2008 weather: More than just a big snowstorm

2008 weather: More than just a big snowstorm
A snowman is seen inside the sculpture "Changing Form" and in view of the Space Needle in the aftermath of a weekend snow storm Monday, Dec. 22, 2008, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SEATTLE -- Mother Nature might have saved the worst for last, but there were plenty of weather events through 2008 to keep us on our toes.

The year began with a little snow in the lowlands, and piles and piles of snow in the passes, where Snoqualmie and Stevens Pass had to be closed for several days.

Jan. 7: Snow blankets parts of Western Washington

Jan. 14: Snow, sleet fall throughout parts of Puget Sound area

Jan. 15: Snow, ice make for tricky commute

A particularly clear and cold day allowed Seattleites to see snow getting blown off Mt. Rainier.

Jan. 21: On a clear (and cold) day...

Feb. 7: Blizzard conditions ease in mountains

We then transitioned into one of the cooler springs on record.  So cool, we even had snow in Seattle in April!

April 18: Summer is 63 days away. Really?

April 19: Waking to a springtime wonderland

April 20: Winter continues to stave off extinction

April 24: You call this weather chilly? It's been worse

Spring took a brief break in late May when we had our first heat wave. In fact, Seattle had its earliest 90 degree reading on record in late May.

May 12: Ever wanted to ski in shorts?

May 16: From March to August in 3 Days Flat

May 17: Just another sizzling Saturday

But then early June? Right back into the chill, followed by a rare windstorm on June 9.

May 30: Snoqualmie Pass finishes up snowy season

June 6: Happy June, now go throw snowball

June 9: Welcome to Juneuary:

June 9: Rare windstorm knocks out power to 34,000

Summer was fairly average, with just two hot spells in late June and again in mid August.  However, we had a spectacular lightning display on July 2.

June 27: Mother Nature puts Sun in Sunday:

Jul 2: Weather calms after Mother Nature's fireworks show

On August 25th, another series of storms brought funnel clouds to Seattle:

Aug 25: Stormy weather bookends Monday

Fall was boring until early November, when we had two flooding events.

Nov 7: More rain than you can shake pumpkin at

Nov 12: Rain floods area rivers as night falls

The rest of the month was warm and mainly dry.

December also started off quiet enough -- the first 11 days of December were warmer in the upper atmosphere than the first 11 days of June. We were even treated to one of the most spectacular cloud displays you'll ever see when these incredible lenticular clouds formed over Mt. Rainier:

Dec 5. Mt. Rainier puts on a show:

But the month sure didn't end that way.  The region's greatest period of cold and snow in a generation began on Dec. 12, and didn't let up until just after Christmas. I'm putting together a separate story on the snowstorm that will be published in the coming days and linked to from here. But for now, here are the past stories:

Dec. 12: Gusty winds kick off week of weather headlines

Dec. 13: Waking to a winter wonderland

Dec. 14: Slippery NW roads trigger spinouts, accidents

Dec. 15: Icy roads greet morning commuters as frigid weather sets in

Dec. 15:   Round 1 of a 5-round bout with arctic temperatures?

Dec. 15: Second round of snow looms for midweek

Dec. 16: More snow on the way

Dec. 17: Heavy snow falls across parts of Washington

Dec. 17:  Some skating on this ice; others skating by for now

Dec. 18: Snow leaves mess in Seattle; sets stage for deep freeze

Dec. 19: Weekend storm looms with wind, snow

Dec. 20:  Temperatures plunge below zero in some spots

Dec. 20: Fierce winds, snow, freezing rain blast through region

Dec. 21: Freezing rain adds to winter storm woes

Dec. 21: Travelers abandon Sea-Tac as flights canceled

Dec. 21: Fresh warnings issued as snow becomes relentless

Dec. 22: Snow tapers off after burying Western Washington

Dec. 22: Mother Nature's snow machine gives it a rest

Dec. 23: Mother Nature says Let It Snow (again)

Dec. 24: Another day, another round of snow

Dec. 24: Rain makes long, lost appearance in Seattle.

Dec. 25:  Dreams of a White Christmas finally come true

Mother Nature then tossed a parting shot for 2008 with two mild wind events.

Dec. 29:  Gusty winds knock out power, cause trees to topple

Dec. 31: Second round of wind knocks out power

Overall, average temperatures were...about average to perhaps a bit below, thanks to the cool spring and December arctic blast. We were way behind on rain though -- Seattle looks to finish up about 7" below normal, while Forks was nearly 15" below normal.

Seattle set four record highs: 79 on April 12, 90 on May 17, 90 on Aug. 14 and 62 on Nov. 7, and tied three others -- 84 on May 16, 91 on June 28 and 60 on Nov. 19.  We set two new record lows -- 22 on Dec. 14 and 19 on Dec. 15, and tied five others, including a 14 on Dec. 20.

Have a happy and safe 2009!