Weather Blog

This snowman will help put Alaska's massive storm in perspective

This snowman will help put Alaska's massive storm in perspective
This Sunday, March 2, 2014 photo shows a giant snowman created by Greg Novak in Gilman, Minn. (AP Photo/ St. Cloud, Jason Wachter)

With all the hype over the big storm off Alaska's (far) west coast and the talk of the impending arctic doom and gloom heading toward the Midwest this week being blamed on this storm, you might think the photo above is current -- or a forecast of how much snow is about to fall out there.

Well, no. Not quite.

El Nino flaking out on us again? Chances of it forming drop to 58%

El Nino flaking out on us again? Chances of it forming drop to 58%
Yakima River Upper Kittitas County on Nov. 5, 2014 (Photo: Stephanie Hansen)

El Nino may be flaking out on its winter date with us again, but for skiers and snowboarders it'd be akin to having better plans lined up anyway.

The latest word from NOAA is that the odds of El Nino forming this winter are down to 58 percent -- a far cry from the 80 percent chances we had in the early summer.

Forecasts are still indeed for El Nino conditions to develop this winter (better hurry up!) but now we're leaning toward a borderline event that may just barely qualify.

Weather whiplash: Denver drops 40 degrees in 3 hours

Weather whiplash: Denver drops 40 degrees in 3 hours
Snow falls in Denver on Nov. 10, 2014 just a few hours after it was 64°. (Photo courtesy: Daryl Orr, KDVR-TV, Denver)

Days like today are not unheard of in Denver and the Midwest when you've got a massive cold front barreling through... but they're still fun to marvel at.

Check out how residents there kicked off their work week:

Awesome time lapse video shows the power of the desert monsoon

Awesome time lapse video shows the power of the desert monsoon
Screen capture off Mike Olbinski's film "Monsoon"

This is one of those times that if you have a large, HD monitor around, go find it and then reload this blog. It'll be worth it.

Mike Olbinski, a fantastic photographer who lives in Arizona, has spent the summer chasing the monsoon storms that wrought towering thunderclouds, vivid lightning, incredible downpours and intense dust storms.

Passing rain shower costs Minnesota pitcher $500,000

Passing rain shower costs Minnesota pitcher $500,000
Minnesota Twins grounds crew roll out the tarp during a rain delay in the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

I'm sure we've all had times where a rain shower has ruined a picnic, or perhaps turned your commute into a trip rivaling Wagner's "The Ring" for length of time.

But I'll bet it's never cost you a cool half million dollars!

Northern Lights could make appearance later this week

Northern Lights could make appearance later this week
Northern Lights shine over Puget Sound. (Photo courtesy Eddie Murdock Photography

A strong solar storm is in progress, and for those ever hoping to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, its timing couldn't be better.

Spaceweather.com says not one, but two coronal mass ejections (CMEs -- fancy word for solar flares) have erupted and are speeding toward Earth.

Their expected arrival is Friday for the first one and Saturday for the second one, which means both Friday night -- and perhaps even Thursday night if it's a bit quicker -- and Saturday night could see a display of the Northern Lights. It's a near slam dunk for the higher latitudes but even our area has a chance to get a peek if the stars align.

Sunny Northwest day stuns ISS astronaut

Sunny Northwest day stuns ISS astronaut
Photo: Reid Wiseman, NASA

I would think being an astronaut living on the International Space Station would find a new sight each day in the cosmos to be in sheer wonder.

Friday brought a rare sight to NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman -- something he says never happens and he had a front row seat.

A galaxy supernova? Not quite; seen it before.

Rain on the moon? That would qualify but still no need for meteorologists there.

No, while it was weather-related, it had to do with our own Pacific Northwest:

The science behind the smell of rain

The science behind the smell of rain
A rainy window pane on a stormy day in Seattle. (Photo courtesy: Michael Mclaughlin Photography

Ever notice there's a distinct smell right after it starts raining?

It's most noticeable when it's been dry for a long while and the shower is fairly heavy. My wife, who grew up in Arizona, referred to this as the "wet rock" smell and there is some truth to it as it's rock that's among the main culprits for giving off the smell.

Photos: Breathtaking pics of Earth from International Space Station

Photos: Breathtaking pics of Earth from International Space Station
A pop-up book for space travelers. Clouds reaching so high I couldn’t believe it. (Photo & Caption: Reid Wiseman, NASA)

Odds of an El Niño this winter drop by 15%

Odds of an El Niño this winter drop by 15%

Maybe El Niño isn't such the slam dunk it seemed a few months ago?

Forecasters with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center – the people in charge of watching for El Niño and La Nina, among many other things – have dropped their chances of El Niño developing this fall and winter to 65 percent from 80 percent.

Granted, that's like saying a football team that was a 14 point favorite to win is now just an 11 point favorite – still a pretty good chance it'll happen. Just not as much as before.

But if nothing else, the trend is interesting.

Why is it ''Hurricane'' Iselle and not ''Typhoon'' Iselle bearing down on Hawaii?

Why is it ''Hurricane'' Iselle and not ''Typhoon'' Iselle bearing down on Hawaii?
Left: Photo of Typhoon Halong, courtesy of astronaut Reid Wiseman on the International Space Station. Right: Satellite image of Hurricane Iselle near Hawaii.

With the tropical paradise of Hawaii bracing for Hurricane Iselle later Thursday, I've had quite a number of people email and ask why we're not calling the storm "Typhoon Iselle." After all, there's a similar storm just a bit farther west across the Pacific called "Typhoon Halong."

The reason is simple: Geography.