Weather Blog

What is a "sucker hole"?

What is a "sucker hole"?
It's one of those informal weather terms that are quite useful for the Pacific Northwest. Have you ever noticed a small patch of clearing amidst a gray overcast? That's known as a "sucker hole."

The general origin of the term is that the tiny area of blue sky tricks some people to think that maybe the skies are going to clear up, only to duped when the hole disappears and the solid overcast returns -- as in Mother Nature going: "Sucker!" Pilots can sometime report a "sucker hole" as a break in the overcast to fly through, only to have the hole close up before the plane gets there.

But it doesn't all have to be about being tricked. Astronomers use the term "sucker hole weather" to denote that there might just be limited breaks in the overcast to spot a star or planet.