Monthly Archives: October 2009

Ingredients I Need to Make a 2009-2010 Winter Forecast

**WEATHER ALERT: A heavy rain band is going to be moving through the Kitsap area at around 6:00, dropping rain at a rate of half an inch an hour. Visibility will, at times, be low and driving conditions will be dangerous. Please take it easy this evening**


My inbox filled up over the past couple days inquiring my personal thoughts concerning this winter because of my most recent blog post about AccuWeather’s latest long range winter forecast. I’ve said many times before, I would take AccuWeather’s long range forecasts for the west coast with a grain of salt. Their east coast predictions aren’t too bad, considering they’re based on the east coast (who wouldathunk?)

But I am still compiling information that will ultimately result in my winter forecast which will be issued sometime early next month. Here are a few things I’m looking for before I make any rash predictions:

  • State of the PDO—September’s PDO number was 0.52, warmer than I think a lot of snow lovers wanted to see. We need that PDO to drop, and that will require a lot of cool water spreading along the west coast, dropping the SST’s (sea surface temperatures). In turn, the PDO will drop, making it easier to produce cold and snow here. I won’t know how the October PDO number will fare until the end of the month. Right now I’m getting a bit nervous. It has most certainly dropped from 0.54, but it may not stay below that number for long. We’ll see…
  • State of the El Nino—I’ve been teasing my readers with a “El Nino is Dying” blog post and I have so far neglected to do so. The main reason being, I have all the information I need, I just need to find enough time to write it all up. In short, the El Nino has weakened some and does not look to be nearly as strong as it seemed a few weeks back. That’s good news for snow lovers.
  • Analogs—I used 1951 and 1997 as analogs for my fall forecast. You can read my fall prediction here, and so far my analogs have been pretty good. From late September through now the prediction has been pretty dead on. This doesn’t mean the 1951 and 1997 analog will be the factor for this winter. Analogs can change from season to season.

So, at this current time I can’t give anyone a straight answer as to what to expect this winter until I have all the “ingredients” I need to make any claim. I will say this, however, I wouldn’t put much stock in AccuWeather or especially NOAA’s winter forecast. Their track record is less than impressive.


As for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver…there are signs that the weather situation will be extreme either way: extreme cold and snow or extreme warmth and bone dry. There is still certainly a very good chance this winter pulls through and delivers an epic Olympics in B.C., but again…only time will tell. If you can all wait for a couple more weeks, I’ll have a nice, thorough forecast produced.

I know that this didn’t necessarily answer any questions as to what this winter will produce, but at least this gave you an idea of what I’m still looking for in order to produce an accurate forecast.

FORECAST FOR THE NEXT 7 DAYS: Heavy rain will be the story tomorrow. We could have over an inch of rain in spots (from this ONE storm) tomorrow before all is said and done. Tomorrow will be a stormy, drenching day and could cause spots of flooding. We settle down for most of next week, but more storm systems, and some heavy, will return for the following weekend.

Have a great weekend and always feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or suggestions you may have,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap


113 Releases Final 2009-2010 Winter Outlook

I guess the NOAA is going to release their winter outlook sometime later today or tomorrow, but we all know what they’re going to say: “above normal temperatures with below normal precipitation” in the Pacific Northwest. And you know what? For the past several years they’ve been blowtorching the Northwest, only to get blowtorched themselves year after year.

So the government-based weather organization is going to get a bit of a snub from me because they’ve flubbed way too many times to be taken seriously. And while is not exactly the best source for long range weather (in my opinion, of course) they tend to be a little more accurate. Here’s their latest 2009-2010 weather outlook for temperatures and precipitation: 



Hey snow lovers…can you say “Ouch”?! If this forecast comes true, we would experience the dullest winter since 2002-2003. I guess given what we’ve been slipping and sliding through since 2006, we’re about due. But still…I’m not liking this forecast 🙁

I have to say, though, I’m not exactly agreeing with this forecast, and that isn’t because I’m biased. AccuWeather is east coast based, meaning it spends most of its time forecasting for the east coast, and very little time on the west coast, which is why their forecast accuracy for us isn’t necessarily the best. My winter outlook will come out later this month into November, but I must say, my fall forecast is verifying pretty well so far!

Moving on, within the past 24 hours Bremerton Airport has picked up 0.41” of rain! It was an extremely wet and dangerous morning. I hyrdoplaned into work! Literally…I almost wiped out on the highway…not fun. BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!

More heavy rain is in the forecast later tomorrow through Friday before lighter, normal Washington rain returns for the weekend with sunbreaks.

Have a fantastic day!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at:



Rainy, “Mild” Week Ahead

Brief post this evening—

We have a wet week on tap! The rain gauge was largely unimpressive today with only 0.05” of rain recorded. Well…I suppose “unimpressive” is relative, because by the end of the week 0.05” will seem like drizzle.

Some tropical moisture is going to be aimed right at us for your Wednesday so be prepared for some breezy conditions and a moderate, steady rain for your morning commute. The rain will turn to showers and some sunbreaks are likely by the afternoon. Highs will be milder than today due to the tropical nature of this storm, averaging near 60.

A calm start to your Thursday will give way to periods of moderate to heavy rain that will last through Friday before a *mostly* pleasant weekend takes hold.

Sorry for the late, boring and brief post guys! I’ve been quite busy lately!




How Cold Did it Get Last Night?


Photo by: Anonymous; taken in Lake Geneva, Switzerland after a massive ice storm

Well it didn’t get THAT cold 😉

I’ll say one thing: Bremerton Airport did not break any records for yesterday and is not likely to break the record of 28 degrees tonight. But I don’t think that really mattered to a lot of you: it was plain cold this morning!

Several locations across the peninsula recorded temperatures in the 20s with a 26 degree reading in Seabeck, 27 degrees in Shelton and 29 degrees in Port Orchard. Others of you stayed in the 30s all night, and Bremerton Airport was one of those locations. The station dipped to 30 degrees early this morning, still very much qualifying for a solid freeze. Some folks, however, didn’t even make it to freezing. This was likely because of low elevation or exposure to wind which typically mixes out the colder air.

We still have another cold night on tap with lows in the 20s still possible for some locations, though most of us will stay near freezing tonight—again, not like when you’re standing outside that makes much of a difference! Clouds are streaming into the area which will prevent temperatures from falling too far. The record low for Monday is 37 degrees set in 1997, and I’m pretty sure we will break that.

Columbus Day will feature mostly cloudy skies with continued cool temperatures in the low to mid 50s, but it will be dry. The rain moves in overnight which will continue through Tuesday with some breezy conditions. The rain won’t be very heavy, but it will definitely be enough to move whatever you’re doing outside, inside. Temperatures will still remain cool in the mid to upper 50s.

Wednesday and Thursday are both wet, but Thursday will be the wettest of the two with increasingly heavier rain as the day progresses.

Friday we cut back on the rain amounts but a much wetter storm system blows through early Saturday morning dumping some heavy rain. The rest of your Saturday, however, doesn’t look too bad, just a typical breezy, moist October day.

Now I’ve been meaning to write a post on El Nino and how it is weakening. I’m still working on it and will hopefully post about it tomorrow or Tuesday. For now, have a great evening!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at:



Cold Snap Update #2: Challenging Records Tonight

**UPDATE 7:10 PM—The NWS has issued a SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT highlighting the freezing temperatures this weekend and stormy week ahead. Click here to read the statement**

It turned out to be a pretty cloudy day today which some of you may have been disappointed with, but the cloud layer was very thin and it didn’t rain a drop, so today wasn’t really THAT bad outdoor-wise. It was a chilly one though, with the Bremerton Airport recording a high of 55 degrees.

You’ve no doubt noticed the clouds clearing out this evening and they’ll continue to disperse as the night wears on. With the very dry air, clearing skies and calm winds tonight, low temperatures will likely dip into the 20s in spots across the peninsula, mainly along the Hood Canal/Seabeck areas and other locations with decent elevation. As long as those clouds stay away, we should have a hard freeze tomorrow morning. Frost likely won’t be an issue because of how dry the airmass is, but it will be frigid either way.

The record for this date is 30 degrees set in 2008 (wait a second…last year?!) and the record low for tomorrow is 28 degrees also set in 2008. We’ll get awfully close to these records over the next two nights, and if we do break them it won’t be by much. But I am expecting a low in the 20s to be recorded at the Bremerton Airport sometime this weekend. We’ll see exactly when, won’t we? 😉

Tomorrow will be mostly sunny (unlike today!) with highs struggling to reach the mid 50s. This is a seriously cold air mass moving into our region, so bundle up if you plan on going out tomorrow!

After another cold, frigid October morning we warm up just a tad Monday and stream in a few more clouds ahead of our next active weather pattern for this upcoming week. Plan on a bit of rain Tuesday, but the bigger story will be the gusty winds. A strong low pressure system will be swinging along our coast Tuesday and Wednesday, resulting in very windy conditions. This is also a milder storm, so highs will get back to seasonal norms by then.

Another storm approaches Thursday with breezy winds and temps near 60. Rain and cloudy skies look to persist through the weekend.

And, looking into the long range, we could be getting a “nice” dumping of rain over the next little while. Like I’ve said over and over again: the pendulum never ceases to stop swinging!

Have a great weekend,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at:



Cold Snap Update #1: Freeze, then Wind and Rain


We’re still on board for a very cold pattern to settle in the area over the weekend. The models have been getting colder and colder with each run, so if you’re a fan of New England-type fall weather, go out and enjoy it this weekend!

Weekend high temperatures will be very chilly with Saturday only managing a high in the mid 50s despite sunshine all day, thanks to a persistent cold, northerly breeze. In fact, we could see wind gusts of 20 mph or so. Sunday will be even colder with highs topping out in the upper 40s to low 50s under sunny skies. Get out and do some pumpkin shopping! Overnight lows will be something to watch, too. It looks like lows in the 30s tonight, but possibly 20s early Sunday/Monday morning.

Depending on where you are and your elevation, you could have an overnight low as cold as 24 or as “warm” as 34 degrees. Either way, it’ll be downright cold! I’m betting Bremerton sinks into the 20s Sunday or Monday.

Columbus Day Monday looks partly sunny but still chilly with highs only making it in the low to mid 50s, but a significant warm front blows through the area on Tuesday bringing some decent rain and wind. The brunt of this rainstorm will be to our north and south (California needs it more than we do!), but we’ll still feel the effects! Highs will rise to the upper 50s.

Rain, clouds and periods of sun rule the remainder of the forecast—pretty typical October weather. Highs will be in the upper 50s to possibly mid 60s on Friday as a surge of warmer air vists our region.

Have a great Friday night!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap




**WEATHER ALERT: Arctic Cold and Lows in the 20s to Strike Kitsap


*EDIT: I edited the title to this post…it appears there was a misunderstanding. Kitsap low temperature WILL NOT dip as low as 20 degrees. By 20 degree temperatures, I meant temperatures in the 20s, but I see how that was confusing.

“There you go again, Matt! Using dramatic language to ignite hysteria among your readers!”

But remember, I don’t dramatize weather events on this blog. You can go to AccuWeather for that (heh heh 😉 ) This is the “No Spin Zone” when it comes to weather details. Folks, we not only made history with the cold earlier this month but we’re about to do it again, except in a MUCH more dramatic January-like fashion.

Over the past few days weather models have been forcing some unseasonably cold weather from Canada further and further west, resulting in an early season cold snap that will ensure you get your first hard freeze this weekend just in case you missed your chance this past week. Take a look at the most recent temperature map for early Sunday morning. It shows lows in the mid 20s to low 30s across Kitsap—nearly 20 degrees below normal!


And on top of that, we can expect daytime highs over the weekend only to rise to the low and mid 50s, possibly only upper 40s in some locations. BUT, it will be sunny and crisp so no snow yet and it will still be perfect pumpkin patch weather!

Many professionals are calling this blast of winter-like arctic air the earliest in recorded history, with the closest tie to 1949 when something very similar to this happened. As some of you may know, 1949-1950 was among the snowiest and coldest winters in recorded history for the Seattle area and many other locations in the Northwest.

Weather models want to warm us up a tad early next week but we also bring back the rain and wind. Temps next week will average in the mid 50s with periods of rain. Nothing too heavy right now, just plain ol’ Washington rain. Good news is, the mountains will be seeing snow next week!

Stay tuned to this blog for updates. Is it still possible for models to completely change tune? Yes. After all, this event is EXTREMELY rare and the slightest change in wind direction could change everything. Just note: no matter what happens, it will still be very chilly this upcoming weekend!!!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at:



Record Low Temperatures Set!


Some of you may think I’m insane for putting an exclamation point at the end of the blog title, but I’m a big fan of cold weather, especially when records are set. And it turns out, the past few nights have indeed been record cold.

Yesterday Bremerton set a record low of 35º, breaking the old record of 39º in 2001.

This morning many areas across the peninsula recorded their first frosts with an overnight low of 33º, breaking the old record of 42º set in 1997. We completely SHATTERED that record!

We’ll probably continue to set new overnight temperatures over the coming days as good radiational cooling and long nights will lead to some unseasonably frigid mornings. But because of the strong ridge of high pressure overhead, we can expect mild days with highs in the low to mid 60s. These are prime conditions for BEAUTIFUL fall color! Remember October 2008? We may have a repeat of that this year!

A beautiful weekend is on tap before another string of cold, wet weather systems affect the region next week.

Remember, I’ll be doing a blog post tomorrow about our weakening El Nino and what opportunities that may mean for those snow enthusiasts!

Have a great day,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Have any blog ideas? E-mail me at:



First Frost of the Season Tonight?


Some of you have probably already had your first frost, as the Shelton and Olympia areas recorded a low of 30 degrees this morning. Bremerton *only* got down to 35, but that’s still a good 10+ degrees below normal. And due to the clear skies and calm winds tonight you can count on a very cold night and morning tomorrow.

In fact, it’s been so cold there are already Winter Weather Advisories in Montana and Wyoming highlighting snow potential. Even Bend, Oregon recently received some snow. Hmmm…not very El Nino-like. More on that in a second.

For now, expect more sunshine ALL WEEK with highs in the low to mid 60s which is seasonably mild. Lows will be in the low to mid 30s due to the calm winds and clear skies. I guess that’s the price we must pay for beautiful afternoon sunshine!

Any rain lovers out there? Our next shot at some decent rain doesn’t look likely until a week from now so be patient! It’s coming… 🙂

Tomorrow I’ll be doing an El Nino update which may surprise many of you. I’ll give you a hint: it’s dying. (!)

Have a great evening!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Do you have blog ideas? E-mail them to me at:



Perfect Pumpkin Picking Weather!


Ahhh…what a gorgeous day! I would say this is the definition of a perfect fall day, but there’s one thing that has been getting on my nerves: the wind. I love windstorms, but when the wind constantly blows on a day like this it kinda ruins the moment. Aside from that, the high today only reached 54 degrees which is 11 degrees below normal after a low of 37. Crisp, fall days are my favorite!

Tomorrow will be similar, except maybe a bit warmer with highs nearing 60. If you haven’t gone to the local pumpkin patch, I suggest you go sometime between today and this upcoming Friday. After that we get back into a pretty wet and cold pattern so pick up those pumpkins while you can!…unless you like being wet while doing it, then by all means, go the following week! 😉

Overall, expect a very pleasant week this week for any outdoor plans you may have. Highs will range from the low 60s earlyt his week to possibly near 70 by the end. Don’t you just love the variability?

Have a fantastic weekend,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at:

The 7 day forecast map is not functioning at the time. Sorry for the inconvenience!