Monthly Archives: January 2009

Yes It Looks Cold, But Not December 2008 Cold

So…a transition from fog to maybe a little bit of snow? Mother Nature likes to keep things interesting, that’s for sure!

The forecast for tonight through Friday night will be very familiar to those who have been living here the past week. Now say it with me: “Mostly cloudy skies with some morning fog. Highs will be in the 30s to lower 40s.” I think that when this pattern actually snaps out of it, us Kitsapers aren’t going to know what to do with ourselves. Save for a few days of sunshine this month (not even consecutively!) it’s been a pretty dark and cold month. And for those who love that kind of stuff (ok, I’ll admit it…I love cold and dark weather) better get ready for some more!

DAY 1 OF ARCTIC SEEPAGE (Saturday): This is not going to be an impressive day for cold: highs in the mid to upper 30s around the area…pretty much what we’ve been experiencing the past few days under the inversion. It’s Saturday night that looks a bit more interesting as some of that northerly air spills into the Kitsap area, dropping low temperatures in the the upper 20s to lower 30s. The big question is: how much moisture will we have to work with when the cold air arrives? Right now, it’s looking like a pretty small event: maybe a few flurries or light snow showers. Nothing of big concern at this moment. If you happen to be traveling south of Olympia Saturday night or Sunday, however, be prepared for an icy commute with a couple inches possible.

DAY 2 OF ARCTIC SEEPAGE (Sunday): Sunday will be the coldest day: highs will be in the low to mid 30s. Some models are completely dry, have very light snow amounts or have moderate snow amounts. At this time, expect a chance for light snow in the morning hours shutting off by mid day as skies clear. This system will certainly need to be watched closely as new developments could make this situation more interesting. Best thing to do right now? Be prepared for anything!

DAY 3 OF ARCTIC SEEPAGE (Monday): Monday morning will be the coldest morning of the next 7 days. By the time most people wake up in the morning, low temperatures will be in the mid 20s, so plan accordingly! We should see enough sun Monday afternoon to make most people happy and *warmer*, but high temperatures will likely stay in the 30s again, though a few degrees warmer than Sunday.

And then Tuesday and beyond starts like a warming trend…for now. It was looking like showers and seasonable temperatures would dominate the forecast for the rest of next week, but the most recent run of models suggests we may stay quite chilly (highs in the 30s) through the rest of next week and beyond with low snow levels. Right now, I’ll keep highs cooler than normal with a chance for a few light *rain* showers mid week.

Stay tuned as always! This winter is still full of surprises…

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather


Weathermen Love To Use The “S” Word!

…I’m not talking about when the forecast goes wrong, I’m talking about the white stuff! Buckle your seat belts…

“Change” is an undeniably popular word these days and I guess it only makes sense that the weather is included in the definition. I talked a few days ago about the trends this fall and winter season have followed: extreme cold (December), extreme warmth (November), extreme rain (January) and extreme snow (December). Of course many want to know where we’re headed next and my answer is: come along for the ride, cause we may get extreme again!

Before we get to the massive change in the forecast, let’s take care of tonight through Friday night. Look for continued mostly cloudy skies accompanied by morning fog with high temperatures in the low to mid 40s and low temperatures in the low to mid 30s. Of course, some sunbreaks are in the forecast as well so that should help keep temperatures from remaining TOO cold.

Now on to this weekend. As expected, there are several scenarios that could come into play from Saturday through Sunday night that may make all the difference when talking about the longevity of some cold air and even a little bit of snow—yup, I said it.

**Some cold air bottled up in BC seeps into northern Washington Friday night and invades the main Kitsap area by Saturday night. This is the first step in bringing the “s” word back into the forecast. There are three scenarios**:

  • An area of low pressure forms just off the coast of Vancouver Island which could spell an inch or two of snow around the county—OR:
  • Some moisture spills into the area before the really cold air arrives, bringing only hills around Kitsap a chance at some wet snow (maybe accumulations of an inch or so) while lower elevations get a cold rain or a rain/snow mix—OR:
  • A convergence zone sets up shop, giving the northern Kitsap Peninsula the best shot at some accumulating snow.

Basically, stay tuned to this blog for more updates on this potential snow event as it may grow or shrink in size over the next couple of days. Overall, SaturDAY looks mostly cloudy and chilly with highs in the upper 30s and lower 40s. SaturNIGHT is when the snow potential comes into play. Lows SaturNIGHT will be in the mid 20s to lower 30s: again, this all depends on the amount of cold air we have to work with.

SunDAY—I mean, Sunday looks to be the coldest of the next 7 days as some of the cold air really settles in here. Highs will be in the low to mid 30s under mostly cloudy skies, and it looks like we may even see some light snow or rain during the afternoon, but models have been having a really tough time deciding how much moisture to give us. Just keep your eyes peeled!

The chance for a bit of light snow remains in the forecast for Sunday night, though the likelihood decreases because the precip decreases. Lows will be cold—mid 20s looks like a good bet right now.

Current models are saying we should warm into the upper 30s and lower 40s again for at least half of next week with even a partly sunny day advertised for Monday. By Wednesday, a batch of light precip moves into the area, but at this time it looks like temperatures may rise into the lower 40s by the time it arrives, so it looks to be just rain. Again, stay tuned. I expect that forecast to change…

The long range models have been toying with the idea of bringing back the cold air and snow potential later next week into the first week of February, so it appears that whatever warming we do get within the next 10 days or so will be short lived.

Stay tuned! A lot can change between now and the weekend.

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather


Uh-Oh…Look Who’s Coming to Visit the Forecast Again…


Among other things, I was hoping “change” would be in store for our weather today. Unfortunately, this was not the case and we were stuck in the clouds and fog. That helped temperatures stay in the 30s today with a high of 38º recorded at the Emerald Heights Elementary weather station in Silverdale. Can you believe that just two days ago we reached 60º? It wouldn’t surprise me to see a rise in sicknesses around the area due to the fluctuating temperatures.

And, to pour more salt on the wound, a stage 2 burn ban is in effect for Kitsap County. There is a link at the top of the page for more information.

Tomorrow and Thursday will continue the theme of low clouds and fog hanging around through most of the day. Again, it’ll be a lottery the next couple days as to who gets the most sunshine. As of now, it’s pretty difficult to say. One thing is for sure—it’ll be chilly. Lows both nights will be in the upper 20s to lower 30s with highs mainly in the 30s with 40s in areas that break out in the sunshine. (I am SO ready for this pattern to be over!)

Friday is also cloudy and cool with highs in the low to mid 40s.

This weekend is still looking to be a chilly one with highs in the upper 30s to lower 40s. Models have been horrendously inconsistent as to whether or not we’ll be dry or wet, but at this current time it looks mostly dry. Overnight on Saturday snow levels will drop to 500′-1000′ so any precip that falls will likely bet in the form of wet snow on the higher Kitsap hills. Right now it doesn’t look incredibly likely, but thought I’d mention the chance! Just watch out because it’ll be slick regardless. Lows will be in the lower 30s. Sunday looks to be colder than Saturday with highs dropping off into the 30s, so it’ll definitely feel like a winter day out there.

Monday continues the theme of mostly cloudy skies and cool temperatures somewhere near 40º, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bit more clearing.

Tuesday and beyond look very interesting according to the latest model guidance. Details are quite sketchy, but if trends continue, some sloppy precip accompanied by some rather chilly temperatures look quite possible. And what better timing! High school finals are next week. Someone has been saying their prayers 😀

Stay warm!

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather

P.S. Due to the Inauguration being broadcast throughout the whole school today, I was unable to get my video forecast filmed. I’ll do it tomorrow!!


Forecasting Kitsap: A White Christmas Forecast Two Weeks Out?!

It’s Tuesday, so that means more tales of adventure regarding forecasting weather in the Kitsap area! As many know, snow in the Northwest is an incredibly complex and often frustrating weather pattern to predict around here. What is even more complex than predicting snow for any given day in the winter? Predicting snow for Christmas.

Historically, Seattle has a 7% chance of at least 1” of snow on the ground on Christmas morning. Bremerton has a slightly higher chance: 10%. With that given information, it should be easily understandable that predicting a white Christmas—even if it’s 5 days out—is a stressful thing.

I’ve mentioned before that I forecast the weather for the Central Kitsap High School broadcasts and I even send my forecasts to Ridgetop Junior High. After the floods occured on December 3rd, 2007, I began to study weather models religiously. Every 6 hours new data rolled in and I was there to greet it…every…step…of…the…way. Yes, it was exhausting, but I was (and still am!) passionate about forecasting weather, especially severe events like flooding, snow, cold, etc.

I began to notice a development in the weather models on Tuesday, December 11th that made my heart skip a little—a cold and snowy Christmas was in the forecast. Yeah, it was quite a ways out there in la la land, but the Friday broadcast was approaching…should I say something? Then, every 6 hours for two more days models advertised cold and snow for Christmas. This was incredible consistency! Finally, the morning of my weather forecast I checked the models one more time. Yup…still calling for snow.

I finally put a rain/snow mix on my long range forecast map for Christmas. But here’s where the public gets sorta funny. Even if there’s a rain/snow mix on the map, most people translate that as several inches of snow. Every time. If a weatherman predicts rain/snow and people get rain/snow, the weatherman is in trouble because it didn’t stick. Funny, but true.

When the word was leaked on Friday, December 14th, 2007 that snow could fall on Christmas, the whole school was in a buzz. I even had students threaten me—in a joking way of course—saying if it didn’t snow on Christmas, they’d be at my door with pitchforks. The rest of the following week was quite intense for me, especially when I checked the models on Monday, December 17th:

The forecast called for a sunny and warm Christmas day: highs in the 50s, even.

My heart sank. Oh great!! My family’s safety was in jeopardy! My safety was in jeopardy! I told myself to calm down as I waited another 6 hours for the models to come around…

Nope. Still warm and dry, though not as warm with highs forecasted to be in the upper 40s. I was still tense as I went through school hoping and praying the models would come around.

Finally, on Wednesday, December 19th the models advertised cold and snow again. This time, Christmas wasn’t in la la land—it was less than a week away!

When model consistency continued through Friday, I included snow in my forecast again: this time, plain snow. No rain. Uh-oh.

Now the stakes were high, and I was afraid I’d land on one of those stakes if the forecast didn’t end up as predicted. Remarkably, the snow forecast remained consistent, and it snowed 3” on Christmas Day. We exceeded the 1” requirement of a White Christmas by 2 full inches! Seattle even got a couple inches.

And, what is more remarkable, is I forecasted a white Christmas this year too. A week ahead of time! And, the models were even more consistent this year than in 2007. Two White Christmas’s in a row? We may have to boost up that 10% chance!

The moral of the story is: even though weather forecasting is a challenging and stressful job, it is very fun and thrilling. Especially when long range forecasts go as planned!!

Well, enjoy the day today. The fog is quite thick around the area, but don’t worry! We’ll clear out…

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather

The “Extreme” Fall and Winter of 2008-2009

This winter isn’t over yet, but as of now, many meteorologists are calling this past fall and present winter as an “extreme” one. Here are some examples:

  • September 2008: Extremely dry and mild. The first 18 days of the month were bone dry with 0.00” of rain in the rain gauge. The whole month only ended up being 48% of the average precipitation amount for the month, which is 1.63”.
  • October 2008: Despite the wet beginning to the month, most of October 2008 was quite cool and dry which created the beautiful tree coloration. In fact, mid October had a prolonged period of cold overnight low temperatures, bringing Shelton down to 27º on the 11th, breaking the previous record of 29º in 1994. Western Washington usually receieves the first frost on November 10th…this year, it was a month early. Now that’s extreme!
  • November 2008: This month was dubbed “The Mushroom Month” because it was extremely mild (4º+ above normal as far as temperatures are concerned) and rather moist…at least the first half. The second half was abnormally dry. Again, prolonged extreme periods of dry, wet, and mild.
  • December 2008: The first part of the month was moist with very mild temperatures. This lasted for almost two weeks before the “Arctic Blast of 2008” hit the region, dropping low temperatures and snow for about two weeks. Again: extreme!
  • January 2009: The first week or so of this month featured snow, ice, and flooding with now a prolonged period of dry (and mild or cold depending on where you were) weather regime.

It’s rather amazing to look back and see how almost every weather pattern we’ve experienced this winter has been an extreme or prolonged event. This probably makes most wonder: what’s next after this ridgy pattern? That’s where the forecast comes in 🙂

Tonight will be another frosty one as lows get down into the mid 20s and lower 30s. Tomorrow will be mostly clear, but it’ll be hazy in some locations due to the pollutants/stagnant air around. Largely, though, it should end up being very similar to today. Highs will be in the upper 40s to lower 50s.

Wednesday we bring in a few more clouds and cool the temperatures a tad into the mid and upper 40s.

Thursday now looks partly sunny with, again, cooler highs in the low to mid 40s. Don’t you love it when the forecast changes for the better? 🙂 Actually, rain chances for Thursday are greatly diminishing so if you have any outdoor plans that day, cancellations don’t look likely.

Friday through this weekend still looks rather chilly with clouds, light rain showers and highs in the upper 30s to lower 40s.

The extended forecast looks to fit this winter’s pattern well with what looks like a prolonged period of  potentially colder and wetter weather setting up shop with low snow levels, meaning more snow for the mountains. And how about snow down here? Err…I’m not quite ready to talk about that just yet 😉

Have a fantastic week,

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather


Are We in Denver?: A 32º Spread Today

What a beautiful sight it was this morning! I woke up to crystal clear skies and a frosty lawn. The frost didn’t last long, though, because the temperatures warmed rapidly today. How warm? My station recorded 60º on the button with a low of 28º—a 32º spread. How do you dress for that kind of weather, you ask? Dress in layers 🙂 The official Bremerton station recorded 57º with a low of 28º, but regardless, this was an impressive day for numbers! This reminds me of the weather in Denver…

Anyway, we all saw abundant sunshine today and we’ll do the same thing tomorrow! There’s, of course, a chance for some areas of fog tomorrow morning (especially near the water), but that will quickly burn off to sunny skies and highs in the low to mid 50s. It should be a cooler day tomorrow if models are correct, but a couple other models are suggesting we reach the upper 50s to near 60º again. I’m sure there won’t be a lot of complaints if we do!

Sunshine is a bit more filtered for Tuesday, but we should see plenty of it with highs in the 40s. Partial sunshine is the story for Wednesday, but clouds and showers return for the rest of the week into the first part of the weekend while the last half of the weekend looks like an improvement. Highs from Wednesday through next Sunday look very chilly: 30s to lower 40s.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Enjoy the sunshine while it’s here and have a great Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather


Weekly Entertainment: The Credibility of Weathermen

It is Sunday, so that means it’s time for some entertainment. This video was produced last year and the idea came after someone asked me, “What makes a weatherman credible?” So, to make this video extra fun, I went around the school and asked some staff members the question, “What is the credibility of weathermen?”

Enjoy the beautiful sunshine!

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather

How Long is the Sun Going to Stick Around?

I know many of you appreciated the sunshine today. A sunny day is my 3rd favorite weather event in the winter time. 2nd? Windstorms. 1st? Cold and snow. So, Matt, are we going to see any more sun or is it going to get shy and hide behind more clouds tomorrow?

First, let’s take care of tonight. Lows will be in the lower 30s due to clear skies, so frost and fog will be something to watch out for. Much like today, we’ll start out with low clouds and fog burning away to partly and maybe even mostly sunny skies tomorrow. Though our inversion has weakened, it is not gone, so the cloud forecast will be a still be a tough one. Highs will also be similar to today: low and mid 40s.

Partial sunshine after decreasing clouds looks good for MLK Day and Tuesday before the clouds and showers return for the middle part of the week through next weekend. It also looks cooler with highs in the upper 30s to lower 40s, and this is without the help of an inversion! So, it appears the winter-like feel outside will continue.

The even longer range continues it’s cool/chilly forecast.

Enjoy the sunshine!

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather