Daily Archives: January 20, 2009

Uh-Oh…Look Who’s Coming to Visit the Forecast Again…


Among other things, I was hoping “change” would be in store for our weather today. Unfortunately, this was not the case and we were stuck in the clouds and fog. That helped temperatures stay in the 30s today with a high of 38º recorded at the Emerald Heights Elementary weather station in Silverdale. Can you believe that just two days ago we reached 60º? It wouldn’t surprise me to see a rise in sicknesses around the area due to the fluctuating temperatures.

And, to pour more salt on the wound, a stage 2 burn ban is in effect for Kitsap County. There is a link at the top of the page for more information.

Tomorrow and Thursday will continue the theme of low clouds and fog hanging around through most of the day. Again, it’ll be a lottery the next couple days as to who gets the most sunshine. As of now, it’s pretty difficult to say. One thing is for sure—it’ll be chilly. Lows both nights will be in the upper 20s to lower 30s with highs mainly in the 30s with 40s in areas that break out in the sunshine. (I am SO ready for this pattern to be over!)

Friday is also cloudy and cool with highs in the low to mid 40s.

This weekend is still looking to be a chilly one with highs in the upper 30s to lower 40s. Models have been horrendously inconsistent as to whether or not we’ll be dry or wet, but at this current time it looks mostly dry. Overnight on Saturday snow levels will drop to 500′-1000′ so any precip that falls will likely bet in the form of wet snow on the higher Kitsap hills. Right now it doesn’t look incredibly likely, but thought I’d mention the chance! Just watch out because it’ll be slick regardless. Lows will be in the lower 30s. Sunday looks to be colder than Saturday with highs dropping off into the 30s, so it’ll definitely feel like a winter day out there.

Monday continues the theme of mostly cloudy skies and cool temperatures somewhere near 40º, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bit more clearing.

Tuesday and beyond look very interesting according to the latest model guidance. Details are quite sketchy, but if trends continue, some sloppy precip accompanied by some rather chilly temperatures look quite possible. And what better timing! High school finals are next week. Someone has been saying their prayers 😀

Stay warm!

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather

P.S. Due to the Inauguration being broadcast throughout the whole school today, I was unable to get my video forecast filmed. I’ll do it tomorrow!!


Forecasting Kitsap: A White Christmas Forecast Two Weeks Out?!

It’s Tuesday, so that means more tales of adventure regarding forecasting weather in the Kitsap area! As many know, snow in the Northwest is an incredibly complex and often frustrating weather pattern to predict around here. What is even more complex than predicting snow for any given day in the winter? Predicting snow for Christmas.

Historically, Seattle has a 7% chance of at least 1” of snow on the ground on Christmas morning. Bremerton has a slightly higher chance: 10%. With that given information, it should be easily understandable that predicting a white Christmas—even if it’s 5 days out—is a stressful thing.

I’ve mentioned before that I forecast the weather for the Central Kitsap High School broadcasts and I even send my forecasts to Ridgetop Junior High. After the floods occured on December 3rd, 2007, I began to study weather models religiously. Every 6 hours new data rolled in and I was there to greet it…every…step…of…the…way. Yes, it was exhausting, but I was (and still am!) passionate about forecasting weather, especially severe events like flooding, snow, cold, etc.

I began to notice a development in the weather models on Tuesday, December 11th that made my heart skip a little—a cold and snowy Christmas was in the forecast. Yeah, it was quite a ways out there in la la land, but the Friday broadcast was approaching…should I say something? Then, every 6 hours for two more days models advertised cold and snow for Christmas. This was incredible consistency! Finally, the morning of my weather forecast I checked the models one more time. Yup…still calling for snow.

I finally put a rain/snow mix on my long range forecast map for Christmas. But here’s where the public gets sorta funny. Even if there’s a rain/snow mix on the map, most people translate that as several inches of snow. Every time. If a weatherman predicts rain/snow and people get rain/snow, the weatherman is in trouble because it didn’t stick. Funny, but true.

When the word was leaked on Friday, December 14th, 2007 that snow could fall on Christmas, the whole school was in a buzz. I even had students threaten me—in a joking way of course—saying if it didn’t snow on Christmas, they’d be at my door with pitchforks. The rest of the following week was quite intense for me, especially when I checked the models on Monday, December 17th:

The forecast called for a sunny and warm Christmas day: highs in the 50s, even.

My heart sank. Oh great!! My family’s safety was in jeopardy! My safety was in jeopardy! I told myself to calm down as I waited another 6 hours for the models to come around…

Nope. Still warm and dry, though not as warm with highs forecasted to be in the upper 40s. I was still tense as I went through school hoping and praying the models would come around.

Finally, on Wednesday, December 19th the models advertised cold and snow again. This time, Christmas wasn’t in la la land—it was less than a week away!

When model consistency continued through Friday, I included snow in my forecast again: this time, plain snow. No rain. Uh-oh.

Now the stakes were high, and I was afraid I’d land on one of those stakes if the forecast didn’t end up as predicted. Remarkably, the snow forecast remained consistent, and it snowed 3” on Christmas Day. We exceeded the 1” requirement of a White Christmas by 2 full inches! Seattle even got a couple inches.

And, what is more remarkable, is I forecasted a white Christmas this year too. A week ahead of time! And, the models were even more consistent this year than in 2007. Two White Christmas’s in a row? We may have to boost up that 10% chance!

The moral of the story is: even though weather forecasting is a challenging and stressful job, it is very fun and thrilling. Especially when long range forecasts go as planned!!

Well, enjoy the day today. The fog is quite thick around the area, but don’t worry! We’ll clear out…

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather