Weather Blog

Icy photos's cold again

Icy photos's cold again

The Puget Sound area is generally known for its spectacular water views, but perhaps not quite like this.

With temperatures down into the teens and single digits for the second consecutive night, flowing water is hard to come by, literally.

The photo above was taken by Shay in Poulsbo, who said it was the result of an automatic sprinkler malfunction as the temperature dropped to 17 degrees.

There is actually quite a bit of interesting tidbits going on with this cold snap, so I figured I'd make a "smorgasbord cold weather" blog entry today.

"Cool" Photos

Here is a photo taken by our news producer Michele Morin of a frozen fountain at a condo along West Seattle's Alki Beach:

And our reporter Theron Zahn snapped this photo of another fountain frozen in West Seattle:

And it's not just fountains and sprinklers freezing, it's the entire Hood Canal!

Jean Fisher captured these photos of ice forming on the waterway near Union.

"Smoke On Water" -- Not Just A Deep Purple Song

If it's not ice on the water, you might also see smoke -- sea smoke. (Say that fast five times. Good thing this isn't an audio blog.)

These photos below were taken from the National Weather Service office at Sand Point that looks out over Lake Washington. We also had similar reports from Sinclair Inlet near Bremerton.

What you are seeing is a result of freezing air moving over a relatively warm body of water, such as Lake Washington which is currently at 48 degrees. As water evaporates from the surface, it instantly condenses into the steam fog.

How Cold Is It?

Here is a chart of low temperatures from the mornings of Dec. 8, 9 and 10:

  Dec. 8 Dec. 9 Dec. 10
Olympia 6 6 6
Shelton 8 6 7
Tacoma 8 7 7
Kelso 9 7 9
Arlington 9 9 9
Bremerton 10 10 10
Vancovuer (WA) 13 11 12
North Bend 18 12 12
Hoquiam 15 15 16
Mount Vernon 15 15 14
Bellingham 17 16 14
Seattle (Boeing Field) 19 16 14
Renton 18 16 15
Forks 14 17 15
Seattle (Sand Point) 21 17 19
Seattle (Sea-Tac) 21 18 16
Bellevue 19 18 20*
Gig Harbor 20 18 18
Oak Harbor 19 18 16
Port Angeles 19 19 19
Sequim 23 19 21*
Everett 20 20 17
Seattle (UW) 21 21 20
Anacortes 19 21 N/A
Friday Harbor 19 26 22
* Preliminary data

And it's not just here that's breaking records, Redding, Calif., broke their all-time record low Dec. 10 with a 16 degree reading. Flagstaff, Arizona dropped to -5 while the Grand Canyon Airport dipped to -19.

We've been colder for longer

But as icy as this cold snap seems, we've been much worse.

Seattle had three consecutive days with high temperatures at freezing or below, and it appeared Seattle was going to climb over freezing on Thursday. But the record streak of below freezing high temperatures is 10, set between Jan. 21 and Jan. 30 in 1969. In fact, we had a six-day streak in 1990 between Dec. 19 and 24. And in 1950, it had two streaks of a week long under freezing, stretching Jan 12-Jan 18, then again from Jan. 27-Feb. 2.

When will those fountains melt?

We are still looking at a very slow warming trend into the weekend, but still dry for most of the area. The exception is far southern Washington where a Winter Storm Watch is in effect for all areas from Longview south into Northern Oregon. A storm is moving in down there on top of the cold air, but moisture is expected to remain confined to those areas. We could see a few flurries from a weak batch of moisture in B.C. perhaps migrate as far south as Skagit County, but accumulations or anything.

Forecasting models still are in flux over Sunday and beyond, but the majority of forecasting models are leaning toward a return the milder rainy pattern. There is still an outside chance of snow in spots on Sunday, but it appears it would not accumulate to much and quickly melt in a changeover to rain.