Monthly Archives: August 2009

NOAA’s Official ‘Record Warm Sea Temperature Report’ Likely Not a Record After All

Nothing is set in stone regarding this new find, but it’s looking likely NOAA used incorrect data in their July Sea Surface Temperature Report claiming July’s temperatures were the warmest on record. The original news release from the NOAA  can be read here

The report claiming NOAA’s report is false can be read here (it’s pretty technical!). NOAA still hasn’t put out a statement regarding this find by Dr. Roy Spencer. If they do, I’ll be sure to do a follow-up story on it. 

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at:



Eerie Photos of SoCal Fires

I know this isn’t related to Kitsap County, but I just had to share some chilling photos taken of wildfires spreading through portions of Southern California, more specifically the LA, Pasadena and Thousand Oaks areas. I don’t know who to give credit to concerning the pictures because I found them on a weather forum (click on the photos for a bigger picture):








Read the AP article about the threatening fires here

The huge billow of clouds you see in these pictures are called: “pyrocumulus” clouds, cumulus clouds caused by fire.

They really need a nice dumping of rain!!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Long Range Forecast through Labor Day Weekend

Time for a blog post about the long range! I’ve been following quite a few weather trends over the past several days and while models are still waffling on all the major details, it appears there’s at least some sort of consensus on where we’re headed. First let’s take a look at what the CPC (Climate Prediction Center) has to say about the next 6-10 days temp and precip wise:



So it appears we are headed towards a more fall-like weather pattern with temps in the 80s pretty much non-exsistent until further notice and an increased chance of rain, clouds and highs in the 60s. This is not exactly good news for a couple reasons:

  • Labor Day Weekend, while not a washout by any means, looks cool and damp, making BBQ’s a bit less desirable this year
  • Fall color doesn’t thrive in wet conditions. This is the reason why we had such a brilliant fall coloring last year. September and October of last year were much drier than normal (despite an early October mini-windstorm) with cool temperatures. This helped the tree colors progress brilliantly.

But then again, school is starting up soon, and the cool and wet weather couldn’t come at a better time. Nothing’s worse than sitting in a classroom with sunshine and highs in the 80s outside!

So here’s the long range forecast from September 6th through the 10th:


For the shorter term, we have some stubborn low clouds hanging around and they’ll likely stick around through the day. Tomorrow will start equally as gloomy, but the sun should break through enough to boost temperatures into the mid and upper 70s.

Seasonably warm weather continues Monday until the clouds and cooler temperatures slowly start to move in, overtaking the area by mid-late week next week.

Hope you have a fantastic day!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at:



Weather Warfare: The Chemtrail Conspiracy Theory


Sounds like a cool title to some Michael Bay film, doesn’t it? But then again, Michael Bay probably wouldn’t direct this film as it isn’t so much action packed as it is suspenseful. So maybe the late Alfred Hitchcock?

Anyway, a fellow blog reader mentioned this subject to me and I found it intriguing enough to post about, though the whole “Chemtrail” topic is one big bizzare and absurd mystery. What is a “chemtrail”? I’m delighted you asked.

I had to do a little looking up myself and found out that chemtrails are dangerous toxins/chemicals sprayed from jets and planes from high altitudes—and the government is “doing it deliberately”. Let me get this straight…the government is commanding jets and planes to fly over major cities and spray deadly toxins in the air so they can pollute the atmosphere thus REALLY adding fuel to the global warming fire, creating even MORE hysteria and eventually putting an end to the human race?! Pretty intense! But is it true?

That, my friends, is going to have to be up to you to decide. Below are a number of websites that describe the “Chemtrail Conspiracy Theory” from many different angles. But before you look at the list, you may be wondering what this has to do with weather.

Supposedly the government has been timing these “sprays” just right, hitting most frequently on clear, breezy days so that the chemicals can have the best chance of spreading fast and affecting the most people. The spraying would prove pretty ineffective on a rainy, cloudy day. Bizzare stuff? Absolutely!

Stolen Skies: The Chemtrail Conspiracy

Chemtrails, an Introduction

Chemtrail conspiracy theory

Chemtrails Debunked

Within these refrences there are also several others, so you should have PLENTY of things to look at and study up on if this subject interests you. It’s certainly an odd weather story, but boy would it make a good suspense movie!

Do you have any subjects you’d like to see discussed in this blog? E-mail your thoughts to me at:

It’s Friday, so there’s no excuse not to have a great day. Stay tuned to tomorrow’s post as I’ll be taking an inside look into the 1st half of September in my long range forecast.

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap



Pacific Ocean Says: “Buckle Up, Kitsap!”

PART II: Why Kitsap May See Colder Winters Ahead

…and Why Kitsap May Not.


This is a pretty typical forecast: it may be cold this winter, and it may not. Either way, I’m right! (And wrong!)

But seriously, there are some clues that hint at a very interesting fall and winter season around here. Personally, I’m not seeing an exlusively “cold” winter per se, but I believe there will be moments this winter that will impress even the biggest of weather enthusiasts.

Today I’d like to talk a little bit about the PDO, or the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. “The Pacific Deca-whaaa??” It’s OK…I can’t even say it right. But the PDO plays a big part in our weather around here, especially in the wintertime. The definition of the PDO is, put in my own words, an El Nino-like pattern that changes in variability every 20-30 years in the North Pacific Ocean. Don’t confuse the word “El Nino-like” with “being exclusively like El Nino”. You know how we go from La Nina to El Nino and vice versa every few years? The PDO works like that. It goes through warm and cool phases, except it is centered in the North Pacific (see image at the top of this post) and affects us directly.

“So why should I care?” Well you should care! The bolded 4 words above tell you why. Now let me show you a graph from 1900-2007 that displays the PDO trends:


Look closely at the above graph. I know it’s a bit blurry, but you should be able to make out the general trend. Notice from about 1945 to 1979 or so the big jagged period of prologned blue blobs. That signifies a roughly 30 year period of a negative phase of the PDO. During that time, the Northwest experienced some of the harshest, snowiest and coldest winters on record. We can use 1950 and 1968 as examples.

Then from about 1980 to about 2004 we entered a strong positive phase of the PDO. This resulted in warmer winters, some of which were VERY warm. Take 1998 for example or 2002. While the rest of the country may have been cold during these years, we were “baking”.

Now here’s my point: look at roughly 2005-2008 on the graph. Notice something a little eerie? The 2008 PDO, which is when this graph cut off, was the lowest since about 1950, and current trends continue the negative, or -PDO, reading. Now, from the 1945-1979 period there were definite “warm” episodes mixed in between the cold phase, but these warm anaomlies were not severe or nearly strong enough to blast the -PDO out of the water (pun!)

This is why I feel the Pacific Northwest may be in for some pretty rough, cold and stormy winters ahead. Weather does indeed happen in cycles, and it appears it is restarting a cycle from 60 years ago. If that’s true, we could experience active winters until the 2030s. Right now this is pretty much speculation, but I’m just sayin’, as the good Eagle Scout I am: Be Prepared!

BUT, we must remember, this year is an El Nino year and while 2006 and 1968 were both FANTASTIC winters despite the El Nino, we are certainly due for a warmer than normal winter. We’ll shall see!

Any thoughts on this subject? I know for a fact there are several people out there that know more about the PDO than I do. So speak up! 🙂

Have a fantastic day,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at

Puget Sound Missing Out on Global Warming?

PART 1: The Puget Sound Has Been Missing Out on Global Warming?

I know, I know, I know. This is a HIGHLY controversial post 😉

Before Professor Cliff Mass tears into my flesh because of the above blog title, hear me out because what I’m about to share with you is very interesting. You can take the information I share and do whatever you want with it, but here’s my interpretation. Below is just half of the whole story, so stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2.

Mr. Steve VanWyk, Olympic College Physics Instructor, e-mailed me a few weeks ago about a perplexing temperature trend in the Puget Sound. Here’s a snip-it of his letter to me:

 “Recently I asked the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the U of Washingon about temperature trends in the Puget Sound area. They said there had been no warming over the last 25 years at Sea-Tac, Olympia or Bellingham. They also mentioned that 2008 had the coldest annual temperature in the Puget Sound within the past 20 years.”

When I read this, a part of me wasn’t too surprised, especially about the last statement: 2008 was a very cold year. But the other part of me was in question, especially since the 90s were largely “blowtorch winters” (as weather junkies call it) or warm winters with very little snow. I’d like to see their data…

A couple days later, Mr. VanWyk e-mailed me again and said that Bob Abel, Meteorology professor at OC, made a Kitsap Temperature Graph Plot which ran from 1950 to 2007 in the Kitsap Sun on August 10th, 2008. Mr. VanWyk made a similar graph from January 1960 to July 31st, 2009 highlighting the yearly average temperature at Bremerton National Airport. Here are his results (click on photo to enlarge):


Mr. VanWyk ran this by both Bob Abel and the Weather Department at the UW and they found thatwhile there has definitley been warming in Kitsap (specifically) over the past 50 or so years, the recent plunge in annual temperatures from 2005-2008 has forced the 50 year mean to neutral, if not slightly cooler. Why are we cooling all of a sudden? And so rapidly? The answers will be in tomorrow’s post, I’m afraid. But I’ll give you a hint: PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation). Believe me, the name may sound boring, but the study of the PDO is fascinating!

For now, just mentally chew on the information above. Please remember, this in no way debunks global warming, because as we all know, land and ocean temperatures are measured on a global scale, not regional. But still…interesting stuff! I’d like to thank Mr. VanWyk for putting so much time into getting this information to us.

Whew! A lot of brain candy, huh? I’ll make the 7 day brief: very warm tomorrow with highs in the mid 80s, but cooler with clouds and showers Friday and Saturday before a seasonable pattern takes hold for the rest of next week.

I need to go take a nap… 😉

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? Contact me at



Old Farmers Almanac 2009-2010 Winter Outlook


I know many of you have been waiting for this. Something about fall and winter predictions excites everyone, and even though it is late August and it seems too early to be talking about winter, this is typically the time when predictions are made. So let’s cut right to the chase. Here’s a snip-it from the Winter 2009-2010 map. I just included the northwest. You’ll have to buy the almanac to see the rest of the nation as well as the Summer 2010 prediction ;)):


Hmmmm…”Cool, snowy” huh? And look at how that huge snowflake is sitting right on top of Kitsap! Could we possibly have 4 cold, wet and snowy winters in a row? Later this week I’ll explain why this is certainly possible and why I believe we are entering a colder weather regime that will result in harsher winters to come. But for now, let’s pick out a few highlights from the Almanac itself. Again, I can’t be too specific because the publishers will likely have me by the throat, but I wanted to comment on just a few things I saw in the specific forecast for the PNW:

  • First of all, they mention that overall temperatures and precip will be near average, but snowfall will be above average. This is GREAT news for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
  • November and December look cooler than normal with a particularly chilly December. In fact, for December, the almanac is predicting flooding, “very cold temperatures” and, get this, a “snowstorm” midmonth. I’ve noticed they are typically a week or two early with these predictions, so if this is the case, maybe another white Christmas?
  • The second half of winter looks quite mild with below normal precip, though storms and snow are still predictied in early January and mid February.

So in conclusion, a very cool and stormy late fall/early winter followed by a much calmer finish to the winter season. Kind of like what we just went through this past winter, except stormier.

Now, there are three different almanacs you can buy at Barnes and Noble: The Old Farmers 2010 Almanac (the original), The Farmers Almanac 2010 (a new, hip version with a completely different layout) and The Farmers 2010 Almanac. This all may seem confusing if you haven’t skimmed through all three, but I buy all of them every year. I have found that each almanac contains a  few valuable nuggets and when you put their predictions all together, you get a very accurate forecast.

Each almanac is about $5-$6, so it is very affordable and an entertaining read, especially if you’re into astronomy/astrology/astrometeorology.

Have a great day!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? Want a personalized forecast?  E-mail me at



Early Signs of Fall in Kitsap!

I’m back from Provo, Utah and ready to blog again! When we returned, I couldn’t help but notice some rapid tree coloration already occuring across the area. My neighborhood is no exception:





There’s some weather folklore that say early signs of fall preceed a harsh winter. To comment just briefly on that, the first year I really noticed early fall colorations in the area was late in the summer of 2006, the same summer where we had a rather impressive July heatwave (sound familiar?). That winter featured arctic air, snow and flooding. 2007 had some early coloration, but not as early, occuring moreso around mid September. That winter was not as harsh as ’06-’07, but still plenty cold and wet. 2008 featured another episode of coloring in August. What followed was the coldest and snowiest December in the past 20 years.

Maybe there might be some truth to that folklore because these things stem from some form of truth, but I guess we’ll have to see what happens. Speaking of fall/winter, I mentioned last week that I had picked up the 2010 Old Farmers Almanac from a Provo bookstore and I would like to make some commentary on what I read tomorrow. Pretty interesting stuff if I do say so myself!

As for this week, we’ll have a nice mix of cool, seasonable and warm weather. After a pretty cool day today, tomorrow looks seasonable with partly to mostly sunny skies and highs in the mid 70s. Cooler weather arrives for Tuesday with even a few showers possible, but the sun returns for Wednesday through the rest of the week into the weekend. Highs during this period could even nudge (or break) 80 degrees.

And here’s what we have planned for this week as far as blog posts go: an inside look at the Old Farmers Almanac and what predictions it has in store for this winter, evidence that the winters in Kitsap are getting colder and are reaching the lowest levels we’ve seen since the 1940s, the definition of the “Chemtrail Conspiracy”, and a peek ahead into the long range so we can prepare for either more summer-like weather or a downhill trend to more fall-like weather.

We have a busy week planned! Have a great day,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Have any cool early fall photos? E-mail them to me @



Checking My Long Range Forecast Accuracy, Post III

Hope all of you back home are enjoying the warm weather! This feels like nothing compared to what we melted through last month, right? 😉 Here in Provo, UT, highs have been in the 90s but the heat is so dry and the buildings are so cold because of the AC that it really doesn’t feel that bad at all.

Now that I have an extra minute, I thought I should talk about the accuracy concerning the last long range prediction I made back on August 3rd which highlighted the possiblility of returning to a cooler and wetter weather regime by mid August. Sure enough, that ended up happening, but let’s see if the details were accurate. Here’s the long range forecast map I made on August 3rd:


Let’s break it down (numbers from data recorded at the Bremerton National Airport):

  • Tuesday, August 11th, 2009: Overcast, Rain 69/57. My Forecast: Overcast, Rain 67 degrees. I’d say this forecast held together surprisingly well considering before the 11th we hadn’t had measurable precip for a at least a month. I’m impressed the models held together and offered up rain as forecasted! I’ll give this one an A, even if I was a couple degrees off the high temperature.
  • Wednesday, August 12th, 2009: Mostly Cloudy, 73/57. My Forecast: Partly Sunny, 75 degrees. The sun didn’t peak out as much as predicted, though I definitley remember more sun this day than the day previous. I suppose the models hit on the head that we would have a better day Wednesday compared to Tuesday, but it just wasn’t precise. Still, I’ll give this forecast an A-.
  • Thursday, August 13th, 2009: Cloudy, Rain 62/53. My Forecast: Cloudy, Rain 68 degrees. The cloud/precip forecast was spot on, but the temperatures were several degrees cooler than predicted. I’ll say a B+ for this one since cloud/precip forecasts are typically the most valuable part of a forecast.
  • Friday, August 4th, 2009: Mostly Cloudy, Rain, 64/48. My Forecast: Mostly Cloudy, 65 degrees. This forecast could have been spot on if only I included some rain. I’ll have to dock some points! 🙂 Overall, though, the forecast was pretty darn accurate. I’ll give myself a B+
  • Saturday, August 15th, 2009: Partly Sunny, 64/48. My Forecast: Partly Sunny, 75. This was the day I left for Provo. Kind of odd the temperature was the exact same as the day before, but it happens. The cloud type was accurate, but the temperatures were 11 degrees off! So…I’ll say C+/B-, depending on what you felt was the most important in the forecast.

Overall, I’d say this long range prediction was a B+/A- job. The models definitley handled themselves well. Have I converted any non-believers of long range forecasting? 😉

I have to take off now. Have a fantastic day! Boy do I have some cool weather news to share later this week. I picked up a 2010 Old Farmers Almanac at the bookstore and it’s painting quite an interesting picture for this winter here. More info soon…

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions or Comments? Email me @:



“Forecasting Kitsap” Blog Update

I know all of you have been gravely concerned about the lack of updates on this blog, but don’t worry, I’m in Utah this week with family (actually, in some instances this can be a source of worry 😉 ) Plus, we only have 227 squares of toilet paper so this is going to be interesting!

Anyway, the posts this week will be pretty simple as I won’t have as much time on my hands as I usually do. But that doesn’t mean you should completely ignore this blog for a whole week! We have a mini-heatwave coming up, a dramatic cool down on the way this weekend and snow possible next week (just kidding…wanted to make sure you’re still paying attention).

So while the weather news will be a little slow this week, next week we’ll have a lot of coverage to talk about like the Farmers Almanac winter predictions for the Northwest and some interesting thoughts on historical weather trends for Kitsap that are leading some meteorologists across the Northwest to the conclusion that we could be experiencing some colder winters in the next few years. You don’t wanna miss it!

Well, I should probably go take a nap now. I bet when I wake up and look and what I just wrote, I’ll be mortified. But that’s the fun of a road trip, right?

Have a great Sunday!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions or Comments? Email me @: