Judging by my email inbox over the years, there are quite a few people around here who are physically affected by changes in the weather -- be it the trick knee, or arthritic joints, or other physical ailments -- especially when there are large swings in atmospheric pressure.
According to ScienceDaily.com, research shows the pain can come from fluctuations in fluids in your joints and those with less cartilage around the joints would be more sensitive to these pressure changes. Others I have heard from have reported issues with sinuses/headaches and pressure swings.
Many of these people have come to learn that their pain can predict the weather -- or at least signal when a storm is coming. That's because the atmospheric pressure drops with an approaching low pressure system, and around the Northwest, sometimes those drops can be frequent and quite intense.
In fact, when we get in our familiar pattern of a series of storms as what happened the week of Thanksgiving, the atmospheric pressure goes on a wild roller-coaster ride of falling like a rock as the storm approaches, then zooms higher in the hours following the storm, only to then start falling back again as the next storm moves closer. During these times, the pain can be non-stop.
One of the people e-mailed me recently asking that it would be great to get some sort of heads up when the pressure was about to go through its bouncing pogo-stick act.
This site is a good one for those who like raw data and numbers:
If you look over on the right, find the column "MSLP (mb)" -- that is Mean Sea Level Pressure in milibars. Standard pressure is 1012 mb. Good fall/winter storms will get us down into high 900s But it's not so much the number but how fast it changes. Through 180 hours, each row is 3 hours, and the time listed on the far left is UTC/Zulu time (The old "GMT"), or 8 hours ahead of PST. (So "15Z" is 7 a.m.). After 180 hours, each row is given in 12 hour forecasts.
Or, if you're more a graphics person, you can check these two links:
0-8 day forecast
8.5 - 16 day forecast -- Again, look for "SLP (mb)"
That will show the anticipated pressure as a line graph like this:
I've got these defaulting to Seattle. For the text graph above you can set it for any city near the top where it says "Enter ICAO" -- that means enter your airport code. KSEA is Seattle, KPAE is Everett, KTCM is Tacoma, etc. Any of the codes that start with "K" on this list should work.
If you are reading these links when this blog entry was published, you'll see the pressures aren't changing much as we are locked into a ridge of high pressure. (1030-1040mb is quite high) Thus, I'd suspect those with pressure sensitivities would get a break this week.