, and Why Did Wednesday's Storm Forecast Go Wrong?

We have an interesting week ahead (more below).  We start with generally dry conditions for most days through Thursday as high pressure build over the region.   But as the high pressure moves offshore, our region moves into much colder northerly flow.  And embedded in that northerly flow there are some wet disturbances that could bring lowland snow.   Too early to have any confidence in the forecast.  

And then there was the windstorm on Wednesday morning.  Why did the US model underplay it and the vaunted European Center model get it right?   I talk about all of this on the podcast.

Here is my podcast:
Click the play button to listen or use your favorite streaming service (see below)

But since I know many of you are interest in cold and snow, let me give you a view of the latest forecast for the end of the week.

The latest UW WRF pressure and temperature forecast for Friday morning is quite cold, with blue colors showing low-level temperatures cold enough for snow.  But in this forecast, not enough moisture, with strong northeasterly winds.

The U.S. ensemble system (GEFS) that runs the global forecast model many times to get at uncertainty is emphatic and confident that our temperatures will plummet.   Get your wool sweaters ready!

The highly skillful European Center model is forecasting some light lowland snow over portions of the region (see forecast snow totals over the next ten days)
Image courtesy of WeatherBell, Inc.

And the European Center forecast for Seattle projects cooling temperatures and .7 inches of snowfall.

The cold you can bank on.  The snow has a lot of uncertainty.  Stay tuned.

You can stream my podcast from your favorite services:


  1. as an arborist I am always gathering info on wind-speeds and directions.
    I have a few local (to Port Townsend) stations I use, that also provide much needed historical data, but I often have gaps in coverage.

    To the Cliff Mass Hive-Mind -
    What are the best sources for finding local wind speeds and directions?

    1. https://www.wunderground.com has a lot of personal weather stations that might help...

  2. Is there a good source for us lay-people to access that European Model? Do they generate point forecasts? I got (badly) let down by an under forecast wind event in October (i.e. boat damage) and would like to find a more reliable wind forecast source.

    1. I use windy.com (website and phone app), you can choose which model you are looking at. They were spot on for the latest wind storm and typically do well in all forecasting from my experience.

    2. Windy is an excellent app and website which allows you to switch among forecast models, including the ECMWF.

  3. im happy to see that we might see snow in the coming days and hopefully alot thanks cliff

  4. Look heres the deal!! Ut snows when I day it gonna SNOW!!!!!

  5. Why don't we simply adopt the European Model as our standard forecasting tool, in the mode of doing what we now do with most other products these days. And that is to buy the best product from wherever it is being made, even if it comes from another country?

  6. The latest model run doesn't even have is getting below freezing in the next 16 days. In fact temps will immediately go back up above average after next weekend. Cold weather just doesn't seem to be in the cards this winter.

  7. The National Weather Service in Seattle issued a severe thunderstorm warning on Wednesday morning at 12:19 AM, it was effective at 12:17 AM (appreciated but late).

    Northwestern Snohomish county in West Central washington
    Southeastern San Juan county in Northwestern washington
    Northeastern Jefferson county in Northwestern washington
    Northern Island county in Northwestern washington
    Western Skagit county in Northwestern washington

    * Until 115am PST

    * At 1217am PST, a Line of Showers producing Strong winds was
    Located near Oak Harbor, moving East at 55 MPH.

    Hazard, 60 MPH Wind Gusts.

    Source, Radar Indicated.

    Impact, Expect Damage to Roofs, Siding, and Trees.

    * Locations Impacted Include
    Marysville, Mount Vernon, Oak Harbor, Arlington, Anacortes,
    Sedro - Woolley, Port townsend, Burlington, Stanwood, Lake Mcmurray,
    Lake Ketchum, Lake Goodwin, Camano, La Conner, Stimson Crossing,
    Big Lake, Weallup Lake, Smokey Point, John Sam Lake and Warm Beach.
    for your Protection Move to an Interior Room on the Lowest Floor of A

    Wind Damage with this storm will Occur Without Lightning.
    do Not Wait for the Sound of Thunder Before Taking Cover. Seek
    Shelter Immediately Inside a Sturdy Structure and Stay Away From

    Expires 1/13/21 2:15 AM

  8. It seems there was fair unanimity regarding the atmospheric river preceeding the wind event. Is it reasonable to say that the rain overshadowed the tailing wind as a component to why the wind storm was overlooked?

    The only meaningful forwarning I had was via a facebook post by a neighbor of mine that a stronger windstorm was impending, but even that lacked any real level of urgency.

  9. Why not simply use report the forecasts using the European model? Must we compete to achieve the same end?

  10. In the podcast you talk about the competition between the US and European models, and where the European model is doing better. Why the competition? If the European model is better, why don't we use it?

  11. Weather.com forecast for Seattle has moderated and isn't looking good for snow-lovers.... hahaha power to the winter gardeners!


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

Is Mid-June Getting Warmer or Colder?

 As I will demonstrate below, this past week has been unusually cool around the region. But that leads to another question.... is mid-June g...