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How a “Neutral Climate” Will Affect The Winter and Why You Should Prepare For Major Windstorms Now

The Climate Prediction Center came out with an outlook on the El Nino/La Nina climate patterns for this year, and it looks “neither here nor there”. The ocean temperatures off the coast of South America are expected to remain neutral as opposed to warmer(El Nino) or cooler (La Nina). What does this mean for the weather here in the Northwest?

The neutral climate pattern usually brings about (you guessed it) normal, middle of the road weather for the Northwest; normal temperatures and normal rainfall. So now you can tell your friends and family to prepare for the typical wet streets, gray skies, and 24/7 jacket weather for the fall and winter. But that’s not all you need to prepare for this season.

Surprisingly, neutral climate patterns are the prime time for major windstorms in the Northwest. Take the time while the weather is calm to make sure you’re ready for the big storms that knock out power to thousands every year.

Also be sure to ‘like’ the Puget Sound Weather Geek Facebook Page and bookmark this blog to stay up to date on windstorm threats and forecasts. I do extensive coverage during extreme weather events, so stay tuned!

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Is Summer Over?

Probably.

After another sweltering wave of heat last week where temperatures got into the 90°s and Fire Weather Watches and Heat Advisories were issued across Western Washington, it appears that typical Washington weather is back,  and possibly for good.

Photograph taken by Sandra Scragg

The repetitive heat spells were caused by a persistent ‘dome’ of warm air that we often see during the Summer. However it seems that we’re at the point where that big dome is transitioning into a ‘dip’ of cooler air swinging in from Canada.

Whether you love it or hate it, the cooler weather is coming back!

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Stormy August Day!

It’s a chilly August day and showers are scattered across Western Washington. Thunder and heavy rain are possible Sunday and Monday afternoons as well.

This is all due to a super cold blob of air in the upper atmosphere rotating in from the north as part of an Upper Level Low pressure system. In other words, this bubble of cold air is going to mess with our summer for a little bit!

We can expect the weather to get warmer and more pleasant by the middle of next week.

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Stormy Morning and a Great Week Ahead

We’re starting off the day to a stormy start as an upper level low popped off some storms across the Puget Sound early in the morning. Intense lightning and thunder was reported across the area!

Lightning image captured by skunkbayweather.com

As this system clears out, things are going to change pretty dramatically for the weekend and beyond, and it can be described in three words: Summer. Is. Back.

Wow! Definitely looks like we’re stuck with sunny skies and toasty temps for the foreseeable future. Enjoy it and stay cool!

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When is Summer Coming Back?

Well it doesn’t really look like July out there anymore, and considering the trend of our summer so far (sunny day – cloudy day – sunny day – cloudy day) you’re probably wondering how long this is going to last.

Well, as is the case with a lot of weather forecasting – it’s unclear.

This bout of cloudy/showeryness is due to an upper level low (ULL) off-shore. This is a spinning blob of cooler air and moisture in the upper levels of the atmosphere.

This particular system will swing through the region this weekend bringing cooler and showery weather. A few thunderstorms may be in the mix for Saturday as well.

Afterwards though, the models and forecasters aren’t sure whether a warm spell will form, or whether another one of these ULL’s will bring us back into cloudy/rainy land.

The forecasts are calling for a chance of rain each day until the middle of next week.

Weather Underground 7 Day Forecast

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4th of July Weekend Weather Forecast

Happy 4th of July weekend everyone! The question on everyone’s minds is probably along the lines of “what is the weather going to be like?”

Well on average the weather is pretty nice on July 4th in Seattle: The average temperature is around 65°F and the average cloud coverage for this time of year is around 0.7 (mostly clear).

Lets look at what the forecasters and models are saying day by day.

  • Saturday, July 2nd: Partly cloudy, chance of showers in the A.M. Similarly to Friday, some mid to high level clouds will filter the sunshine and keep temperatures tamped down into the low 70s. A weak upper level disturbance is floating in to the north of us which is drawing in the clouds.
  • Sunday, July 3rd: Partly cloudy again with a better chance of showers in the afternoon. According to the NWS, a weak front will cross into the region bringing the chance of showers in the afternoon and evening hours. This will be the best chance for showers all weekend.
  • Monday, July 4th: Unfortunately the models are indicating an upper level disturbance nearing the area on Independence Day. This would bring a chance of showers as well and also complicate the forecast. These upper level lows don’t resolve well in computer weather models, and the forecast has been fluctuating. My call would be to expect a partly cloudy day with a possibility of some light rain on your fireworks party. Sorry! It’s Washington after all!

Happy 4th!

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The Weather Disturbance That Stuck Around…

The past week’s weather has been sort of a roller coaster. Temperatures hovered in the 60s, there were rain-showers, scattered clouds, sunshine and even thunderstorms.

The most dramatic storms peaked on Saturday, when lightning, flooding, and even funnel clouds and possible tornadoes were spotted!

This is due to an upper level disturbance that hovered around the region and just would not leave. The very cold air circulating around this disturbance in the upper atmosphere created an unstable environment which spawned thunderstorms across the region, from south of Olympia and Tacoma to North Seattle.

Full radar loop from Saturday, June 18th. You can see storms pummeling through the region in the later part of the afternoon.

Here’s an animation of the models starting Tuesday, June 15th. As you can see the center of the low (the black box with the ‘L’ in it) floated around for almost six days.

Looking ahead, this upper level system isn’t done. It is expected to weaken and slowly drift through Washington accompanied by some scattered showers and should exit the region by Tuesday.

Happy Fathers Day!

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Awesome Northwest Weather Visualization

I found an awesome website that visualizes a decade of rainfall, wildfire, thunderstorm and other climatic information in Washington, Oregon and California.

When you open up the page, you’ll see a map of Washington and the timeline on the bottom of the page will begin to scroll, indicating time passing by.  The blue orbs over the state will fluctuate based on the amount of rainfall received, and small symbols will pop up representing wildfires, thunderstorms, or droughts. (Ignore the hurricane symbol, this site was created in Europe and I think that they mistook ‘wind event’ for ‘hurricane’.)

Enjoy a few minutes of visualizing Washington’s dramatically variable climate!

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Severe Weather Situation Eastern Washington & Oregon

Today the SPC has forecast a slight risk of severe thunderstorms for a portion of southeast Washington, northeast Oregon and Idaho for this afternoon. This risk highlights scattered thunderstorms that could produce heavy rain and hail. Continue reading

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Flare Up Heat Wave

It’s the first weekend of June, and summer’s already here! Stay cool, hydrated, and sun screened because the temperatures will reach into the upper 80s and low 90s on Sunday. Continue reading

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