Weather Blog

Sequim's rain shadow magically appears on stormy day

Sequim's rain shadow magically appears on stormy day
Blue skies open up amid a stormy day. Photo taken Sept. 26, 2011 from Victoria, B.C. looking southeast toward the Sequim area.

I am back from a few weeks off touring the Pacific Coast with my family but as usual, the weather never stops. We were in Victoria during the decent wind storm that struck the North Sound on Sept. 26 and, wow, was it pouring rain and blasting wind up there.

But lo and behold, a glance out to the southeast showed an entirely different world -- blue skies peeking out! It was a front row seat to the famous Olympic Rain Shadow.

Noticing this, I ran out with our camera -- it was the first time I'd ever been in a good spot to actually see the rain shadow working amid stormy weather:

(By the way, the winds were gusting about 35-45 mph as I was filming this report -- it took several takes to get any kind of good audio with the wind blasting into the phone. Sorry about that. Next time, pack a boom mic!)

Even though it was storming just about everywhere else, the strong southwesterly winds aloft from the approaching front slammed into the Olympic Mountains, where I'm sure it produced several inches of rain in the rain forest areas. But as that air climbed over and then sank down the northeastern side of the mountains, the air dried out and the clouds parted.

Here is a visible satellite shot from about the same time I was taking the pictures. Note the breaks in the clouds on the northeastern Olympic Peninsula:

So Sequim once again shines, adding another day to their supposed "300 days of sun" while the rest of the area is dodging wind-driven raindrops all day long.