Weather Blog

Approaching storm made news two weeks ago

Approaching storm made news two weeks ago
NASA's Aqua Satellite MODIS instrument captured a visible image of Cyclone Laila off the southeastern India coast at 08:10 UTC (4:10 a.m. EDT) on May 19. Credit: NASA/Goddard/MODIS Rapid Response Team

What do Bapatla, India and Seattle have in common?

We're both going to be hit by the same storm (more or less).

We've been talking all week about how a storm coming in for Wednesday was going to be quite the soaker -- especially by June standards. And now we know why...

NOAA forecasters have tracked the moisture source of this incoming storm to the remnants of Cyclone Laila, that stuck the southeastern India coast near the town of Bapatla on May 20th. That photo above is from when the tropical storm was just off the Indian coast.

Now, that doesn't mean it's still a Cyclone/Hurricane (Cyclones are just the names for hurricanes that occur in the Indian Ocean) -- we're not expecting major winds with this event -- but typically some of our wettest storms around here have been from remnants of past cyclones or typhoons in the western Pacific Ocean (or, in this case, the Indian Ocean.) 

You can see in this image the train of moisture marching across the Pacific:

(And here is another link/anmation that shows the moisture plume stretching from eastern Asia coast across the Pacific toward our neck of the woods.)

Rainfall amounts with this storm are forecast to be impressive, with 2.00-3.50" expected in the Cascades and as much as 2-2.50" in the Olympics. In the lowlands, figure 0.50-1.50".

The National Weather Service has even taken the unusual June step of issuing Flood Watches for basically the Skokomish and Puyallup Rivers (the Skokomish because it floods when someone spills a water bottle, and the Puyallup due to spring snow runoff combining with heavier rain expected to fall near Mt. Rainier.)  Forecasts have the rivers nearing the tops of their banks so we are not expecting major flooding, but some overtopping could occur.

Now to compare this storm with some of our bigger fall and winter "Pineapple Express"-type storms, sometimes you can get 5-10", maybe even 20" of rain in the mountains, so this is not anywhere near a historical event, but by June standards this is quite unusual. In fact, combine this with Friday's expected rain and Seattle could have a chunk, if not all, of their average June rainfall (1.47") done by the end of the week!

Need a place to get away from the rain? Head to the Olympic Peninsula:

The rain shadow looks to be in full effect (note the blank spot on the northern Olympic Peninsula), so I'll bet when the spotter rainfall totals come out Thursday morning, Sequim and Port Angeles will be among the driest locations.

I'll be giving frequent updates on the storm on my new Twitter account Wednesday. Follow me @ScottSKOMO

(P.S., I know I promised a blog entry today on the June and summer outlook, but I took this tack instead. I'll try and get to that story this week -- I still have some more research to complete.)