Weather Blog

Seattle sets twin records for warmest February, winter on record

Seattle sets twin records for warmest February, winter on record
Sun sets over the Olympics on Feb. 28, 2015. (Photo: Sigma Sreedharan)

In what will go down as one of the best -- or worst -- winters on record, depending on what you want out of a Seattle winter, now there will be some meteorological trophies to go along with the memories.

Seattle has set its record for all-time warmest February since official measurements began at Sea-Tac Airport. The average temperature (high temperature plus low temperature, divided by two) was 48.8 degrees narrowly edging 1977's record at 48.7. (And I mean narrowly. Had Saturday just been one degree cooler, it would have been a tied record instead.)

WATCH: Northern Lights peek out over Western Washington

WATCH: Northern Lights peek out over Western Washington
Photo of Northern Lights on 15 second film exposure as seen from Mukilteo on Feb. 23, 2015. (Photo: Liem Bahneman)

It was a bit of a surprise considering there wasn't much solar flare activity but the Northern Lights made a faint appearance over Western Washington Monday night.

2 routine events combine for spectacular scene over Canadian skies

2 routine events combine for spectacular scene over Canadian skies
Photo of a "FallStreak" cloud spotted over Surrey, B.C. at sunrise on Feb. 22, 2015. (Photo courtesy: Zora Fernandez)

Those who were up early enough Sunday morning in Surrey, B.C. and happened to look up were treated to a spectacular scene in the heavens that looks like something straight out of the imagination of a futuristic Hollywood alien blockbuster film.

In actuality, it was the combination of two rather routine events that just happened to have impeccable timing:

A sunrise (one for the ages on its own) …and a plane descending through a solid, stable cloud layer.

Long range forecast maps: Short term gain, long term pain

Long range forecast maps: Short term gain, long term pain
Brilliant sunset on Feb. 16. (Photo credit: Mirwais Azami Photography)

It's the third week in February, and that means it's time for NOAA's monthly long range forecast update. But while skiers and snow lovers have probably trained themselves by now to just skip reading this type of entry in my blog, I bring tidings of GOOD NEWS!

Sort of.

Let's hold off the inevitable bad news for a few paragraphs to show this map in all its glory:

Central Nebraska about the only folks experiencing a normal February

Central Nebraska about the only folks experiencing a normal February
Map via WxBell showing expected temperature deviations from normal later this week, but is also essentially a snapshot of this winter's persistent pattern. (Photo courtesy: Susie Martin)

The weather pattern this winter has been stark in its dramatic differences -- temperatures at record-warm levels in the West, and a relentless march of arctic air masses pummeling the East.

The map above is a snapshot in time -- actually a forecast depicting areas of expected below and above normal temperatures for later this week, but it's been the consistent story the past several days anyway.

Seattle easily on pace for warmest winter on record

Seattle easily on pace for warmest winter on record
Photo: Brad Spiegel

As you look around to flowers budding, lawns needing mowing, and skiers frowning, signs are everywhere it's been a very mild winter. So it should come to no shock that we are indeed on pace to shatter records for warmest winter -- and autumn-winter combined -- since 1945 when Sea-Tac Airport became Seattle's official observation.

First, let's look at the overall numbers:

Mountain snowpack now totally gone in some spots

Mountain snowpack now totally gone in some spots
The Hurricane Ridge parking lot that shows a distinct lack of snow on Feb. 16, 2015. (Photo: Hurricane Ridge Park Web Camera / National Park Service)

The numbers have been ugly…and they're getting uglier by the hour.

The National Weather Service has put out its twice-monthly report on the mountain snowpack and the numbers for Feb. 15 and, well, skiers should probably stop reading here. Perhaps water managers and those who have to battle wildfires might just head on over to the sports sectio…well, maybe the offbeat news?

To those who are brave enough to stomach the results, here goes:

50,000-ft. mountain sprouts up in Seattle? Contrail makes neat optical illusion

50,000-ft. mountain sprouts up in Seattle? Contrail makes neat optical illusion

Who'd have thought a simple right turn in the sky could make such an interesting photo opportunity?

I spotted this as my family was driving down the Mukilteo Speedway Sunday morning -- at first thought it looked like a massively tall mountain had sprung up over the Cascades with snow blowing to the right off the summit! (Well, if the mountain was indeed that tall, at least it'd be one of the few places this winter that was cold enough for snow!)

Rare, undulating clouds enchant visitors in Grand Teton

Rare, undulating clouds enchant visitors in Grand Teton
This photo taken Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, and provided by the Grand Teton National Park, shows an unusual cloud formation across the summit of the Grand Teton in this view from the park's headquarters campus at Moose, Wyo. (AP Photo/Grand Teton National Park, Jackie Skaggs)
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A bizarre sheet of wispy clouds undulating over the Teton Range enchanted tourists and even veteran employees of Grand Teton National Park.

Drivers stopped along the park's main highway Thursday morning to gaze in awe and shoot photos of the rare phenomenon hovering over Grand Teton mountain. At 13,775 feet above sea level, the Grand Teton is the highest point in the Teton Range.

Time lapse videos show off Seattle beauty



Photographer and time lapse video artist Don Jensen is out with his second installment of time lapse photography/video that shows off the beauty of Seattle called "The Emerald City Experience II."

He began shooting this video in October.