Forecasting Kitsap

Aspiring weatherman Matthew Leach talks about the complex and intricate weather patterns over Kitsap.
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Archive for March, 2009

POLL: Predicting Old Man Winter’s Retirement

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

81649099JS001_CALIFORNIA_EX

So far this Spring Break I’ve been doing a lot of yard work, but I’m not used to doing it in a heavy coat while shivering and making cool shapes with my breath.

By this time usually Western Washington has seen at least one record high temperature. This year we have seen NONE to date, and looking at the long range we could go a bit longer.

So, let’s have a little fun. On the right hand side there’s a poll where you can submit your answer to the question: “When Will We See Record Warmth?”  Cast your vote! I plan on having some fun with the polls weekly. We’ll see who’s right when we see our first record high of 2009.

We saw a mix of clouds, sun and rain with even a little bit of hail mixed in some locations. Tomorrow will be more on the wet side with plenty of cloud cover, but the air mass will be a little cool to start with so some higher hills around the Kitsap area could see some rain/wet snow in the morning, but it’ll just be cold rain in the later morning through the rest of the day. Highs will be in the mid to upper 40s.

An equal mix of clouds, sun and showers will be the theme for Thursday, but the atmosphere will be quite unstable so we could have a little more hail to deal with. Highs will be close to 50º.

A ridge sets up shop Friday diminishing the showers and clearing the skies. In fact, Saturday looks partly to mostly sunny. Let’s hope that doesn’t change…I have a bad feeling it will. Sunday will be more on the cloudy side but it’ll be dry and temperatures will be milder than they have been in the low to mid 50s, which is closer to normal.

Beyond Sunday we do the whole clouds, sun and showers thing over again.

For those having a hard time deciding when we will see record warmth, last year we saw a record tie of 77º on April 12th. So far we’ve been following in the footsteps of spring 2008 so maybe April will be the month? We’ll find out soon enough :)

Have a great evening!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

7 DAY FORECAST

70


Maybe Not As Cold As We Thought?

Monday, March 30th, 2009


 

We’ve seen a lot of abnormal cold this winter season, but in the grand scheme of things was it really THAT cold or are we just too darn sensitive? The NOAA has released the winter 2008-2009 temperature anomalies map which covers December-February.

post-34-1238356390

Looking at the colored legend below the US map, there was a clear dichotomy this winter between the north and south. But if you look closely at the little Kitsap Peninsula on the above map, you can make out a -1.0 to -1.5 temperature departure from normal. That’s actually pretty cold, but after going through a few arctic blasts this past season even I was fooled into thinking we were even colder than that.

I’m sure no one is complaining that we weren’t colder than the map shows, but for those who haven’t had enough of the cool weather, Mother Nature is all on top of it.

Today was a mostly cloudy day, and for those who are saying: “Hey, but I saw some sunbreaks this afternoon!” click here for my definition of what makes a partly sunny day and mostly cloudy day. Tomorrow will be partly sunny after some morning rain. The Olympic Rain Shadow will be our friend again and shield us from most of the precipitation. Highs will be near 50º—about 5 degrees below normal.

Wednesday will be a pretty wet, cold, and cloudy day with highs in the mid to upper 40s. But fear not! The sun returns Thursday afternoon through most of the weekend before rain showers move back in Sunday evening.

How are the mountains doing? Lovely. A lot of snow is on the menu right now with a Winter Storm Warning posted for the North Central Cascades. Lesser amounts are expected over the Olympics.

Have a great evening!

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather

7 DAY FORECAST

69


Weekly Entertainment: What Weather Anchors Do During Commercial Breaks

Sunday, March 29th, 2009


 

This video shows weather anchor Scott Elnes, former weather intern at KOMO 4 News, dancing to the Iditarod music during a commercial break at Channel 2 News in Alaska. Sometimes that news music is really catchy!

We all know the weather is going to be cold in Alaska for the next 7 days,  but what about in Western Washington? Very similar, though there will be plenty of breaks to keep folks happy around here.

Today was beautiful, but you probably notice the clouds rolling in. Don’t worry, for the most part tomorrow will just be a cloudy and cool day with rain moving in by the late afternoon/early evening. The reason why we’re getting rain so late is because of the Olympic Rainshadow, which has been our friend several times this winter.  Highs will be in the 40s.

Tuesday morning will be wet but we should see some clearing in the afternoon. Highs will be in the upper 40s to lower 50s.

Wednesday we see more wet weather that continues into Thursday, but by Friday into next weekend there are hints of a pattern change for the drier. I’m not willing to go “mostly sunny” yet, but I think I’ll knock off the raindrops for next weekend. Highs will also gradually warm into the low to mid 50s which is closer to normal, but still below.

Have a fantastic Spring Break!

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather

7 DAY FORECAST

68


The Global Warming Controversy Continues…

Saturday, March 28th, 2009


 

global_warming

“It’s been so cold lately! Global warming is false!”

Global warming is certainly a controversial subject, and usually the most heated debates (no pun intended) concerning our planet’s changing climate occur during a cold snap whether it be the one we had in December or the current one we’re in this month. Some even denounced global warming after our slightly cooler and wetter than normal summer. But is it fair disregard the possibility of global warming because of a few anomalies?

There are valid points to both sides of the issue. Whether the globe is warming rapidly or merely going through a climate “shift”, a meteorological transition is occurring. Granted there will be lulls in the weather from time to time during a shift in the climate, global warming doesn’t mean just warm temperatures. It also means a  gradual rise in extreme weather events: deadly tornadoes/hailstorms in the Midwest (check), devastating hurricanes in the south (check), crippling ice storms in the northeast (check), flooding in the north and Midwest (check), droughts/fires in the west (check)…the list goes on.

It’s actually pretty amazing to look at the extreme weather events that have occurred in the Northwest from 2006-2009. We’ve had our fair share of severe weather: heavy rains/floods (November 2006/December 2007), wind (December 2006), cold/snow (November 2006, January 2007, December 2008) and late season cold/snow (March/April 2008/2009).

Aside from our string of severe weather, it is important to realize Kitsap is not the center of the universe. Yes, it has been devilishly cold here this past winter, but that does not mean it’s been this cold everywhere. On a global scale, scientists will tell you the earth is warming ever so slightly. Some will even tell you it is warming at an alarming, life-threatening rate.

Conversely, in the Old Farmers 2008 Almanac, there is an article about global cooling and some very valid points are made. Also, Christopher Booker of Telegraph.co.uk wrote a very interesting article titled: “2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved”. Click here to read about it. It’s a long read, but full of good information. Whether we’re cooling or warming, the earth is going through a serious makeover, one that will keep meteorologists on their toes for the next several decades.

If you would like to read a more detailed description of why we shouldn’t take a short period of colder than average weather and call it the end of global warming, read this blog entry from meteorologist Scott Sistek, KOMO 4 Weather Producer and good friend. He’s the guy who got me into all this weather stuff! :)

What are your thoughts? I’m interested to hear what my fellow Kitsapers feel about this issue.

Have a great weekend,

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather

7 DAY FORECAST

671


Long Range Thoughts: Skiers Delight!

Friday, March 27th, 2009


 

stevenspass-march-27

No doubt the current pattern we are in is highly favorable for mountain snow. I suppose that’s the tradeoff we get for the cold weather down here. So how cold has it been this month? Well, I said I was going to give you cold weather stats today, but I decided to wait until April 1st (no, not because I want to fool all of you) because by then I’ll have all of March’s weather information handy.

In the meantime, we have some more cool/wet weather to talk about. Tonight will be cloudy with rain moving in early Saturday morning. Now here’s the trick: those along the Hood Canal and western Kitsap Peninsula may not start off as rain, but rather light snow as this system moves in. Why? Because originally the system was supposed to spin north preventing any cold air to filter down into our region. At the last minute this storm is spinning south, drawing in colder air with it and the chance for some snow.

How much are we talkin’? Not a whole lot…maybe a trace to an inch with perhaps more accumulation directly along the canal. This is not a sure thing, mind you, as temperatures will be QUITE marginal in the low to mid 30s. Just something to watch out for…

Remember yesterday when I joked around about lowland snow during spring break? Well, I shouldn’t have done that!

The rest of your Saturday will be mostly cloudy with rain showers off and on. Highs will be in the 40s.

Sunday will be nicer with partial sunshine and showers and then the off and on switch is flipped several times next week with Monday, Wednesday and Friday looking somewhat wet, breezy and cloudy, saving the nicer “showers and sunbreaks” days for Tuesday and Thursday. Highs will be near 50º, but that’s still several degrees below normal.

Now for the long range. **READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED**

Yet you decided to read along anyway :)

The unseasonably cold, wet weather looks to continue into the first week or so of April, delivering more mountain snow and cold lowland rain, though the latest model runs are so chilly we may not be done with snow chances yet. I know this is hard to believe, but before you think April snow is impossible, remember last year? It snowed in late April.

Is it just me or have the winters here been much colder than normal for the past few years? I don’t remember seeing as much snow from 2000-2005 as I have in 2006-2009. Anyway, just be prepared for very unspringlike weather for the next little while. I know what a lot of you are thinking:

“We better make up for this in the summer!” That is, if we ever get there :)

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather

7 DAY FORECAST

66


Who Needs Spring?

Thursday, March 26th, 2009


 

From Western WX Forums, User tt-sea

"Battle Between Winter and Spring" From Western Wx Forums, User tt-sea

I was at my foreign exchange student’s soccer game this afternoon at Olympic High School (his name is John, and you can read more about him and his country here) and I heard someone behind me say:

“Man, it’s cold out here! I think we’re just going straight from winter to summer. Mother Nature seems to have skipped spring!”

And you know what? I was thinking the very same thing. This winter has been cold, but so far the month of March has been MUCH colder than normal. Tomorrow I’ll post some stats, but my oh my has it been a bitter month. And it seems winter-like weather will continue through Spring Break, so if you have any plans for Hawaii, California, or Florida you sure won’t be missing out on the weather here!

As you have no doubt noticed, the clouds are and have been increasing and will stick around through the night. Tomorrow will feature a thin layer of clouds with filtered sunshine and showers. It will be similar to today just a little more moist. Highs will be in the low to mid 50s which is closer to normal for this time of year.

Saturday will feature more of a cloud bias with rain showers plaguing the area. Sunday will be similar, though I expect to see more in the way of sunbreaks. Highs throughout the weekend will be several degrees colder than normal which is good news for the mountains. Another late ski season is on tap! :)

I know a lot of you are trying to plan events for Spring Break, so let me break it down for you in terms of the best days to do activities outdoors. Just be warned, the models have been dealing with specifics very poorly, so take that into account:

Monday, March 30th–Could be better. Stay indoors today

Tuesday, March 31st–Generally a dry day, though a stray shower is not of out the question. This day has consistently been the nicer of the bunch, so I say go for it!

Wednesday, April 1st–No fooling around here, it’ll be a wet one. Stay indoors!

Thursday, April 2nd–Again, could be better but it should be mostly dry with perhaps a few sunbreaks. I say plan for this day to be a good one weather-wise, but check back!

Friday, April 3rd–Peeking ahead at the long range, this looks like a wet day.

Well, there you have it. Only a couple days next week have my Seal of Approval. Other than that, it looks like another chilly, wet Spring Break in Washington State!

But then again, it could be worse. Imagine if we saw lowland snow next week! Uh-oh…here comes the hate mail. :)

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather

7 DAY FORECAST

65


VIDEO FORECAST: Weather Folk Don’t Golf

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Here’s another parody of me “trying out” for a spring sport at Central Kitsap High School. You may remember last week I attempted track but didn’t do so well so this week I am trying golf. In reality I’m not a horrible runner, but I am a horrible golfer. Enjoy!

Whew, glad we got that out of the way :) Ignore the weather forecast I give at the end as this video is a couple weeks old. Don’t worry, we don’t have a Pineapple Express headed our way.

So let’s discuss exactly what is heading our way. As pessimistically expected, our “sunbreaks and showers” forecast has turned into “cloudy, breezy, and wet” forecast as several disturbances are pegged to hit our region.

The mountains are going to get pounded with 1-2 feet of snow between this evening and tomorrow afternoon, so travel over the passes will be quite hectic, but the good news is snow levels will remain high enough to keep us in the lowlands just rainy and breezy.

Thursday looks like the only completely dry day with partly sunny skies and highs in the low 50s.

A series of storm systems move through our region from Friday through early next week, but the good (or maybe bad) news is these systems will be quite chilly and wet meaning PLENTY of mountain snow. However in the lowlands, highs look to range in the mid to upper 40s with lows in the mid 30s under cloudy, soggy skies. If models remain consistent with this forecast we could be in for quite the gloomy pattern.

And wouldn’t you know it, the long range models advertise even more cool, wet weather into April, meaning maybe Western Washington won’t exactly be the “happenin’ place” during Spring Break :)

Have a great evening! I have to go to a soccer game in Tacoma now…

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather

7 DAY FORECAST

64


No Snow Today Despite the News

Monday, March 23rd, 2009


 

As expected, my classmates were quite disappointed that it didn’t snow today. I told them all I expected was a rain/snow mix, but they were insistent I called for several inches today. Hmmm…this looks like another case of the public believing what they want to believe! :)

So at 6 AM this morning the temperature was at 33.6º—cold enough to snow. However, the clouds broke up enough, the temperatures warmed fast enough, the precipitation came late enough, and the rainfall was light enough to prevent any snow today. Other than my peers, I didn’t hear any complaints about no snow today. I was a bit disappointed though. I love the snow!

But, we aren’t exactly done with the snow threat. A convergence zone Tuesday night into Wednesday could drop a bit of snowfall to the area, but at this time it appears the main victims will be those living between north King county and south Snohomish county. Kitsap could walk away unscathed…the key word is “could” though.

Models have been waffling with the details past Wednesday, however the overall trend is to dry out but remain rather cool until next weekend when we introduce the chance for more rain and clouds. Highs will be  agood 5-7 degrees below normal during this period.

How does Spring Break look weather-wise? Meh…not too good…mainly wet, cool and cloudy. But, again, consistency has not been seen on the models yet so that could change!

Have a fanatstic evening!

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather

7 DAY FORECAST

631


Update on Tomorrow’s Possible Snow…

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009


 

WHAT?! MORE SNOW?!

As soon as my fellow classmates saw my forecast for snow a couple days ago they asked if we would have school cancellations or delays. What an intense position to be put in!

If I say yes to a delay or cancellation before the event happens then they get their hopes up and if it doesn’t happen I am considered an enemy or a traitor.

BUT, if I say no to a delay or cancellation before the event happens and I turn out right and we do have school at the normal time I am still considered an enemy or traitor. The only time I win is when I say there will be no school or a delay and I end up being right—and what a victorious feeling that is.

Dang…I get off on a tangent and then I look at the clock and realize I don’t have much time to chatter. Let me fill you in on what the models are saying for tomorrow’s snow possibility.

First of all, the farther we get into March the less likely it is for us to see snow so that’s already strike one for significant snow accumulations tomorrow.

Second, the precipitation pegged for tomorrow is likely to move in late in the morning giving the atmosphere plenty of time to warm up and cause the precip type to be mostly rain…perhaps a rain/snow mix. Strike two.

And third, overnight low temperatures will be marginal at best in the low to mid 30s which is a bit too warm to cause sticking snow on the roadways, but if it lasts long enough and/or starts early enough we could see sticking snow on the sideways/grassy surfaces. Strike three..well, unless you don’t have high expectations.

So where is this snow supposed to fall? Mainly along the Hood Canal, and I mean directly along it. Most of the Kitsap Peninsula will be largely unaffected by this if I am to be 100% loyal to the snow models. Take a look at the map below:

march-23rd-snow

This snowfall map actually looks eerily similar to last weekend’s snow. The models expected snow just for the Hood Canal region yet most of Kitsap saw at least a couple inches. Best thing to do is prepare either way. My best forecast is for rain/snow for most locations later tomorrow morning with possible accumulations directly along the canal.

Snow chances linger into Tuesday and Wednesday morning/night before we moderate and clear out.

OK, I gotta go. It’s a good thing I type extremely fast or there’s no way I’d get this done. But before I go, I have a message for my fellow classmates: unless something really crazy happens tomorrow, we will have school.

Oh yeah, and please…leave the pitchforks at home :)

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather

7 DAY FORECAST

62


What About Bob?

Saturday, March 21st, 2009


 

what_about_bob_1991_685x385

My favorite comedy is “What About Bob”. For those who haven’t seen the movie I think this sums it up perfectly: A successful psychiatrist (Richard Dreyfuss) loses his mind after one of his most dependent patients (Bill Murray), a highly manipulative obsessive-compulsive, tracks him down during his family vacation. (IMDb.com)

In the movie, Bob tracks down the psychiatrist and his family while they are on vacation, but he never leaves. The psychiatrist is constantly shoving Bob out of the house but he keeps on coming back.

Let’s just say the snow haters in Kitsap County are playing the part of the psychiatrist and Snow is playing the part of Bob. Now do you get it?

Indeed, even though the calendar will tell you it is spring, winter may be coming back to visit us…again, even though some people have told it to go away and never come back. Before we get to that we need to discuss the short term first. Lows tonight will be in the upper 30s to lower 40s with rain increasing. Tomorrow will be generally cloudy with periods of rain and highs will be in the upper 40s to lower 50s.

We clear out Sunday night and cool down considerably. Lows will make it near freezing and this, my friends, is what could cause a potential problem Monday morning. Right now precipitation is timed to arrive in the late morning, but if it comes any earlier the Hood Canal region could be plagued with some snow. Exactly how much is still up in the air, but directly along the canal folks could see a couple inches. The farther away you are from the canal the less you are expected to get. Stay tuned to see what happens to the timing of this moisture…

We clear out and mostly dry out for Tuesday before another cool down Tuesday night that could spell some more wet snow for the northern half of Kitsap County in a convergence zone early Wednesday morning. Again, models aren’t painting anything impressive at this time but please be aware of the potential. Highs will be in the mid to upper 40s.

After Wednesday we dry out nicely with highs rebounding into the 50s. Of course there is the potential for a few RAIN showers, but overall we will turn much more springlike.

The long range looks like a continued cool and showery/wet pattern which is good for the mountains. I’m not seeing any signs of significant warmth out there but I suppose you never know. Long range models aren’t 100% yet. I really do think that after Wednesday, our snow chances will be done until at least next November, though

So how did “What About Bob” end? Bob ends up marrying the psychiatrists sister. Uh-oh…does this mean lowland snow until May?? :)

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather

7 DAY FORECAST

61


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