Puget Sound Post

NW Rains Are Back

By: PugetSoundPost, 4:13 PM GMT on January 24, 2012

January 31, 11:30 AM

I just had to hurry and post what I thought was a funny happening moments ago: our National Weather Service just sent out a local "nowcast" to let us know that it will be partly sunny in parts of the region for "the next few hours"! I guess we have had so little sunshine that this was news enough for the special bulletin!

But, not to get too terribly excited, they also mention that rain will return by tonight. It has been rainy lately, but notwithstanding the news bulletin, it looks like more sunshine will be on the way soon for an extended period of high pressure dominance again. Seems like we are barely out of the last extended round of this, and the dull weather that goes with it.

January 25, 7:45 PM

A busy day with my mom, enjoying lunch with her, and having my oldest son along too was so nice, then visiting a 95 year old friend of my mom's who is recovering from a bad fall (it was a quite delightful visit, and a nice lesson on making lemonade out of lemons, even at 95), and ending with a winter walk-through of a local nursery with the three of us. Spring bulbs (potted) were for sale and, of course, primroses in an array of beautiful colors. Spring seemed closer with that walk and little signs are showing up. To top it off, my neighbor showed me late today that some bulbs are starting to poke through the dirt in her yard. Spring is not imminent, but we may be beginning to move in that direction.

Our high wind from the storm that blew through last evening and overnight was 31 mph. Not as much rain as I expected so far this week. But I see on radar another round is coming in this evening. That is ok. Make the clouds count for something!

January 24, 8:10 AM

The snow is over, although there still is some on the ground. I am saying that we totaled about 10 inches over the course of several days. Rain returned on Friday and started to wash it away, but it has been a slow process. There hasn't been a hurried warm-up and the first real sun appeared just yesterday for portions of the day. The weekend brought more rain and wind along with it. Our highest wind occured in the night, early Saturday morning, clocking the high of 38 mph for us. The rest of the weekend was blustery and breezy with rain on and off.

After a pretty nice lull yesterday, we are in for another strong round of storm today and tomorrow. A potent frontal system is racing this way, with the jet aiming right at us, so soon rain will develop and likely produce significant amounts of rain, then gusty winds will accompany it all later today. A second front will arrive late today, soaking us again into Wednesday. Actually rain has begun but I expect it to ramp up before too long.

More rain will follow to round out the week. January is looking pretty typical now, after a very dull start to the winter in December and early January. I'm glad to see the rains return. I think it would be fun about now to go out to the coast and "storm watch" for awhile. Looks like some good opportunities unfolding. But, alas, there are too many other things to do to be able to squeeze that in. Maybe someday.....

Here are some more photos taken last Friday that exemplify the current weather and for the foreseeable future. The robins have had a tough go recently on their annual visit. They may check out a different B & B next year!

January 24
Sunrise: 7:45 AM --- Sunset: 4:56 PM (PST)

Updated: 7:26 PM GMT on January 31, 2012


Western WA Snow!

By: PugetSoundPost, 9:11 PM GMT on January 16, 2012

January 20, 10:30 PM
Rain, Melting, and Wind

I wonder which is the most miserable for the little birds: suffering through days and nights in the 20's with nicely dry snow falling and on the ground, or sitting on bare branches or huddling under dripping evergreen boughs at about 40 degrees with a very steady, moderate rain falling and slushy, melting, messy snow all over the ground and bushes? This is the dilemma our birds are facing this week. They are now onto the later scenario.

Rain set in this morning and has continued much of the day. The snow is melting and dripping away everywhere and it just seems really miserable to be a bird sitting out in it for hours on end. Hopefully they find a nice shelter for the night.

Our high today was 41, low this morning was 27. Thousands (quarter million, I heard)likely are still out of power. And wind is on the way tonight. The next phase of this winter outbreak is about to hit. We have a wind advisory posted, for winds 20-45 mph, depending, I imagine, on location. The barometer is falling deeply and steadily, seeming to herald something big, and it's set to arrive after midnight tonight. Hope those birds can hang on and that the branch they have chosen for the night doesn't come down in the wind.

January 19, 4:30 PM

It is still snowing at this hour. The forecast has come in with an underestimate. We expected to be turning over to rain by now, but a new forecast has apparently noticed that it is still snowing and it now has been updated to carry snow longer than first thought. We are now expecting snow and/or freezing rain to continue until sometime Friday morning. So, it remains a winter wonderland scene outside and the snow is growing deeper. It has stuck at 27 degrees all day today and the snow keeps falling. Just came in from three hours outside sledding, a nice walk/sled combo with two of my kids up and around a big loop around the neighborhood, and a nice time out in the fluffy snow. A quarter inch layer of ice lies a couple of inches below the top of the snow. A lot of people are without power in the region, due to the ice and snow, but so far so good for us, despite frequent blinks.

Here are some more photos that I took yesterday through the day, including our hummingbirds out in the ice and snow. They are hanging in there!

January 19, 9:30 AM

Winter conditions are persisting this morning. An Ice Storm Warning is in effect and we have had light freezing rain all morning. It is currently about 26 degrees. Not much will change over today - remaining cold and snow on the ground, with variable precipitation through the day. On Friday warmer air should move in and along with it, rain.

Another snow day for the schools today, but Mr. PSP went back to work. He said there was a lot of glaze of ice on the snowfields, but very light traffic made it more manageable on the roads.

Here are more photos of our yard area taken on Tuesday, as we were ramping up toward our bigger snowfall of yesterday:

January 18, 8 AM
Winter Storm!

It is snowing this morning and 28 degrees - a perfect snow temperature! The much-hyped "megastorm" has, and not unexpectedly, been somewhat downgraded in intensity. The track of the low associated with this took a bit more southerly track (Oregon) and the effect for our area is to lessen the potential snow totals. It looks like areas south of Seattle and Tacoma (more down BriarCraft's way) will get the brunt of the big snow numbers. However, we may do ok on it. We are forecast to receive 3-6 inches over the day, and if that comes true, it would be a pretty good day of snow for us. We already have about five inches on the ground (in the grass). As the first light is appearing I can see that we are quite socked in and it looks like a snow-globe world outside. We are all home today with most things cancelled and Mr. PSP is working from home. So, no travel-on-the-roadways problems for us, as opposed to the last couple of days, and we can just enjoy the day! Love it!

Update 8:45 PM: My comments below tell more details about today. It never did clear any today and it has been cold. Our high was 32 and the current 27 ties the morning low. The 8+ inches of snow we have accumulated since this began last Saturday will still be around for another day or so, at least. It isn't going to warm up very fast. It has been a beautiful winter day and nice to have these once in awhile!

All through the day we have heard occasional fir tree branches breaking under the snow and possibly ice load. Our lights have blinked quite a few times this evening. One errant falling branch over some power lines and out will go our lights.

January 16, 1 PM

Snow is here and more is coming. Possibly record amounts are coming. Right now we have 3+ inches on the ground, and covering the trees, with intermittant snow showers today. Not too much is expected during the day today for us, but a few more inches late tonight into tomorrow. Even more expected on Tuesday. And then the records have the potential to fall or be threatened on Wednesday.

Winter Storm Watches have been hoisted for Tuesday and Wednesday. Unless snow turns to rain much sooner than currently expected, the NWS thinks we could see between 6 and 12 inches just on Wednesday, which would be the most 24 hour snow officially for Seattle since 1985! Winter has come in with a big bang this week!

My next challenge is to get my oldest son back home from Tacoma this afternoon, driving a car load of college kids. They went down yesterday and it took many more hours than expected. All I know about the trip is that "I will tell you about it when I get home". Okay then! Currently everything outside is white, including the sky, and there is a little snow flurry swirling. This is the lull before the Arctic front out of the Yukon and Alaska drops into the area, when the snow will pick up speed again. And hopefully my son is off the highway. Drivers around here "struggle" in the snow, and all our hills and close to freezing temperatures are a big reason. Currently 34 after a low of 25 this morning. The woodburning stove feels quite nice!

Here are photos from around our house yesterday afternoon.

These are the berries the robins love in January.

And here is Mr. Robin, probably feeling pretty chilly on a tree top.

And a photo of sunrise this morning. Before the clouds thickened up again with more snow.

The sun was bright for a few minutes after sunrise, but it was cold and a cold breakfast for the hummingbirds.

January 16
Sunrise: 7:52 AM --- Sunset: 4:45 PM (PST)

Updated: 6:38 AM GMT on January 21, 2012


Changes Ahead

By: PugetSoundPost, 4:30 PM GMT on January 12, 2012

January 15, 4 PM
Snow Has Indeed Arrived!

Yes, it has snowed! As I wrote earlier, we received about a half inch yesterday, but the snow returned this morning and currently we have a tad over 3 inches on the ground. Current temperature is 33. More is coming over the next 2-3 days, with chances for several more inches. Keeping a weather eye on it all!!

January 14, 9:10 AM
Snow Coming??

The attention-getter this morning is the possibility of our first snow of the season! Chances are in the forecast and that always makes the region buzz. A little rain has passed over this morning and behind the trough colder air is going to make its way down from the Gulf of Alaska. I am sure Alaska is happy right now to be sending a little of their weather elsewhere! Wow! They have surely had Winter! With the cool air, any post-frontal showers could be snow for us. This threat continues for the next few days. As is common for us, snow may be hit-or-miss and you hope you are either in the hit or miss zone, depending on your preference. I think it is some likely that we will at least see some snow, but if it actually accumulates is another iffy guess.

Currently the sky is dark, heavy and drippy and it is 38. Stay tuned!

January 12, 8:20 AM

Under a high cloud deck and 30 degree air, a beautiful sunrise is unfolding this morning. Lovely oranges and dark streaks across the eastern horizon are bringing in what looks to be a nice January day here in the Pacific Northwest. Mt. Rainier is standing tall and proud in the clear morning light. High pressure, while giving us calm and sunny (yesterday!) days, is also producing stagnant air with a strong inversion in place. Thus, a burn ban is in effect. But, changes are nearly afoot.

It looks like a shot of winter weather, as foretold by Polarbytes last week, may be on its way to us soon. Perhaps it will give Alaska a much needed break, and provide us with some much needed excitement.

The high pressure will give way and move on, allowing a series of systems to finally move this way, although not beginning too strongly either. The biggest news is the first threat of SNOW in this area this season. So far it doesn't look like a whopping storm - could be hit-or-miss, or showery, in nature, and since it is hard to really get all the conditions required for snow in place at the same time around here, one cannot get too overly excited this far out, but it is something to think about and keep watch for. Colder air from the Gulf of Alaska is on the way and moisture seems to be lining up too, so we will have to wait and see. At the least next week looks to be a lot more active weather week, even if it is just rain. The expected changes and threat of snow begin this weekend.

The robins have returned to our yard recently. They are not here too long, but they stop in each January to feast on some red berries (sorry, I do not know what they are - on a tree-like big bush that spreads far and wide when left on its own, and the berries turn bright red in late fall/early winter - nice to decorate with for Christmas!) and then soon the robins are gone again. We don't see many robins here the rest of the year. So I guess they are coming from Somewhere and going onto Somewhere Else. Any birders out there would likely know the details of this story much better. But for now it is fun to see a rather big flock of robins in and out of our trees and bushes. Our two or three resident hummers are still faithfully at the feeder each day, many times in fact, as well as a few other resident species - mainly chickadees, towhees, flickers, and a handful of other similar bird species. I will be glad when the seed I am currently using is gone - I don't think it is their best favorite - but they do keep coming and eating - just not finishing it off as fast as other seed mixes. I am out of suet cakes right now and need to replenish that supply, especially as the temperatures take another downturn soon and the weather ramps up. It sure is fun to watch all the birds come, pretty much together, and find something out there that they enjoy eating and coming back for!

January 12
Sunrise: 7:54 AM --- Sunset: 4:39 PM (PST)
(gaining 1 minute, 51 seconds tomorrow)

PS: If interested, I posted my 2011 Review on the previous January blog entry.

Updated: 12:02 AM GMT on January 16, 2012


Moving Forward

By: PugetSoundPost, 4:32 PM GMT on January 05, 2012

January 10, 8:00 pm
Cool Sunshine

The first sunshine in awhile graced our land today, but in spite of that, the pattern is beginning to change a bit again. Cooler weather is here and more could be on the way. Our high today was 47 at noon, but it cooled off pretty rapidly through the afternoon under the clear skies. This evening it is down to 34 right now, our coldest in some time.

The forecast is starting to bite off a bit on the idea that this blog has talked about a little bit lately - colder and chances of snow coming in about a week. Can't tell right now for sure how that will turn out, but our first threat of snow of the season could be starting to shape up. Something to keep our eyes on!

January 9, 9 AM
Review of 2011

We are awaiting rain today, and while it is overcast, rain does not look too imminent. The last few days have been cloudy, but dry, and rather dull in personality.

Sorry it has taken longer than expected, but I will finally give a little summary of 2011 from my perspective:

2011 In Review

Total Rain for 2011: 34.82"
Total Rain for 2010: 43.85"
Total Rain for 2009: 37.19"
Total Rain for 2008: 30.99"

Wettest Month for 2011: March (5.78")
Driest Month for 2011: August (.17")
Hottest Temperature in 2011: 92 degrees (Aug. 21)
Coldest Temperature in 2011: 19 degrees (Feb. 26)
Total Snow for 2011: about 3 inches, occuring in Feb. (about 5 inches in 2010)

The year was officially a La Nina year, which would be expected to bring more rain and cooler temperatures to us. However, the year was the second driest of the past four years (not much of a statistical sample, I agree) and not as cool overall as the year before. We had no real "cold snaps", other than a brief but unspectacular one in late February. The cooler temperatures seemed to mostly plague spring and summer. In many people's minds, summer failed to arrive this year. Rain did begin to fall as spring was arriving (March our wettest month) and held on too long into the summer. Our gardens struggled through the growing season due to too many clouds, too cool of temperatures and too damp for too long. The summer we did have arrived too late as well - September was a lovely month, but by then fall is in the air a bit gardens are "done" and vacation time is over for many of us. A switch seemed to be thrown at that point and while November brought an expected uptick in rain (5.09" as our second wettest month), for the most part fall and winter have not really produced much either. Very little in the way of "storms" and long dry stretches. December was cool, but way too dry for our good, flirting with setting dry records. Since this is again another La Nina year, we can maybe expect another wet/cool spring. I don't think anyone really looks forward to that prospect again.

January 5

January and the New Year are well underway now. I imagine that most of us are happy to be moving forward into seemingly uncharted land after life being "suspended" for the past many holiday weeks. The last couple months of the year always seem somewhat surreal. Most of our activities and focus seems to be holiday centered - special events, holiday prep of various sorts, get-togethers with others, often with people we may not see too much of otherwise, schedules we aren't used to, and more mundane, routine tasks being put off until "after the holidays". It is all fun and good while it is here, but I think we all reach a point where we suddenly feel like it is "enough". Time to put it all away for another year and we look forward to resuming our lives and ruts and moving on over the horizon to see what may lie there for us.

I am still in that process of leaving the old behind and moving forward. It has been a busy time with much going on. Christmas, but also many family activities, wedding planning, and getting the college kids back to school and settled; especially my oldest daughter who lives off campus and is so busy with life, and starting her second quarter of nursing school. I helped my mom get her Christmas stored away for another year, and now am onto my own. Progress has been made and I am happy with that, but a couple more days will be needed to finish restoring order around the house. But it does feel nice to be moving forward!

Weather-wise it has all seemed rather odd over the last many weeks. December was a weird month, basically. We did not get anywhere near the rain we should have. Only 1.83" fell for us; way below normal. For the first 2-3 weeks we had virtually no rain, but frosty fog (which at least was something happening), and just about no wind at all. We were on pace for the driest December ever, but a late surge of rain allowed us to avoid that record, but not by much. By contrast, on Christmas Day the wind did decide to blow and we recorded our highest wind in a long time - only 38 mph, but it, plus the higher winds around us were enough to cause numerous power outages that day, but not for us.

January has begun a bit more normally, however now it is running warmer than normal. We have had each day of January so far top out in the 50's, including a whopping 56 on the 1st. Rain has returned a bit better and so far we already have 1.08" rain this month - feels torential after that dismal rain production in December, which should be one of our wettest months of the year. Yesterday felt more on track for the times. It looked like Janaury ought to - a long fetch of steady rain socked us in for most of the day - .60" total - and the wind did rise again, up to 25 mph and a blustery evening. Felt nice. We need it - for nature and the water we need, and also for our souls to feel right with the world, even for only that day.

Nothing dramatic appears to be anywhere in view for weather for us. The first primroses are for sale in the nurseries. At this rate, spring doesn't seem too far-fetched. Could change.


Average High: 44
Average Low: 32
Highest Temperature: 53 (12/28)
Lowest Temperature: 25 (12/13)
Lowest High Temperature: 38 (12/12)
Wettest Day: Dec. 27 (.44")
Highest Wind: 38 mph (12/25)
Days of Measurable Rain: 20

Total Rain for December: 1.83"

Note:A comment about the days of rain: of the 20 days listed above, six of them were fog induced - enough fog to measure .01" in the bucket. Not really rain. And a few other days were barely above the .01, so really there were very few "rainy days". Usually in December it is hard to find a day when rain was not measured at all. Officially, normal rainfall in December is well over 5 inches for Seattle, and often it realizes a lot more than that. Soon I will add some comments about 2011 as a whole, but this is enough to digest for today.

Sunrise: 7:56 AM --- Sunset: 4:31 PM (PST)
(gaining 1 min. 19 sec. tomorrow)

Updated: 4:09 AM GMT on January 11, 2012


About PugetSoundPost

Weather has been a lifelong passion for me; while my husband and 4 kids all in college and beyond, one now married, have patiently gone along with me!

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