Two weather entities have been battling it out for media attention of late: The warm 'blob' of water in the Pacific Ocean largely blamed for our year-plus long of warmer temperatures in the Northwest, and a budding El Niño of super strength that has been given a variety of monikers, from "Bruce Lee" El Niño to "Godzilla" El Niño.
But University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences professor (and fellow weather blogger) Cliff Mass says only one can survive, and the two will engage in a meteorological battle that will rival those found on late night monster movies.
Who will win? Mass reveals who he'd put his money on:
Chalk up two firsts for the planet this year when it comes to hurricanes this summer -- a parade of three simultaneous hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean over the weekend, plus a rather odd record set in the Atlantic too.
First in the Pacific, where three Category 4 hurricanes -- Kilo, Ignacio and Jimena -- were roaming the Central Pacific Ocean waters at the same time on Sunday. It's the first time in the satellite imagery era (think post 1950s) that three major hurricanes were observed at the same time east of the International Dateline, according to The CIMSS Satellite Blog via the University of Wisconsin (aka "the other U-Dub".)
This might be the ultimate statistic to show just how hot a summer it's been in Seattle this year:
In typical summers, Seattle gets a handful of 80 degree days a year (25 to be exact -- OK, so they're big hands).
This summer? It was the average high temperature.
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:
Local meteorologists are still a bit in awe over the power of the storm Saturday that is likely the earliest windstorm on record in the Pacific Northwest -- by several weeks!
In tracking some of the peak gusts, I realized some of the gusts experienced Saturday were stronger in some spots than some of our greatest wind storms on record.
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!
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.
Really, it was only a matter of time...
With this summer's heat claiming record after record after record, you had to assume some of the last stragglers to cling to the weather books were doomed.
The last big one finally gave way Wednesday.
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.
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."
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!"
The smoke layer from the massive wildfires burning in Washington has drifted over into Western Washington, and it was caught on camera.
The upper level winds shifted from the north to the east/northeast Saturday morning, blowing the smoke form the Chelan wildfire complex toward the west.
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.)
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.