Weather Blog

Ever wonder why we call these storms a 'Pineapple Express'?

Ever wonder why we call these storms a 'Pineapple Express'?
Photo: Flickr user By ImagineDaisies.com (CC License)

Anyone who has lived around here for more than two winters is quite familiar with the term "Pineapple Express" that we weather forecasters use to describe heavy rains. But did you ever wonder where the storms got their moniker?

It's because the moisture source of these deluges is usually right around - or in this case, on top -- of Hawaii, home to many a pineapple. This moisture races across the Pacific on a bee-line for the Pacific Northwest, bringing a tropical combination of heavy rains and very warm temperatures for this time of year.

Want proof? Take a peek at this image sent in today by Terry Pennington, who used to live in Mukilteo but moved to Maui five years ago.

From Terry:

"Aloha from the other side of the Pineapple Express. We have a storm water containment basin right outside our window that's flooded right now with palm trees around the edge and the ocean in the background. On a normal day you'd see the island of Lanai out there between the palm trees with the blue waters of the Pacific in the foreground.  

On a normal day it would be about 82 degrees at this time of day at 12:33 Hawaii Standard Time. Instead it's gray, dark and FREEZING cold at 66 degrees. It's so cold I had to put a pair of socks on. This picture was taken from our house in Napili which is about ten minutes to the north of Lahaina on the west side of Maui."

I just looked and as of 1 p.m. Hawaii local time on Friday, Kahului Airport on Maui has recorded 1.45" of rain since 4 a.m. Now, showers are not uncommon in Hawaii, but 8-hour stretches of heavy rains that are not hurricane-related are a bit rare.

This enhanced satellite image also does a good job of showing the moisture moving across the Pacific. Hawaii is in the bottom left corner there. It's pointed at Oregon as of Friday evening, but that's going to gradually shift north into Washington.

So no need to book a trip to Hawaii this weekend. Just stick around and their weather will come to us!

(P.S. Here is what it looks at that Hawaii place on a "normal" day:)