Forecasting Kitsap

Aspiring weatherman Matthew Leach talks about the complex and intricate weather patterns over Kitsap.
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Archive for January, 2013

When was the last time we exceeded 50 degrees? It’s a lot longer than you think…

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

question-marks2

So when exactly was the last time we registered a temperature above 50 degrees? It’s been quite chilly lately, but surely our goose-bumped skin has been exposed to such mild weather sometime recently!

Actually, no, not at all. But before I reveal the specific day we last saw 51+ temperatures, here’s a little representation of what the temperature spread has been since November 1st:

NUMBER OF DAYS WITH THE FOLLOWING TEMPERATURE READINGS SINCE NOVEMBER 1ST, 2012 (Bremerton Airport):

  • 50+°= 12 (First six days of November being 51+ degrees, and then six other days during the past three months with a 50 degree reading)
  • 40+°= 57
  • 30+°= 22
  • 20+° (low temperature)= 26
  • 10°+ (low temperature)= 4

It shouldn’t be surprising that we registered most days 40° and above, but what should stand out even more is how often we hit the 30s, 20s, and teens, and how infrequently we’ve been over 50. The Bremerton area usually averages about 8 days with highs in the 30s during the winter and we’ve nearly tripled it.

And now we wait in suspense. The weather this weekend is a real tricky one. If we reach 51 degrees or more tomorrow, that will be the first time since………November 6th, 2012! We will have gone almost three whole months without seeing the big 5-0 on the seven day forecast, but the first weekend of February is taking on the challenge.

A ridge of high pressure is building, but we run the same risk of seeing low clouds and fog Friday night into Saturday morning. The little fly  in the ointment is that the fog doesn’t completely burn off on Saturday, which could keep our temperatures in the upper 30s/lower 40s a good part of the day. If skies clear, we could see highs easily hit the low 50s. For now, I expect skies to become at least partly sunny by Saturday afternoon with highs just over the 50 degree mark.

Sunday is another 50+ contender before skies cloud up and temperatures fall. We get so close to touching 50 and then it gets taken from us! All the more reason to enjoy this weekend. If the sun refuses to come out on the peninsula, head to the Cascade foothills! It’ll be plenty mild up there :)

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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

1-31-2013


Why the weatherman is often wrong

Monday, January 28th, 2013

I’ve heard the joke a thousand times, “Oh, you want to be a weatherman, huh? That must be the only job where you can be wrong 90% of the time and still be employed.”

Sheesh, that’s a little harsh! While certainly nowhere near missing 90% of their forecasts, meteorologists all around the world struggle to understand and even explain why the forecast goes sour. Brigham Young University engineering professor Julie Crockett says something called “internal waves” are to blame, and that once we understand the nature of these waves forecasts will become more accurate.  Check out the video below:

You can also check out the story in text form here. What are your thoughts? Could Ms. Crockett’s observations be the key to revolutionizing the way we predict the weather?

All I can say is I hope these internal waves don’t mess up the weekend forecast, because I think all of you will enjoy what the seven day forecast has to say. In the mean time we have a little more rain to get through.

Tuesday will be mostly cloudy and seasonable with highs in the mid 40s. A front moves through early Wednesday morning, although the southwestern portion of the Kitsap Peninsula will be shadowed from the worst of it. Central and north Kitsap, however, will be in for another rainy day.

Showers linger on Thursday before literally every drop of rain goes *POOF* on the weather models and we’re in for a dry Friday, Saturday, and most of Sunday. Highs will be nudging 50 degrees as well. We have been so sun starved that I’m betting I’ll see lots of picnics this weekend. The ridge of high pressure flattens late Sunday, paving the way for some light rain through Monday.

So just remember: If my forecast for this weekend ends up being wrong, it’s not my fault. It’s the internal waves! ;)

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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

1-28-2013

 


Weather Channel calls for the next 3 months to be “colder, to much colder than normal”

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

weather channel

I know, this is exactly what everyone wanted to hear! Now, those who know me understand I don’t like national weather companies, but the Weather Channel is pretty good overall (this does not mean you should bookmark their weather page for your forecasts! That’s why I’m here ;)) and seemed to do a good job predicting the overall weather pattern for our neck of the woods thus far.

So what do they have to say about the February-April time frame? Well, the video is kind of funny in that they talk about the upcoming late winter/early spring pattern as if the Western US doesn’t exist at all, but…well, we should be used to that ;)

Click here to watch The Weather Channel’s long range forecast (February-April)

 

Did anyone notice how they started out saying the jet stream would sag for the eastern half of the nation and it showed “warm” temperatures for the West next month, yet they produced a second map showing we would actually average colder than normal for February?

february contradiction

Not sure what that is all about, but with the jet stream acting that way there’s one thing we can be sure of: We’re in for a lot more dry weather.

Not too surprisingly, they are calling for a colder than normal March and a MUCH colder than normal April. Yeah, that El Nino kind of bombed…big time.

My thoughts generally coincide with the Weather Channel’s, although I am noticing strong indications of a warmer and drier than normal February. We’ll see.

Also, if you haven’t noticed, we’re back to playing the rain game after a cold intermission of clouds and fog. However, I’m keeping my eye on midweek. Could see some wet snow in a few Kitsap locations if everything lines up just right. Looking on the bright side, this weather pattern will help clear out the stagnant air :)

Have a great evening, everybody!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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

1-23-2013


From fog to rain with little break in between

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Well Kitsap, I tried.

Sometimes weather forecasters and the general public believe that  if that little golden orb of light is shining on the 7 day forecast, such will be the case with no exceptions. Then again, if you’re from Washington you know that golden orb is taunting more than anything else. Take a look at this satellite image from this afternoon:

1-19-2013 fog

As strange as it sounds, if you travel closer to the foothills or coastline, you’ll find temperatures soaring into the 40s and 50s! A couple days ago some foothill locations actually recorded temperatures in the 70s. What has Kitsap been doing the whole time? Oh, I think you know. We are sitting in a bowl of freezing fog and freezing temperatures. Today was quite a bit warmer than yesterday, but still…the fog has overstayed its welcome.

So when will this inversion end, you ask? Well, we need some good mixing, and since we can’t get it in the way of strong sunlight or strong wind, we’re going to have to settle with rain. This means we’ll see locally thick areas of fog and freezing fog until early Wednesday morning when a moderate pacific system rolls through. Right now this looks like a fairly warm storm, so temperatures should rise dramatically.

From Wednesday we start to take another downward trend in temperatures. Right now I’m looking at mainly mostly cloudy skies with cold rain, but some forecast models show flakes in the forecast as soon as next weekend. Nothing is a slam dunk as of yet, but I’d say we definitely have a better chance at seeing colder than normal weather in the next 6-14 days than warmer than normal weather.

As always, stay tuned! For now, enjoy the weekend and try to escape the fog if you can :)

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

E-mail: forecastingkitsap@live.com

1-19-2013


Rainstorm followed by cold blast turns Anchorage into an ice rink

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

It’s another beautiful, but terribly cold day in Kitsap County. I suppose the term “terribly cold” is all relative (which you will see in a moment), but this kind of weather is definitely not considered normal. To illustrate this point, let’s look at a snapshot of temperatures from 10:15 pm last night to 9:35 am this morning:

cold blast kitsap 1-16-2013

If you’re from North Dakota or Minnesota, you might think I’m demonstrating a heatwave, but in all reality this 12 hour stretch of temperatures in the upper teens to low 20s is impressive for the Seattle area. And you know what made it feel a little colder? Look how high the humidity was! Brrr…at least the wind wasn’t raging.

Anyway, I think it’s safe to assume all of you are enjoying this rare January sunshine. I sure hope you like it, because for the next 7 days or so skies will remain partly to mostly sunny with highs gradually making it into the low to mid 40s. Low temperatures will also slowly moderate to the low and mid 30s.

Now, if you think it’s been cold here, wait until you see some impressive pictures from Alaska’s most recent dramatic weather event. A warm, rainy system plowed through Anchorage on Monday, causing areas of flooding due to rapidly melting snow. What was interesting about this situation, however, is that it only took a matter of days before the snow came back and the roads iced up. Here are the results!

ice skating in anchoragewest anchorage ice

west anchorage rainbow

See, Anchorage seems to have caught on to our winter time patterns, except in reverse. Instead of going from snow to rain like us in Western Washington, they go from rain to snow. Pretty impressive (and dangerous!) patterns follow rain to snow events!

So there you have it. We are cold around here, but not THAT cold ;)

Have a great day everyone,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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

1-16-2013


Mostly sunny with no chance of rain

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

I have to admit, I feel a little bad for my poor “mostly sunny” weather icons. They don’t get to gradually fill their way into the forecast, they were pretty much forced against their will to come out of hibernation and brighten up the next seven days for us. I’m sure they would appreciate your warmest regards.

It has actually been quite a while since we’ve entered a winter pattern that has allowed so much sun time. The Seattle National Weather Service said this afternoon:

THE LAST TIME THERE WAS A DRY SPELL OF

A WEEK OR MORE IN JANUARY WAS BACK IN 2009 (11 DAYS, 13TH THROUGH THE

23RD FOR SEATAC)

Kind of sad, isn’t it? But hey, we’ll take what we can get. Although none of us saw much snow out of this cold pattern, it is still fairly unusual to transition back to a classically rainy/wet Washington winter without some sort of Hood Canal overrunning snow event. Who knows if we’ll actually skate by without any drama, but for the foreseeable future we’re going to be riding one big ridge of high pressure.

But don’t be fooled. With cool, northerly flow it will be hard to increase temperatures dramatically. In fact, it may be a few days until we get the 40s back on the record books. Low temperatures will also remain quite cold as they remain, for the most part, in the 20s.

Speaking of lows, did you know we hit 19 degrees at Bremerton Airport this morning? I’m sure some of you were colder, but usually when Western Washington gets below 20 degrees it all feels the same ;)

I’ll keep my eyes on the models, but in the meantime stay warm and safe out there!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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

1-12-2013

 


After the cold and snow comes the sun!

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

I will never pretend to understand the weather here, but I will always strive to predict it the best I can. The past month has featured some pretty crazy weather, and there appears to be a strange light at the end of the tunnel that I have a hard time trusting. Believe me, after spending two years in southern Africa I have seen my fair share of mirages!

But something tells me after Saturday’s overly complicated forecast we’ll take a break from our action-packed seven day forecast discussions and revert to cruise control. And let’s just say you won’t hear me complaining about it ;)

It was a cold day today with Bremerton Airport reporting a high of 36 degrees. Some of you reported a mix of rain/snow showers a couple times during the morning/afternoon hours, but for most of us it was a cold, showery January day in Western Washington. Temperatures will drop below freezing tonight, so watch out for slick spots! Skies will clear for the most part tomorrow, but don’t be fooled. Highs will still struggle to make it out of the 30s, with mid to upper 30s a common number around the peninsula.

And then there’s Saturday. Rumor has it we could see a widespread snow event on Saturday, and my honest opinion is…probably not. What it is looking like right now is a cold, partly to mostly cloudy day with the chance for some light snow showers. I still think some accumulations are possible, especially on the western half of Kitsap County, but this is in no way looking like a Hollywood blockbuster. Highs will stay in the 30s with icy lows in the 20s.

And you know, the darnedest thing happens after that. Skies will clear on Sunday which will pave the way for warming temperatures and a little string of partly to mostly sunny days through mid week next week. Highs will also get back to normal, if not slightly above. The main story will be the lack of precipitation over the next 7 days as a large area of high pressure builds in overhead.

I don’t hear many of you complaining about that ;) And I don’t know, if you ask me I still think we’ve got enough ammo in the jet stream to give us one more snow chance before winter is over.

Have a great evening!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

E-mail: forecastingkitsap@live.com

1-10-2013

 


Hood Canal WIND ADVISORY and a brief cooldown

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

**A WIND ADVISORY has been issued for the Hood Canal area from NOON today until to MIDNIGHT tonight. Click here for more details**

It’s going to be a very wet and breezy 48 hours as a strong Pacific storm rolls through the Western Washington lowlands. Thanks to the Kitsap Peninsula’s unique topography, it appears only the Hood Canal area will experience the strongest winds. Sustained winds of 30-39 mph can be expected, with gusts as high as 57 mph. But for most of us, it will just be another Washington winter soaker.

This system exits Wednesday evening, and behind it follows some cooler air. This won’t be a dramatic cool down by any means, but our overnight and early morning hours could certainly be cold enough to support periods of light snow or rain/snow through Friday night. However, we not only lose moisture after Wednesday, but this setup also isn’t prime for Kitsap snow. If a convergence zone sets up and extends west enough, north Kitsap could see a few slushy flakes. However, for most of us it will be dry and cold. Highs will be in the upper 30s with lows in the 20s and lower 30s.

Forecast models are currently struggling with Saturday’s system, and this one looks like it could be our snow-maker. Confidence in any snow forecast is low around here, but with the cold air already trapped in place, I don’t see how precipitation arriving in our neck of the woods wouldn’t at least start out as snow. Saturday’s potential snow is only worth mentioning for now, so stay tuned!

Past next weekend models have latched on to a generally cool and periodically wet pattern. It’s tough to say if we’ll be cool enough for any significant snow at this point, but to me this looks like mid December’s pattern. I do expect we’ll see a snow event before we warm up for good, though.

Stay warm and dry out there!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

E-mail: forecastingkitsap@live.com

1-8-2013


Get ready for some heavy rain and colder temperatures

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

chance of snow

In the weather world, 2013 has started off slow and seasonable. Latest weather models indicate that may not be the case much longer as we dive deeper into January. Remember when we talked about the implications of a neutral weather year (ie no La Nina or El Nino pattern)? This winter has lived up to its “wildcard” name, and it will continue to drag surprises under our feet from time to time.

There are several weather systems to keep an eye on, the first being tomorrow afternoon. Moderate, steady rain and warmer temperatures will move into the area around 1-2 pm tomorrow and last most of the night. Most areas around the peninsula will add up to anywhere from 0.30”-0.65” of rain by Monday morning. The flow switches westerly throughout the day Monday signaling a small rain shadow for large portions of the Kitsap peninsula.

TUESDAY: HEAVY RAIN AND POTENTIALLY STRONG WIND

Tuesday will be the day to watch in terms of precipitation. Locally heavy rain (most especially along the Hood Canal) will spread into the area early Tuesday and persist much of the day. How heavy? Hood Canal communities may come away with anywhere from 2-4” of rain before the event is over. Models are also hinting at some strong wind as well, although this will need to be monitored before more stock is put into how much wind and where. Temperatures will be seasonable, reaching the mid 40s.

WEDNESDAY-SATURDAY: COLDER, BUT WE ARE LOSING MOISTURE

Yes the rumors are true: we will be getting a little colder around here. However, nothing at this point is looking really impressive. Latest forecast models show little precipitation in the Wednesday-Saturday time frame with temperatures dropping into the 30s and lower 40s with overnight lows in the upper 20s/lower 30s.

So yes, it will be getting colder, but so far it doesn’t appear we’ll rival late December’s snow or cold temperatures. Right now it would be safe to bet on a few rain/snow showers late Wednesday night through next weekend, with an increased chance of sticking snow along the Hood Canal Friday/Saturday. Again, temperatures will still be marginal and we lose a lot of moisture, but the potential is there.

LONG RANGE: SOME SERIOUSLY COLD AIR COMING OUR WAY?

Although this upcoming week/weekend doesn’t look too prime for any dramatic snow or cold events, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing in the future to keep an eye on. Longer range forecast models (6-14 days out) have consistently suggested a colder, but drier weather pattern to take hold by week 3 of this month. While still too early to discuss details, consistency in the general theme of entering a fairly cold pattern in mid January has been impressive.

As always, I’ll keep my eye on these storms for you. In the meantime, be prepared for the next 72 hours to feature wet and potentially windy weather around here.

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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

1-5-2012.jpg



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Kitsap Weather 2012: Cloudy, cold and wet

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
sunset larry steagall

Amidst the relentless clouds and rain of 2012, Mother Nature gave us some rare opportunities to enjoy the scenery. Photo by: Larry Steagall, Manette Bridge, December 16th, 2012

**UPDATE 6:20 PM (1/3/2013): Some of you have reported periods of snow, mostly close to the Hood Canal. Temperatures are a couple degrees above freezing with dew points in the 20s, but this should not extend past midnight and accumulations, if any, will be light.**

I know what many of you are thinking: “When do we not have a cloudy, cold and wet year?” But wait until you see the numbers. 2012 was FAR from normal.

I’ve been busy the past couple days compiling information for a “year in review” blog post and while I do have some interesting data, it is hard to compare it to past years. Why? All we really have to go by (as far as official data is concerned) is the numbers spit out by the Bremerton National Airport (KPWT). Luckily the weather station only shut down on us twice this year, and only for a few days at a time. Other than that, weather records were preserved.

Earlier today I spoke to a meteorologist from the Seattle National Weather Service who said, “Despite insufficient [weather] records on the Kitsap Peninsula, most areas in Western Washington were between their 5th to 10th wettest years on record, and I don’t imagine Kitsap would have been the exception.”

olympic college rain

Photo by: Larry Steagall, November 2012 (Olympic College, Bremerton)

With that being said, let’s get started with what little I have ;) Meteorologists certainly had a fun year. We have seen:

Even if I was only in the country for half the year, it kept us on our toes! So how did we do in terms of average temperatures and precipitation? I’ll let the numbers speak for their cold and wet selves:

Bremerton (2012)

Monthly Rain

+/- Normal

Avg. Temp

+/- Normal

January

6.54”

-2.35”

36.1

-5.9

February

3.30”

-2.92”

39.4

-2.6

March

8.44”

+2.49”

39.7

-6.3

April

2.30”

-1.27”

43.1

-6.9

May

2.29”

-0.17”

48.6

-8.0

June

2.78”

+1.09”

53.0

-7.5

July

1.07”

+0.21”

60.4

-4.6

August

0.00”

-1.03”

64.4

-1.6

September

0.01”

-1.54”

58.2

-2.8

October

11.58”

+6.69”

50.0

-2.0

November

15.45”

+6.06”

43.1

-1.9

December

12.25”

+2.18”

37.8

-2.2

AVERAGE

66.01”

+9.44”

47.8

-4.4

Needless to say, it was a cold and wet year! Especially from March-July. Wow, a minus 8 departure? I had to check and re-check my numbers, but they proved consistent.

Amazingly, we didn’t set any record low temperatures! We did set two record high temperatures, however. 89 degrees on August 4th and 96 degrees on August 5th.

On the Kitsap Peninsula we average just over 56” of rain a year, but there are still many locations that average more. Take this precipitation map for example:

rainfall_wa

How about sunshine, snowfall, and cloud cover? Not too surprisingly, it has been a pretty cloudy year. I don’t have averages, but I do have the 2012 statistics:

  • Number of days with measurable rain: 149
  • Number of sunny/partly sunny days: 130
  • Number of overcast days (>70% cloud cover): 235
  • Number of days with measurable snow: 13
  • Number of days 80 degrees or hotter: 20
  • Number of days at 85 or hotter: 8
  • Number of days at 90 or hotter: 5

It has certainly been an great weather year. For more interesting statistics and cool photos, check out Scott Sistek’s 2012 weather in review.

Peeking ahead at the long range forecast, it appears we could enter a pretty cold string of weather in the next couple weeks. Obviously nothing is set in stone, but things look to be getting interesting again real soon.

In the short term, expect a rain through the weekend and into early next week before tapering off to showers. Highs will stay near normal in the low to mid 40s.

Have a great evening everyone, and let’s make it another great year!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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

1-3-2013

 


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