All posts by Matthew Leach

Burn bans, fire danger and…rain?

Usually burn bans, high fire danger and rain aren’t in the same forecast, but this time around they will be, and all at the same time.

First thing’s first: A state-wide burn ban is in effect until September 30th. The ban includes campfires in all state, local and private campgrounds, and all forestlands in Washington state, except federal lands. This is due in part to the dry weather, but also the present wildfire activity in Central Washington.

A pesky area of low pressure off the Oregon Coast is spinning up some moisture that will translate into thunderstorms for the central and eastern portions of the state and scattered rain shower actitiy for the lowlands…for the most part. There is some thunderstorm activity near Enumclaw moving northeast towards I-90, but most of us are in the clear.

So is our dry streak doomed for destruction? Not quite. Although Western Washington as a whole runs the risk of losing the battle, the Kitsap Peninsula doesn’t seem to want to go down without a fight. Here’s a map showing 24-hour rainfall totals for Western Washington by 5 AM Saturday morning:


You can see the greater Seattle area is definitely pegged to get wet, but most of the peninsula stays dry. The biggest threat of rain lies along Bainbridge and Vashon Islands, and portions of the far northern tip of Kitsap. Sure, it seems silly to be chasing what very well could be 0.01” of rain, but that is all we need to break our little streak (Yeah, this is our version of “storm chasing” in the Northwest ;))

The Cascades and Eastern Washington are ripe for fire weather too, so these thunderstorms will not serve to help the situation at all.

We clear out and warm up by mid week next week, with temperatures approaching near 80 again. Now that’s more like it, August! 😉

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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

Dry weather continues, but fire weather increases

Thanks to the little bit of onshore flow we’ve been experiencing, temperatures have been cooler and the clouds have increased just enough to make the sunrises and sunsets a gorgeous spectacle. In today’s forecast you’ll see some beautiful pictures, an update on our dry streak and a chance of some drizzle and high elevation lightning strikes later this week.

Matthew Leach
Forecasting Kitsap
Questions? Comments? Photos? E-mail me at:

Chance of “dry lightning” later this evening into tomorrow

It’s going to be a hot one today with high temperatures getting even closer to the 90 degree mark. A wrinkle in  the forecast presents itself later this evening as some thundershower activity in northern Oregon is moving northward. This MAY set off some lightning strikes/thundershowers this evening into Wednesday morning. The main story won’t be so much precipitation as it will be “dry lightning,” or lightning with no accompanying precipitation.

Snap some photos if you can!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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

**EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH in effect July 1st

Here comes the heat.

Saturday has proven to be yet another uncomfortably hot day in Western Washington, but it’s about to get hotter. The Seattle National Weather Service just issued an EXCESSIVE HEAT WATCH, in effect Monday, July 1st:

6-29-2013 heat watch.jpg

Forecast models are still all over the place in the temperature department, but it looks like we may stay near 90 early next week before cooling down to the 80s just before Independence Day. It isn’t until the 4th itself that any true relief looks likely.

The humidity will also run high over the next several days, as the air flow will be coming from the south instead of either directly off the ocean or from Eastern Washington.

The next headline will be thunderstorm potential Wednesday and Thursday of next week. Storm activity will be primarily focused over the Cascades, but as we have all come to experience, those pesky storms usually find their way down to the lowlands.

Have a great weekend, and stay tuned for further updates!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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


Washington to get a taste of Western U.S. heatwave


You’ve heard the rumors, you’ve seen the forecasts, and now it’s time to separate fact from fiction.

First thing’s first. We’re probably not going to break any records here, and conditions are looking a little less favorable for a historic heatwave. Nevertheless, a gigantic ridge of high pressure is slowly bubbling up and expanding from the Desert Southwest. You can see it graphically in the image below, which displays the current pattern:

6-27 GFS heat

This monster heat will primarily terrorize folks in the Southwest, but there are clear signs the Pacific Northwest will get a healthy dosage of very warm weather this weekend into next week. Predicting how long the heat will stay is always a tricky forecast, but one thing is for certain: It’s about to get a tad uncomfortable around here, at least for those with true Seattle blood.

Let’s break down the timing. Obviously Thursday has featured more in the way of showers than expected, and such high humidity that it feels like we’ve somehow been transplanted into Kansas City. As that colossal ridge grows in strength, we’ll notice our trusty marine influence will run out of steam. The good news is, this spells a mostly sunny day for your Friday with high temperatures spiking into the 80s. The bad(ish) news? Well, summer lovers are about to have their dreams fulfilled, if not exceeded.

Mostly sunny skies will be the theme Saturday through midweek next week, but it now looks like we could face a few random thundershowers Saturday and Wednesday. Either way, temperatures will likely rise several degrees each day. Right now, here’s my current thinking for highs Friday through Wednesday of next week (the numbers are subject to change a few degrees either way over the next couple days!):

  • FRIDAY: 78º, Partly to mostly sunny
  • SATURDAY: 85º, Mostly sunny (slim chance for a thundershower)
  • SUNDAY: 83º, Sunny
  • MONDAY: 88º, Sunny
  • TUESDAY: 91º, Sunny
  • WEDSNESDAY: 84º, Mostly sunny (chance for a thundershower)

This is a fairly impressive streak of warm weather for our neck of the woods, especially if we manage to make it into the 90s Monday and Tuesday (By the way, it looks like we’ll cool down enough for Independence Day, with highs likely dropping back into the 70s. But then there’s talk of thundershower activity, so needless to say we’ll talk more about those details when we get closer).

You might have also heard about the slim possibility of hitting 100º or above during this heatwave, as one forecast model actually advertised such a thing. At this point, I wouldn’t poke my neck out any farther than the low 90s, but again, with each passing day the numbers can and most likely will change.

Another thing to note: Nighttime temperatures will be very mild, often never getting out of the 60s. Be sure to invest in some good fans, because they will come in handy throughout all the air condition-less homes in Western Washington!

Lastly, please be careful out on the water! Rivers and lakes are still rather cold this time of year, and many summertime water accidents occur during the first big heat of the season.

Stay tuned to the Forecasting Kitsap blog for frequent updates over the next week or so as this heat unfolds. Have a wonderful day!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? Photos? E-mail Matt Leach at:


Cool and wet for now, but the heat is coming

We’re still dealing with the typical showers and sunbreaks for now, but a large ridge of high pressure building in the southwest United States will serve to bring sunny and much warmer temperatures by the weekend, perhaps lasting through Independence Day. How warm will we get? I’ll discusses the details in today’s video forecast:

Have a great day!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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