Monthly Archives: January 2010

**SEVERELY BORING WEATHER WARNING IN EFFECT: El Nino Update and the Rest of the Winter


**A SEVERELY BORING WEATHER WARNING has been issued by the KWS (Kitsap Weather Service) and will remain in effect until…further notice. Please stay tuned for further warnings, advisories or immediate evacuation plans to the country’s mid-section for some adrenaline-fuelin’ storm chasin’.**

Wow folks…we’ve certainly hit a dead end in the road to active weather. To pour more salt on our already gaping wound this winter in the PNW lowlands, take a look at some of these impressive weather events from the eastern 2/3rds of the country this past month (ending yesterday):

12/4/2009: Earliest ever snowfall in Houston
12/8-10/2009: Blizzard in the Plains States, Midwest and parts of Canada
12/18-20/2009: Mid-Atlantic/southern New England blizzard. Washington, DC (DCA) had its snowiest December on record.
12/24-27, 2009: Blizzard in the Plains States and Midwest
12/26-27/2009: Biggest snowfall in 130 years in St. Petersburg, Russia
12/31-1/4/2009: Major snowstorm in northern New England and parts of Canada. Burlington had its biggest snowfall on record
1/1-5/2010: Major lake effect snow outbreak
1/3-4/2010: Major snowfall in parts of East Asia. Beijing had its biggest snowfall since 1951 and Seoul had its biggest snowfall on record

You have GOT to be kidding me. Snowfall in flippin’ Houston but not Seattle?! Heck, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Tallahassee have seen some sticking snowfall (1”<) this winter. So depressing. Does this have anything to do with  the El Nino out there? Eh…kinda, but we haven’t seen El Nino’s typical effects at all this season so far. We’ve had numerous wet, rainy days and temperatures have remained pretty seasonable, spiking to above normal levels from time to time, but nothing so out of the ordinary it would make headlines (For those confused, the December cold snap was, technically, still in the fall season. I’m talking about the weather “post 21st of December”.)

El Nino probably is messing with our winter right now despite it’s masked effects of clouds and rain this time around (2006-2007 wasn’t exactly a typical El Nino either). But with it’s current moderate to strong status, our chances of lowland snow and cold are appearing more dismal by the day. And looking at the latest long range models, a “warm and dry pattern” touted by many meteorologists at the start of the fall season doesn’t look to be verifying well for the PacNW either, especially after ending one of the coldest Decembers since 1990. Granted it was dry, our wet pattern has revamped and 2009 ended about an inch above normal for rainfall. Typical of an El Nino? Nope.

So the $1,000,000 question is this: what’s in store for the rest of the winter? How will Vancouver B.C. look for the Olympics? First answer: not so good. Virtually every weather model a weather junkie can look at is proclaiming “Rain! Seasonable temperatures! Mist! Fog! Low clouds! Depression!” until at least the 21st of the month. But, as I expected in my 2009-2010 forecast, El Nino will be more pronouncly felt around here by the end of this month into February and March, so that means more snoozer weather and bad news for the Olympics.

I’m not saying all hope is lost for a dramatic pattern change between now and February, but the crystal ball looks anything but optomistic. Hmmm…maybe I’m being too opinionated here. I’m sure SOME of you like this kind of (tortureous) weather!

Until further notice…let the SEVERELY BORING WEATHER WARNING continue 😉

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at:

2009: Active Weather Year and Coldest in 50 years

When 2008 ended, I didn’t think we could top it in the weather department. According to weather data from the Bremerton National Airport, 2008 was the coldest year in Kitsap County since 1960. And despite some impressive heat in the late spring/summer, overall 2009 ended up 0.55 degrees F cooler than 2008, according to physics professor Steve VanWyk of Olympic College in Bremerton, which would make 2009 the coldest in…at the very least 50 years, but most likely more.

Professor VanWyk states: “Dec 2009 was the coldest December in Kitsap since 1990 [and], as it turned out, 8 of the last 12 months showed a drop in temp[eratures] over 2008”

Take a look at this graph he sent me of yearly temperatures since 1960:

kitsap temps

Look at that dramatic drop in temperatures from 2004 to 2009! I believe this is due, in part, to the new -PDO phase and minimal sunspot activity. I expect we’ll see a gradual uptick in  these numbers as the years wear on as sunspot activity is expected to ramp up, granted no volcano’s blow their tops in the process. That would cause worldwide global cooling, at least for a short period of time, should it occur.

Precipitation for the year was also over an inch above normal.

2009 was also a very active weather year and if we were to combine 2008-2009 as a whole, this would be the most active and certainly most interesting weather duo in several years.For a complete list of weather highlights, click on the link below.

Seattle NWS: 2009—Highlights of Washington’s Crazy Weather Year

As for the start of 2010? It looks like a pretty mild week or so as several warm weather systems crash into our area with highs in the mid and upper 40s, but it will remain cold enough in  the mountains to produce some good snow. Certainly good news considering we’re in the heart of a moderate El Nino winter. It appears the way we’re going, skiing and water supply is all systems go as mountain snowpack  is nearly 100% of normal!

Have a great day everyone,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at: