Weather Blog

Strange things afoot in the "Circle H"

Strange things afoot in the "Circle H"
OK, I admit the headline is a stretch to tie into Bill and Ted's excellent adventure, but the current big ridge of high pressure is making for some "excellent" fodder for a blog entry, as my army of weather stat-heads have been finding for me today.

  • From the UW's Mark Albright: The heat is on in Southern California. Temperatures Tuesday reached well into the 80s with the Santa Ana winds blowing in hot, dry air. Speaking of Santa Ana, the fire station in the town of Santa Ana reported a high of 89 Tuesday, tying their record high set in 1928.

    But more impressive was their low overnight, which only dropped to 73 degrees. That's 7 degrees warmer than Phoenix's average *high* temperature for the day. The 73 degree reading was their warmest low temperature reading ever between December and March. That's thanks to that warm east wind acting like a blow dryer to the area and keeping it toasty warm.

  • On the flip side, let's look at what might qualify for the greatest heat wave that would still require a heavy coat.
  • As this warm ridge of high pressure builds in heat from the south, some of the places in the Yukon, which had been dozens of degrees below zero, are now wildly swinging to the other side of the pendulum. Darin Hansen e-mailed me to note that in the small town of Old Crow in the Yukon Territories, the low temperature on Tuesday was -58 degrees F. The expected high Thursday? 32 degrees above zero -- a warming of 90 degrees in just over 48 hours. How's that for the coldest heat wave ever?

    Many other towns in the northern Yukon and Northwest Territories are also going similar swings (although not 90 degree swings, but in the 60-80 degree F range). In fact, the high in Inuvik, which is way up near the shores of the Arctic Ocean, is +37 F on Thursday -- not too far from Tacoma's expected high that day.

  • Also from Mark Albright -- he noted the stark difference in Central Washington between calm and foggy Wenatchee and windy and sunny Ellensburg over the past three days. Wenatchee's highs have been 39, 36 and 33 the past three days, while Ellensburg has been under a near constant northwest wind in the 20s and 30s and had highs of 56, 56, and 61. The winds are abating now, and Ellensburg is now falling back into the fog.

  • And finally, take a peek at this weird phenomenon captured on the UW Atmospheric Building's time lapse camera on Tuesday, Jan. 13. Watch the area with the break in the overcast a few seconds after the video begins and note the rippling effect in the clouds.

    This might be a gravity wave. A much more pronounced one was captured on video on KCCI's web camera in Tama, Iowa and has made YouTube fame: