June 15, 2023

Record Cold and Mountain Snow Ahead for the Pacific Northwest

Winter-like conditions will visit us over the weekend and into next week....so be prepared.

SNOW will hit the higher passes and elevations in the Cascades and other regional terrain, and a number of new daily cold records should be set at local stations.

Expect snow at Paradise, Mt. Rainier

The National Weather Service's official forecast for the Paradise visitor center at Mt. Rainier is more reminiscent of winter than a late June forecast:
And the Seattle forecast of the Weather Channel (the best in the business) is going for a HIGH of 55F Sunday (with rain), a record low maximum temperature for that date, with 50s for both Monday and Tuesday.  Yikes.

Eastern Washington will cool down as well, with highs only reaching about 70F in the Tri-Cities.

The unseasonal upcoming chilly, wet, and snowy period is associated with a strong, cold trough of low pressure moving into the region this weekend (check out the upper-level map (500 hPa, about 18,000 ft)  for 5 AM Monday).  The color shading shows the temperature:  blue is cold!  This trough hangs around in weakened form for all week!

The predicted precipitation totals through Wednesday are shown below.  Wet over the entire region except for the rainshadow over the Columbia Basin.    Heavy precipitation over British Columbia, which will work strongly against wildfires there for many weeks.

The freezing level will drop to around 4500 ft on Sunday and as a result there will be snow in the higher passes and elevations (see snow totals below through Wednesday morning).  Higher terrain in the Cascades will get whitened, with relatively heavy snow in portions of BC and Alberta.

Daily low-temperature records will be broken.  Consider SeaTac Airport.  A plot of the lowest maximum temperatures for June 17-19 over the entire period (below) shows the record low maximum temperature for the historical period was 57F observed in 2022 and 2010.   
As noted above, the WeatherChannel is going for 55F, which would be a new cold record.  

There will be others as well.

This cold period follows the above-normal warmth of mid-May.   

The bottom line in all this is that if you want to enjoy Father's Day it might be best to move celebrations inside.   And I fear for the tomato plants in our garden...they will NOT be happy.



I will be giving a talk on the Weather of the western Cascade Foothills on Sunday, June 25th at the Sno-Valley Senior Center, 4610 Stephens Ave., Carnation, WA.  3-5 PM.  Open to all.


  1. This is what bugs me about our climate. It's not that it rains in summer- we need rain in summer. What bugs me is that unlike most of the USA, we so rarely get WARM summer rain. Lightning storms can produce warm rain but they are pretty rare in the lowlands. The Pineapple Express, the only other source of warm rain, rarely visits this time of year. When we do get rain in summer, it's that old Aleutian low about nine times out of ten. Am I wrong?

    1. You aren't wrong, but this bugs you? I really like that we rarely get hot, humid days. Cold and wet, hot and dry, sure. But warm and wet? Very rarely.

    2. This is one of the most irrational things I hear people say; the native climate of a locale should be something other than what it is. I hear things like "oh if the climate here was only like southern California". What!? It's like saying "I know the sky is blue on a clear day, but I really think it ought be chartreuse".

      Look at it this way.. It is as nature has made it. Therefore, it's exactly as it should be and in that sense, it's perfect.

    3. There's no way I want the weather here to be like southern California! If people don't like the weather here, they can move to southern California.

      I would be happy as a clam if the temperatures never got above 75 degrees!

    4. I'll admit- I'm a transplant from the East. And there are a lot of things I like here, especially the mountains. But there are certain climate features I miss. I don't mean this climate is "wrong". Admittedly no-place has everything one might want. Perhaps I'll move somewhere someday- after retirement.

  2. Ellensburg (KELN) is expecting 40°F Sunday night. I'm ~500 feet higher. I'll need the wood stove.

  3. The tomatoes might not be happy, but I'm absolutely delighted

  4. What Is So Rare As A Day In June
    -- by James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)

    And what is so rare as a day in June?
    Then, if ever, come perfect days;
    Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
    And over it softly her warm ear lays;

    Whether we look, or whether we listen,
    We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
    Every clod feels a stir of might,
    An instinct within it that reaches and towers,

    And, groping blindly above it for light,
    Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
    The flush of life may well be seen
    Thrilling back over hills and valleys;

    The cowslip startles in meadows green,
    The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
    And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
    To be some happy creature's palace;

    The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
    Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
    And lets his illumined being o'errun
    With the deluge of summer it receives;

    His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
    And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
    He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,
    In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?

    Now is the high-tide of the year,
    And whatever of life hath ebbed away
    Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
    Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;

    Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
    We are happy now because God wills it;
    No matter how barren the past may have been,
    'Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;

    We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
    How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
    We may shut our eyes but we cannot help knowing
    That skies are clear and grass is growing;

    The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
    That dandelions are blossoming near,
    That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
    That the river is bluer than the sky,

    That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
    And if the breeze kept the good news back,
    For our couriers we should not lack;
    We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,

    And hark! How clear bold chanticleer,
    Warmed with the new wine of the year,
    Tells all in his lusty crowing!

    Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
    Everything is happy now,
    Everything is upward striving;

    'Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
    As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,
    'Tis for the natural way of living:

    Who knows whither the clouds have fled?
    In the unscarred heaven they leave not wake,
    And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,

    The heart forgets its sorrow and ache;
    The soul partakes the season's youth,
    And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe

    Lie deep 'neath a silence pure and smooth,
    Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.

  5. At what time is the Talk at Sno-Valley Senior Center on the 25th?

  6. June Gloom has been around forever. It's why we went to Cabo in June a few years back 🏖️🌞


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

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