Monthly Archives: May 2012

**PHOTOS: Stormy South Africa

Before we get to some pictures of an intense autumn storm that hit Port Elizabeth, SA last year, let’s cover something a few of you have asked about: why have the comments been blocked from my blog post? As I’m sure you’ve noticed, this blog has been bombarded by spam comment after spam comment, amounting to…get this, 14,274 pending spam comments. And that’s not including the ones that have been mysteriously approved over time. I am in the process of deleting as many as time allows, so in the  meantime if you have any comments or questions, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me at: I will definitely get back to you!

In February 2011 (the southern hemisphere’s autumn time) I was in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, which is on the eastern side of the cape. While doing missionary work one evening, we decided to go home a little early due to some severe weather that developed just an hour or so before. Of course, we couldn’t leave without taking a few photos of the lightning!

R67 on the way to Despatch, SA (photo taken by Matt Leach)
photo by: Matt Leach

Fortunately for us, all the major storms in this part of the world are hugging the east coast and all we have to worry about is a little rain coming in from a weak system that will continue into tomorrow. Highs reached near 70 today, but tomorrow will be dramatically cooler in the low 60s.

This weekend we’ll see periods of rain and sunbreaks with highs in the low 60s, and it isn’t until later NEXT week that we see signs of more seasonable weather. Monday through Friday of next week look partly sunny with showers and gradually warmer temperatures in the mid to upper 60s. So not a real wash-out by any means.

Have a great evening everyone!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap





Maple syrup season impacted by mild weather

Maple syrup being boiled in an outdoor boiling kettle. Photo courtesy of Betsy Thigpen.

You can tell the weather is dull around here when we start introducing stories about a disruption to maple syrup season 😉 I found this article from very interesting. To read the full article, click here. I will only paste a portion of it:

Early warming in March cut the maple syrup season in New Hampshire short.

Bodie Peters, President of the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association, said, “We had a mild winter with not a lot of snow in New Hampshire. At the start of the sugar season at my house, the ground wasn’t even frozen and the snow wasn’t even up to the tops of my boots.”

Ideally, a very cold winter will put the maple trees into a dormant state. During this time, the sap is stored until the spring when it will flow from the roots of the tree to carry water and nutrients to the rest of the tree.

When winter begins to change to spring, maple syrup producers look for nights below freezing and days with temperatures between 38 and 44 degrees, according to Chris Pfeil, owner of The Maple Guys in Lyndeborough, N.H.

When the tree warms above freezing, pressure builds up and causes the sap to flow out of the tree through tap holes. The maple producers collect the sap in a bucket. Once they collect enough, they either boil or evaporate the sap to remove the water, leaving the sugar. What remains is the maple syrup, according to

At night, when the temperature goes below freezing, some of the sap in the tree freezes. This process helps to create suction in the tree. The suction causes water to be drawn up from the roots. The water helps to replenish the sap.

When the temperatures begin to stay above freezing, the tree sap stops flowing.

The maple syrup season usually runs from mid-February until mid-April.

In this part of the country, the month of March was actually quite a bit colder than normal with periods of snow! Interesting how the weather also effects the production of sap.

Anyway, the weather this week looks pretty cloudy with periods of showers, although sunbreaks are in order from time to time. Tomorrow clouds will increase ahead of a wet weather system pegged to move through the area later in the afternoon. Highs will have time to warm to the mid 60s, but because of the cloud cover, it will stunt the temperatures from getting much beyond that. The weekend looks average with clouds, showers and highs in the 60s.

Enjoy the evening!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

So far the month of May running just slightly colder and wetter than normal

After reviewing Seattle’s climate data on, a reliable summary of Seattle’s climate since January 1998, I found a few interesting things about the month of May so far:

  • The mean average temperature of Seattle during the month of May is only 55.7 degrees, and the current monthly temperature is just shy of that, running at 55.0. And although it seems like we’ve been through a lot more, the monthly rainfall total, which averages out around 1.68”, is at 1.89”.
  • The lack of sunshine we’ve received so far this month is also on par with how things have been the past 4 years, as the last time we saw a comparatively warm and dry May was back in 2008. Every May since then has been fairly wet and cool.

Does this have any correlation with how the summer will turn out? Not necessarily. Usually seasonal trends have an effect on the current season we’re in, but as far as a spring weather pattern dictating how our summer will be…well, it isn’t a reliable thing to gamble with.

I will say that aside from a few spurts of mild weather here and there, we look to be entering into a rather cool weather pattern that will last the next couple weeks. Tomorrow will be one of those days to catch up on any outside chores that didn’t get done this weekend as skies will be partly sunny with highs in the mid to upper 60s.

For Wednesday and Thursday we’ll roll the clouds back in and introduce some more steady showers with highs remaining seasonable in the mid 60s. This next weekend doesn’t look too great at this point as showers and clouds will continue to move through the area, but the good news is it seems by the time we end the weekend, we run out of moisture and although we’ll be drier, it will also be cool with highs near 60.

I don’t know about you, but I’d save a few of these days for your memory bank come this summer. I’ll call it now…you’ll wish we had one of these days after we experience a decent string of hot weather over the next few months! 🙂

Have a great day tomorrow!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap 

72 degrees today, warmer tomorrow

Working at an orthodontics office today, I heard many times, “Oh, this is perfect weather!” Admittedly, I couldn’t wait to get out of the office and enjoy what so many were calling “perfection”. After work today I got on my bike and took advantage of the beautiful weather. I think these past two years I have taken for granted the fact Washington has low humidity in the summers. In fact, today was only around 35%, making it feel a lot drier than it has been the past few days.

If you liked today, you’ll LOVE tomorrow as highs will rise in the low and mid 70s again. This time I expect we’ll see readings near 75 in Bremerton, if not warmer in many other locations. The forecast problem for the remainder of the weekend and the upcoming week is…well, the same problem we’ve faced the past several days, which will be rain showers, partly to mostly cloudy skies and highs in the mid to upper 60s.

Monday will be the “rainy” day if there is to be any this upcoming week, although any rain this week won’t add up to much and shouldn’t be a washout by any means. Showers will be off and on through the week.

Hope you all have a great memorial day weekend! Stay tuned for a long range weather prediction for this summer (June-September 2012) coming within the next couple of days!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Memorial Day weekend looking picture perfect

Yesterday, I compared Cape Town weather with Kitsap weather and I think I’ll do a little more comparing today. Although I loved the coastal regions of South Africa where I served as a missionary, I wouldn’t recommend it to any storm chaser or weather fanatic. As my parents would tell me of all the great snow, wind or rain storms that would barrel into the west coast during the winter, I would cringe and try to not to think about the 110 degree weather I was experiencing outside.

Of course, one thing I suppose I took for granted in South Africa is the steadiness of the weather patterns. You could easily forecast out seven days and have 6/7 days spot on. The “cape” of Africa is termed the “cape” of storms, but such storms are easier to predict and when they blow through, you have to wait no more than a few hours before the storm rolls away.

Unfortunately, lately the weather models in our neck of the woods are shying away from a long range warm spell like it was teasing us with yesterday, but rest assured your Memorial Day weekend looks…dare I say it?…steady. I know many of your have been praying for a warm, dry weekend and, as long as you’re not too picky on what consitutues as warm, Friday and Saturday look remarkable! Highs both days will be near 70 with partly to mostly sunny skies. Thinking about mowing the lawn? These two days will be your best bet.

Sunday through Wednesday looks rather seasonable, just not impressive when compared to this weekend. Highs will dip slightly to the mid and upper 60s, but the most dramatic difference will be the increase in cloud cover and increasing chance of rain, especially on Wednesday of next week.

The longer range models are a bit disappointing to say the least. It appears we’ll be stuck in a rather cool and showery pattern for a while, which could mean a slighly delayed start to summer.

At least the weather pattern is getting steadier! 🙂

Have a great evening,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Light at the end of the tunnel

I don’t know about you, but I felt cold the whole day today! Missionaries are accustomed to wearing white shirts, ties and black pants for two years, so you can understand that I was more than excited to get into some more comfortable clothes for the end of spring. But alas, I didn’t come to any different weather than I left half way around the world. Interestingly, the weather in Cape Town, South Africa is not too different than how we have it now: mid 60s, partly sunny and periods of rain and thunder. The biggest difference might be, however, the fact that they are heading into winter and we in summer.

Indeed, the summer solstice begins Wednesday, June 20th but it couldn’t feel farther from reality. Today’s high temperature was at 55°, although that number fluctuated only a degree or two depending where on the peninsula you were today. Bottom line is, it was unseasonably cold, even 10 degrees colder than normal. But I also heard that a week before I came home Bremerton’s high temperatures were flirting with, or even exceeding, the 80s! It seems the weather is acting a lot like my first time trying to drive a manual transmission…a lot of speeding up and then stalling and coming to a screeching halt.

The good news is, Mother Nature is getting a handle on the clutch as a large spring storm system has passed and the future looks much brighter in terms on sunbreaks and warmer temperatures. Tomorrow won’t be exactly the biggest breather day for everyone, however. The weather models show the southern half of Kitsap (say Bremerton southward) completely dry while northern Kitsap will still have straggling showers to battle through. Either way, for everyone it looks mostly cloudy and still unseasonably cool with highs in the upper 50s.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday is one progressive trend of sunnier, warmer and more seasonable weather. If you’re planning any outdoor activities, Friday and Saturday will be the best days to do it. Both days highs will be near 70 with partly to mostly sunny skies. Sunday a weak weather system slips by and looks to drop a few rain showers before leaving us high and dry again for the first few days of the new week next week. Highs still look normal, being in the mid 60s.

The long range models point to a “cruise control” mode as a ridge of high pressure builds in and provides us with warmer, sunnier days. By that time, we won’t even be able to tell if we’re sitting in a manual or automatic weather pattern 🙂

Have a great evening!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Great to be back in Washington

Hello everyone! I’m back from my 2 year church mission to South Africa and Namibia and what a blessing it was to serve among such humble people. Of course, these two wonderful countries will forever be apart of my life and will be considered distant homes of my own. Within the next few months I’ll be doing a presentation of my experience which will include many great pictures and videos, although the venue and time is still to be decided. If you are interested in attending, please let me know at

Thanks to the Kitsap Sun I will resume tracking weather patterns around the Kitsap Peninsula and update all of you on the interesting storm systems that often crawl across the Pacific Ocean and throw curveballs in our everyday plans. I think this most recent weather pattern is a good example of that! I heard the past couple winters haven’t been too wild, but nevertheless I’m excited to see what we have in store this year.

I’ll update this blog later in the evening and give you a specific weekend forecast because I think it’ll be good news for all of us.

Have a marvelous day and week ahead!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap Blog