Forecasting Kitsap

Aspiring weatherman Matthew Leach talks about the complex and intricate weather patterns over Kitsap.
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**WINTER STORM WATCH: Christmas snow update

December 23rd, 2012 by Matthew Leach

**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.

HOOD CANAL AREA

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.

CENTRAL/SOUTH KITSAP AREA

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.

NORTH KITSAP AREA

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”).

SUMMARY

12-23-2012.jpg

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: forecastingkitsap@live.com

Facebook: /kitsapweather

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3 Responses to “**WINTER STORM WATCH: Christmas snow update”

  1. Tracy Zhu Says:

    I just want to say I really enjoy your blog. It’s nice to have a weather resource dedicated to all our micro-climates in Kitsap as an alternative to the one-size-fits-all forecasts. Merry Christmas! I hope it’s white!

  2. MHammond Says:

    Great Blog-the forecast has been spot on and we appreciate the details for us military living in the Northwest- explaining how our weather can be different to family while traveling its good to find this post – you sum up our towns weather -keep us posted….Merry Christmas yes bring on the snow!!!!

  3. Matthew Leach Says:

    @Tracy and MHammond: Thank you! I am so glad you are enjoying the blog and the information shared within. What an amazing climate we have! A VERY Merry Christmas to you both!

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