Monday, May 20, 2013

A Change for the Cooler

Monday, May 20, 2013
~11:00 A.M.

A developing frontal system offshore will move into western Washington late tonight and a broad trough of low pressure will take up residence over the area through the week ahead. This will lead to cooler temperatures, showers, and low snow levels for late May. - Retrieved from The Seattle Office of the National Weather Service

It's no surprise that the first half of May has been extraordinarily warm. I came across a funny picture and caption circulating around the internet; it is in the same format as a meme you'd find on Reddit, but the picture used has not widely been used. At least not yet. In fact, on May 6, Sea-Tac reached an astounding 87 degrees, crushing the previous record by 8 degrees. That day, Seattle was tied for the highest temperature for a major city in the United States. Phoenix also reached 87. Places in Eastern Washington got even hotter; Yakima hit 90 degrees.

Credit: The Weather Channel
Now, things are much different. Today, highs will likely hit either side of 70 in much of the Puget Sound area, which is a few degrees above our average of 66, but things will take a turn for the 'terrible' (this is subjective... I love cool weather) on Tuesday. As the very first picture shows, we currently have a moderately strong frontal system developing off our coast, and this system will roll in late tonight into Tuesday. 

This storm won't cause massive flooding on area rivers or down trees and cut power to millions, but it will usher in a pattern change. There is a large pool of cold, unstable air originating from the Gulf of Alaska behind this system, and this air will be directed right into our area. With cool, unstable air and high sun angles due to this time of year comes the potential for thundershowers. The National Weather Service and KOMO (my favorite news station for weather... Scott Sistek writes excellent forecasts and does a great job of explaining the justifications for a particular weather forecast) were pretty gang-ho with a chance of thunderstorms on Wednesday as the unstable post-frontal air streams into the region, but they have backed off of of this forecast as of this morning due to lower forecast of CAPE (Convective Potential Potential Energy), which is a statistic that aggregates a whole bunch of individual model forecasts to get an overall view of how unstable the atmosphere is. Higher CAPE generally infers that there is a higher chance of thunderstorms over the area, as the cumulonimbus clouds responsible for these thunderstorms are formed be convection whereas more stratiform clouds are created by warm advection, radiational cooling (especially in the case of fog on the coast), and a variety of other factors.

Ostensibly record-setting geoduck clam (Panopea abrupta or Panopea generosa), Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, Seattle, Washington. Retrieved from Wikipedia Commons. Photo Credit: Joe Mabel

After this system comes through, highs in Seattle will be a good 5-10 degrees below average for the remainder of the week. 'Thankfully', (again, this is subjective, I'm indifferent to warm weather) highs will rebound all the way into the mid 60s by Memorial Day Weekend. I'm personally planning to go clamming up on Whidbey Island for some geoducks, which are giant, delicious clams that look like elephant trunks or penises (your choice). They sure taste good though. The geoduck above is the largest one ever caught, although there are certainly many much larger that have yet to be excavated. The last time I saw it was while I was exploring Seattle 'round midnight with a friend... she was flabbergasted, and even I was taken aback. You should see it too!

If you are looking to go clamming, hit me up and I can give you some information on which beaches to go to. One thing's for sure though. Stay off my territory. I've already decimated the local geoduck population enough. I don't know if it can withstand another beating.

Have a great day everybody! Thanks for reading/supporting/doing all you do to support my dream, you mean the world to me.



  1. Charlie, I'm a big fan of your weather forecasts and I think they are both informative and dope.


    Alex Dyring

  2. Thanks buddy, I love writing them, and I love the support I get from people like you.

    Let me know when you get back from Spain so we can jam!