Take a look at this little bit of time lapse video of the fog rolling into Seattle Wednesday evening, as filmed from our KOMO tower cams atop Queen Anne and the Columbia Center. It sure has been quite the show around here!
Despite the week-plus of fog and stagnant air, the greater Puget Sound region has managed to dodge a burn ban and air quality advisories as so far, air quality has maintained at good to moderate levels through the period.
In measuring air quality, anything under 50 on the Air Quality Index (AQI) is considered good and 50-100 is moderate. Seattle has peaked around 65-75 in the period and has spent a good chunk of time under 50.
How have we managed that? Luckily, it hasn't been too cold overnight.
The mild overnight temperatures -- only dropping into the mid-upper 40s -- have helped curtail wood burning and prevented us from reaching levels unhealthy for sensitive groups in many areas in our region up to this point, says Erik Saganic, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency meteorologist. So pat yourselves on the back for not burning wood stoves and needing a burn ban!
It is a marvel of human technology that in fog so dense that driving just 35 mph on a local Seattle street still has you straining to see that traffic light just a half-block away, a plane traveling well over 100 mph on final approach can not only find, but land with pinpoint accuracy on an invisible airport runway -- and still find its way back to the terminal.
In years past, the answer was just to divert inbound planes somewhere where it wasn't foggy and not allow outbound planes to leave until the fog lifted. But no more. Now Sea-Tac Airport, as many others across the globe, has an Instrument Landing System that helps transmit signals to help incoming planes find their way.
Missing: Isobars. Last seen about a week ago...
The last part of October is the traditional start of the stormy season in the Pacific Northwest. But Mother Nature is going in the totally opposite direction, bringing what you might call an "anti-wind storm" -- a wide swath of area that will not have *any* wind.
Earlier this month, I wrote a blog showcasing a double layer of lenticular clouds from Nov. 20, 2004 that sought to clear up some confusion over A) who the photographer was of some of the photos that went viral over the internet and B) disputing some of those viral posts that the mountain shown was Mt. Rainier, not Mt. St. Helens.
There are two versions of viral emails/web posts of the event from separate photographers. We found that Jim George had taken one, but the other, which remains elusive.
However, in searching for that second photographer, others who witnessed the event have been sending me their photos of that day, and I thought it'd be nice to share.
You might have heard it's going to be a rather dry week around here, courtesy of a strong ridge of high pressure.
But the strength of the ridge is quite surprising, especially for October, taking up much of the Pacific Coast.
The picture above is high-resolution forecast model showing expected rainfall for Sunday morning, which would show up as colored blobs.
The leaves aren't the only thing that undergo a stark change in October -- so does our local weather.
October is home to the greatest swing in expected weather from the start of the month to the end of the month. While in the Pacific Northwest, the transition from winter to summer is very, very gradual through the spring, not really peaking until July and August, the transition from summer to winter is much more jarring -- especially in the rain category, where we go from driest to wettest time of year in just about 12-14 weeks.
Here are some statistics to back it up:
Last week brought a very rare sight to Western Washington - a tornado that damaged two roofs near the Frederickson Boeing plant and toppled several trees around and into nearby homes.
The National Weather Service would later rate the storm an EF-1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale with top wind speeds of 110 mph.
But obviously, they didn't have a lucky anemometer right in the tornado's path to record the wind speed, so how can they tell how strong the tornado was?
An interesting thing happened to me Friday on a journey from my Twitter feed to a national news web site after they proclaimed they had just posted a gallery of weather photographs submitted by readers.
Anyone who has seen this blog before knows I'm a sucker for gorgeous weather photography and so I had to take a peek. But while rummaging through the photos, I came upon one I had seen before of two lenticular clouds stacked upon themselves over Mt. Rainier at sunrise. Only the caption had it taken during the summer of 2012 by an Aaron T.
I knew the picture has been around for ages, and after some Google sleuthing, came upon the original photographer and his Flickr stream, showing two more photos taken the same day.
The effects of the government shutdown have far reaching effects - even spreading all the way into Alaska -- as whoever was on shift as the lead forecaster at the Anchorage National Weather Service office early Friday morning made a rather unusual plea for the shutdown to end.
This was the beginning of their forecast discussion, which is updated every six hours, posted at 5 a.m. Alaska time. At first blush, it's a rather mundane forecast -- a weakening storm system.
That is, until you note the first letter of every sentence:
WESTPORT, Wash. -- Just two days after a tornado damaged buildings in Frederickson, another twister was sighted in Western Washington.
This time, it was a waterspout just off the coast near Westport.
Those who enjoy sunny days that are warm, but not too hot, with occasional days of thunderstorms sprinkled in were sure all smiles this summer, especially on the heels of the last few years which didn't exactly get glowing reviews.
But now that it's October and summer is really, truly over, I wanted to know: Just how did this summer stack up against others? Let's check the data, using some traditional methods, and some not-so-traditional methods.