Puget Sound Post

Storm Chasing on WA Coast

By: PugetSoundPost, 7:22 PM GMT on February 17, 2014

February 26, 8:20 PM

Some nice weather has graced our fair land this week. Small hints of spring - more sunshine and our highest temperature was today --- 63 degrees!! Felt nice to go outside with only a sweater and no coat. I even opened a house window yesterday for a little while to get some fresh air. But, all of this goodness won't last too much longer. Chance of rain overnight tonight and tomorrow. But then considerably cooler again. And, even another round of snow chances this weekend! The setup sounds similar to last weekend, when areas north of us got a foot of snow and we got only a flurry. Something to watch again, and see which way the cold air blows this time.

February 22, 10:30 AM

We have had a snow shower this morning, after rainy drizzle turned to snow for a little while. No sticking. It is 35 degrees.

But, there is a chance of something more significant later tomorrow! The short story of it is: will the cold air spilling out of British Columbia be able to sag this far south and mix with incoming southern (warmer) moisture tomorrow?? Who knows. We seem to be on the ragged edge between "yes" and "no". Could seemingly go either way and the NWS is having a crazy time trying to figure it out. Conflicting models and what to do? So, I guess we will just sit by and watch and be prepared. There is a chance for several inches of snow tomorrow, but also, a chance for none. Which is so often the case for us to be riding this same fence. Either way, it does seem that February is turning out to be our "winter" month. More rain, more wind, and even now a couple of snow events.

Happy 282nd Birthday George Washington!

February 17, 11:20 AM
Field Research

An unsettled day today, after a stormy weekend! The rains have finally come back, at least for the time being. And to celebrate, Mr. PSP and two of my kids went on a storm chase yesterday! Time to get out of the house and out into real weather and experience it!

After forecast analysis for a couple of days, the appropriate High Wind Warning in place, off we went yesterday morning to the coast, the Pacific coast, to the very little fishing town of Westport, on Grays Harbor and also the Pacific ocean. We were out there to experience a real storm, on the beach.

It was a great day and something I have wanted to do for a very long time. Finally it looked like the timing was right and we quit procrastinating and just did it.

We got to Westport (close to 3 hour drive from here) just as the predicted storm was hitting. After driving the whole trip in sometimes-sunny weather, or with clouds that weren't too impressive, there was a little fear that the storm may bust and all would be for naught. But, the forecasters were right and their timing was right too, and just minutes after we arrived in town, the rain started and the wind picked up. Our Washington coast is often hit HARD with storms right off the North Pacific and there we were to watch. It was GREAT!

We had prepared with the best gear we could muster from home and for the most part we were good to go. After fish and chips in one of the few businesses still open in the winter (lots of fishermen, commercial and sport) fill the town at other seasons) and watching the storm take hold, off we went to explore. They have a tower to climb and look over a jetty and we did that. The wind was really picking up by then. My other three ended up on top of the jetty looking at the waves crashing, and thankfully stayed safe, and eventually we moved in the car and were on the beach on the open ocean. By then the storm had really ramped up. It was raining pretty hard and the wind was blowing steadily in the 30's and into the lower 40's mph. I know, as I brought a new handheld anemometer and it was terrific. On the beach the wind was really blowing, and blowing sand with it, in spite of the rain. Foam off the waves was rushing past us, our legs were sandblasted, and the wind blew sand all over us, but the worst was probably our knees on down. Nearer the water the blowing sand was better. Well, it was hard to stand or do too much of anything, but lean into the wind and ENJOY! We ended up on two different beach locations, and on one of them we were able to drive on the beach. Between all of our locations there were a handful of other hardy souls out enjoying it also, but overall very few people and very quiet in the very wet and windy area. In the end the highest wind gust I recorded not too long before sunset and our need to get off the beach was 54 mph. I suspect it got some windier later (forecast to do that) but probably not a lot and we couldn't stay anyway. The biggest problem was that we needed rain pants. Our pants ended up soaked with a lot of sand on them. I think we stayed basically warm enough (upper 40's on the beach) with lots of layers and good coats, but rain pants was a lesson learned. And one wave over my shoe tops gave wet feet, but not really cold feet.

Our drive home was WET. The rain was steady and medium hard the whole three hours home, and raining at home just about the same as it was in Westport. That is pretty unusual to have the same conditions over such a wide area. Not as windy at home, but surely wet. In the end we got 1.16" rain at home yesterday, and another .59" on Saturday from a previous system that was also windy. Two distinct storms in two days, making landfall about 24 hours apart. Nice to have the rain back, more coming this week, and what a wonderful day yesterday Storm Chasing!

February 17
Sunrise: 7:10 AM --- Sunset: 5:35 PM (PST)

Updated: 4:20 AM GMT on February 27, 2014


The Winter Chill of February

By: PugetSoundPost, 12:59 AM GMT on February 04, 2014

February 13, 5 pm
Early, Early Spring Days

Yesterday and today are bringing on a mild case of spring fever here in the Puget Sound region. A high of 55 yesterday, followed by 58 today, is feeling amazing! This is the warmest it has been in a long time. Sunshine breaks in the sky add to the delight. It has been a little breezy but that also gives some "spring" feel. But it won't last.

Three storms are on the way between tonight and Sunday afternoon. Each one is supposed to get stronger, with rain and wind in each. So our little lull in winter is about to end. I took a nice walk this afternoon to enjoy it!

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone! Looks like it will be a stormy one here.

February 10, 6:30 AM
Finally a Rainy Week!

A new week and a new pattern for our weather! The cold snap of last week is eroding away. A lot of sub-freezing weather last week, with lows in the teens and some of the days barely to freezing. The lowest temp we recorded at home was 16. Other than cold, it was quite benign weather - some clear, sunny, crisp days, but not much action.

That changed over this past weekend when it did finally snow, beginning Saturday evening. Quite a pretty scene with minimal impact to everyone, coming on a Saturday evening. In the end we got between 2.5-3 inches. There is still some snow left this early morning, but it won't likely last too much longer. The pattern has changed.

It is currently 35 degrees and raining fairly hard, washing the snow away and bringing in a quite active weather-week ahead. Rain!! A series of systems are aiming our way throughout the coming week. Tomorrow's front is expected to be stronger than today's, including windier weather too. Then on to the rest of the week. So, after a lot of months with a blocking ridge offshore, it seems that the door has opened for rains and mountain snows to finally do what they do best around here - drop right over us.

February 4, 4:45 pm
Cold Snap Round 2

Yesterday I was so busy writing about the Super Bowl, our trip to Mt. Rainier, etc, that I never really got around to writing about our second round (the first round was in early December) of extra cold weather this winter that is setting in. It was slowly beginning over the past couple of days, but now it is really taking root. Only to keep strengthening further over the next few days. Our high today was 39, not so very cold. Our low this morning was 25. But, it is chilling off more quickly this late afternoon. It is now down to 32 before 5 pm and we are forecast to dip into the teens tonight. And, in areas, single digits are possible over the next couple of nights. We have a cloud cover too and still the temp is soon to be below freezing. Some areas saw some snow flurries today but nothing here. At the end of the week it looks like snow is a real possibility for maybe all of us. We are in Old Man Winter's grip pretty firmly this week.

To add drama to the winter weather this week, here I will post a photo from our Mt. Rainier weekend just a couple of days ago. This one was above Paradise, a location in the park (between 5,000 and 6,000 feet) while the sun was out a little bit. Just a beautiful place!

Here is another photo also from Mt. Rainier:

This one is from the Tatoosh Range, a small range of mountains within Mt. Rainier National Park:

February 3, 5 pm

As I look out the window, that actually shows a partially sunny afternoon, I can see that we are still, or maybe increasingly, in the depths of winter. Fresh snow on the Cascades has reached low elevations on the western slopes and is glistening a bright white in the late afternoon sunshine. The snow also is a reminder that it is not very warm outside. And the week ahead will just get colder.

Currently at 5 pm it is down to 34 and under the clearing skies it will be a chilly night tonight. The fire feels good, in spite of the sun outside. I also see I need to go out and refresh our bird feeders. The suet is gone right now. The suet and seeds are going fast these days. We seem to be in the depth of the season that the birds need the most help with feed. We still have our couple of hummers coming regularly and need to keep an eye on them too.

Speaking of this colder weather, Mr. PSP and I took a weekend trip up to Mt. Rainier! It was a last minute decision and a wonderful one. We stayed in the one lodge that is open all winter and had parts of two days up at Paradise, the end of the road where the main visitor center is, at about 5,000 feet. There are other higher areas, but Paradise gets the most visitors and is open year 'round, weather conditions permitting. On Saturday afternoon we did not see the Mountain at all - shrouded in fogs and clouds. But it didn't matter. Although the snowpack is down about 50% from normal at this time, there still was plenty of snow up at Paradise. It was not real busy, but enough people around doing a variety of fun activities - a sliding area, plus some short groomed areas for mainly snowshoeing, although some people hike up high and ski down. We did none of those but did just hike in our snow boots. We did okay as long as we stayed where the light, powdery snow was a bit compacted. It was beautiful! A winter wonderland as far as the eye could see! The temperature was in the mid 20's and snowing tiny flakes for some of the time. Everything in the national park is on a grand scale and just the endless white, covering everything like fluffy frosting, with trees in places, on the mountain slope was magical. Our lodge, at Longmire, is lower in elevation but it also had snow around too. On Sunday morning the skies had cleared enough that for a few hours Mt. Rainier was standing out tall and clear. More time in the snow to walk and take photos, plus another run at Paradise, however by the time we got there, the clouds had rolled back in, obscuring the summit again, so no photos up close of the mountain. The weather changes "fast, with little warning" on Mt. Rainier. It was a special weekend for us and again, we seemingly had the mountain and park nearly to ourselves. A wonderful weekend away, in a whole different world. I will post some pics, hopefully soon.

And lest anyone thinks we forgot about our Seahawks, we did NOT!! One drawback to the trip was that we had to keep an eye on the clock and get back home in time for the game! We got in the door about 20 minutes before kickoff and then a mad scramble to get our snacks lined up and be ready to go. I have to say that it was well into the first quarter before I was really sitting to watch closely. Well, a very good game for us, and no doubt who won. It has been a magical season for the team, all culminating this Wednesday in the celebration parade through downtown Seattle. I think watching on TV will be fine for me. The drive between Mt. Rainier and home was certainly festive with Seahawk well-wishes on every reader board we passed, flags everywhere, and all sorts of flourishes at every turn, both big and small. All of us "12's" out here in the whole Northwest are very proud and loud about it!

January in Review:

Average High: 47
Average Low: 36
Warmest Temperature: 58 (1/24)
Coldest Temperature: 25 (1/5)
Coldest Maximum Temperature: 41 (1/6)
Wettest Day: Jan. 29 (1.11")
Days of Measurable Precipitation: 20 (7 were .01")

Total Rain for January: 4.33"

Note: A late surge in rain did wonders for our total, but we still ended up officially around an inch below normal for the month.

February 3
Sunrise: 7:32 AM --- Sunset: 5:13 PM (PST)
gaining 2 min, 58 sec tomorrow)

Updated: 12:56 AM GMT on February 14, 2014


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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

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