Darn You, Fog!

Winter ridges in the Pacific Northwest usually spell one major problem: fog, and it isn’t hard to spell at all. Depending on how moist it gets before the ridge, the fog can last for a few hours in the early morning or all day for several days.

Well…the next several days will be quite challenging as far as timing how long the morning fog could last and what it means as far as temperatures are concerned. Right now, I have taken averages of two extremes for this week: sunny skies with highs in the mid 50s vs. foggy, cloudy skies with highs in the upper 30s. I truly think we’ll see a split between the two with morning fog/clouds eventually breaking away to partial clearing. I don’t think we’ll see flat out sunshine until late this week, but to be safe I’m still keeping the clouds in the forecast.

I actually find it funny that people in the community really do care about the temperature forecast each day. I mean, it really doesn’t sound like a big deal. Most people just want to know if it’ll rain or not. My sophomore year was the first year I started forecasting for CK High School and I put very little time in my temperature forecast because I thought no one cared. That actually ended up being a big mistake, as I would constantly get comments on how the temperatures were off–even if it was only two degrees. No joke.

So…I am really having a tough time with the temperature forecast, but I think going with partial clearing each day sounds good, as we should have enough mixing taking place to allow it. But note that the winter sun is not as strong and isn’t as efficient in burning away fog as a summer sun is.

One day of growing concern (well, not really “concern” unless you are really analytical with temperatures) is Tuesday, as some models have it being in the mid-upper 30s under fog and clouds. That’s what we weather geeks call “fake cold” and this may be one of those days. Stay tuned…

As far as the rest of the week goes, we should eventually burn away most of the fog during the day to call it partly sunny with highs in the upper 40s and lower 50s. Mid and upper 50s is looking unlikely at this point, but I think we’ll take what we can get in January!

And, to add more gasoline to the fire (a very bad segue into this next subject now that I think about it…) there will be some pollution problems this next week due to the murky, foggy days ahead. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some “Air Stagnation Advisories” issued this week by the NOAA as well as some burn bans. It’s going to be a yucky situation for sure. Let’s just hope we mix out!

Some of you have been asking me when the ridge is expected to break down (I’m kind of the same way…I can hardly enjoy something good because I’m always concerned about when it’ll leave!) and peeking at long range models, it appears our next chance of rain doesn’t come into the picture until a week and a half from now, and even then precip amounts won’t be significant, and after that encounter with rain, the ridge rebuilds.

Now, don’t dwell on the future and enjoy the present! 🙂

Take care,

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather

P.S. I forgot to mention that the mountains could get quite mild with this weather pattern due to some substantial warming aloft and the higher elevations will not be socked in the clouds and muck each day and will get into the sun sooner. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few mountain areas warmer than the lowlands some days this week!


6 thoughts on “Darn You, Fog!

  1. The 12zWRF really backed off on the cold for tomorrow. It was saying highs in the upper 30’s but the 12z says highs in the mid 40’s. I think your forecast is the way to go with the uncertainty.

    The thing I cannot figure out is why the WRF does not have us getting cold at night. If it were perfect, LOWS Wednesday morning would be in the low 40’s! I cannot see that happening, but it is strange.I think lows will be in the low-mid 30’s mostly with some upper 20’s maybe in the low lying areas.

    I think highs in the upper 40’s will be the main story later in the week although there seem to always be some stubborn fog in some low lying areas that keeps them considerably cooler in these situations.

  2. Yup, I checked the 12zWRF this morning and noticed that. I knew it would change its mind, so I have chosen to stick with the mid-upper 40s theme for tomorrow. I feel it’s going to be tough to have a flat-out sunny day this week. Maybe this weekend when the east wind kicks up…

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