Everything You Need To Know About Atmospheric Rivers

Everything You Need To Know About Atmospheric Rivers

With a strong atmospheric river underway, I thought I’d take some time to delve a little deeper into these phenomena. In this blog, I’ll cover the basic characteristics of an atmospheric river, how these atmospheric rivers form, and a brief summary of how they relate to the Earth’s heat budget. Throughout the blog, I’ll use two of the largest atmospheric rivers of the past decade – the November 6-7 atmospheric river and the December 2-3 “Great Coastal Gale” (one of…

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Quick Update on Tomorrow’s Storm

Quick Update on Tomorrow’s Storm

Today was just a prelude to the stormy weekend ahead, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t exciting! A cool and unstable air mass poured into the region, bringing brief but heavy showers to the lowlands and heavy snow in the mountains above 5,000 feet. The satellite picture taken this afternoon by NASA’s polar-orbiting TERRA satellite shows how efficient the mountains are at enhancing precipitation during this setup. Paradise at Mt. Rainier National Park lived up to its name today! This…

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First Storm of the Season Comes Through, But An Even Stronger One Looms

First Storm of the Season Comes Through, But An Even Stronger One Looms

Our first respectable storm of the season drenched Western Washington and Oregon with heavy rain on Wednesday and Thursday, bringing an inch of rain to many places in the lowlands and several inches in the mountains. Over the past 24 hours, the rain has primarily been concentrated over SW Washington and NW Oregon as a juicy cold front/atmospheric river has slowly sagged southward, bringing nearly an inch of rain to the Portland metro area and over 4 inches to the…

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Storm Season Begins This Week

Storm Season Begins This Week

One of my recent posts talked about how the transition to winter is quicker than the transition to spring. Though the post was concerned with temperature changes and had a global perspective, we in the Pacific Northwest tend to experience a particularly rapid pattern change as our summertime Eastern Pacific high disintegrates and strong zonal flow enters the area. And this coming week will be a textbook example of just how fast that change can be. A very strong, 165+ knot…

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First Snow of the Season for the Lower Passes

First Snow of the Season for the Lower Passes

We got a taste of winter in mid-September, when an unseasonably cool upper-level trough dropped several inches of the white stuff to Timberline, Paradise Ranger Station, and many other locations in the Cascades above 5,500 feet. But an even chillier upper-level trough is currently over the area and will direct cool, moist and unstable air into the region as it moves east, bringing up to a foot of snow to Snoqualmie Pass and much, much more in the higher elevations…

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Why is the Transition Into Winter Faster Than The Transition Out of It?

Why is the Transition Into Winter Faster Than The Transition Out of It?

Now that we are officially in autumn, I can hardly contain my excitement for storm season to get underway. Our transition from autumn into winter is fast and furious; in only 1 1/2 months, we’ll be in the stormiest period of the year, and there’s even a chance for lowland snow by then! No month exemplifies this transition better than November 2010 – I remember playing “flyers up” in the mid 70s at Garfield High School in Seattle on 11/3,…

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First Snow of the Season for the Cascades

First Snow of the Season for the Cascades

FINALLY! It’s one thing to be overjoyed at the first stormy forecast of autumn, but to actually see the moderate rain, gusty winds, and even the mountain snow associated with it is nothing short of wonderful. And believe it or not, another storm is right on its heels! Let’s just cut to the chase and take a look at some webcams from around the Pacific Northwest. You can find these webcams and a few more on our Washington Cascades webcam…

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La Nina Watch Issued!

La Nina Watch Issued!

With the days rapidly getting shorter and the first major system of autumn only hours away, I’ve been getting more and more excited for the beginning of storm season. There’s nothing I love more than a good Pacific Northwest lowland snowstorm, and windstorms, mountain snow, and heavy rain aren’t far behind. So when I caught wind Thursday evening that the Climate Prediction Center had issued a La Nina watch, I was naturally happy to hear the news. La Ninas tend…

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Fall Arrives Next Monday

Fall Arrives Next Monday

I hope you can forgive me for the click-baity, questionably accurate title. From an astronomical perspective, autumn will begin on 1:02 pm PDT Friday, September 22, 2017, and meteorological fall officially began on September 1st. But after a record-smashing streak of drier and hotter-than-average weather, we’ll finally get our first true taste of autumn next Monday as a strong cold front swings through the area. We had some hors d’oeuvres to next Monday’s upcoming entree of liquid sunshine last Saturday,…

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Hurricane Irma Now Making Landfall on Florida

Hurricane Irma Now Making Landfall on Florida

This will be a very short update considering the monumental size and scope of Irma, as I’m actually planning to go fishing momentarily. I’ll collaborate with some other WeatherTogether bloggers and have a much more comprehensive blog reviewing Irma later this week. Irma passed through the Florida Keys earlier this morning as a large Category 4 with peak sustained winds of 135 mph and is now approaching Naples, Florida. It should make landfall there in the next couple hours as…

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