Category Archives: Storms/Active Weather

Grab your umbrellas, and maybe your snorkels, too. It’s going to get wet around here!

Go figure! Western Washington is going to get wet. But let’s be clear about what weather models are advertising for this weekend: It’s not going to be a typically drippy late September weather pattern. A series of fronts will actually move their way through Western Washington that could pack enough of a punch to take care of July, August and September’s rain totals combined.

Here’s a look at what I’m seeing by 5pm Friday evening:

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 6.45.46 PM

Seems innocent enough, right? About a quarter inch of rain for the main Kitsap area with places to the south or north receiving a bit more. What’s the big deal? Well, here’s Saturday’s system (totals ending at 5am Sunday):

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 6.46.10 PM

I don’t know about you, but the western part of this map looks like a big, nasty bruise. And I suppose in some ways it could be considered such. Rainfall totals by early Sunday morning could amount to as much as 2.50″ for Kitsap County. Incredible! But let’s take a step back and look at this sucker from a 72-hour point of view (totals from Friday through Sunday PM):

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 6.46.45 PM

I was about to put a “Viewer Discretion is Advised” label on this picture because of its graphic content. In 72-hours, the University of Washington’s Atmospheric Sciences models place us anywhere between…*gulp*…2.50″ to 4.50″. I don’t know of any other way to say it: This weekend will be an absolute washout. A soaker.

Ok, now that you know the precipitation stats, why is this happening to us? What has innocent Western Washington done to deserve this deluge of rain in such a short amount of time? Friday’s system is really nothing impressive, but Saturday’s storm will have remnants from an old typhoon that will help boost the precip totals. So basically, wave after wave of what would normally be a typical rainy Washington weekend is being enhanced by more moist influences.

Stay tuned for some possible Flood Watches or Flood Warnings. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were posted in the coming days.

Once the storm passes Sunday night though, the snow level really plummets. By Monday the snow level will be at around 5,000′ with temperatures barely reaching the upper 50s.

So stock up on the umbrellas! We might think we’re used to rain, but this kind of rain doesn’t come around very often…

Have a safe weekend,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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

We’ve reached that (coveted? blessed? cursed?) milestone of 90º in September…


First of all, sorry for the black text on the light blue background. Is it bothering all of you as much as it’s bothering me? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to change it to white.

ANYWAY, we did it. Since 2:30 pm we’ve been sitting at a solid 90º. It’s about 3:30 pm right now and I’m confident we’ll be able to squeeze out a few more degrees before this early September heat spell winds down. This means our record high temperature of 86º set back in 2011 is…well, a thing of history.

We still have a couple more days of unseasonable warmth as offshore winds and a late-season thermal trough slowly fizzle away. Thursday and Friday both look mostly sunny with highs in the low to mid 80s. For those just itching for more fall-like weather, true relief arrives by the weekend with highs settling down into the low to mid 70s.

Have a great day!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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

Early September heatwave on the way


In this morning’s weather discussion on the Kitsap Sun’s homepage, I discussed the possibility for a pretty major heatwave to take place midweek this week. Not that I advocate playing hooky, but…well, if there was anytime to take a few days off of work or school to enjoy summer’s last hoorah, it would be Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Heck, let’s just add in Friday for good measure 😉

A building thermal trough from the south is getting ready to pump in some heat for Western Washington from the already heat-opressed regions of the Desert Southwest (read more about thermal trough’s here). This will spell a series of sunny and hot early September days with clear nights. In fact, we could have some of the warmest temperature readings of the season over the next few days.

Here is a temperature forecast brought to you by the University of Washington’s Atmospheric Sciences department. The following map shows Wednesday’s high temperatures. As you can see, most of Kitsap County is well into the 80s, if not near 90 degrees for some spots:

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 10.29.25 AM

And here’s a peek into Friday, which shows us “plummeting” to near 80 degrees:

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 10.32.08 AM

Reaching 80 degrees in September has actually become quite the norm around here in recent years, but reaching 90 is nothing short of a late summer miracle. Here are some years we got close to or exceeded 90 degrees in the past decade:

  • September 11th, 2011: 86 degrees
  • September 22nd, 2009: 93 degrees (I should also add we dipped down to a jaw-dropping 46 degrees that night!)
  • September 10th, 11th 2007: 84 degrees
  • September 3rd, 2006: 95 degrees (also an overnight low of 46!)
  • September 28th, 2003: 86 degrees

Another interesting note: We have managed to exceed 90 degrees twice in the past decade, while every year before that going back to the early 90s we hardly ever got close. To compliment that, particularly warm Septembers have almost always correlated with a sharply colder and wetter fall season. Why? I’m not sure, but the correlation is there!

How about breaking records? That’s tough to say around here, since record keeping is spotty in the Kitsap area, but the records I have indicate today (September 10th) holds a record high of 84 degrees set back in 2007, September 11th’s record is 86 degrees set back in 2011, and September 12th’s record is 82 set back in 2002. I think we have a decent shot at breaking all of those records!

So yes, it’s going to get exceedingly warm around these parts over the next couple of days. But fear not, cool weather lovers! Our natural air conditioning kicks in by the weekend into early next week, bringing temperatures back to the low to mid 70s. Weather conditions beyond that get a little fuzzy to pin down, but it does appear this is summer’s last gasp.


Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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


September making it a goal to outdo August storms


Rain Storm

Photo by YouNews contributer CadenceWhittle, Mukilteo, WA (8/29/2013)

The above picture is probably all that is needed to conjure up memories of a stormy late August evening. Then again, this turbulent event wasn’t all that long ago. In fact, tomorrow (Thursday) marks the one week anniversary of this rare August weather pattern, and we’re about to go another round of heavy rain and storms because…well…Mother Nature says so.

First of all, a FLOOD WATCH is in effect from 12:00 pm September 5th through 6:00 pm September 6th  for the Puget Sound region including Kitsap County. This watch has been issued because, according to the National Weather Service,


Is it just me, or does it sound weird to say this is our second major storm of the summer season? We hardly ever have a first!

Let’s take a look at this bad boy on the satellite picture. Notice the tight spin just off the coast:


That clearly defined low pressure system will slowly track eastward through Oregon and then creep northward toward our area. This won’t be the kind of tightly-wound low pressure system that produces extreme wind, but it will produce some pretty hefty rain totals (hence the Flood Watch):


The above image, which comes via the University of Washington’s plethora of weather models, advertises about an inch or more of rain for much of Western Washington (green/pink colors), with most of the coast experiencing lighter totals in the 0.30-0.70″ range.

Also, if we take a look at the CAPE (Convective Available Potential Energy), it is exceptionally high for our region (the brighter the shade, the more instability)


Therefore, expect not only periods of heavy rain Thursday into Friday morning, but also a series of thunderstorms. Of course, startling thunder, blinding lightning and copious amounts of rain in a short amount of time come in the “thunderstorm package deal.”

So there you have it! It’s going to be a wet and stormy 48 hours, so be prepared for areas of flooding and unfavorable traffic conditions.

Be safe out there! More updates as they come…

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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

Stormy August skies continue into the weekend

Image by YouNews user ahudda
Seattle Lightning. Image by YouNews user ahudda

What a show last night! Reports from all across the peninsula revealed lightning was extensive and thunder was often loud enough to shake windows and wake many out of a deep sleep. We even had a bit of rain and hail last night, and some areas reported increasing wind. But the turbulent skies of August haven’t finished their show. No, if anything, Mother Nature is going to pick up where she left off.

That spinning area of low pressure is already kicking up some moisture that will serve to fuel the atmosphere with more instability. Depending on the amount of sunshine we receive this afternoon, we could be looking at another very impressive show. Here’s an excerpt from the most recent discussion by the Seattle NWS:


So we have a couple more days left to dodge the strikes and the wind. Just be extremely careful with your outdoor activities. If you hear or see a storm approaching, take cover. But if you’re taking cover and happen to remember to take and send some cool storm photos, I would be most grateful 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? Cool storm photos? E-mail me at: 



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:

**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:


Cold spring weather systems eyeing Kitsap County next week

It’s been a busy weekend, with the Armed Forces Day Parade and Viking Fest going on among other things. The weather hasn’t been the most ideal, but it hasn’t been awful either. I think we got spoiled after our early May temperatures flirted with 90 degrees!

But such heat will be forcibly shoved in the back of our minds as a series of unseasonably cold weather systems march on through Western Washington, which will ultimately lead to some snow at the passes. More on that in a moment.

For now, expect mostly cloudy skies to continue through your Saturday. High temperatures will stay somewhere in the mid 50s, dropping off to the low and mid 40s overnight with only scattered showers around.

Sunday is turning out to be partly sunny with only a few early showers. Highs will be about 10 degrees warmer, rising to the mid 60s.

Although Monday appears partly sunny, dry, and mild with temperatures in the upper 60s to low 70s, we’re in for a big change starting Tuesday. Here’s a little visual explaining what is happening out there in the Pacific:

satellite image 5-18-2013

As you can see, the jet stream will be sagging far enough south to tap us in to cooler air from the north. This also translates to more showers and greater instability, which could produce a few thundershowers by midweek.

So, expect high temperatures to dip into the low to mid 50s on Tuesday and Wednesday with showers, a few sunbreaks, and a slight chance for some electrical activity. Of course, thundershowers are never an absolute around here, but we are entering that time of year when it becomes a very real possibility.

The mountain passes will also be getting in on the action, with periods of SNOW in the forecast for locations above 4,000 feet. It’s too early to tell how much snow will accumulate, but right now it doesn’t look like traffic over the passes Tuesday through Thursday of next week will be inhibited.

We rebound ever slightly for the end of next week, but if you’re looking for more 70 or 80 degree temperatures with sunshine, the rest of this month doesn’t look too promising. June is usually good to us in that department though 😉

Have a great weekend!

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

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