Monthly Archives: December 2012

The fog days of winter

Evening, everybody!

Here’s bringing up some old news: I spent Christmas in Island Park, Idaho and missed the snow event here on the Kitsap Peninsula. Thankfully, some of you e-mailed in your Christmas snow pictures. Here are a few of them:

SEABECK (sent by Don Geidel, taken by a friend)

Christmas Day 2012, by Seabeck Post Office[2]





Thanks to all who sent in photos! Seemed like another fun day around the peninsula.

As far as the forecast is concerned, we’re going to switch gears from a dry spell (July-October), a wet spell (October- mid December), and a cold/snowy spell (mid December) to a cool/foggy spell. As is often the case around here when a large ridge of high pressure sets up over the region after a long rainy period, fog will be a key ingredient the next few mornings. There is so much moisture in the air and on the ground that even the smallest dry spells call for more fog than sun.

Still, things are at least looking fairly dry with a few sunbreaks until the first weekend of 2013, which sounds so far away even if it’s only in 5 days 😉

Taking a peek into the long range, things look fairly seasonable in terms of rain and sun over the next week and a half. After the past couple weeks, I can say I am OK with a break in active weather!

Have a great evening,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap



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Merry Christmas! And some snow totals


Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful day. Just a brief update this evening.

I received a flurry of text messages this morning (no pun intended) and Facebook notifications about how it was raining instead of snowing! Naturally my heart fell to the ground as I thought about all the kids (and adults!) who were expecting a White Christmas.

As you know, snow forecasts are incredibly difficult, and the pressure is especially intense when a major holiday such as Christmas is involved. Well, the snow DID come, although a bit later than expected, and you were gracious enough to put down your pitchforks and throw water on your torches 😉 But all jokes aside, I was definitely relieved to hear that the snow showed up and am happy so many of you took advantage of it and had some fun. I am currently in Idaho and would have been unsure how much we received and when if it wasn’t for you!

Things went generally as planned: 5+” along the Hood Canal, 1-4” in Central/South Kitsap, and a trace to just plain cold rain for North Kitsap and Bainbridge Island. Here are some unofficial snow amounts reported from Forecasting Kitsap blog readers, Kitsap Sun readers, and friends as of 5 PM:

  • Seabeck: 7”
  • Crosby: 5”
  • Silverdale: 3”
  • Poulsbo: 3”
  • Bremerton: 2”
  • Port Orchard: 1”

Any other towns with corresponding accumulation totals you’d like me to add to the list?

Of course, amounts within cities and towns varied according to elevation. Overall, most locations saw snow, even if it was for a short amount of time, and it turned to rain by the afternoon. Ah, but we knew that would happen. This is Western Washington after all 🙂

Stay tuned for Christmas snow pictures in a couple days! If you haven’t sent them in, please do! My e-mail is:

Have a great evening,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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**WINTER STORM WARNING/ADVISORY: Final Christmas Snow Update

christmas forecast 12-24-2012.jpg

I’m sure plenty of you are ready to hear about something else on this blog. Or maybe not 😉

As the sun sets on this beautiful Christmas Eve, many of you are anxious about tomorrow’s weather. There still remains a lot of uncertainty, and a lot of the fine details likely won’t be resolved until the event unfolds Christmas morning. Despite all this, here’s my best estimate for what will happen over the next 24 hours. First order of business:

The HOOD CANAL AREA is under a WINTER STORM WARNING from 4 AM to 3 PM Christmas Day (tomorrow). This area could receive anywhere from 5-10”, perhaps as much as a foot of snow by the late afternoon. Another surge of moisture pushes through Christmas evening, though some areas may be cold enough to add another several inches of snow. Most locations should’ve turned to rain by the time this next system arrives, however. Click here for more info.

The rest of Kitsap County is under a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY from 5 AM to 1 PM Christmas Day (tomorrow). This area could receive anywhere from 1-3” with locally higher amounts the further west you go. Click here for more info.

Here’s the updated snow map:

12-24-2012 snow map

Again, travel conditions will deteriorate the closer to Hood Canal you are. Roads will be slick and snow will struggle to change over to rain in places like Seabeck and Brinnon.

PLEASE, take pictures! I would love to see your Christmas snow, so send it to my e-mail at:

Thank you all for your help the past couple weeks with bouts of snow, wind, and rain. I can’t forecast effectively without you!

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone and enjoy this special snow!!!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Facebook: /kitsapweather


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**WINTER STORM WATCH: Christmas snow update

**A WINTER STORM WATCH has been issued for the Hood Canal area. Click here for more details**

EDITED (5:30 pm, Sunday): Adjusted snow totals ever so slightly 🙂

How does it feel to be among the exclusive 10%? On any given year, the Seattle area has a less than 10% chance of receiving a White Christmas. We might just have our second one in four years!

It looks like things are holding together since we last talked about this possibility. A relative lull in the weather pattern through Christmas Eve will set the stage for perhaps one of the most dramatic weather scenarios we’ve seen in years: A chance for snow Christmas Eve night into Christmas Day. Who will be affected and what will that mean for your travel plans? Let’s see if I can clear some of those questions up. Here’s a general overview:

weather highlights 12-23-2012.jpg

Now here’s how the evolution of this storm comes into play. Recent weather models have actually slowed the timing of this storm down a little bit, resulting in an increased chance of warming as the morning progresses. However, this is more of an issue for most other lowland locations in Western Washington. You see, the Kitsap Peninsula has an interesting superpower that comes into play during situations like this, and it’s called hoarding.

Most snow lovers know that during cold, snowy weather events, the Kitsap Peninsula tends to hang on to the cold air a little longer. This will be particularly true Christmas morning. A fairly persistent, cold east wind will ramp up late Christmas Eve night, which will filter down the foothills, across the Puget Sound and dam up against the Olympic Mountains. That’s step 1.

Step 2 involves intensity of the incoming precipitation. With cold air already in place, the heavier precip will begin as snow, and it’s no easy task to scour it out. Thus locations closest to the Hood Canal, which in turn are closest to the Olympics, run the risk of seeing snow first and heaviest on Christmas Day.


This area includes places like Seabeck, Holly, Brinnon, Hoodsport, Belfair, and Tahuya. Similar to Wednesday’s event, this area could see quite a bit of heavy, wet snow. In fact, latest accumulation projections point towards close to a foot of snow for these areas, but a conservative estimate would be between 5-8”. Snow will start between 5-7 am and likely continue through the early evening hours. Expect a Heavy Snow Warning or Winter Storm Warning to be issued for these areas if all pans out as expected.


This area includes places like Bremerton, Silverdale, Bainbridge Island, Port Orchard, and Olalla. This is an area where elevation will make a HUGE difference. As a general rule, snow will begin around 6-8 am and continue through the afternoon before switching to rain for most areas. Snow accumulation could range anywhere from a trace to as much as 4” on the highest hills.


This area includes places like Poulsbo, Kingston, Hansville, and Suquamish. Again, elevation will be key. Accumulations will be quite spotty here, with highest totals in the Poulsbo area (2-3”) and a mix of rain and snow or sloppy wet snow farther north (0-2”).



As you can see, this weather pattern will continue the theme of variability, with most snow reserved for far western locations of the peninsula, with lighter amounts farther east and north. Elevation will determine how much one neighborhood gets over another. Amazing to say the Kitsap Peninsula as a whole could see anywhere from a trace to as much as 8” of snow. That’s quite a range! Also note the mountain passes will have plenty of snow during this time frame. Click here for pass reports

The long range forecast is also a treat for those who are sick of the rain. It appears partly to mostly sunny weather returns for next weekend.

Stay tuned for a final Christmas Eve/Day forecast tomorrow. By then things should be even clearer.

Have a great Sunday!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Photos? E-mail me at:

Facebook: /kitsapweather


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PHOTOS: “Snowpocalypse 2012”

**The Severe Weather Shelter is open today. Click here for more details**

I read a comment on one of the Kitsap Sun news stories about our recent snow that read something like, “Well, at least they didn’t call it Arctic Blast 2012”. That got me to thinking: What should we name this most recent snow event? Some Kitsap locations recorded over 3 feet without any arctic air, so surely “Arctic Blast” wouldn’t be the most appropriate name.

Then it hit me: SNOWPOCALYPSE 2012! So very fitting.

Here are some photos to remember this “snowpocalypse” by (December 15th-19th, 2012):

CUSHMAN-Photos by: Snowmizer

Heavy, wet snow near Cushman. Photo by: snowmizer

snowy kitsap 2













HOLLY AREA– Photos by: Don Geidel

Big Snow Storm 003









Big Snow Storm 007














Big Snow Storm 008

Big Snow Storm 011

HOODSPORT AREA- Photos by: Ida Graham (with Jerry Seterdahl)




**BONUS: Digging out the Northway ski lift at Crystal Mountain– Photo by: Jim Jarnigan

crystal mountain snow

There you have it! Snowpocalypse 2012 🙂

Of course, several of us may not necessarily be done with the snow pictures this year. Forecast models are still very consistent in bringing in another round of heavy, wet snow for at least the western 2/3rds of Kitsap County and Mason County. I’ll give another Christmas snow update tomorrow 🙂 Until then, enjoy your Saturday!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? Photos? E-mail me at:

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Keeping an eye out for Christmas snow



Have you ever had that awkward moment when your invited guest stays just a little bit too long?

I know many living on the Kitsap Peninsula have had such a moment, because some of the very people who were wishing for snow and all its glory are now wanting to see Frosty burned at the stake. Snow does strange things to a person.

Anyway, that guest, in the form of snow, is wanting to make another reappearance today. Now, we’re not looking at repeating Wednesday’s headache-of-a-day, but things could get increasingly dicey around here before precipitation turns back into rain later this afternoon. Some extensive clearing last night gave way to subfreezing temperatures, and the approaching storm system from the south will likely prompt some light  snowfall over the western half of the Kitsap Peninsula until the late morning hours. Most will likely see a mix of snow and rain, but several locations could start out as all snow before turning to rain. Accumulations will range between a trace to 1”.

Periods of rain and sloppy wet snow are possible for Hood Canal regions through Christmas.

Speaking of which, now for our second order of business. I mentioned a couple days ago how most of you should be expecting a “green Christmas”, but that there was a concern for some locations to receive additional snow. This concern has grown tremendously over the past 48 hours. At this point, I’d rather mention this possibility now and have it NOT materialize instead of ignore it and pay the consequences later!

Here’s the latest 24 snowfall projections Christmas evening:

christmas evening snow 12-21-2012

**Ok, now pause. I don’t want to join Frosty on the stake. This is a possibility, but not a slam dunk. When is it ever a slam dunk? In addition, I’m not predicting everyone will see a white Christmas. 🙂 Latest models suggest at least half of the peninsula runs the risk for heavy, wet snow Christmas morning starting at about 7 AM. This is still a couple days about, but current thinking is some locations could receive as much as 8” of snow closer to the Canal. Absolutely incredible.

This bears intense watching, but for now just prepare for generally smooth traveling conditions for most parts of Western Washington through Christmas Eve. Be sure to check pass conditions before driving over the mountains as well.

Also, stay tuned for a special blog post soon, which will highlight some incredible pictures of our most recent “snowpocalypse”.

Have a great morning and stay safe out there! I mean it! It’s slippery.

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap


Facebook: /kitsapweather


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Kitsap Snow: Where to go from here and a peek into Christmas weather


Afternoon snow at Island Lake (12/19/2012)- Photo by: Terrence O’Leary

The weather has been different on literally every point of the Kitsap Peninsula, which makes the forecast from here on out increasingly difficult. Thank you all for your patience as I scramble to track the storm systems and try to pinpoint when we will slowly but surely wiggle our way out of this chilly, marginal pattern.

There’s at least one report of over 30” of snow near Lake Cushman, which of course added up since Saturday. A friend out in Seabeck told me he has nearly a foot of snow on the ground with more coming down. I live near Ridgetop and, as of 3:30 PM, it is snowing heavily outside my window. The temperature is now at 32, but 36 degrees in downtown Silverdale. I have also heard many reports from those living along the Hood Canal that it is either still snowing or rain has changed back to snow. The Seattle National Weather service assures us we will transition to all rain later this evening.

This situation is localized, however, and not everyone will be running into this problem. With that said, the general forecast is for rain to continue through the night into tomorrow before the precip breaks apart and we’re thrown into a showery pattern through the weekend. For local hills mainly on the western half of Kitsap County (including northern Mason County), wet snow or rain/snow showers will continue through the evening, hence the new weather advisory. I am not seeing much more in the way of additional accumulation for most spots, although the usual suspects along the Canal could pick up another 1-2” of the white stuff before we shut off the snow tomorrow. IF you can believe it 😉

And the forecast for the remainder of the week through Christmas Eve? Showers and sun breaks with highs in the low 40s. Are we done with the snow altogether? I’m not holding my breath. Things look very marginal, yet again, from the 23rd to the 25th.


For now, most of you should have a green Christmas. I’m probably not ready to say everyone will fall into that category.

I’m leaving tomorrow to celebrate Christmas with the rest of my family in Idaho, so you may not hear from me for a couple days. But I’ll definitely fit one more update on this blog before Christmas 🙂 Happy Holidays everyone!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap



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More Kitsap snow tonight

10:00 AM UPDATE: There are still reports of moderate to heavy snow along the Hood Canal and on higher hills around the peninsula, including Silverdale, which has amounted to nearly 4”. Why is the snow continuing? The predicted south wind changed course and took a south westerly turn. It has therefore become more difficult for the snow to change over. For all those sick of the snow, we WILL switch over to rain, but it is going to take a little longer than expected. Stay tuned for further updates as they come!

7:00 AM UPDATE: The (deadly) warmer south wind has kicked in and temperatures are slowly on the rise. Several Kitsap locations are now reporting snow changing to rain. Most western Kitsap neighborhood’s are still reporting moderate snow, so if you are planning to travel out towards the Hood Canal, proceed with caution! Again, everything should start winding down by 8 am.

5:32 AM (Wednesday, Dec. 19) UPDATE: It appears most everyone is seeing sticking snow this morning. I’m hearing reports of heavy, wet snow all across the peninsula with some school districts closing as a result. It is very possible we exceed the predicted 1-2” for many locations. Please take it easy on the roads as continued snow is expected until at least 8 am before we warm up and most everything turns to rain. In the meantime, send pictures if you have them! It’s a beautiful one out there**

The past 48 hours have certainly been anything but easy in the forecasting world. Here are some brief highlights:

  • Gusty winds (exceeding 35 mph) Sunday night into Monday raced through places like Bremerton and Port Orchard, while many other Kitsap locations came away with literally no wind.
  • Moderate, wet snow fell in great abundance along the Hood Canal (some areas receiving close to a foot) Saturday and Sunday, while several other Kitsap communities experienced rain/snow showers or cold rain.
  • Yet more snow fell on the peninsula early this morning with a wide range of accumulations, from 2” as far west as Seabeck to a trace as far east as Bainbridge Island.

This has been another episode of “Crazy Microclimates”, brought to you by the Kitsap Peninsula! If there’s one thing I’ve learned while living on the Kitsap Peninsula, it’s the necessity to prepare for anything.

I was talking to a friend and fellow weather enthusiast from Bainbridge Island last night, and we discussed how close we were to a potentially historic Kitsap snowstorm. Within the past 72 hours, the rain gauge picked up 2.24”. However, most of that rain was in the middle of straddling 34-36 degree weather. Think of the possibilities: If we were just a couple degrees colder, we could have been measuring snow in feet, even at sea level. And quite easily, we could’ve experienced record snow of “Day After Tomorrow” proportions (OK, that part was a little dramatic…). As a weather geek, it makes me sick to think we were so close.

Anyway, what is in the past will stay in the past. As we look forward to the future, however, we have another weather wrestling match to participate in, and this time there will likely be more competitors. We haven’t escaped the mid 30s all day, and what little clearing we have will only serve to pull the temperature down a few notches before our next weather system moves onshore. As is usually the case, the Kitsap Peninsula tends to hoard cold air longer than most other Western Washington locations, thanks to the Olympic Mountains, so we may have a messy commute tomorrow morning. The following map presents the worst case scenario:

As the front moves in, the precipitation (and there will be quite a bit of it) will likely start out as snow for most Kitsap locations, granted temperatures remain near freezing. By the time most of you get up for school and work, there could be a sloppy inch or two on the ground with locally higher amounts on area hills. Of course, the jackpot in this situation will, once again, be the locations hugging the Hood Canal/Olympic Mountains. Snow projections show as much as 6” of wet snow in places like Hoodsport/Brinnon with perhaps as much as 4” in the Seabeck/Holly area.

If there’s one thing I’m confident about, it’s the warm up. It may take a few hours, but by late morning even the Hood Canal area should transition to rain/snow or plain rain. It’s a shame the snow couldn’t last until Christmas, but at least it’s a pretty reminder of the holidays.

Looking ahead, we don’t exactly warm up. In fact, we may face a few more wet snow scenarios Thursday before all is said and done. Right now, the remainder of this week and next week look fairly seasonable, with highs in the low 40s under rainy skies. It’s not looking like a White Christmas this year, but it’s not like many of us were expecting that, right? 😉

Stay tuned, though, because even if we can’t manage a White Christmas, there’s a chance we actually skate by dry. We’ll see! For now, stay safe out there and have a great rest of the day!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? Photos? E-mail me at:

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**HIGH WIND WARNING/WIND ADVISORY in effect for Kitsap County

Another picture of Kitsap snow, 4 miles up Lake Cushman Hwy from Hoodsport. Taken Saturday, December 15th, 2012. Photo by: Ida Graham

Rain/snow continues to fall over the Kitsap Peninsula and will continue through the night with possibly heavy accumulations along the Hood Canal until early Monday. Meanwhile, a powerful Pacific storm, likely the biggest we’ve seen this season in terms of wind, will be barreling through the region late tonight into tomorrow afternoon. This will produce all sorts of unstable weather for Western Washington, but for Kitsap County it will present an interesting split in weather:

  1. A HIGH WIND WARNING has been issued for the HOOD CANAL AREA from 10 PM SUNDAY (this evening) to 4 PM MONDAY. This means southerly winds of 15 to 30 mph will develop this evening, then switch to southwest at 30-40 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph.
  2. A lesser WIND ADVISORY has been issued for the BREMERTON AREA (rest of Kitsap County) from 10 PM SUNDAY to 4 PM MONDAY. This means southwest winds at 20-35 mph will rapidly develop this evening and gust as high as 55 mph through Monday afternoon.

Of course, the slightest change in the storm track could mean higher and lower wind speeds in areas.


Please be advised the WINTER STORM WARNING issued for the mountain passes has been upgraded to a BLIZZARD WARNING, which will be in effect tonight through Monday. Snow totals could amount to as much as 3 feet by the end of tomorrow. Wind will also roar with 40-60 mph gusts affecting mainly Stevens Pass southward including Snoqualmie Pass. It would not be wise to make any travel plans over the passes tomorrow.


We’re going to start the new week on a pretty chilly note. Monday will be windy and rainy, but the really cold air moves in late Monday and sticks around through Wednesday. At this point we’re still on track to see some rain/snow or wet snow showers throughout the day on Tuesday and Wednesday with highs in the 30s. In fact, we may see another good 1-2” of sloppy accumulation in the Hood Canal area both days. As always, this will need to be monitored!

We’ve covered all the immediate highlights. For now, stay safe and go get some batteries for those flashlights! I’m fully expecting some power outages with this one,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap


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Storm update #2: Lowland snow, mountain snow, wind, and rain

**Kitsap County is currently under a HIGH WIND WATCH from late Sunday afternoon to Monday morning. Click here for more information**

Ludvick Lake, near Holly. Photo taken at 9:00 am by: Don and Doreen Geidel
Almost 3 1/2” at Ludvick Lake! Photo taken at 11:00 am by: Don and Doreen Geidel.

**UPDATED 1:00 PM: Snow continues to fall along the Hood Canal and mix with rain in the Central Kitsap area. As you can see from the above picture, there are select portions of Kitsap County recording as much as 3 1/2” of wet snow!**

Whew! There are lots of things to check off the list this morning. Might as well start at ground level!


We are VERY borderline with temperatures this morning. Most Kitsap locations are hovering just a couple degrees shy of freezing, so a mix of rain and snow or wet snow is expected through the morning, especially in the heavier showers. Highs will struggle to make it out of the 30s all day, so expect this wet and cold/borderline weather pattern to continue for a little while yet.

Several cold, moist storm systems will make their way into Western Washington for the next five days or so, and each storm has the potential to drop some nighttime/morning snow showers, perhaps with a little bit of accumulation. So here are the days that have the most likely chance of producing some rain/snow or snow showers: TONIGHT, MONDAY NIGHT, TUESDAY, TUESDAY NIGHT. The best opportunity to see any accumulation is looking like Tuesday, when highs will really struggle to warm up after Monday’s cold weather system and precipitation will be readily available. This will need closer watching, so please stay tuned to the blog.

Other than the rain/snow events over the area, there will be periods of significant rain, especially on Sunday and Wednesday of next week.


It’s always difficult to pinpoint where a storm system will track, but the current thinking is that on Sunday night into Monday, a vigorous frontal system will swing well south of our area, bringing high winds with it. The coast and north interior will be the main target, but we could experience gusts as high as 50 mph on the peninsula. Again, this will need watching. At any rate, it’ll be a stormy night!


Ah, yes. The mountain snow pack. If you’re going to be traveling over the passes this weekend, please monitor road conditions and forecasts as it will be particularly stormy at higher elevations (I have included a link to the WSDOT site for webcams and road conditions on the right hand side bar). By midday Sunday the mountains could receive as much as 10-16” of snow, with another 1-3 feet of snow by late Monday. Conditions will be treacherous for a good part of next week in general, but this storm in particular will be the most dramatic.


Highs over the next 7 days will largely be in the 30s to low 40s. As predicted, we have entered a much cooler phase of weather and according to the long range forecast, it will continue for quite a while. I’m not seeing any dramatically cold or snowy weather in the future, but we’ll be on the fringe several times within the next couple weeks.

In the meantime, please stay safe and warm out there! Have a great day,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap


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