March 12, 2021

Why are Western Washington and Oregon Thunderstorms So Wimpy? And the Weekend Forecast!

Western Washington and Oregon have fewer and weaker thunderstorms than most parts of the country.

The map of annual thunderstorm frequency tells the story (see below), with the southeast enjoying more than 80 boomers per hear, while most of the Northwest expreiences less than 10.   

But why?

All is revealed in my podcast. 

And this podcast also provides the weekend weather forecast, with Saturday being sunny and mild and a Pacific front making landfall on Sunday.

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  1. Another great topic! Cliff, do the Cascades get more lightning than the lowlands? In the spring I see thunderheads in that area and I've been around it up in the peaks. Is this a thing?

  2. I love the comment about radar picking up migrating birds. At what elevation are they flying?

  3. I definitely remember a lingering, very active thunder and lightning situation, that hovered over the Seattle area for nearly two days...this must have been back in the mid-90s...during that event, over 3,000 lightning strike were seemed one was happening every 30 seconds or so!...I can remember that some unusually humid, warm air from the Tropics had somehow found it's way to our cooler was a sort of "pineapple express" deal, but not much rain, just clouds and relentless lightning strikes!...I cannot find any info on the Internet about this event--but I can vouch for it as being the worst of its kind that I can remember in Seattle--and I have lived in this area for over 70 years!

  4. WOW are the birds migrating tonight, the 13th. Radar is full of them at 9:30 PM, both sides of the cascades!

  5. I remember the summer of 2009 when Victoria, BC had a relatively dry thunderstorm with a high cloud base and plenty of lightning. To make matters worse, this was followed by an intense heat wave, which is unusual in itself. Usually, a thunderstorm signals the end of a heat wave, not the beginning of one. Needless to say "all hell broke loose" (pun intended) where the wildfire season was concerned. On a couple of other occasions, I witnessed lightning during a snow squall as a fairly intense artic front was rolling in during the winter, as Cliff alluded to in his podcast.

  6. It's snowing right now in Kent. FYI.


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