Weather Blog

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.

How cool is this? 9-year-old designs scarf that doubles as a Seattle weather chart

How cool is this? 9-year-old designs scarf that doubles as a Seattle weather chart
Rebecca Ryan holds up a thermometer and balls of yarn as she tracks the daily weather by having her mom knit corresponding colors into a scarf.


What to do when you're into knitting and are keenly interested in Seattle weather patterns?

Why, combine the two passions into an awesome scarf!

Nine-year-old Rebecca Ryan came up with the idea as she watched her mom knitting clothes for her over the years.

Oregon dust storm now blamed for 'milky rain' in Eastern Washington

Oregon dust storm now blamed for 'milky rain' in Eastern Washington
Photo of a dirty, milky substance that has fallen on cars outside the National Weather Service office in Spokane, Wash. on Feb. 6, 2015. (Photo courtesy: National Weather Service)


The mystery surrounding a white, milky rain that fell across Eastern Washington and parts of Oregon and Idaho Friday has a new theory, although I'd call it more of a tweak of the previous theory.

The event coated vehicles and windows in more than 15 cities, including Spokane, the Tri-Cities, and Hermiston, Oregon. Initial thoughts of the source originating as volcanic ash from a distant eruption or debris blown from summer wildfire-scarred terrain were quickly disproven.

Snoqualmie Pass has as much snow this winter season as Boston

Snoqualmie Pass has as much snow this winter season as Boston
Left: Bare spots show at part of Snoqualmie Pass. Right: Taylor LaBrecque digs her car out of a snow pile on Boston's Beacon Hill (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

One is a bustling ski resort; the other is a major metropolitan area that touches the Atlantic Ocean.

But this year, they're tied in the winter snow season department -- and neither spot is cheering about it.

Mystery of the 'milky rain' in Eastern Washington solved?

Mystery of the 'milky rain' in Eastern Washington solved?
Photo of a dirty, milky substance that has fallen on cars outside the National Weather Service office in Spokane, Wash. on Feb. 6, 2015. (Photo courtesy: National Weather Service)

Update: Further investigation by a Washington State University meteorologist shows the origin of the light-colored dust wasn't from a dust storm northern Nevada, but a dust storm from Oregon's Summer Lake -- also home to very light-colored sands.

Strange things were afoot in Eastern Washington and parts of eastern Oregon and the Idaho panhandle Friday when the day's rain showers left a bit of a milky residue on cars and whatnot.

Social media filled up with photos of the aftermath, with the National Weather Service in Spokane posting a photo of the rather cloudy rain they collected in the rain gauge at their office.

After a few days of sleuthing, meteorologist Greg Koch with the National Weather Service in Spokane has posted a blog on what they think is the likely cause of the strange-colored rain.

In short: Blame Nevada.