Weather Blog

Mountains don't need to be big to create their own weather

Mountains don't need to be big to create their own weather
A small fog bank is created over Tillamook Head just south of Seaside, Ore. on July 10, 2014.

Photo galleries around here are full of dramatic cloud shots created by some of the tallest mountains, be it Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood or even just the Cascades or Olympics.

But mountains don't have to be measured in thousands of feet to create their own weather patterns.

By the numbers: Seattle's Tuesday night rain storm

By the numbers: Seattle's Tuesday night rain storm
Photo: Brendan Ramsey

It's been a very dry summer in Seattle, unless you count the 2 1/2 days it wasn't. Both July and August will go down as having above normal rainfall despite only having measurable rain on six days out of 44 days-- and thee of those rainy days were 0.02" or less.

Here's how Tuesday night/Wednesday morning's rain storm matched up:

Seattle weather: Rainy and 96? City sets zany all-time record Monday

Seattle weather: Rainy and 96? City sets zany all-time record Monday
Photo courtesy Sigma Sreedharan Photography‎
File this under: Never seen that before...

Seattle set an all-time weather record Monday night, when 0.02" of rain fell in a shower just before 11:30 p.m. What's so special about 0.02" of rain? It came on a day when the high was 96 degrees.

How hot has it been in Seattle? A full month's worth of 80 degree days

How hot has it been in Seattle? A full month's worth of 80 degree days
A sunny day in Seattle on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2014. (Photo courtesy: Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Visibility Camera)

As temperatures soared into the 90s Monday -- Seattle hit 96 degrees, breaking the record high and making for the hottest day since Aug. 15, 2010 -- many longtime Seattleites were ready to wave the white flag. It's been an unusually hot summer and even though we don't have many "trophy" heat days of us broiling well into the 90s for a few days here and there, it's been a slow cook with several days in the 80s.

We've got about another month on the calendar where Seattle can get this warm but let's "take the temperature" of the summer so far.

Odds of an El Niño this winter drop by 15%

Odds of an El Niño this winter drop by 15%

Maybe El Niño isn't such the slam dunk it seemed a few months ago?

Forecasters with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center – the people in charge of watching for El Niño and La Nina, among many other things – have dropped their chances of El Niño developing this fall and winter to 65 percent from 80 percent.

Granted, that's like saying a football team that was a 14 point favorite to win is now just an 11 point favorite – still a pretty good chance it'll happen. Just not as much as before.

But if nothing else, the trend is interesting.

Why is it ''Hurricane'' Iselle and not ''Typhoon'' Iselle bearing down on Hawaii?

Why is it ''Hurricane'' Iselle and not ''Typhoon'' Iselle bearing down on Hawaii?
Left: Photo of Typhoon Halong, courtesy of astronaut Reid Wiseman on the International Space Station. Right: Satellite image of Hurricane Iselle near Hawaii.

With the tropical paradise of Hawaii bracing for Hurricane Iselle later Thursday, I've had quite a number of people email and ask why we're not calling the storm "Typhoon Iselle." After all, there's a similar storm just a bit farther west across the Pacific called "Typhoon Halong."

The reason is simple: Geography.

Many moons since Seattle has set summer low temperature records

Many moons since Seattle has set summer low temperature records
Photo courtesy: Tim Durkan Photography

In keeping up with the number of weather records and interesting statistics surrounding our current warm spell, I stumbled upon something on the other end of the spectrum: How difficult it's become to set record lows in the summer.

In looking up the record high Monday when he hit 91° in Seattle (it was 95, set in 1993), the record low stuck out: 44° in 1950.

Seattle meteorologists stealing a public sanity trick from Canadians?

Seattle meteorologists stealing a public sanity trick from Canadians?

Seattle is in the midst of another week-plus streak of 80 degree temperatures -- the second time this summer with much of August still tied behind our back.

While there are some sun fans who love the 80s and are basking in this somewhat rare extended warm pattern, there are a vast population of long-time locals -- especially those without air conditioning -- who are longing for the days when we could see a marine cloud in the morning and a '7' on the high temperature (no, not counting when it's "87").

What a shot! 'Face' in clouds mimics Alaska Air jet?

What a shot! 'Face' in clouds mimics Alaska Air jet?
Photo of a cumulonimbus cloud towering over Sea-Tac Airport at sunrise on Aug. 2, 2014. (Photo: Tom Korocz)

Talk about being in the right place at the right time...

Tom Korocz was at Sea-Tac Airport Saturday morning when he noticed a tall, cumulonimbus cloud towering in the sky as the sun rose around 6:15 a.m.

Seattle's summer peaks Saturday, starts slow slide toward winter

Seattle's summer peaks Saturday, starts slow slide toward winter

It's been a very warm and sunny summer so far with more of the same on tap for the next several days. While it hasn't been super hot, the usual cooling marine clouds have been absent in Seattle and for the many without air conditioning, the nights haven't been all that comfortable.

 

For those who long for cooler weather, I don't have good news in the immediate future, but there is a silver lining to Aug. 2: Seattle has reached the pinnacle of our steady climb to the warmest and driest time of year, and now, it's all downhill from here.

July finishes as 2nd warmest on record at Sea-Tac

July finishes as 2nd warmest on record at Sea-Tac
Sunset looking west from the Fox Island bridge on July 27, 2014. (Photo: Jerome Petteys Design)

If it seems our seemingly days-on end of 80s this past month is a bit unusual, you would be right.

This July goes down as the 2nd hottest on record at Sea-Tac Airport if you count by average temperature (high+low divided by 2) or 4th hottest if you just want to count high temperatures.

Why you don't see Eastern Wash. wildfire plumes until the afternoon

Why you don't see Eastern Wash. wildfire plumes until the afternoon
Video from Air 4 shows a smoke plume rising from the Chiwaukum Fire Complex on July 30, 2014.

Local social media posts have been perking up each afternoon noting tall plumes of clouds over the Cascades. What you're seeing are smoke and the "pyrocumulus" clouds created by the wildfires burning in Eastern Washington. The heat from the fires is its own engine for creating rising air that cools and condenses into clouds.

But why don't we normally see those clouds over here until the afternoon?