Weather Blog

Pacific Coast residents wonder: Who needs a meteorologist?

Pacific Coast residents wonder: Who needs a meteorologist?
Shore Acres State Park in Oregon (Photo courtesy Flickr user Doug Kerr. (Via CC 2.0 license.)

Would you like to live in a place where no matter what the weather is, be it sunshine, pouring rain, or a foggy overcast, the temperature is about the same?

All you have to do is head west, stop just before you get pummeled by ocean surf, then either put in your tent stakes or, more comfortably, talk to a local real estate agent.

Photos: More dramatic pics of Earth from International Space Station

Photos: More dramatic pics of Earth from International Space Station
We flew over a big tropical cyclone “Guito” near Madagascar this morning. (Photo & Caption courtesy Koichi Wakata (@Astro_Wakata) and NASA)

3 gorgeous sunsets and a burst of Northern Lights

3 gorgeous sunsets and a burst of Northern Lights
Northern Lights shine over Puget Sound as seen from Mukilteo waterfront on June 6, 2014. (Photo: Liem Bahneman)

The clear skies of the past few nights have allowed it to be quite the easel for some pretty impressive shows.

Especially Saturday night, when a moderate solar flare brought a semi-rare viewing of the Northern Lights to the Puget Sound area.

Surreal pics: Nebraska homes, cars blasted by tennis ball-sized hail

Surreal pics: Nebraska homes, cars blasted by tennis ball-sized hail
A home's siding is torn off after being blistered by large hail and strong winds in Hooper, Nebraska on June 3, 2014. (Photo courtesy: Kevin Krohn )

If it was in Mother Nature's playbook, it was used against parts of Nebraska Tuesday evening: Torrential rain, constant lightning, near-hurricane-force winds, tornadoes, and tennis ball-sized hail...

Pretty much all at the same time.

Let's start with the torrential rain as I was wide-eyed watching the rainfall numbers come in from Omaha.

The storm began with quite the punch, bringing a burst of rainfall and a gust of wind that was clocked at 72 mph!

The rain just kept going from there, which included jaw-dropping rainfall rates that saw over a half-inch of rain (0.53") fall in 3 minutes! That's 0.01" of rain per 3.4 seconds.

Study: Male hurricane names taken more seriously than female ones

Study: Male hurricane names taken more seriously than female ones
Hurricane Isaac over the Gulf of Mexico as seen from a NASA satellite. (Photo courtesy NASA)

I have to admit, I never really give much thought to hurricane names, especially since we don't have to deal with them out here. Since 1979, names have alternated between male and female names and run on a six-year rotation, so that this year's list is nearly identical to the one that ran in 2008, save for any names that get retired when they cause destruction.

The World Meteorological Organization chooses the names -- how a name makes the list is secret but it has to be easy to understand and come from names that represent the cultures of the areas affected. (So for example, in the Caribbean, you have a mix of English, Spanish, Dutch and French names on the hurricane list in deference to the nationalities represented in the many islands there.)

Current snowpack at Paradise Ranger Station among best in last 31 years

Current snowpack at Paradise Ranger Station among best in last 31 years
About 135" of snow sit at Paradise Ranger Station along Mt. Rainier on June 1, 2014 (Photo: National Parks Services Web Camera)

And to think in January, we were worried our mountains were going to go bare..

With the massive rally in February and a continued occasionally chilly pattern, the snowpack up at Mt. Rainier's Paradise Ranger Station is not only healthy, but among the best in the past few decades.

Photos show towering hailstorms over South Carolina

Photos show towering hailstorms over South Carolina
A towering thunderstorm is seen over South Carolina on May 23, 2014 as photographed by Stu Broce with NASA's IPHEX project

We're all likely familiar with what a hail storm looks like from the ground -- around here, it's as if someone dumped gazillions of frozen peas on the ground... if the peas were made of ice.

But have you ever seen a big hailstorm from the top? (And I mean BIG hailstorm, not the "what passes for big in Seattle but Midwesterners and East Coasties laugh as child's play" hailstorm? The kind that could be disguised as a golf ball or, when you're really in for it, a softball?)

Brand new meteor shower set for Friday night

It's not often in a lifetime you get treated to a brand new meteor shower that no one has ever seen before, but that is the case Friday night with the (pardon me a moment while I go copy and paste this:) Camelopardalids Meteor Shower.

This meteor shower with likely the most complex name for journalists to type since that volcano erupted in Iceland four years ago, comes courtesy of Comet 209P/LINEAR, discovered 10 years ago, according to NASA. But two years ago, it was discovered Earth would cross into the comet's dust paths leftover from the 1800s on Friday night.

How a breeze 75,000 feet up might indicate a hot summer for Seattle

How a breeze 75,000 feet up might indicate a hot summer for Seattle
FILE -- Alki Beach in West Seattle packed with people enjoying the sunshine on a hot Seattle day.

You've likely heard the old tale of how a butterfly flapping its wings in China can make it rain here on a weekend, but what if I told you a moderate breeze high above the clouds around the equator could be the reason we just had a very wet spring? Or lend credence to other forecasts that we've got a hot summer looming?

Jason Phelps, now a graduate student at Utah State University after completing his undergraduate Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington, is working on research that could help give long-range forecasters another tool in spotting upcoming weather trends over several months.

Right now, many of those long range forecasts are aided by research in certain oscillations in the atmosphere that occur somewhat regularly over a period of months to decades.

Snowing at 68 degrees in Denver? Nope, just 5" of hail

Snowing at 68 degrees in Denver? Nope, just 5" of hail
5" of hail fall in parts of Denver on May 21, 2014. (Photo courtesy: Denver Police Department)
DENVER - Flights are resuming at Denver International Airport after severe thunderstorms and a tornado warning forced planes to stay on the ground.

Guess what? It really does rain more often in Seattle on Saturdays

Guess what? It really does rain more often in Seattle on Saturdays
FILE -- Visitors to downtown Seattle huddle under umbrellas while walking in the shopping district. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

So here we are again, Seattle.

After a sunny and warm week, the clouds roll in and the showers arrive just in time for the weekend. Just like it did two weeks ago. And if rainy weekends seem like a frequent occurrence this spring, your memory does not deceive you. It's rained on the past four weekends, and five of the last six.