Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Late-Season Snow

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
1:01 P.M.

Now, I know this isn't the most glamorous picture, but take a look at how snowy it is up there at Alpental! The mountains ave seen a TON of snow recently, and this trend looks to continue into the foreseeable future.

Why so much snow?

The answer, my friends, is La Nina.

La Nina generally spells colder, wetter, and snowier weather for the Pacific Northwest, but up until our first big snowstorm in January, that wasn't the case. Although the lowland snow during January was fun, it was pretty late for the first snow of the season here in Seattle, and before that, the mountains were below-average for snowfall. La Nina is supposed to bring gobs of snow to the mountains, but that wasn't happening. Why were we lacking snowfall then, and why are we getting snowfall now, even though the La Nina is actually weakening by now?

SST anomalies in the tropical Pacific up to this past week

La Nina's effects are generally felt in full-force after January first, but for the last two years, it has been felt much later. This year is beginning to resemble last year in a so-so winter for snow but a very snowy spring. And yes, I know it isn't officially spring yet, but the "meteorological winter" lasts from mid-November to mid-February, and we are definitely transitioning out of it.

I'm forecasting a well-above average total spring snowfall in the mountains this year, and I'm also feeling like we'll get a cold spring. Don't put your skis away yet!

Gotta go, office appointment calls!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Heavy Mountain Snow and a Winter Storm Warning for Hood Canal

February 28, 2012
12:03 P.M.

Hi everybody! Once again, I'm sorry for the sporadic forecasts, I have a pretty heavy class load this quarter. But I do have about 15 minutes until my next class, so I can write a short blog post here to keep you up to date on the current weather situation.

There has been a lot of talk about snow in the past couple days. It is very hard for Seattle to get snow after mid-February, but last week, folks were talking about the possibility of a major arctic outbreak for Seattle.

That is not going to happen, but snow is not completely out of the forecast. While most of the lowlands (including Seattle) will not see accumulating snow, Hood Canal currently has a winter storm warning from now until 4 A.M. Wednesday for 1-8 inches of snow. That is a pretty wide range, and the highest amounts will be near the Olympics in places like Hoodsport while the lowest amounts will be in places further away from the Olympics, like Shelton. It is very common for Hood Canal to get snow while the rest of Western Washington gets a chilly rain because the cold air by Hood Canal is not as quick to mix out as the air over most places in the lowlands.

Take a look at the 24-hour predicted snowfall over the region until 4 A.M. tomorrow morning.

Valid 04:00 am PST Wed, 29 Feb 2012 - 24hr Fcst - UW 4/3km 12z WRF-GFS 24-hour snowfall

You can see moderate amounts of snow over the Hood Canal region and pretty high amounts over the Olympics. 

Also, take a gander at the surface temperatures predicted at 1 P.M. today, and look how there is a pool of cold air nudged up against Hood Canal.

Valid 01:00 pm PST Tue, 28 Feb 2012 - 9hr Fcst - UW 4/3km 12z WRF-GFS 2-meter temperature

Over the next week, there will be no more lowland snow, but there will be tons of snow in the Cascades with low snow levels to boot. Next weekend, particularly Saturday, should be great for skiing, and I'm definitely looking forward to going up. Here's one last picture of the 24-hour snowfall predicted Saturday ending at 4 A.M.

Valid 04:00 am PST Sat, 03 Mar 2012 - 96hr Fcst - UW 12km 12z WRF-GFS 24-hour snowfall

As always, thanks for reading, and have a nice day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Forecast

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
11:59 A.M.

Hi everybody! After some midterms and intense studying, I'm back to writing this blog, although I have to admit, I still have a lot of work ahead of me. But let's worry about that another day.

I'm not sure how other people feel, but I'm not quite in love with the forecast. However, I'm definitely crushing on it, maybe I'm even spittin' game and hitting on it. I wouldn't like to marry this forecast, but I'd take it on a date.

Spring weather is often unpredictable in the Pacific Northwest. The upper atmosphere is very cool, but the lower atmosphere warms up due to increasing solar insolation as we move closer to the summer solstice. Today will be a preview into some of the weather we could see later on this spring.

Currently, there is a weak area of low pressure off our coast, and it is directing some unstable air into our area. The satellite picture from ~ 11:30 A.M. shows this well.

Most of the unstable air is being directed south of us, but we could still see a stray shower or two. The exciting part about the forecast today is that we could see some small hail with some of these showers, though again, most of these showers will be to our south.

Maybe I'm being a bit optimistic here, but there hasn't been much exciting weather lately. I'm just taking this day to "like" the weather of the Pacific Northwest, and I hope you like it to.