Monthly Archives: February 2013

You thought 50 degrees was impressive? Let’s shoot for 60 this weekend…


Hello, everyone! Sorry for the lack of posts the past couple days. Hope you’ve been able to make it to work or school OK without my life-saving forecasts! 😉

We are about to say goodbye to February, a month that has featured fairly cool, wet and cloudy weather. We now look with anticipation for the marching in of…well, March on Friday.

They say March rolls in like a lion and in one sense that will be true. After a wet and somewhat mild day tomorrow, we’ll get a break from the action on the first day of March. A cold front will stall off the southern B.C. coast, so we’ll be on the warmer side of the system. Remember how we made a big deal about exceeding 50 degrees a week or so ago? Yeah, well we’re about to outdo ourselves again with the possibility of reaching 60 degrees on Friday. The last time we reached 60? October 16th, 2012.

Unfortunately for those with spring fever, we cool down slightly for Saturday, then cool down quite dramatically on Sunday with high temperatures falling into perhaps the mid 40s (hey, that cold front can’t stall over B.C. forever! ;)).

So I’ll be on the look out for the 60 degree reading! Spring is almost here, I can feel it!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at:


Wet, blustery day across the peninsula

3(900x800) images (145,382 bytes)

Good morning, everyone! It’s a wet one out there, but the heaviest stuff hasn’t even arrived yet.

The wind has been blowing since early thing morning, with the top wind gust at 28 mph so far. No wind advisories have been posted for the Kitsap Peninsula, but that doesn’t mean we won’t find ourselves getting whipped around by 25-35 mph gusts throughout the day, especially as the front passes through this evening. Expect 1” to 1.5” of rain for most Kitsap locations today.

We’ll calm things down a bit for Saturday and Sunday before another storm system barrels through the region Sunday night and Monday, making for another wet day.

But wait! If you’ve been tempted to give up hope while reading this discussion, there are signs of improvement as we get towards the end of next week. Models have been painting a pretty ridge over the West Coast for late next week into next weekend, which could offer us some warmer temperatures and dry weather. Too soon to say for sure, but at least we have something to look forward to 🙂

Stay warm and safe out there!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? Weather photos? E-mail me at:


Remembering the “Kitsap Blowdown of February 13th, 1979”

Western Washington does not usually dance with strong winter storms in the month of February, but there are a few records out there that have detail what rare storms we do get during what is typically termed as the calmest month of winter.

A little over 30 years ago, Kitsap County was the highlight of an incredible windstorm that would very well rival most windstorms that have blown through our region in recorded history; yes, even the Columbus Day storm of 1962.

As Wolf Read records in his article titled “The February 13th, 1979 Windstorm“, the early morning hours of February 13th featured “average winds exceed[ing] 80 mph (and perhaps even reach[ing] 105 mph)” on the Kitsap Peninsula. He also adds “the Hood Canal Floating Bridge finally succumbed to one of the greatest storms to strike the upper Kitsap region.”

I couldn’t find a video displaying what an average of 80 mph wind feels like, but I think this video is pretty close:

What was the extent of damage to the Hood Canal Bridge? Wolf Read continues, “The span remained closed for 3.5 years, and replacement of the lost section cost about $143 million in 1982 dollars.”

So why am I bringing this up now? Although I’m not forecasting we’ll get anywhere near the “Blowdown” of 1979, we’re going to have to confront a pretty wet and windy system on Friday which could prompt a few Wind Advisories/High Wind Watches across the area. Right now gusts look to be in the 30-40 mph range, but this could change for the better or worse. One thing is sure: This storm will translate to 1-2 feet of snow in the mountains.

Saturday will be comparatively pleasant with a few showers and perhaps some sunbreaks. However, I would not rule out the possibility for some lumpy rain Saturday morning as the cold front exists our region.

Stay warm and dry out there! And try not to get blown down,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? Weather photos? E-mail me at:


Threatening shade of blue over Western Washington

**BREAKING NEWS: Bremerton Airport has done it! We are sitting at 52 degrees this Saturday afternoon, the first time breaking 50 degrees since November 6th, 2012**

If the above title sounds threatening and perhaps utterly disastrous, then I have done my job.

TV Weather personalities have received a fair amount of criticism by meteorologists for being drama kings and queens when it comes to the weather in general. But let’s be absolutely honest here: There’s not much drama that happens in a weatherman’s life, so how about we give them all a break.

With that being said, an ominous blue glob of…blueness is set to engulf the Western U.S. for the next 14 days. You don’t believe me? Then what is this?

6 to 10 Day Outlook - Temperature Probability

Great question! The above graphic is provided by the CPC, or Climate Prediction Center which is a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The CPC issues daily long range prognostications which highlight the likelihood of above, near, or below normal temperatures and precipitation for the 6-10 and 8-14 day periods. Orange/red= above average, blue= below average, and white=average, with darker shades of color signifying a higher probability.

So you can see that according to the CPC, the west coast, but most specifically Kitsap County, has a 40-50% chance of being under a chilly grip likely lasting until March. And how about precipitation? About a 40% chance of above normal rainfall:

Our historical average temperature is 50 degrees starting tomorrow, so if it’s any consolation, below normal temperatures in February are much more tolerable than, say, below normal temperatures in December.

Does the long range forecast include any chances of snow? Well, I certainly can’t say it doesn’t and still consider myself an honest person. But I also wouldn’t want to say it does and freak everyone out. So…maybe 😉 All I can say is, it doesn’t appear our chances for more snow have completely ended.

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your weekend and upcoming week. Precipitation will be showery in nature for the next five days with frequent sunbreaks, so that’s a plus!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? Photos? E-mail me at:


Valentine’s Day forecast looking “not so lovely”

Happy Wednesday, everyone! We’re half way through the week. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, or as I have come to affectionately call it, “Single Awareness Day”.  However this upcoming day is known to you, one thing is for sure: The weather won’t be playing along.

In fact, tomorrow’s weather will be the opposite of lovely. Remember “Pacific Storm Rambo” that was *supposed* to make landfall this morning? Yes, well, completely contrary to the nature of its name, this storm has been dragging its feet and will roll through the region early tomorrow morning instead. So expect a fairly wet first half of the day, followed by scattered showers and possibly a few sun breaks.

Perhaps the best weather news I can deliver for tomorrow is that highs will come dangerously close to breaking 50 degrees. Remember, we still haven’t managed to do that since early November!

The remainder of the forecast also doesn’t look overly lovely, but at least things look fairly tame out there in the deep, dark Pacific Ocean. Showers will dominate the weekend pattern, with a few sunbreaks reserved for Sunday. Clouds and showers return for the new week.

Stay tuned for a long range forecast update on Friday! Have a great day,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at:



Pacific storms “Rambo”, “Batman” to slowly dribble through Northwest

(Photo by: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

With the recent passing of Nemo (I’m talking about the winter storm here ;)), many meteorologists have had a flurry of discussion over The Weather Channel’s naming of winter storms.

The concern comes from the meteorological tradition of naming hurricanes and tropical storms. The L.A. times interviewed George Wright, a meteorologist and the founder of Wright Weather Consulting in New York, who said, “A named storm should be a hurricane, and only a hurricane. A hurricane is something that’s more unusual and devastating. If you start naming other storms, people will suddenly think this might be a hurricane.”

What do you think about the issue? Is The Weather Channel qualified to take upon themselves the duty of naming winter storms, or should they leave it alone? I have created a new poll on the right hand sidebar where you can cast your vote.

In our neck of the woods, The Weather Channel wouldn’t waste their time trying to name any storm systems that blow onshore because, well, they would run out of names. But for the heck of it, let’s see how it sounds!

Pacific storm “Rambo” will slice its way onshore early Wednesday morning, providing a steady, ruthless stream of rain all day. Highs will be in the mid 40s.

Pacific storm “Batman” will swoop into the region early Saturday, but this band of precipitation will be small and harmless. Like a bat.

And then there’s Pacific storm “Sherlock”, which will suavely maneuver its way onshore Monday, only to disappear by the afternoon. Highs will remain in the mid 40s.

Ok, ok, I’ll admit it. Naming weather systems is kind of fun. If anything, this makes Western Washington weather sound really cool 😉

Have a great evening,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? E-mail me at:


What does a blizzard look and feel like?

(Image from the Associated Press)

The Superbowl of winter storms is churning towards New England and threatens to bury places like New York City and Boston in as much as 3 feet of snow. Not only will the snow be heavy, but the wind will be howling, with gusts projected to be as high as 45 mph.

For most of us Washingtonians, such figures are hard to imagine. I know a few Kitsap locations can relate to 3 feet of snow, but what does that look like in a 48 hour time period with gusty winds added to the mix? Perhaps I can share a little video clip that demonstrates some of the dangers of blizzards from our arctic friends in Alaska:

Have you ever heard of someone’s nostrils freezing when they breathe through their nose on a brutally cold winter day? I can vouch for that. It’s terrifying to say the least! 🙂 So if you’re a storm chaser and want to romp outside in the blizzard, at what point should you be concerned about frostbite? I believe this NWS Windchill chart should help:


So take for instance New York City. Their projected low temperature tonight is 22 degrees with wind gusting to 45 mph. On this graph that temperature will produce a windchill factor of anywhere between 5 and -2 degrees. So any storm chasers in The Big Apple should be OK tonight. In fact, air temperatures would have to drop considerably before anyone has to worry about imminent frostbite.

That is perhaps one of the saving graces of this blizzard: It’s not a very cold storm. In fact, much of New England will be back to the mid 40s by the work week.

So as much as I’d like to experience blizzard conditions on this side of the country, when you look at it from all angles it’s probably best we’re stuck with clouds, rain, and temperatures in the 40s. As a matter of fact, that’s pretty much the story for the next 7 days. And believe me, groundhog Phil’s mailbox is full of hate mail from coast to coast.

Many of you have been asking when you’ll get your deserved dosage of natural Vitamin D. Unfortunately the next week or so looks like a goopy mess of clouds, showers, and highs in the mid 40s. Stay strong! Spring will come 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? Photos? E-mail me at:


January 2013 Month in Review: Fog, cold, fog, clouds, and fog

I’m a little late in dishing the stats out this month, but you’ll find it’s well worth the wait! OK, maybe January wasn’t that exciting, but we did achieve some pretty cold numbers. How cold, you ask? Let’s bring out the stats!

january weather stats

Just one brief look at this chart will tell you everything you need to know about this month. Not only were our nighttime temperatures unseasonably cold for an extended period of time, but our high temperatures often hovered above or just beneath the average low temperature for January! Out of this month’s 31 days, nearly half of them were spent in the 30s with 4 nights in the teens. Several other nights hovered close to the 20 degree mark, but couldn’t make the commitment to dip a little further.


Average high temperature: 42.9°

Average Low Temperature: 33.5°

Actual high temperature average (2013): 40.9°; 2° below normal

Actual low temperature average (2013): 30.8°; 2.7° below normal

Average overall temperature: 38.2°

Actual overall temperature: 35.8°; 2.4° below normal


I suppose to be fair, a lot of this cold air was the result of several days of inversions. Usually when we have a big ridge of high pressure in the winter, there is so much moisture already on the ground and in the air that low clouds and fog form, leaving the higher elevations mild and dry.

1-19-2013 fog

Indeed, we never had any arctic air intrusions, just a lot of what I like to call “fake cold”.

So you can imagine if we had a lot of inversion activity we didn’t have a whole lot of rain. To be specific, we ended the month with only 3.59” of rain in the gauge, which is puny when standing against the monthly average of 8.89”.

At least the mountains benefited, right? For them, this month featured the perfect combo of mild, sunny days and cold, snowy days. I think it’d be fair to say the mountains have fared exceptionally well this winter despite the doom and gloom forecasts of an always destructive El Nino event.

Aside from the fog and cold conditions of January, there really wasn’t much else to report. Heavy rain, wind, and wet snow at the beginning of the month made it seem like we’d be in for an active weather period, but it was all a show.

And what about February? Any exciting news? No, not really. At least the sun’s influence is getting stronger this time of year, so such thick inversions will be less likely this month. The short term looks classically showery and cool with a few sun breaks from time to time. If you’re looking for some significantly warmer weather, Phil the Groundhog assures us it’s in the not-too-distant future 🙂

Have a great evening,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap



Groundhog Day prediction: Six more weeks of…?

The groundhog is the only rodent with its own holiday

Photo by: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Once again our loveable rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, set out to make “the most important weather prediction to be found anywhere on the globe,” according to Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley.

Early this morning, in front of a large international crowd, Phil emerged from his burrow and…did not see his shadow. Therefore, an early spring is in the forecast. But how accurate is this over-sized ball of fluff? According to, he is right 100% of the time. You might also find this experiment interesting, where the National Climatic Data Center put Phil’s predictions to the test.

For our sakes, I hope he’s right! The short term forecast doesn’t look very spring-like, and we still haven’t exceeded 50 degrees since November 6th, but we must maintain hope that today’s clouds eventually burn off.

So take this pro-spring forecast how you will!

Have a great weekend,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap