Weather Blog

Don't get duped by the ''sucker holes''

Don't get duped by the ''sucker holes''

It's one of those informal weather terms that are quite useful for the Pacific Northwest. Have you ever noticed a small patch of clearing amidst a gray overcast? That's known to some as a "sucker hole."

The general origin of the term is that the tiny area of blue sky tricks some people to think that maybe the skies are going to clear up, only to duped when the hole disappears and the solid overcast returns -- as in Mother Nature going: "Sucker!"

(Not to be confused with "sunbreaks" which is what a sucker hole would be if it wasn't about to cloud up again.)

I grew up in an aviation family and always heard that pilots had their origin of the "sucker hole" term as a break in the overcast that might entice you to fly through to avoid heading into the clouds, only to have the hole close up before your plane gets there. Other pilots, feel free to chime in below in the comment section.

I've heard it has had use with sailors too who were fooled into taking it as a sign of clearing, only to get suckered by more rain. Incidentally, the top story photo there is one I took earlier this month -- only to have a massive rain shower blow through about 10 minutes later, so it was pretty true to the word.

But it doesn't all have to be about being tricked. Astronomers use the term "sucker hole weather" to denote that there might just be limited breaks in the overcast to spot a star or planet.

Here are a few more photos of Sucker Holes seen this June around here: