Daily Archives: August 27, 2012

Flies in the ointment

Today is a perfect example of why I love forecasting the weather for the Kitsap Peninsula. No, I don’t love getting it wrong, but sometimes I’m glad when I do. Remember how a few days ago today was supposed to be mostly cloudy with rain? Well, so much for that! In fact, today’s forecast was the exact opposite with highs reaching the mid 70s under sunny skies.

But why the change in weather? Do weather forecasters just guess the whole time and somehow get lucky? It certainly seems that way, especially with the unpredictability of the weather this summer. But there’s a lot more of a science to forecasting than most think. It’s just that this part of the world is a little more difficult to forecast in for a number of reasons. First, the Pacific Northwest is geographically one of the hardest areas to forecast weather due to no current weather stations out in the Pacific to send feedback to us. Having a big, dark ocean to our west is kind of like trying to forecast with both eyes closed. Everywhere else in the nation there’s a state next door to help out in forecasting a progressing storm, but not us. We have to rely on what the ocean tells us! And believe me…it’s not nearly as reliable or close as we’d like.

Second, dramatic weather events in the west Pacific can sometimes alter our own forecasting models, calling for an 80-degree weekend one day and a cold, rainy weekend the next. This is exactly what is happening now. National Weather Service meteorologists in Seattle discussed today that weather model consistency will likely flip-flop over the next several days due to “flies, in the form of typhoons, in the ointment over the western Pacific”. Who knew severe storms heading towards Taiwan and the Korean Peninsula would have that much of an effect on our forecasting capabilities!

Satellite image of typhoon ripping through Japan and into Korea (8.27.12)

So, with that in mind, I’ll try to pick out the flies in this upcoming forecast and give you the most accurate forecast possible given the circumstances. Despite model inconsistency, one thing seems to be for certain: we will definitely be getting some rain showers this week and Labor Day weekend looks *awesome*! (I’m trying my best to type “awesome” as if I were whispering, since I don’t want the weather models to hear…)

After today’s high of 76 degrees, we’ll cool it down a notch to a more seasonable 74 degrees tomorrow with a little more cloud cover. Wednesday will be a little cooler still with the chance for rain most likely in the southern regions on the Kitsap Peninsula. In fact, the latest weather models indicate the northern half of Kitsap County could stay completely dry.

The skies clear once again on Thursday and temperatures climb a little more just in time for Labor Day weekend. It doesn’t look exceptionally warm by any means, but it’ll certainly be comfortable! Maybe I’ll pick out a few more flies in Labor Day weekend’s ointment, then we’ll revisit the forecast and see what we find 😉

Have a great day everyone!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap



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