Weather Blog

NOAA to take big leap forward in weather forecast capabilities

NOAA to take big leap forward in weather forecast capabilities

The United States is about to take a big leap forward in its ability to forecast the weather. Word came Monday that NOAA will indeed be getting two new super computers that will greatly enhance the computing power of our forecasting models.

The way computer models work is that we take weather observations from around the globe from various sources -- such as weather instruments on the ground, ships at sea, weather balloons, satellites, pilot reports, etc. All that data then gets fed into the computer, and using what we know about how the planet and dynamics work, we apply incredibly complex mathematical equations to that data to try and figure out how the conditions right now will change over time.

Photographer captures 2 brilliant sun halo effects at Whistler

Photographer captures 2 brilliant sun halo effects at Whistler
Sun halos as seen from Whistler, B.C., courtesy of Travelingbhat

Whistler is already quite the beautiful place in winter, but the sun kicked it up a few notches during Archana Bhat's trip up there last week.

The photo above captures a who's who of sun-related halo and arcs. You've got sundogs (also known as parhelia) on each side, half of a "22° halo" (the half-circle that connects the two sundogs), and a sun pillar in the middle.

2014 weather review: Seattle had warmest year in decades

2014 weather review: Seattle had warmest year in decades
Photo: Crooked Shadows Photography

SEATTLE -- For those that think it's always cold and rainy in Seattle, we can definitely say, without reservation, that at least for 2014, nothing could be further from the truth.

It was warm and rainy, thank you very much.

This map might explain the warm weather of late…

This map might explain the warm weather of late…
Is that a fire-breathing dragon?!?!

Here we go again -- another warm and wet storm is coming in to kick off 2015, right on the heels of quite a number of similar storms last year that pushed us toward the warmest year in decades.

And nowhere is the symbolism as great as it is on this map, which depicts the amount of moisture in the atmosphere (darker colors= more moisture.)

Seattle sets record for warmest December (at Sea-Tac)

Seattle sets record for warmest December (at Sea-Tac)
The last sunrise of 2014. A pyrotechnic worker is atop the Seattle Space Needle preparing for the annual New Year's Eve fireworks show. Aerial photograph by Jay Dotson Photography.
SEATTLE -- December in Seattle may have begun and ended in the 20s, but in between were a whole lot of 50 degree days -- and even a couple in the 60s, and it was enough for us to set the record for warmest December since records have been kept at Sea-Tac Airport (1945).

The average high temperature for the month was 50.2 degrees, breaking the old record of 49.8 degrees set in 1976. (We may climb to 50.3 depending on Wednesday's final high temperature). The city also broke the record for warmest average overall temperature (45.3 degrees, record 45.2 in 1969).

Seattle sets all-time record high atmospheric pressure Tuesday

Seattle sets all-time record high atmospheric pressure Tuesday
Mt. Rainier comes out on a sunny day that set the record of highest atmospheric pressure in Seattle. (Photo: Kathleen Carpenter)

If it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders today -- or at least maybe small glass of water -- blame Mother Nature.

An intense high pressure system centered over British Columbia spilled into Western Washington Tuesday morning, making for the highest atmospheric pressure readings on record across the region.

200+ mph jet stream screams over Pacific Northwest

200+ mph jet stream screams over Pacific Northwest
A model depiction of the jet stream flow over the western United States on Dec. 22, 2014. You can see the outline of the national borders in white. (Photo courtesy: earth.nullschool.net)

Weather balloons got quite the ride over the Pacific Northwest, as a rather strong jet stream pushed over the region Monday.

The Monday morning reading out of Port Hardy, BC reported a west wind of 188 knots (216 mph!) at about 33,000 feet.

High confidence warm autumn to continue as a warm winter

High confidence warm autumn to continue as a warm winter
View of Seattle downtown from Issaquah Highlands on Dec. 14, 2014. (Photo: Shubha Tirumale Photography‎)

SEATTLE -- As December attempts to set the record for warmest one in at least the 69 years at Sea-Tac and perhaps the warmest even counting the Federal Building back to 1890, the news as we turn the page to official winter is not good for skiers.

The 90-day long range seasonal models for January through March have come out from NOAA and the news is more of the same, if not even a little worse than before: A very high confidence that the winter season will end up warmer than normal in the Pacific Northwest.

Family speaks of how surreal hailstorm destroyed home in 12 minutes

Family speaks of how surreal hailstorm destroyed home in 12 minutes
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 )

On June 3, 2014, a storm featuring 50-80+ mph winds and tennis ball-to-softball-size hail sandblasted a tiny town in eastern Nebraska, leaving homes in tatters. Lois Krohn was home when the ferocious storm hit and now more than six months after the storm, shares her story of being in the middle of Mother Nature's wrath.

Where's the snow? We're on pace to obliterate record for warmest December

Where's the snow? We're on pace to obliterate record for warmest December
Summit Snoqualmie is among many ski resorts playing the waiting game this winter. (Photo: Summit at Snoqualmie Web Cam)

At the start of the month, I blogged about how Seattle needed essentially just a normal December by temperature to set the record for warmest year on record by overall average temperature.

Now that we've reached the halfway point, it's not only looking like the annual record is going down, but perhaps the all-time monthly record too! And all you have to do is glance at the mountains to see it's taking a toll on the snowpack.