Forecasting Kitsap

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

Could a Tsunami Someday Hit Seattle?

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

470_ap_tsunami2_090929

A main road in the downtown area of Fagatogo, American Samoa is flooded by water on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009. (AP / Fili Sagapolutele)

Three tragic natural disasters have happened within the span of 48 hours. A powerful 7.9 earthquake struck western Indonesia today, triggering landslides and trapping thousands under collapsed buildings. 75 have been confirmed dead, but the death toll is expected to be much higher, according to the AP News Release.

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake struck the South Pacific Islands of Samoa and American Samoa yesterday, killing at least 113 people. Villages and resorts were completely washed away, but even more terror barreled through the islands as the powerful earthquake triggered a series of massive tsunamis reaching anywhere from 10 to 15 feet.

These are truly horrific and tragic events and even though I have a passion for severe weather/storms, I would not want to be face to face with a tsunami and I can’t imagine the terror and sorrow many in these disaster-stricken areas are feeling. But after I heard about these natural disasters, I began to wonder: what if an earthquake struck off the coast of Washington? Could that trigger a tsunami as well?

It’s very possible.

According to a Seattle P.I. post on February 8th, 2005, scientists say “If a magnitude-7.3 earthquake rumbles out of the recently discovered Seattle Fault, Harbor Island would tilt toward the bay and the Duwamish River estuary would drain. But within two minutes the water would ricochet off the north shore of the bay and wash back eastward, flooding three square miles of low-lying areas.”

Not only that, but “a tsunami generated by an earthquake in the Seattle Fault could send up to 16 feet of water roaring ashore, swamping two marinas, inundating the Seattle Aquarium, Ivar’s Acres of Clams, Myrtle Edwards Park and the state ferry dock in what used to be tidelands downtown.”

tsunamiinundation

And it wouldn’t take long to move. “Scientists say the tsunami could move from the west side of the bay to the city waterfront in as little as two minutes”.

And while Seattle hasn’t had such an earthquake-related wave strike the area in over 1,000 years, scientists say it will happen again, despite evidence that a magnitude 7.3 earthquake occurs once in every 2,500 years.

While all this speculation is frightening, it is best to be prepared if such an event were to happen, which is what scientists are and have been studying vigorously ever since the December 2005 tsunami that hit Southern Asia. They have been busy at work drawing up maps and projections which would predict the path of major tsunami’s in order to give residents all along the west coast time to evacuate if necessary. In fact, moments after the tsunami struck the the South Pacific, the National Weather Services in California and Oregon issued “Tsunami Advisories”, keeping the public on their toes just in case something were to happen here in the states.

To read the whole Seattle P.I. article, click here.

I wouldn’t get too worked up about something that dramatic happening, but it sure is comforting there are people out there working hard to warn us ahead of time if it does.

Keep all the disaster-affected families in your prayers! We ought to be thankful for the weather we have here…

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at: forecastingkitsap@live.com

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Beauty of An Alaskan Fall

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

I have never been to Alaska, but I have been to Norway and it was amazing. I imagine Alaska is very similar…at least in climate. Someday I’ll go there and experience the beauty of that area, especially in the fall.

Fellow blog readers and contributors Jason and Colleen Smidt sent me photos of “fall in its full glory” while on vacation in Minto, Alaska and Cook Inlet on the Kenai Peninsula

MINTO, AK

ALASKA

COOK INLET/KENAI PENINSULA

river reflection

Aren’t these pictures awesome?! Thanks to Jason and Colleen for providing these pictures. It looks like the weather was spectacular up there!

I can’t say the same about down here as we still have a straggling area of low pressure slowly exiting the area. BUT it will definitely feel like Alaska! I’m sure you noticed the sunbreaks this morning. This will cause some minor instability this afternoon which could set off some late-season thunderstorms/thundershowers. Highs will remain in the 50s (little side note, as of 1:3o PM the high temperature is Bremerton is 54 degrees! That’s cold!)

Tomorrow will be a dry but cool day with plenty of sunbreaks but more clouds, showers and sunbreaks return for the latter part of this week. The good news is we should have a pretty pleasant, pumpkin-patch-like weekend!

Long range models are trending towards a complete 180 next week with sun and mild weather making a comeback. Stay tuned!

Have a great day,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at: forecastingkitsap@live.com

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The Gusty Winds and Rain Have Arrived

Monday, September 28th, 2009

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UPDATED 8:00 PM—Right on cue, rain is spreading throughout the area, affecting a huge chunk of Kitsap County, but largely shadowing (for now) the CK/Bainbridge areas. But everyone will get some rain tonight into tomorrow as this front blows through.

Speaking of which, did you notice the incredible wind today? The Bremerton Airport recorded a maximum wind gust of 40 mph today! It doesn’t surprise me, as I saw the trees swaying back and forth with leaves flying around aimlessly outside the office window. I expected it to be windy, just not THIS windy! And, to top it all off, the temperature spread today was 60/37, meaning an average temperature of 48 degrees!! If you thought it felt cold today, you were right!

And it looks to get only colder.

Tomorrow doesn’t look as depressing as previously thought. In fact, we may even eke out a few decent sunbreaks. But it will be just as gusty, if not more so, than today. Plus, expect periods of rain, even colder temperatures and possible thundershowers to add to the mix! It’ll be a fun weather day to say the least—well, for me anyway ;)

We get a break on Wednesday with continued cool, crisp fall weather before more clouds, rain and cool temperatures overtake the area again Wednesday night through the first part of the weekend.

Overall, this week isn’t looking nearly as wet as previously thought, BUT I still recommend bundling up. It’ll take a while to get used to these chilly temps.

Have a great evening,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at: forecastingkitsap@live.com

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**SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT**: Earliest Autumn Coldsnap Not Seen Since 1985

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

COLD

See? I wasn’t being dramatic! ;)

The National Weather Service in Seattle has issued a SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT highlighting the much colder and wetter weather ahead. Daytime highs could top out as much as 10 degrees below normal with wet, breezy and raw conditions in the lowlands and, at times, snowy periods in the mountains as the snow level drops as low as 4,000′.

Many lowland locations have already recorded their first lows in the 30s with daytime highs the past couple of days running below normal ahead of the main event Tuesday.

Forecast models have been really pushing this hard, giving us a string of much below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation for at least the next 10 days. It’s not looking likely that we’ll see rain every day, but just keep in mind it will definitely feel more like fall out there.

Here’s the statment by the National Weather Service:

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SEATTLE WA
226 PM PDT SUN SEP 27 2009

…A SIGNIFICANT CHANGE TO COOLER AND WETTER WEATHER WILL BEGIN
LATER MONDAY AND WILL CONTINUE THROUGH AT LEAST NEXT WEEKEND…

THE RECENT DRY AND MILD WEATHER PATTERN WILL COME TO AN ABRUPT END
MONDAY NIGHT AS A COLD FRONT IN THE GULF OF ALASKA SWINGS
SOUTHEAST THROUGH THE AREA.

WHILE THE FRONT WILL BRING SOME LIGHT RAIN TO MOST AREAS MONDAY
NIGHT…THE BIGGER WEATHER CHANGE WILL BE NOTICED ON TUESDAY.
TEMPERATURES IN THE LOWLANDS WILL TOP OUT BELOW 60 DEGREES IN MOST
LOCATIONS…WHILE TEMPERATURES IN THE MOUNTAINS PASSES ONLY PEAK
OUT AROUND THE 40 DEGREE MARK.

PRECIPITATION BEHIND THE FRONT TUESDAY AND TUESDAY NIGHT WILL BE
SHOWERY. WHILE SNOWFALL AMOUNTS IN THE MOUNTAINS WILL NOT BE
HEAVY…SNOW LEVELS WILL DROP TO AROUND 4000 FEET.

AFTER A SHORT PERIOD OF COOL AND DRIER CONDITIONS ON WEDNESDAY…A
SERIES OF FRONTAL SYSTEMS AND YET ANOTHER UPPER LEVEL LOW PRESSURE
SYSTEM WILL BRING COOL AND DAMP WEATHER TO THE AREA LATER THURSDAY
THROUGH NEXT WEEKEND.

BE PREPARED FOR COOL AND DAMP WEATHER OVER THE UPCOMING WEEK IF
YOU ARE PLANNING OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES. IF YOU PLAN TO HIKE IN THE
MOUNTAINS OVER THE UPCOMING WEEK…MONITOR WEATHER FORECASTS AND
BE PREPARED FOR MUCH COOLER AND WET CONDITIONS.

Be safe out there and stay warm!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at: forecastingkitsap@live.com

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From 93° to 39° in 72 Hours

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Hard to imagine we made a 54° drop in 3 days, but we did.

Also very impressive in its own right is the fact that the Bremerton Airport recorded a morning low of 39 degrees this morning at 6:15 am with an afternoon high of 71—a 32 degree spread. I will admit, this morning seemed awfully cold compared to the last few. I mean think about it: for the past several months we’ve averaged in the low 50s for low temps which is much above normal. And then today broke the trend, giving us our first overnight low in the 30s of the season.

This is a good indicator of what’s to come as a large pool of unseasonably cold and wet weather will barrel through the area early next week. For now, however, expect continued very pleasant conditions through the weekend with high temps in the low to mid 70s under partly sunny skies. Go out and enjoy it!

But the drama begins on Monday as high temps plunge into the upper 50s and lower 60s. Even cooler air arrives Tuesday as a front moves through the area dropping the temperatures and precipitation. We improve a bit on Wednesday with continued cool weather, but rain and clouds move back in for the latter part of next week.

Looks like fall has arrived, folks!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at: forecastingkitsap@live.com

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Long Range Forecast: Bone-chilling Cold in our Near Future?

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

cold weather

First off, I’d like to address one thing,  and that is dramatization. Certain weather gurus out there (*cough Cliff Mass cough*) accuse the media of hyping weather stories a little too much around here. For example, when it’s predicted to snow about an inch in most areas on a certain night the title of the news cast will read: “ARCTIC BLAST 2009!” People in Minnesota would be shaking their heads. And you know what? That kind of dramatization is most definitely ridiculous. I agree.

But I assure you, I don’t hype weather stories on this blog. If I could play off Bill O’Reilly’s “No Spin Zone” for just a minute, this is the “No Hype Zone”. Hyping weather trends does no one any good. If the titles of my blog posts seem a little dramatic, it’s because it is! I wouldn’t blog about an extreme weather pattern if I wasn’t betting really good odds on it happening.

So with that in mind, let’s address what’s next in our what seems like monthly trend of extreme after extreme around here. Virtually all weather models have come into agreement that the last few days of this month into October will feature some unusually chilly and wet weather. First, take a look at how deep the trough (remember, for those who don’t know, “trough” typically signifies wet, unsettled weather which in the fall almost always means cold as well) looks on the European weather model this afternoon:

Geopotential3250032hPa_North32America_120

Do you see it? Look how those blue lines sag considerably in the northwest on Tuesday. For all those non-weather junkies out there, that means cold and wet weather is coming our way! And it appears that will be the weather trend for at least the last few days of September/first week of October.

The American Weather model, the GFS, is advertising not only some impressive rain and cold next week but also some low temps in the 30s late next week, frost the week after that and record low high temperatures in the 40s. Now, I’m not going to hype that model because those solutions are pretty extreme, but I believe it’s within the realm of possibility. Why? Because just a few days ago we were sitting at 93 degrees…in late September! This proves anything is possible!

Stay tuned, folks. This could be the real bone-chilling taste of fall several of you have been asking for. And when you ask Mother Nature for a certain weather pattern, you better believe she’ll deliver!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at: forecastingkitsap@live.com

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93 Degrees on the First Day of Fall? What’s Next?!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

fall_color_2_eecmk

Happy Fall!

Wowza! We did it folks…we SMASHED the old Bremerton record of 80 degrees set in 1970 (that’s a pretty wimpy number, actually. Only 80 degrees?) with a daytime high of 93 degrees today!

If you saw my video forecast yesterday, I predicted a high of 87 and didn’t think Bremerton would scoot past 90 today. I’m actually amazed it got as warm as it did considering where we’re at seasonally: it’s the first day of fall!

Tomorrow looks about 10 degrees cooler, though it will still be about 10-15 degrees above normal (try to wrap your mind around that!) with continued sunny skies. Highs will be in the low to mid 80s.

Thursday and Friday look much cooler with highs dipping into the upper 60s and low 70s which is quite seasonable for this time of year.

We climb the temperature ladder a bit over the weekend with highs reaching the low to mid 70s but models are converging on the idea of our very first true taste of fall next week with what weather geeks term a “clipper” system which is basically a push of much colder air from our north which could dive temperatures several degrees below normal for quite some time.

Nothing is set in stone, but if you’re anything like me, you’re crossing your fingers so we can get some crisp, fall weather at our doorsteps! Go away, summer! ;)

Have a great evening,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at: forecastingkitsap@live.com

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VIDEO FORECAST: Summer-Like Beginning to Fall!

Monday, September 21st, 2009

I haven’t done one of these in quite some time! Here’s a video forecast for this evening:

Matthew leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at: forecastingkitsap@live.com




90 Degrees?!: Heat Records Could Fall This Week

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

september-heat

This temperature map shows low 90s for the Kitsap area on Tuesday!

This ridge of high and dry pressure just doesn’t want to leave! And while it’s here, it will keep on pumping some unseasonably warm air into our region until something knocks this thing into oblivion.

Today was absolute perfection in my opinion: a high of 64 with a low of 42 and sunny skies. Definitley cooler and more fall-like than I had predicted! But don’t let this weather fool you. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week will feature temperatures more suited for July than late September.

Tomorrow doesn’t look too bad with highs getting into the mid and upper 70s under sunny skies but here’s the projected numerical output for Tuesday and Wednesday:

  • Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009: 90
  • Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009: 88

Oohhh yeah…this is looking like a scorcher.

What makes this round of heat different than the past few this month is it won’t last nearly as long. By Thursday and Friday a significant marine push plows through the area dropping temperatures 10-15 degrees. BUT, the upper 70s and low 80s return for next weekend.

Long range models have been fairly consistent with bringing in some sharply colder air by the end of the month into October. Not so much rain, just much cooler fall-like weather.

Until then, enjoy the summer-like weather! I’m not going to say this is the last burst of summer because I’ve said that nearly 5 times this month and each time summer comes back ;)

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at: forecastingkitsap@live.com

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New Weather Model Predicts “Blowtorch” and Dry Winter 2009-2010

Friday, September 18th, 2009

rewardmine-site

I’ve been doing a lot of seasonal weather forecasts lately and frankly I find it really fun. And then, at the end of the season, we grade the forecasts and see who was most accurate.

The latest winter forecast I’m going to share with you is downright depressing if you are a cold and snow fan and absolutely heaven if you are a fan of the dominate weather pattern this month.

There is a European weather model called the ECMWF and it has daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal weather updates each month. Why do we care about some European model? Because it predicts weather for our area and has proven itself fairly accurate, mostly in the short term. For the third month in a row, the ECMWF is predicting what weather geeks call a “blowtorch” and dry winter.

The definition of blowtorch is simple: VERY warm. The information from this weather model comes from Brett Anderson, Candian Long Range Forecaster on AccuWeather.com. This is the forecast:

October

Colder than normal from the Northwest Territories down through northern BC and the northern Prairies.

November
Fairly zonal (west to east) flow across southern Canada with a lack of extremes in terms of temperatures and precipitation. The model basically does not commit to anything.

December
Fairly dry and mild pattern over most of western Canada. This also includes the Pacific Northwest.

January
Unusually mild from Alaska through the Yukon Territory and down through BC and the Northwestern states.
–Rainfall and/or snowfall below normal from BC through the Pacific Northwest and into Alberta.
February (model showing a continuing extreme pattern)
Much above-normal temperatures from interior Alaska through most of western Canada and into the Pacific Northwest.

March
Model showing major blocking pattern from the North Pole down through northern Canada.
Still above-normal temperatures over BC, but not as much so compared to January and February.

This forecast doesn’t exactly give me a warm and fuzzy feeling, being a fan of storms, snow and cold temperatures. If this forecast model proves right it would be a textbook version of what El Ninos typically bring as far as winter patterns here. Can things change? Absolutely.

I guess we’ll have to stay tuned, won’t we? ;)

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

forecastingkitsap@live.com

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