October 07, 2022

The Forecast Changed: Endless Summer Remains. And Why is this Fog Season.

My podcast today talks about two things:  the continuation of "endless summer" and why we are in the middle of fog season.

A big ridge of high pressure has dominated the eastern Pacific seemingly forever.  The result has been warmer and drier than normal conditions over the Northwest.

A few days ago, weather forecast models predicted that a strong trough of low pressure would sneak around the eastern Pacific ridge, giving us some rain.

Well, the forecasts have changed, with that trough weakening and heading east of us.

As a result, there will be no rain over the Northwest and only a modest cool-down on Monday/Tuesday.   

But then it happens again.  The upper-level ridge amplifies greatly over the eastern Pacific, resulting in ANOTHER warm-up over the Pacific Northwest (see upper-level map for late Tuesday below).  Wow.

My podcast discusses the forecast in more detail.

And then there is fog, which visited our region several days this week.

We are in Northwest fog season and my podcast tells you why.  And I also explain how wildfire smoke can enhance the fog.

10:30 AM Thursday Morning in Seattle

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  1. could you please comment on how to make sense of all the different air quality monitors and is it safe to exercise outdoors when pm2.5 particle counts exceed 100?

    purple air (with WAQA data layer and US EPA "conversion" selected) real-time and even up to 6-hour averaging reads RED around much of seattle. if this air is toxic, why are kids still playing outside (tongue in cheek a bit here, but still!). we are in madison valley.

    sounds like much of october will feature crappy air, so it would be helpful to understand the health impacts for the young, elderly and immuno compromised, at minimum!

    media and state level gov seems absent here.

    1. Agree - a lot of people seem either ignorant or unconcerned about toxic smoke pollution.

    2. I found this kind of a helpful overall: https://thebolditalic.com/understanding-purpleair-vs-airnow-gov-measurements-of-wood-smoke-pollution-562923a55226

      You probaby know most of it, but it feels like a good starting point. I think a lot of it is just that the effects of pm 2.5 are sneaky. When there's a lot of pm10 it's easy to smell and stay out, but when the air is bad but it doesn't smell that bad, most people just assume it's fine.

      There are a lot of unknowns from my understanding. On the one hand, typically pm2.5 levels between 100 and 150 are "unhealthy for sensitive groups" which includes anyone with heart or lung issues, children, pregant women, and the elderly. So in theory it should be fine for healthy individuals to do a little working out outdoors in that range. BUT even the EPA has said it's probable that wildfire PM2.5 has a more deleterious health impact than other PM2.5 pollutants, so this advice might be a little too liberal. There have been very few longterm studies of repeat and continuous smoke exposure so far though definitely enough to be suggestive.

    3. and also the disparity between the US EPA PM2.5 AQI and Washington's Air Quality Advisor data layers. The Washington one is more stringent, and it seems like it should be the one that ought to be adopted nationally.

    4. Berkeley Earth's rule of thumb: one cigarette per day is the rough equivalent of a PM2.5 level of 22 μg/m3

    5. In other words, being outside in Seattle, with pm2.5 around 150-160 = smoking 8 cigs per day. My family and I left town. We are lucky to have a place on the Oregon coast where we can work from.

  2. So... Nuclear Winter is postponed for a bit?

  3. I’m in Yakima and we’re still in the 80s until at least Monday. Days in the 70s keeps getting pushed later and later, and our first predicted nighttime freeze isn’t until 10/28, almost 2 weeks past the average frost date! I’m glad to have the warmer weather to extend my garden and hopefully get more red tomatoes! It does seem rather strange to still be needing to wear summer clothes. Today I was thinking it’s like we are caught in some kind of seasonal twilight zone.

  4. 2012 was very dry July through mid October so this isn't that usual.

  5. Any idea *why* that problematic high-pressure ridge continues to dominate? Warmer waters of the Pacific? Downstream-blocking of the jet-stream? Other reasons?

  6. Agree, this is not something I like see as well, I'd rather we have the typical rainy season begin by now, not necessarily like last year where much of October and I think November was basically an atmospheric river after atmospheric river, after... for a time.

    I don't recall the specifics but we've had this similar situation at least twice to 3 times before in the past 45 years, 1977, which resulted in a drought, mid to late 80's that I recall doing much like California whereby we had to have buckets in the shower and take them as short as possible and use the gray water to water plants, at least in the Tacoma area, I think in 1997, we had a drought, or it was predicted, but perhaps never developed into one?, 2012 where it was quite warm and dry until late October when the first significant rains came. I had to be at the hospital at 7AM as this would be the day my mother dies and it was raining, not a heavy rain, but it was raining, and it rained much of the day and she would finally pass late in the afternoon and I believe it remained raining much of that night. So needless to say, 2012 stuck in my memory like a craw as a decade later, I still recall it well. So this is not unprecedented and I recall hating it at the time as things got drier and dustier, but the blackberries, while late to arrive were very delicious when they did arrive and all that was due to summer not "arriving" until late July that year.

  7. I do worry some that our Mediterranean climate is getting more Mediterranean.

    I call upon the Weather Gods to quit fooling around and send us the Pineapple Express before the end of the month.

  8. Depressing. Trees are stressed, my parents have been evacuated twice from Skykomish because of the Bolt Creek fire, and still no rain in site. THIS is not normal…..

  9. I have lived in the northwest since 1995. Most of it in Eastern Washington. This has been by far the hottest and driest fall that I can remember with no end in sight. I remember thinking that low 70s for a few days was warm for this time of year...this year its 80 or more with no end in sight...seems to be an increasing trend for hotter and drier "omega block" periods that last longer and longer.

  10. By the second week in November when we have had days and days of rain, all the people complaining about this dry spell with be complaining about rain. Relax people, enjoy

    1. Hard to relax, when one is elderly-like me-and has heart problems. A few years ago, that horrible summer of heavy smoke, drove me to visit the Emergency Room...I have been listening to my ASMR rain cd, over and over at night, hoping that one day, I will open the blinds, and see actual rain falling!...I never complain about rain anyway--it is the elixer of Life itself!

  11. This endless summer is like living in Denver, except in Denver there would already have been one sudden wacky snowstorm, with a return to the mid-70s a day or two later.

  12. Here's an interesting, but scary quote I just ran across in my news feeds:

    "Data from the National Weather Service indicates that, between July 1 and Oct. 9 this year, San Diego received 0.65 inches of rain. Seattle, on the other hand, received 0.48 inches of rain, the San Diego Union-Tribune has reported.

    That’s a startling fact since Seattle is a city synonymous with rainfall, and San Diego is world-famous for having clear skies and dry conditions throughout the year."


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