Weather Blog

Beautiful billows, bountiful breezes, and busy birds

Beautiful billows, bountiful breezes, and busy birds
Sun sets behind Seattle's Pike Place Market on May 15, 2014. (Photo: KOMO News Photographer Mitch Pitman)

Wow, what a gorgeous evening out there! After a day of temperatures in the upper 70s and low 80s, enough high clouds were around to make a great sunset easel, and our marine seabreeze kicked in to boot to return a comfortable night's sleep.

Several people had their cameras rolling to capture the amazing scenes around the region.

Gorgeous time lapse video shows off intricacies of fog

Gorgeous time lapse video shows off intricacies of fog
Photo: Simon Christen

Nothing shows off the beauty of fog like time lapse video.

Photographer Simon Christen, who put together one of my all-time favorite videos, "Adrift" that shows a series of foggy time lapse videos in San Francisco, is out with a new video "A Time Lapse Collection" that has more fog from the Bay Area, as well as a trip to Dubai.

Northwest climate change report: Shrinking snowpacks, drier summers

Northwest climate change report: Shrinking snowpacks, drier summers
FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2012 file photo, Natural Resources Conservation Service employees Chris Mundy, front, and Nicholle Kovach measure snow depth at a site near Wanoga Snoplay Area west of Bend, Ore. (AP Photo/The Bulletin, Rob Kerr)

Tuesday was a big day in the science community with the release of a major federal scientific report on climate change.

The 840-page report, several years in the making, looks at regional and state-level effects of global warming, compared with recent reports from the United Nations that lumped all of North America together. A draft of the report was released in January 2013, but this version has been reviewed by more scientists, the National Academy of Science and 13 government agencies and had public comment.

It is written in a bit more simple language so people could realize "that there's a new source of risk in their lives," said study lead author Gary Yohe of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

The report breaks the nation down into 8 geographical regions, including the Pacific Northwest, which for their report encompasses Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Video highlights the extraordinary nighttime sky shows we're missing

Video highlights the extraordinary nighttime sky shows we're missing
On the left: The nighttime glow of the Puget Sound region. On the right, the Northern Lights are visible in Eastern Washington. Photo courtesy: Don Jensen

Local photographer Don Jensen is on a mission.

An outdoor and astronomy enthusiast, Jensen has developed a narrative time lapse video that shows what humanity's efforts to erase the nighttime darkness in our cities has taken on the night sky, and the interaction (or lack thereof) that we are having with starry skies. 

"Escape the Light Dome" introduces us to our world where we are blinding ourselves to a view of the universe.

Trick or treat? Seattle already at 25" of rain this year, normal for Halloween

Trick or treat? Seattle already at 25" of rain this year, normal for Halloween
A woman waits in the rain at the Mobile Food Truck Rodeo in Seattle, Wash. May 3, 2014.

SEATTLE -- We just crowned the start of boating season. Summer vacation is just six weeks away for school kids. And it was 85 degrees last week.

But if we measured the calendar by amount of rain that has fallen this year in Seattle, you should already have your Jack O'Lanterns carved and your costumes picked out, as we should be just a couple days away from Halloween.

Wacky weather: Pensacola gets 15" of rain, Oregon coast hotter than Phoenix

Wacky weather: Pensacola gets 15" of rain, Oregon coast hotter than Phoenix
Vehicles rest at the bottom of a ravine after the Scenic Highway collapsed near Pensacola, Fla., Wednesday April 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Pensacola News Journal, Katie E. King)

Even through they're separated more east-west than north-south, Pensacola, Florida and North Bend, Oregon were true "polar opposites" with their weather this week.

Pensacola was stuck under a massive thunderstorm system Wednesday, which brought hours upon hours of torrential rains -- the likes of rains that even "Rain City" Seattle will never, ever see.

How can I be so sure? Check out these numbers:

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.