December 09, 2022

Why don't clouds fall out of the sky? Plus, a major shift to cool, dry conditions

 Clouds have weight.   In fact, a modest size cumulus cloud can weigh a million pounds or more.

Why don't they fall to the ground?  The answer is found in my podcast (see below)

And then I take on the forecast, which is one of great contrast.   A low center is now off our coast, with a "juicy" front approaching (see satellite image this morning).

Lots of rain starting around dinner time tonight in western Washington, with snow spreading over the Cascades and eastern WA this evening.

Post-frontal showers will spread over the region on Saturday.  

But then the situation changes.   The east Pacific ridge rebuilds and the jet stream and stormy weather head into California (see upper-level map for 7 PM Sunday below).   California will get our rain and snow for the better part of the week.

I provide more details of the forecast in my podcast (see below)

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  1. Well snow has started above Hood Canal, heavy wet snow falling for the last 40 minutes or so, fast enough to begin accumulating on everything...

  2. I'm reminded of something I heard said while I was in AIT at Fort Lewis in the summer of 1970. "Only two things fall out of the sky -- bird ***t and idiots."

  3. With all this dry weather coming, I thought I would see where we are in Seattle for precip to date. Looking at the SeaTac airport data, we've had 34.39 inches to date which should give us a relatively normal amount for the year despite what will likely be a drier than normal November and December. But some of those monthly totals didn't square with my recollection of rain in Greenwood, so I decided to plug in the numbers from Boeing Field (figured numbers from there would be reliable compared to weather stations closer to my place). Much to my surprise the numbers were even lower than I expected - 22.86 inches to date. That's 11.53 few inches of precipitation. Is it normal for Boeing Field to get less rain than SeaTac, and is this year's difference unusual? All my life I've heard that Seattle gets 36-38 inches of annual precipitation. What's the average annual precip for Boeing Field?

  4. You have an error somewhere....Boeing Field's annual rainfall is very similar to SeaTac. Has to be that way because of the proximit

    1. There was an error, because I assumed the Weather Underground numbers were taken directly from NWS data. So I decided to check the NWS Seattle site and plug the monthly numbers into the spreadsheet, and the discrepancy is still there. Those numbers are 34.43 inches at SeaTac through Dec. 9th and 22.86 inches at Boeing Field through Dec. 9th. I got the data from and selected monthly summarized data for precipitation at Boeing Field and SeaTac using a year range of 2022 - 2022. This gave me the data for January through November. For December amounts, I clicked "Daily data for a month" for each weather station and selected December 2022. I am happy to be wrong, and if I'm not wrong, either the NWS numbers or wrong or there is a unique discrepancy between the two weather stations for 2022. I also emailed NWS, so I will let you know what they have to say. I'm not seeing an option to add a screen grab of the numbers on this site, and it doesn't appear that I can link directly to the search results, so I have pasted the numbers below.
      Boeing Field
      2022 4.47 2.67 2.02 1.74 2.05 2.08 0.13 0.02 0.04 2.10 4.57 1.01

      2022 7.06 5.32 3.32 2.71 3.82 2.67 0.18 0.05 0.25 2.51 4.83 1.71

  5. I thought it is because moist air is lighter than dry air.


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