Weather Blog

Why are there red and green radar images in my Twitter feed during tornado outbreaks?

Why are there red and green radar images in my Twitter feed during tornado outbreaks?
A view of a rain-wrapped tornado looking south from Hazel Green High School is seen as multiple tornadoes raked across Hazel Green and northern Madison County late afternoon Monday, April 28, 2014, in Hazel Green, Ala. (AP Photo/AL.com, Eric Schultz)

When there is a major tornado outbreak as there have been in the past two days, if you follow any friends (or meteorologists) in the Midwest or Southeast, your social media feeds might be filled with radar shots of the places in danger.

While some of those views might show the classic "reflectivity" scan, which is the traditional radar page we show in Seattle all the time that shows the greens, yellows, reds -- and into the purples and beyond for really severe weather back East -- for intensity of precipitation, there's another view you might see a lot of online that shows just two main colors: red and green.

How rare are 80 degree days in early May?

How rare are 80 degree days in early May?
Seattle Center on a (rare?) sunny and warm day in early April. (Photo courtesy: Jason Erskine, April 7, 2014)

Perhaps you've heard the news, especially if you've been anywhere near a water cooler the past few days: 

It might hit 80 degrees on Thursday!

Considering earlier this decade, we didn't get to 80 degrees until July for two consecutive years (2010 and 2011), the news is understandably being met with a mix of excitement and confusion: It never gets to 80 in April and early May in Seattle, does it?

Turns out, it does, it just hasn't for a while. Record highs this week are in the low 80s -- 85 on April 30 and 81 on May 1 -- not once, but twice.  While as of this writing, Wednesday's forecast isn't quite up to 80 degrees, if it manages to get there, it hasn't reached 80 in April since 2004.

Anyway, the National Weather Service put out a helpful statement that shows all the climate stats for not just Seattle, but for Olympia, Hoquiam, Forks and Bellingham. Just remember it's essentially a one-and-done for 80 this time around as we'll be back around 60 by the weekend.

As the rain keeps pouring down, Seattle sets rainfall record

As the rain keeps pouring down, Seattle sets rainfall record »Play Video
Rain falls in Seattle on April 7, 2014. (Photo: Mike Mclaughlin)

February was among the wettest on record with 6.11" in Seattle. March did it one better and smashed the all-time rain record with a whopping 9.44 inches.

While April likely won't make those lofty heights (11th wettest on record), when combined with the soggy February and March, they make quite the rain trio.

Long range forecasts maintain hot summer forecast for Seattle

Long range forecasts maintain hot summer forecast for Seattle
Seattle Center on a (rare?) sunny and warm day in early April. (Photo courtesy: Jason Erskine, April 7, 2014)

The monthly updates to the long-range seasonal forecasts came out this week and I'm not sure who is cheering louder: those who like hot summers in the West or those in New England and the Midwest who are now being given above-average odds for a warm winter this year after a current "winter" that is still bringing several inches of snow in mid-April.

(In fact, Marquette, Mich. reported low temperatures below zero on Wednesday morning. Yes, April 16th!!!)

For just the 30 day May forecast, forecasts paint a moderately strong signal that the month will be warmer than average, and a fairly decent signal that it will also be drier than average.

(Key: Brown is warmer than average, blue is cooler than average on the temperature map. For rainfall, brown means drier than normal while green means higher odds of wetter than normal conditions.)

Happy last day of snow in Seattle day!

Happy last day of snow in Seattle day!
"Mr. Cash" basks in a rare mid-spring snow. (Photo: Julie Johnson)

It's been nearly a month since winter ended, and the Opening Day of Boating Season is just over two weeks away.

But did you know it's snowed on this date before in Seattle?

Watch: Why there's a cool breeze just before a rain storm

Watch: Why there's a cool breeze just before a rain storm

We all know rain showers are about as common in the Puget Sound region as a corner coffee stand. But around here, even in the mundane, there is beauty -- at least in the eyes of this meteorologist.

Have you ever been outside and felt that cool rush of air before in the minutes before it starts raining? Ever wonder why that happens? I've got some great weather videos that will help demonstrate.

First of 4 'Blood Moon' lunar eclipses set for Monday night

First of 4 'Blood Moon' lunar eclipses set for Monday night
FILE -- A lunar eclipse shines over the Space Needle in Seattle on Feb. 20, 2008 (Photo courtesy: Clane Gessel)

Our sunrises and sunsets are legendary around here, but how would you like to see all the sunrises and sunsets on Earth -- at the same time! And it doesn't even require a trip to outer space.

Instead, the moon is going to essentially turn into an astronomical version of a projection screen as we get the first of four consecutive lunar eclipses over the next two years.

Even though the moon will be in the Earth's shadow, it should appear a bit colorful, some shade of red or orange. That's from light around the edges of the Earth - essentially all the sunrises and sunsets at the moment - splashing on the lunar surface and faintly lighting up the moon, said Alan MacRobert, senior editor at Sky & Telescope magazine.

Seattle's climate instantly cools 1.5 degrees -- but it's not any colder

Seattle's climate instantly cools 1.5 degrees -- but it's not any colder
Sun rises in Seattle on April 13, 2014. (Photo: Brendan Ramsey)

Temperature readings at Sea-Tac Airport -- Seattle's official reporting station -- have been reporting cooler temperatures of late, but don't worry, our climate hasn't undergone a sudden cooling event.

Instead, it seems the thermometer at Sea-Tac is finally back on track, reporting temperatures more realistic with respect to other nearby thermometers.

Safeco Field roof closed for opener, but rainy M's games remain rare

Safeco Field roof closed for opener, but rainy M's games remain rare
FILE -- Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Felix Hernandez throws in the fourth inning against the Detroit Tigers during a baseball game at Safeco Field, Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

In what was quite the poor timing by Mother Nature, a weak and brief cold front  swept through Seattle Tuesday evening and required the roof to be closed at Safeco Field for the Mariners' home opener.

But while you might think the roof gets quite a workout through the season in soggy Seattle, did you know Safeco Field's retractable roof is the least used in baseball?

Your obligatory 'It's sunny and warm in Seattle!' story

Your obligatory 'It's sunny and warm in Seattle!' story
Seattle Center on a (rare?) sunny and warm day in early April. (Photo courtesy: Jason Erskine, April 7, 2014)

SEATTLE -- Usually when a weather story is in the top stack of our website, it's because there is impending meteorological mayhem, be it 4 inches of snow, a windstorm, flooding, or maybe some rare rumbles of thunder.

Not this time!

For once, we decided to declare it's news when it's a sunny, warm day in early April. Highs around Seattle are expected to reach the upper 60s with perhaps a rogue 70 out there in Southwestern Washington and there is plenty of sunshine to go around, as long as you're not on the coast.

Now while many might think it's not that rare to have a day in the upper 60s that could threaten 70, you would be wrong!

Sorta, kinda.

Weekend eye candy: Weather time lapse videos

Weekend eye candy: Weather time lapse videos

With the weather relatively tame and no more drama around what the record rainfall will be in March (9.44" for those who missed it), I figure we can use a relaxing weather blog to get us through the weekend.

And what better way to relax than watching some gorgeous time lapse video?