Weather Blog

Just how windy was it? Here's a list of peak gusts

Just how windy was it? Here's a list of peak gusts
The ferry Cathlamet navigates some rough waters of the Puget Sound during a wind storm on Aug. 29, 2015. (Photo courtesy: Mike Cresswell)

The windstorm on Saturday will surely go into the record books for some of the strongest winds, if not strongest ever recorded in August.

Winds on the coast hit well over 60 mph, including Destruction Island clocking a peak gust of 87 mph! But even the inland areas were rocked, with a gust to 66 mph on Lopez Island, 70 mph at Whidbey Island NAS -- and 81 mph on a boat in the Rosario Strait!

In the city areas, Everett (Paine Field) had three separate gusts near 60 mph -- a 59, 60, and 61 mph gust! Tacoma wasn't too far behind at 54 mph, while Seattle (Sea-Tac) hit 46 mph. Although looking at the outage chart by Seattle City Light and the with the wide swath of power outages in the northern half of the city suggests wind speeds were greater there.

The National Weather Service has compiled this handy chart of peak winds across several sites in Western Washington:

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SEATTLE WA
435 PM PDT SAT AUG 29 2015


...WIND REPORTS AROUND WESTERN WASHINGTON IN THE PAST 12 HOURS...

HERE ARE SOME PRELIMINARY LOWLAND WIND REPORTS FOR TODAY'S STORM AS
OF 4 PM PDT. REPORTS OF LESS THAN 35 MPH WERE OMITTED. REPORTS ARE
GUSTS...EXCEPT (P) ARE PEAK WINDS.

LOCATION                       SPEED     TIME/DATE       LAT/LON              

...ADMIRALTY INLET AREA...
WHIDBEY ISLAND NAS           70 MPH(P) 1202 PM 08/29   48.35N/122.67W       
CAMA BEACH                   59 MPH    1245 PM 08/29   48.14N/122.52W       
1 WNW OAK HARBOR             46 MPH    1128 AM 08/29   48.31N/122.67W       
2 NW PORT HADLOCK            39 MPH    1159 AM 08/29   48.06N/122.79W       
COUPEVILLE                   37 MPH    1130 AM 08/29   48.22N/122.69W       
4 NE GARDINER                36 MPH    1202 PM 08/29   48.10N/122.87W       

...BELLEVUE AND VICINITY...
1 S EASTGATE                 46 MPH    0121 PM 08/29   47.55N/122.13W       
KENMORE                      41 MPH    0127 PM 08/29   47.76N/122.25W       
2 NE FAIRWOOD                35 MPH    0236 PM 08/29   47.48N/122.12W           

...BREMERTON AND VICINITY...
INDIANOLA                    54 MPH    0119 PM 08/29   47.74N/122.51W       
4 SW BREMERTON               38 MPH    1055 AM 08/29   47.50N/122.75W          

...CENTRAL COAST...
HOQUIAM BOWERMAN AP          63 MPH(P) 0932 AM 08/29   46.97N/123.93W       
1 SSE OCEAN SHORES           55 MPH    0925 AM 08/29   46.95N/124.14W       
2 NNW OCEAN CITY             49 MPH    0937 AM 08/29   47.11N/124.18W       
1 WNW ABERDEEN               36 MPH    1131 AM 08/29   46.98N/123.84W       

...EAST PUGET SOUND LOWLANDS...     
2 NNW MIRRORMONT             43 MPH    0157 PM 08/29   47.50N/122.01W       
ENUMCLAW                     38 MPH    1037 AM 08/29   47.21N/122.00W       
DUVALL                       36 MPH    0142 PM 08/29   47.73N/121.97W       
1 SW MIRRORMONT              35 MPH    0214 PM 08/29   47.44N/122.01W       

...EASTERN STRAIT OF JUAN DE FUCA...
PORT ANGELES INTL AP         45 MPH(P) 1141 AM 08/29   48.12N/123.50W       
3 NNW GARDINER               40 MPH    1029 AM 08/29   48.09N/122.92W       
6 SW AGNEW                   40 MPH    1209 PM 08/29   48.03N/123.31W       

...EVERETT AND VICINITY...
PAINE FIELD                  61 MPH(P) 1246 PM 08/29   47.91N/122.28W       
ARLINGTON                    48 MPH    1155 AM 08/29   48.16N/122.16W       
1 E STIMSON CROSSING         38 MPH    0233 PM 08/29   48.11N/122.17W       

...HOOD CANAL AREA...
1 WSW BRINNON                55 MPH    1251 PM 08/29   47.67N/122.93W       
4 E PORT LUDLOW              52 MPH    0108 PM 08/29   47.92N/122.58W       
SHELTON AIRPORT              47 MPH(P) 1211 PM 08/29   47.24N/123.14W       
QUILCENE                     35 MPH    1236 PM 08/29   47.82N/122.88W           

...NORTH COAST...
4 NNW SAPPHO                 63 MPH    1100 AM 08/29   48.13N/124.31W       
QUILLAYUTE AIRPORT           62 MPH(P) 1038 AM 08/29   47.94N/124.56W       
FORKS                        37 MPH    1033 AM 08/29   47.96N/124.38W       

...SAN JUAN COUNTY...
6 E FRIDAY HARBOR            66 MPH    1131 AM 08/29   48.53N/122.87W       
FRIDAY HARBOR AIRPORT        49 MPH(P) 1046 AM 08/29   48.52N/123.02W       
7 W ANACORTES                41 MPH    0115 PM 08/29   48.51N/122.79W       
2 SE EASTSOUND               41 MPH    1114 AM 08/29   48.67N/122.87W       
4 SSW ROCHE HARBOR           39 MPH    0119 PM 08/29   48.55N/123.16W       
ORCAS ISLAND AP              38 MPH    1155 AM 08/29   48.71N/122.91W       

...SEATTLE AND VICINITY...   
SEATTLE TACOMA  ARPT         46 MPH(P) 1235 PM 08/29   47.44N/122.31W       
3 WNW HUNTS POINT            45 MPH    0106 PM 08/29   47.67N/122.29W       
NORMANDY PARK                45 MPH    1225 PM 08/29   47.44N/122.34W       
2 W KIRKLAND                 43 MPH    1230 PM 08/29   47.69N/122.26W       
BOEING FIELD                 41 MPH(P) 0101 PM 08/29   47.53N/122.30W       
2 NW WHITE CENTER            40 MPH    1230 PM 08/29   47.55N/122.38W       
RENTON MUNICIPAL AIRPORT     39 MPH(P) 0234 PM 08/29   47.49N/122.21W       
1 NE SEATTLE                 37 MPH    1243 PM 08/29   47.62N/122.32W       
3 NW WHITE CENTER            36 MPH    1225 PM 08/29   47.56N/122.39W       
WHITE CENTER                 35 MPH    1239 PM 08/29   47.52N/122.35W       

...SOUTHWEST INTERIOR...    
OLYMPIA AIRPORT              45 MPH(P) 1017 AM 08/29   46.97N/122.90W       
1 NW CHEHALIS                36 MPH    0915 AM 08/29   46.68N/122.98W       

...TACOMA AREA...
JBLM-MCCHORD FIELD           54 MPH(P) 1045 AM 08/29   47.13N/122.48W       
TACOMA NARROWS AIRPORT       51 MPH(P) 1105 AM 08/29   47.27N/122.58W       
JBLM-FT. LEWIS               47 MPH(P) 1143 AM 08/29   47.08N/122.58W       
1 W TACOMA                   38 MPH    0958 AM 08/29   47.25N/122.49W       
TACOMA                       35 MPH    1154 AM 08/29   47.26N/122.47W       
RUSTON                       35 MPH    1108 AM 08/29   47.30N/122.52W       
2 W RUSTON                   35 MPH    1218 PM 08/29   47.29N/122.56W       
1 N GIG HARBOR               35 MPH    1053 AM 08/29   47.35N/122.59W       
2 NW ARTONDALE               35 MPH    1212 PM 08/29   47.34N/122.67W       

...WESTERN SKAGIT COUNTY...
BURLINGTON/MOUNT VERNON      49 MPH    0135 PM 08/29   48.47N/122.42W       
1 NE SEDRO-WOOLLEY           41 MPH    0242 PM 08/29   48.52N/122.22W       
1 WNW ANACORTES              40 MPH    1159 AM 08/29   48.50N/122.66W       

...WESTERN WHATCOM COUNTY...
5 W MARIETTA                 67 MPH    1143 AM 08/29   48.80N/122.71W       
FERNDALE                     63 MPH    1137 AM 08/29   48.86N/122.59W       
BELLINGHAM INTL AIRPORT      58 MPH(P) 1223 PM 08/29   48.79N/122.54W
1 SW KBLI                    58 MPH    1145 AM 08/29   48.78N/122.56W            
4 ENE FERNDALE               42 MPH    0202 PM 08/29   48.88N/122.51W       
7 WSW MARIETTA               37 MPH    1220 PM 08/29   48.73N/122.70W       
1 ESE BELLINGHAM             35 MPH    1233 PM 08/29   48.73N/122.44W       

OBSERVATIONS ARE COLLECTED FROM A VARIETY OF SOURCES WITH VARYING
EQUIPMENT AND EXPOSURE. NOT ALL DATA LISTED ARE CONSIDERED OFFICIAL.

Move over Mt. Rainier, wildfire smoke creates its own lenticular cloud

Move over Mt. Rainier, wildfire smoke creates its own lenticular cloud
Photo: Michael Bendtson

The "hat cloud" -- officially known as a lenticular cloud -- is a fairly common sight around here on Mt. Rainier. Locals know it's a fairly good indicator it's about to rain in the next day or so.

But you don't always need the state's largest mountain to create the cloud. Sometimes, other clouds can do the trick!

The photo above was taken by Michael Bendtson in Wenatchee of the smoke plume from the Wolverine Fire in the Entiat Valley. But note on the top of the left cloud is a bit of a hat -- a lenticular cloud!

Nearly Seattle summer's worth of rain falls in 30 minutes in South Dakota

Nearly Seattle summer's worth of rain falls in 30 minutes in South Dakota
A torrent of water rushes through the typically mild waterfalls of Falls Park in Sioux Falls on Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, after flash floods hit the city over night. Some parts of the city got over 7 inches, more than twice the forecast rainfall. (AP Photo/Kevin Burbach)

There was a massive thunderstorm that struck the town of Sioux Falls, South Dakota Thursday night, dumping rain amounts rarely seen and caused massive flash flooding.

More than 7 inches of rain fell in part of town, according to KELOland.com, knocking out power to more than 2,000 people.

Seattle hit 90 more often than Chicago, Boston this summer

Seattle hit 90 more often than Chicago, Boston this summer
Photo courtesy: Sigma Sreedharan Photography

When you think of a place to go to experience 90 degrees in the summertime, Seattle isn't likely to be one of the first few choices….or first several choices…or maybe even a thought at all. On average, Seattle gets about two 90 degree or warmer days a year; maybe three.

This year, we had that quota filled before Independence Day. In fact, Seattle's had so many 90 degree days that we're ahead of some other cities in the U.S. with more of a reputation of summer heat.

Astronaut gets some amazing photos of unusual red sprites above thunderstorms

Astronaut gets some amazing photos of unusual red sprites above thunderstorms
Photos were acquired on August 10, 2015, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using a 28 millimeter lens, and are provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. (Photo: NASA)

Sprites are rare and beautiful -- and a bit difficult to spot from the ground as they occur atop thunderstorms. But when you're 249 miles up in space, you get a much better viewing angle to these fairly recently discovered events.

These red spikes of light stretched about 60 miles high into the atmosphere. According to NASA, "sprites are major electrical discharges, but they are not lightning in the usual sense. Instead, they are a cold plasma phenomenon without the extremely hot temperatures of lightning that we see underneath thunderstorms. Red sprites are more like the discharge of a fluorescent tube. Bursts of sprite energy are thought to occur during most large thunderstorm events."

Photographer gets incredible shots of the Northern Lights at Mt. Baker

Photographer gets incredible shots of the Northern Lights at Mt. Baker
The Northern Lights as seen from Artist Point near Mt. Baker on Aug. 22, 2015. (Photo courtesy: Jack Nichols)

Jack Nichols and his friend Nate had a plan under what should have been a starry night Saturday night - wait until midnight when the quarter moon sets and it's totally black, then head up to Artist Point and get some amazing shots of the Milky Way galaxy over a majestic Mt. Baker.

That was all great, until smoke from the wildfires in Eastern Washington got in the way.

"Largely those of us on the west side have been spared, but Saturday morning the winds changed and the smoke drifted west, creating a scene that looked more like Beijing than Seattle," Nichols wrote in his blog. "Consequently, when we arrived at Artist Point, we were greeted with a bunch of smoke and a barely visible Mt. Baker. I went for a Milky Way shot anyways, as it's really unorthodox. Not too often you can barely see the mountain behind a curtain of smoke!"

Wildfire ash makes for false 60 mph wind reports from Omak

Wildfire ash makes for false 60 mph wind reports from Omak

Among the countless items being affected by the raging wildfires in Eastern Washington, you can add the weather observation equipment to the list.

For much of Friday, the wind gauge at Omak Airport was reporting steady winds in the 40-45 mph range with frequent gusts to 55-60 mph. (The largest gust on that chart says 58 mph, but in the raw observation, it notes there was a 52 knot/60 mph peak gust in between the posted observations.)

Warm 'blob', 'Bruce Lee El Niño" to keep Seattle warm through fall of 2016?

Warm 'blob', 'Bruce Lee El Niño" to keep Seattle warm through fall of 2016?
A warm October day in Seattle in 2014. Latest forecasts indicate there could be plenty more in October 2015 and in 2016. (Photo: Mo Aoun)

It's the third Thursday of the month, known as the day when NOAA releases their updated seasonal forecast maps, or alternatively, as the day skiers shut off their Facebook and Twitter accounts and instead curl up in a dark room with a half gallon of ice cream and a Warren Miller film.

Last month's update continued the same drumbeat of "warm weather to last for the next 15 months" and this month's maps are no different.

Yet another Seattle all-time heat record is broken

Yet another Seattle all-time heat record is broken
Photo courtesy: Puget Sound Clean Air Agency

If breaking a Seattle heat record sounds like a broken record these days, you'd be right. Most of the gaudy records have already fallen, with a few more set to fall soon.

For one of them, their time is Wednesday, albeit it's an admittedly obscure record -- one I made up all by myself: The amount of "Summer minutes" Seattle experiences in a year.

Talk about a super-soaker: Incredible microburst captured on video



Tucson might be known for its endless desert sunshine and triple digit temperatures, but when it rains, wow, can it pour.

Storm chaser Bryan Snider captured this amazing video of a microburst that hit part of Tucson on Aug. 8. Watch at about 11 seconds and you'll see what looks like a massive water balloon fall from the sky and just drench the city below.

Who to believe? Snowy Farmer's Almanac? Or NOAA's warm El-Ninoey Blob?

Who to believe? Snowy Farmer's Almanac? Or NOAA's warm El-Ninoey Blob?
Left: Seattle's Space Needle is seen through a frame of snow-covered trees in this January 2012 photo. Photo by YouNews contributor "pips55". Right: Sun shines behind Space Needle on warm summer evening in 2015, courtesy Tim Durkan Photography.

An interesting gauntlet has been thrown in the battle between the colloquial and the computational worlds of meteorology, with conflicting forecasts surfacing between the Old Farmer's Almanac and the supercomputers built by NOAA forecasters.

On Saturday, the Old Farmer's Almanac came out with a preview of its 2016 issue, stating their secret formula using solar cycles, climatology and meteorology for generating forecasts across the nation suggest it will be a snowy winter in the Pacific Northwest:

"The snowiest periods in the Pacific Northwest will be in mid-December, early to mid-January and mid- to late February," the almanac predicts.

Friday was 6th-wettest August date on record in Seattle

Friday was 6th-wettest August date on record in Seattle
Jon Willis

SEATTLE -- It was just what the doctor ordered for a rain-starved Puget Sound region: A day's worth of steady rains.

A low pressure area took a path that brought the peak of its strength right over the Seattle Metro area, bringing well over an inch of rain to the heart of the city, with 1.73" reported on the University of Washington campus and totals over 1.50" estimated in Capitol Hill.