Weather Blog

Long range forecasts maintain hot summer forecast for Seattle

Long range forecasts maintain hot summer forecast for Seattle
Seattle Center on a (rare?) sunny and warm day in early April. (Photo courtesy: Jason Erskine, April 7, 2014)

The monthly updates to the long-range seasonal forecasts came out this week and I'm not sure who is cheering louder: those who like hot summers in the West or those in New England and the Midwest who are now being given above-average odds for a warm winter this year after a current "winter" that is still bringing several inches of snow in mid-April.

(In fact, Marquette, Mich. reported low temperatures below zero on Wednesday morning. Yes, April 16th!!!)

For just the 30 day May forecast, forecasts paint a moderately strong signal that the month will be warmer than average, and a fairly decent signal that it will also be drier than average.

(Key: Brown is warmer than average, blue is cooler than average on the temperature map. For rainfall, brown means drier than normal while green means higher odds of wetter than normal conditions.)



A similar story is painted for the averaged 90 day period between May and July -- warmer and drier than normal in the Pacific Northwest:



The warm signal gets even stronger as we get into the middle of the summer, with a greater than 50 percent chance of a warmer than normal summer, as opposed to a 33 percent chance of a normal summer and just 17 percent of a cooler than normal summer. (This map is for July-August-September)



As the maps progress into autumn, the Northwest drifts back toward "EC" -- equal chances of warm/cool or normal temperatures. That just means there is no signal to lean the forecasts one way or the other, although note the rest of the northern states look like they'll be spared another brutal winter like they just endured.

This is likely due to strong indications we're heading into an El Nino winter which keeps the northern half of the nation warmer and drier while makes it cooler and wetter in the south. The January-March map does give the Northwest a slightly better chance at a warm winter and I suspect as El Nino becomes more certain, so will our odds of a warmer and drier winter as that is typical of El Nino.

The forecasts do still also illustrate how incredibly fortunate Western Washington was to recover our mountain snowpack with our very snowy late February and March. A hot and dry West means an increase in wildfire danger and irrigation use and had we been going into this summer short on water supply, it could have made those challenges even more daunting.

Happy last day of snow in Seattle day!

Happy last day of snow in Seattle day!
"Mr. Cash" basks in a rare mid-spring snow. (Photo: Julie Johnson)

It's been nearly a month since winter ended, and the Opening Day of Boating Season is just over two weeks away.

But did you know it's snowed on this date before in Seattle?

Watch: Why there's a cool breeze just before a rain storm

Watch: Why there's a cool breeze just before a rain storm

We all know rain showers are about as common in the Puget Sound region as a corner coffee stand. But around here, even in the mundane, there is beauty -- at least in the eyes of this meteorologist.

Have you ever been outside and felt that cool rush of air before in the minutes before it starts raining? Ever wonder why that happens? I've got some great weather videos that will help demonstrate.

First of 4 'Blood Moon' lunar eclipses set for Monday night

First of 4 'Blood Moon' lunar eclipses set for Monday night
FILE -- A lunar eclipse shines over the Space Needle in Seattle on Feb. 20, 2008 (Photo courtesy: Clane Gessel)

Our sunrises and sunsets are legendary around here, but how would you like to see all the sunrises and sunsets on Earth -- at the same time! And it doesn't even require a trip to outer space.

Instead, the moon is going to essentially turn into an astronomical version of a projection screen as we get the first of four consecutive lunar eclipses over the next two years.

Even though the moon will be in the Earth's shadow, it should appear a bit colorful, some shade of red or orange. That's from light around the edges of the Earth - essentially all the sunrises and sunsets at the moment - splashing on the lunar surface and faintly lighting up the moon, said Alan MacRobert, senior editor at Sky & Telescope magazine.

Seattle's climate instantly cools 1.5 degrees -- but it's not any colder

Seattle's climate instantly cools 1.5 degrees -- but it's not any colder
Sun rises in Seattle on April 13, 2014. (Photo: Brendan Ramsey)

Temperature readings at Sea-Tac Airport -- Seattle's official reporting station -- have been reporting cooler temperatures of late, but don't worry, our climate hasn't undergone a sudden cooling event.

Instead, it seems the thermometer at Sea-Tac is finally back on track, reporting temperatures more realistic with respect to other nearby thermometers.

Safeco Field roof closed for opener, but rainy M's games remain rare

Safeco Field roof closed for opener, but rainy M's games remain rare
FILE -- Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws in the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers during a baseball game at Safeco Field, Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

In what was quite the poor timing by Mother Nature, a weak and brief cold front  swept through Seattle Tuesday evening and required the roof to be closed at Safeco Field for the Mariners' home opener.

But while you might think the roof gets quite a workout through the season in soggy Seattle, did you know Safeco Field's retractable roof is the least used in baseball?

Your obligatory 'It's sunny and warm in Seattle!' story

Your obligatory 'It's sunny and warm in Seattle!' story
Seattle Center on a (rare?) sunny and warm day in early April. (Photo courtesy: Jason Erskine, April 7, 2014)

SEATTLE -- Usually when a weather story is in the top stack of our website, it's because there is impending meteorological mayhem, be it 4 inches of snow, a windstorm, flooding, or maybe some rare rumbles of thunder.

Not this time!

For once, we decided to declare it's news when it's a sunny, warm day in early April. Highs around Seattle are expected to reach the upper 60s with perhaps a rogue 70 out there in Southwestern Washington and there is plenty of sunshine to go around, as long as you're not on the coast.

Now while many might think it's not that rare to have a day in the upper 60s that could threaten 70, you would be wrong!

Sorta, kinda.

Weekend eye candy: Weather time lapse videos

Weekend eye candy: Weather time lapse videos

With the weather relatively tame and no more drama around what the record rainfall will be in March (9.44" for those who missed it), I figure we can use a relaxing weather blog to get us through the weekend.

And what better way to relax than watching some gorgeous time lapse video?

'Scud clouds' -- Don't be fooled by Mother Nature's ultimate prank

'Scud clouds' -- Don't be fooled by Mother Nature's ultimate prank
Nope, nothing to see here folks. Just harmless scud cloud approaching Mukilteo on March 30, 2014.

Coming off of April Fool's Day and coming into the month that traditionally has the most "severe" weather (at least by paltry Pacific Northwest standards) I wanted to highlight a trick of atmospheric dynamics that fools countless people every year: "Scud" clouds and their tornado-like funnel impersonations.

Tornadoes are quite rare around here -- Washington just averages about 1-2 a year somewhere in the state, the last notable one being the tornado that damaged a Frederickson plant last September. The vast majority of them are quite weak thanks to our climatology that greatly inhibits tornado development.

Hilarious video shows how meteorologists help Canadians deal with endless winter

A bit of a Thursday funny for you today in the weather blog, courtesy of Canadian humor show "the Rick Mercer Report."

Ever wonder how Canadians get through days and days... (and days) of brutal freezing temperatures in the winter? Apparently their meteorologists hold their hand a bit. (Remember, they use Celsius for temps and 0° is freezing.)

No comment on whether we always put a sun on Day 7 of our forecasts during our relentless Seattle rainy stretches :)

Scientific breakthrough: Raindrops that smell like french fries?

Scientific breakthrough: Raindrops that smell like french fries?

Sometimes advertising is a bit subtle (watch KOMO!) and other times it's more of a blaring, in-your-face barrage (NO, REALLY! WATCH KOMO-TV -- WE HAVE A GREAT NEWS TEAM!)

But now one Seattle-based company wants to take advertising to a whole new level: scent-based marketing using the world's first branded aromatic rain.

That's right -- next time you're doused by a rain shower, it's not just clean air you'll smell, but perhaps doughnuts? Or cupcakes?

Seattle smashes record for all-time wettest March

Seattle smashes record for all-time wettest March
A soggy day at the Seattle's Space Needle. (Photo courtesy: Brendan Ramsey)

SEATTLE -- We all know it's been a soggy month of March. Now we have the trophy to prove it.

The rains Friday were enough to set the record for the all-time wettest March in Seattle history.

That's not just Sea-Tac Airport,which goes back to 1945, but also far and away surpasses anything the Downtown Federal Building measured in its years from 1891-1972.