Many people head to Alaska to visit the snow-capped mountains and awe-inspiring glaciers.
Monday, sitting on a glacier might not have been a bad idea.
A major ridge of high pressure brought intense heat to south-central Alaska with four towns experiencing heat never before felt in their record-keeping history.
While it's been fairly pleasant around here this spring, summer-like weather has already been well under way in many other parts of the nation.
Denver hit 100 degrees on June 11 -- the earliest 100 degree on record there... by three days! Atlanta hit their inaugural 90 this week, Minneapolis hit 98 in May, parts of Oklahoma are at 100, Livermore, California has already notched 107, Phoenix has been over 108 for a week, and Death Valley has already been over 120!
Back here, we flirted with the upper 80s on one day and have touched 80 on a handful of others, but otherwise, it's been downright comfortable with most days 65-75.
Could that be the building theme of the upcoming summer? Could the Northwest be the refuge from another searing hot summer across the rest of the United States?
A lot of focus this month across the nation has been on stormy weather, but some calm weather has been dazzling a bit as well...
The photo above was taken by Toby Smith as he crossed on a ferry from Clinton to Mukilteo.
Then, a few days later way over in Ontario, Kathy Veck snapped a few shots of a brilliant fire rainbows in Ottawa.
Storm chaser Mike Olbinski proved that you don't have to capture a tornado on camera to have an amazing video.
Olbinski was near Booker, Texas on June 3 when he and his weather-geek friend Andy Hoeland got video of a rotating supercell thunderstorm -- an elusive item on his "to-do" checklist for four years.
The two figured out early in the day that northwestern Oklahoma was the spot to begin.
"We landed in Denver that day around 10:30am, and drove and drove until we got that storm," Olbinski said. "We actually had no idea we had made it to Texas until a bit later."
But at first, they ended up on the wrong (north) side of the storm. "It took us going through hail and torrential rains to burst through on the south side (where wall clouds are more visible)," Olbinski wrote on his blog documenting the event. "And when we did…this monster cloud was hanging over Texas and rotating like something out of Close Encounters."
The video is shot in four parts as the two had to move to better position themselves.
I had the honor in early June to make a presentation at the annual Mariners Weather Education Day at Safeco Field before their mammoth 16 inning game against the Chicago White Sox.
This year, as in years past, I compiled some of my favorite photos and videos from this blog over the past year or so.
From intricate lightning strikes, to a tornado that crashes a Kansas wedding, to what 3 feet of snow looks like boiled down to just a few seconds, to what happens when you suddenly spring a 58 mph wind squall on an unsuspecting grounds crew at a Knoxville minor league game, Mother Nature sure has had her moments this year.
If you want to find out more information or see the full length of the videos featured within, I've provided links below to the original blog entries where they came from. Enjoy!
In many ways, air flows in fluid ways that mimic currents in the sea.
On Friday, there was an incredible cloud display that drove this point home.
Liem Bahneman took this time lapse video of altocumulus "Undulatus Aperatus" clouds over Bothell Friday morning -- actually a display of the newest member of the cloud categorization.
NORMAN, Okla. -- Dear Mother Nature: Oklahoma has suffered enough.
It was enough to bring a devastating EF-5 tornado to Moore in mid May. But to bring a second EF-5 tornado to the same general area 11 days later puts these events into the realm of incredible statistical improbability.
In a record no one wanted to have any part of, the National Weather Service announced Tuesday that the deadly tornado that struck El Reno was not only a top-of-the-rung EF-5 rating, but was also an unbelievable 2.6 miles wide -- making it the widest tornado ever recorded in American history.
To put that into Portland perspective, 2.6 miles is roughly the distance from the Oregon Zoo to the Rose Quarter, so if that tornado were here moving northwest to southeast, it would have engulfed the entire Downtown Portland area.
A solar storm brought out a display of the Northern Lights to around the Pacific Northwest Friday night.
Around the Puget Sound area, green-tinged skies were reported across several areas of the North Sound, including Hansville, Arlington, Mount Vernon, Oak Harbor and Mukilteo.
It's been quite the week for tornado storm chasers. On Monday, noted storm chaser Sean Casey got his specially-designed tornado chase vehicle into the path of an oncoming EF-4 tornado in Kansas and got video never seen before from inside a twister.
On Friday, a team of storm chasers for the Weather Channel led by Mike Bettes also found themselves in the path of a tornado in Oklahoma -- only this time it wasn't intentional.
Being in the right place at the right time in the right kind of vehicle has netted a team of storm chasers some incredible video that would have been impossible to get (and survive) not too long ago.
Brandon Ivey and Sean Casey of StormChasingVideo.com went out in a specially-made "TIV" (Tornado Intercept Vehicle) and sat in the path of an approaching EF-3 to EF-4 tornado as it blew through the Kansas countryside on Monday.
It's not often entertainment on board a cruise ship can be upstaged but on this particular night, Mother Nature gave it a shot.
Make that, several shots...
I took this video as the Disney Fantasy sailed into the Gulf of Mexico on May 1 just hours after it left a very hot and muggy Cozumel, Mexico.
(How hot? I went back and checked when I got home and it was 86 degrees with a 73 degree dew point that evening. Or as this Seattleite said: About 3 degrees cooler than molten lava. Though I'm sure many of the Florida residents on the ship probably thought it was a bit chilly.)
Does it feel a bit like January out there Wednesday? Your skin did not deceive you.
A cold system from the Gulf of Alaska had settled into the Pacific Northwest, bringing not only a steady winter-like rain but has kept temperatures stuck in the 40s(!) through much of the day.
In fact, at 1 p.m., Portland was hovering at 46 degrees -- about the average high for mid-January.
The Rose City would finish the day with a high of 50 degrees --- the second coldest May day on record -- for any date! It shattered the daily record for coldest high temperature on May 22 which had been a "balmy" 55.
It was so chilly in the Northwest that Portland was given the "honor" as the coldest major city in the United States! (Even colder than Seattle (52) and Anchorage (54), although if you add in smaller cities, tied with Spokane, Washington, also at 50.)
That might not seem very long -- roughly about the time it takes to wade through your hourly drama if you blaze through commercials. But compared to a few decades ago, 36 minutes of time might have saved countless lives during the devastating tornado that struck Moore, Oklahoma on Monday.
Years ago, the residents of Moore would have likely had no idea the tornado was coming until the twister was sighted, giving people barely a few minutes' notice. But thanks to advancements in technology, tornadoes rarely sneak up on anyone anymore.
In fact, forecasters as early as Wednesday began sounding the alarm for a potential severe weather breakout on Sunday and Monday. And, on Friday, the forecasts became more specific. On Monday, a Tornado Watch, which indicates conditions are right for tornadic development, was issued at 1:10 p.m. for much of Oklahoma, including the greater Oklahoma City area.
With tornadoes in the news lately I figured it'd be a good time to post answers to some frequently asked questions about the powerful storms:
What does "EF-4" mean?
WIth the devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, you'll be hearing a lot of about "EF" ratings -- that's from the Enhanced Fujita Scale that rates tornadoes on a scale of 0 to 5, 5 being the strongest.
The Moore tornado was given a preliminary rating of EF-4 ("Devastating") with estimated tornadic wind speeds of up to 200 mph, although many are thinking that rating could be increased to an EF-5 ("Incredible") once more damage assessment is done.
Sadly, it's not the first time Moore has had to deal with such a catastrophic storm. On May 3, 1999, Moore was struck by an EF-5 tornado which recorded the strongest wind speed ever registered near Earth's surface. this map provided by the National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma shows just how close the two tracks were.