February 01, 2023

The Atmosphere Is About to Get "Unstuck" in Our Neighborhood

 The last week has been a bit boring for West Coast meteorologists.

The reason?  A persistent upper-level ridge of high pressure over the eastern Pacific, something illustrated by the upper-level (500-hPa) chart this morning (see below). Red and brown indicate areas of high pressure/high heights.   This pattern has been "locked in", something known as a "blocking pattern" in the weather biz.

But the lock is about to be opened.    Before I show this, let me note that our snowpack has been slowly declining to a bit below normal (see the current situation below).  Not a serious deficiency and one that should be addressed during the next week or so.

The forecasts you are about to see are based on the truly excellent Europe Cener ensemble system of many forecasts.  The average or mean of the many (51) runs is shown.

By Friday morning, the protecting ridge will move inland, and an energetic trough of lower pressure (green color) will be approaching our coast (see below).

This upper trough will be associated with a nice low center, which will bring strong winds to the Oregon/Washington coast (see sea level pressure forecast for Friday AM below).

The latest Seattle WindWatch wind forecast for Seattle, which includes both the high-resolution prediction and a collection (ensemble) of many other forecasts suggests a modest blow Friday afternoon, with gusts exceeding 30 mph.  Not the end of the world.  And yes, there will be rain with this system.

On Sunday morning, another trough moves in...one that will influence the entire West Coast.  More refill for California.

And then fast forwarding to Monday, another trough approaches, with a strong jet stream following.

Nothing particularly severe this week, but it will be nice to get a little rain and wind again.  This IS the Pacific Northwest!


  1. Cliff, have you done a post on averaging multiple model runs before? I'm curious how multi-modal outcomes are dealt with. If 50 runs say a storm will hit to the north, and 50 say to the south, the simple average says it will hit somewhere in the middle, which is guaranteed to be wrong.

    1. No it's the opposite - in your 50/50 scenario it's not that one model is correct and one is incorrect, it's that both models would be assumed to be equally incorrect. The most likely outcome is that neither model would be correct. But there is no 100% guarantee - it's still possible, though the most unlikely, that one of the models would be correct.

  2. Mother nature doesn't play with Models.

    1. Exactly. And that's why the "models" use for what is called the "existential threat" of global climate disaster within the next 15, 20, 1000.... years (take your pick) from now are even less believable.

  3. from the ST today: "The city experienced its driest January in 22 years, with 3.09 inches of rainfall last month — that’s 53% of the normal 5.78 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

    For context, 7.75 inches of precipitation fell in Seattle in December, with 3.36 inches just between Dec. 24 and 27, said Carly Kovacik, a meteorologist with the weather service in Seattle."

  4. Will we get any nights below freezing? Required for sap production (making maple syrup here in Kingston)

  5. Perhaps, just maybe, Dr. Mass's work is finally leading to some much - needed sanity from the MSM:


    Let's hope this new (and accurate) narrative takes root across the country.


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

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