Monthly Archives: January 2009

Goodbye January, Hello February!


I’ve done some research, and I found that the past 10 February’s in the Northwest have typically trended drier and warmer than average. Looking at the long range models today (and yesterday for that matter. Gasp! Cosnsistency!), one would certainly think that streak could be in jeopardy. But for the time being, it seems as if February will at least start out the way it has for the past decade: mild and dry.

The forecast for tonight is a pretty dry one: both dry as in no precipitation, and dry as in boring. Skies will be mostly cloudy with a bit of fog forming overnight.

Tomorrow will be a bit cloudier than today and also a bit wetter as a system moves onshore tomorrow afternoon. For the most part, however, we’ll escape the majority of this rain and call tomorrow mostly cloudy, though there will certainly be some bouts with sunshine. Highs will be in the lower 40s.

Monday is a tough one as skies will clear out Sunday night, paving the way for fog Monday morning. Depending on how steady the dry, easterly wind blows, we may be stuck under a blanket of gray all day. I’m putting stock into some afternoon sunbreaks (probably the safest thing to put stock in right now, actually) which should boost temperatures into the mid and upper 40s.

The same scenario goes for Tuesday and Wednesday before more clouds and showers move in for the end of the week into the weekend.

So who’s been paying attention to the long range models lately? The latest run of the most popular American weather model, the GFS, suggest quite the pattern change to occur by early NEXT week. Remember when I talked about the believable range (7-10 days) yesterday? This particular pattern change I’m talking about is suggested to occur around day 9.

Uh-oh… 🙂

Have a fantastic weekend!

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather


Long Range Thoughts: Consistently Inconsistent


The Climate Prediction Center, or CPC, predicts long range temperature and precipitation probabilities for two time periods: 6-10 days and 8-14 days. The above maps illustrate Washington State having a 33% chance of below normal temperatures and normal precipitation within the next 6-10 days.

33% is not very high at all, but meteorologists have to be conservative when it comes to climate predictions. The models have been horrendously inconsistent lately (at least for the past month or so) concerning the weather trends in the long range. The CPC does have a good point: most models have been hinting at a cooler weather regime by mid February or so, and while it is still uncertain exactly how MUCH cooler it could get, it does look like we could find ourselves back in a below normal pattern as soon as next weekend.

When dealing with extreme events, meteorologists look for a believable range, a weather pattern showing up between 7-10 days. If an epic snowstorm shows up in the models 14 days out, it is not smart to put any stock in that event happening. But if a severe cold wave showed up on the models and threatened to hit us by next Sunday, then more stock and research would be put into the particular event. Granted nothing at this present time looks especially mouth watering (cold, snowy, stormy weather :)), sometimes models don’t pick up on storms soon enough, and something significant could show up in the six to ten day time frame without warning.

Here’s what I am seeing: by next weekend, the American models have been toying with the idea of chilly, sloppy weather coming back to the Northwest and lasting for a considerable amount of time. That’s good news for the mountains. The European models, being “different” because Europeans love to be that way, are showing a much more tranquil pattern, leaving us high, dry, and mild.

The current state of the ocean waters is a La Niña, which typically favors cooler, wetter weather around here (Use last year as a perfect example of the sass and spice La Niña’s deliver). I find it hard to believe a strong ridge of high pressure will set up shop in our neck of the woods, bringing sunshine and mild temperatures with a La Niña, but it can happen.

So I’ll keep a close eye on the long range trends, and you can too by going to the CPC website:

The above link and other weather model links are also on the right hand side bar under “Weather Links” for future use.

As for the short term? Not really a whole lot to talk about except for some cool weather over the weekend, but nothing we haven’t seen: highs in the lower 40s with clouds,  breaks, and a few showers on Sunday. Tomorrow will feature more sun than clouds, while Sunday will be the opposite.

Partial sunshine and highs in the upper 40s look good from Monday through Wednesday, though there is the chance we don’t mix enough of the clouds out during the day in which case we’d be stuck in the 30s with clouds and fog. I will seriously explode in a billion pieces if I have to endure that weather pattern ONE MORE TIME this winter. Sorry…I tend to get emotional about certain weather patterns…

Later in the week, however, clouds roll in and bring some rain with ’em, though at this time it just looks like harmless showers. Highs will cool into the mid 40s.

Have a fantastic weekend!!

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather


Difference Between Partly Sunny and Mostly Cloudy


I’m actually kind of glad this week wasn’t TOO weather crazy because it’s been a busy one with finals, college applications, you name it. But now that I (and every other student out there on the peninsula) have a 3 day weekend ahead of me, I’d like a LITTLE bit of snow to forecast before school starts up again. Unfortunately for me (and fortunately for others) snow is not in the forecast for the next little while…

Now, before I go into the forecast for the next 7 days, I’d like to answer a question that I’ve been asked several times ever since I began forecasting at CK two years ago: “What makes a day ‘mostly cloudy’ and another day ‘partly sunny’? Aren’t we getting partial sunshine either way?”

Well, yes, but there is a big difference between partly sunny and mostly cloudy, at least in my book (which is not nearly as big or knowledgeable as say…Cliff Mass’s :)). A partly sunny day means clearing out most of the morning low clouds by noon and having an even amount of clouds and sun in the sky…you know, not too much of either. That means it’s “partly sunny”.

Mostly cloudy is defined as being, well, mostly cloudy throughout the day. There may be sunbreaks in the clouds, but they are usually brief (5-10 minutes for each break) and shallow, breaking through only a fraction of the cloud cover. Also, if it has been cloudy all day until 3 pm or so when the sun FINALLY wants to break through, I consider that “too late” as most of the day has been cloudy thus being dubbed mostly cloudy.

For most areas, yesterday would be a good example of partly sunny while today would be a good example of mostly cloudy. And believe me, people can be VERY analytical about a forecast that calls for mostly cloudy skies and it ends up being partly sunny. For some, it matters just that much.

Now on to the 7 day forecast! Tonight will be PARTLY clear with lows dipping down into the 30s. After some morning low clouds/fog, tomorrow AM will be PARTLY sunny, but increasing mid and high level clouds will make the sky MOSTLY cloudy during the day. Highs will be mild, however, in the mid to upper 40s.

Saturday and Sunday both look pretty “blah” as sunbreaks, clouds, and showers will rule the weather. Oh, and it’ll be a bit chilly. Highs will be in the lower to mid 40s.

MOSTLY cloudy skies look likely for Monday with just a few light rain showers, but great improvement is in store for the rest of the week as the jet stream does the splits and sends moisture to our north (Vancouver) and to our south (California). That means PARTIAL sunshine for us Kitsapers.

At this time, it looks like an inversion will not be a huge problem next week. Heaven forbid we enter that pattern again. I may have to check in “the clinic” if we do. What a miserable pattern low clouds, fog, and drizzle is! Stay tuned.

One thing is for sure, even if we turn PARTLY sunny, highs would likely be quite mild in the low to mid 50s…maybe even warmer…

Tomorrow I’ll talk in more detail about the long range trends and what is in February’s future…

Have a good Friday!

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather


Thank You, Shadow


The Olympic Rain (or snow) Shadow has been particularly strong this winter and because Mother Nature LOVES trends, she’s going to bless the Kitsap area with more shadowing over the next several days which will greatly limit the amount of rain we get here and also greatly increase the chances of outdoor activities.

Normally in the winter, this shadow drives me absolutely insane. During previous winters, it always seemed whenever I wanted a snow day, the shadow kicked into full gear, giving most of Western Washington a healthy dosage of snow while I’m weeping and melting in crystal clear skies. But this would normally happen only once or twice the whole winter. This year, several snow events have missed us because of the shadow and I feel like taking those Olympic Mountains and physically moving them somewhere else.

But I have to remember: #1) I am not strong enough, #2) When we get cold air around here, it usually dams up against the Olympics which gives us the advantage of longer lasting snow and #3) with the shadow, we escape dangerous rainstorms like early this month, or simply light rain. So…I won’t remove the mountains just yet 🙂

Here’s what’s going to happen tonight: skies will be partly to mostly cloudy with a pretty seasonable temperature range in the low to mid 30s.

Tomorrow will be cloudier than today, but it looks pretty darn dry all around the Peninsula as the Olympic Rain Shadow will be in full effect. Highs will be similar to today in the low to mid 40s.

The clouds will break apart on Friday morning, but the sun won’t be out for too long as clouds move into our area dropping a bit of light rain, but for the most part we’ll escape the puddles.

Cooler air moves in for this weekend dropping high temperatures in the lower 40s with partly to mostly cloudy skies. Overnight lows will also be quite chilly in the upper 20s and lower 30s.

The forecasting models diverge a bit for next week, but it appears mostly dry with even some partly sunny days in the mix with seasonable temps in the mid to upper 40s.

Remember a little while ago when I mentioned the possibility of the first week of February offering up some interesting weather? The models have since slowed the progression of the interesting weather, but a week or so from now we could be back to at least a more active pattern.

But then again, with Mother Nature you just never know 😉

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather


There’s Such Thing as “Normal”?!


Well, I suppose we can’t complain: except for today and the very beginning of this month, the Kitsap area has had a pretty calm stretch of weather, especially on January’s terms where we’re usually struggling with one extreme event after another. And it appears we’ll end January on a rather calm note as well! I guess we might as well follow the trend, right?

Snow accumulations were very similar around the county today: a dusting to 1/2” in most places, while certain pockets that I like to call “micro climates” (basically small areas that like to create their own weather) squeezed out an inch or more. I haven’t received any official amounts from the Hood Canal area yet, but a friend called and said he had close to 2”, so it appears amounts around the area were generally what was expected: more to the south and west, less to the north and east.

So here’s the rundown: no snow tonight. Skies will be mostly cloudy with lows in the mid to upper 30s, thanks to the cloud cover.

Tomorrow will feature clouds, sunbreaks, and showers and it’ll be less breezy as the storm system we just went through is past us. Highs will be in the lower 40s.

Thursday will be more of a typical Washington day: mostly cloudy with light rain showers and highs in the mid 40s.

Friday will feature a mix of clouds, sunbreaks, and showers, but some cooler air moves into our area after Friday night. At this time, high temperatures won’t be excessively chilly Saturday: generally in the upper 30s and lower 40s. The best news about Saturday is it looks fairly pleasant with a few light showers, but partly sunny skies so we should get a decent amount of Washington sunshine if things play out the way forecasted. More clouds, showers, and milder weather move in for Sunday.

Clouds and showers stick around for Monday, but it looks like a partly sunny day for next Tuesday.

Certainly small forecast changes will occur over the next 7 days, but one thing is for sure: nothing extreme looks likely within the next 7 to 10 days. As for the mountains, expect a nice healthy dosage of mountain snow for the at least next week or so.

I guess we’ve found a happy medium!

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather



Updated 7:21 AM

The National Weather Service in Seattle is still holding strong to the WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY they posted for the main Hood Canal area last night, and they say this area may be the last to change to rain. For a more thorough explanation by the NWS, click here.

Currently the radar is filled in around Kitsap and most everyone is experiencing an icy snow this morning. This is quite the snowstorm—last year, I went to Wyoming with my family for Spring Break. That was the only time I ever saw winds gust to as high as 50 mph with blowing snow. That kind of weather just doesn’t occur in Western Washington…at least, I didn’t think so until this morning.

As I left for school, the winds were blowing (sustained 14 mph, gust to 30) with light, icy snow to add to the mix. It’s certainly an interesting feeling outside…how often does gusty wind and snow occur here?!

As for the rest of the forecast, expect continued light snow with gusty winds, accumulating potentially in excess of 2” close to the Hood Canal with accumulations of an inch or more elsewhere in the Kitsap area. At around noon today, expect the snow to taper off and to have mostly cloudy skies with continued cold weather.

At this time, there are no school delays/cancellations to talk about mainly because the snow came in so late. But stay tuned as conditions change!

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather


Oh Snow You Didn’t!

So word around Kitsap is snow may make another visit to the area before a warm southerly wind kicks up and scours out all the cold air we’ve hoarded this past weekend. So, let’s talk about specifics:

Tonight will be calm: increasing clouds, but cold with lows in the upper 20s to lower 30s. The mostly clear skies this evening is the first ingredient we need for snow tomorrow as temperatures will definitely be cold enough.

Then, the action starts early tomorrow morning.

Here’s another map displaying how much snow is expected around the area by 7 AM tomorrow morning. As you can see, the same thinking applies as yesterday: southern and western portions of Kitsap will likely get a good inch or so of snow, granted everything pans out as expected on the models. The northern/eastern Kitsap County areas could very well get squat with this system as the Olympic Snow Shadow will prevent any significant accumulation: maybe a dusting or so, but overall this looks like a “the more south you go, the better chance for snow” situation.

By mid morning, a warmer southerly wind kicks up, scouring out the cold air the Hood Canal usually gathers during these cold spells. This means any left over precip will largely be rain, though by the time the switch over occurs, precip will be lacking.

Residual showers and even a few sunbreaks are in the forecast for Wednesday with highs in the lower 40s, so still a chilly one out there!

The same thinking goes for the remainder of the week: periods of rain with a break in the action Saturday as skies clear before the next round of rain arrives for later in the weekend into the following week with average highs in the mid to upper 40s.

Whew! A normal pattern is finally going to occur this winter? Unbelieveable! 🙂

Be safe!

P.S. I’ll really try to get a video prepared for tomorrow. The past two weeks have been full of finals and senior projects, so videos have been harder to film lately.

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather


We’re Not Out of the Woods JUST Yet…


That’s another famous weatherman term: “We’re not out of the woods just yet, folks!”

Alas, snow is still in the forecast as the models are trying to piece together what is going to happen for the next few days as the cold air hangs around.

This evening will feature clouds and flurries, but skies should clear overnight dropping low temperatures well into the 20s—maybe even teens, so please be careful as you travel tomorrow morning!!

Tomorrow looks quite pleasant with mostly sunny skies after some patchy morning fog. Highs will still be quite cold, staying in the 30s.

The next wrinkle in the forecast comes Tuesday as some precipitation moves into the area. Because of the cold air already in place, we could be talking about the precipitation initially beginning as snow in some areas around the peninsula. Look at the image on your right and you’ll see a rather large “snow shadow”, thanks to the Olympic Mountains. This will shadow certain areas of the Kitsap Peninsula, mainly the northern portions (ie, Kingston, Poulsbo) while the farther south you go, the more snow appears. Warmer, southerly air viciously kicks out the cold air in time to prevent any substantial accumulations, however, so rain will likely ruin any hopes of prolonged periods of sledding. Timing of this moisture is still uncertain, but if my fellow high school students say their prayers Monday night, there may be some delays/cancellations to talk about. 😉 Again, just to recap, the northern/eastern portions of the peninsula look largely shadowed from this event while the southern/western areas could score. Stay tuned.

The rest of the forecast looks largely the same as yesterday…periods of rain…clouds…sunbreaks…and highs in the low to mid 40s. Dare I say this looks like a normal pattern? (At least for the next 7 days or so)

Long range models are still showing an eventful February for us, so stay tuned as always!

Have a good evening and a good rest of the week ahead!

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather


Weekly Entertainment: Mister Rogers Talks About Football


The weather models underestimated how much moisture we would have to work with and most areas around the Kitsap Peninsula saw a bit of snow. However, it didn’t add up to much more than a dusting. Travel is still running smoothly around the area, as expected, but take it slow anyway as the temperature as of 11:43 AM is still at 32º. It’s going to be a chilly day!

Here is your Weekly Entertainment video! This past November, the Central Kitsap Cougar football team played Rogers High School in order to make it to the semi-finals at the Tacoma Dome. I asked myself, “How can I make this weather forecast interesting for the football players and the rest of the student body?”

Luckily, Rogers High School had a name that was easy to work with, and I created a “Mister Rogers” episode about football. Enjoy!

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather