SEATTLE -- It's probably the first time in several months an update to the long range seasonal forecasts hasn't been met with total dread by skiers, snowboarders, and anyone else who is a fan of a snowy winter.
That's probably because November has been kind to snow lovers so far with a parade of storms that have brought enough mountain snow for some ski resorts to open before Thanksgiving!
Scott's Note: In the original text, I erroneously crowned White Pass the wind champ at 119 mph, but it turns out I didn't run Mission Ridge's data back far enough. Lo and behild, they hit an eye-popping 137 mph gust Tuesday evening!
The Olympic Mountains may be home to Hurricane Ridge, but it was some of the Cascade ridges that took on hurricane-force winds during Tuesday's windstorm.
As an intense low pressure system passed by just to the north, it created an incredible pressure difference along the eastside of the Cascades, bringing triple-digit wind speeds to some spots.
Think of all the weather stories your dad or granddad told you were a kid about how difficult it was.
Probably had nothing on what Des Moines, Iowa had on Wednesday. We've joked during our own storms about needing "weather bingo" to account for all the different events. We lose.
The morning started simple enough: Cloudy skies gave out a little drizzle. Temperatures in the mid 50s warmed into the low 60s at lunch. Clouds were pretty low and thick, but winds were only blowing at 15 mph.
"If you have never had a chance to stand on top of the clouds, put it on your list."
So says local photographer Don Jensen, who earlier this year got to spend a night doing just that, and the results were incredible.
Why would a pack of mules be carrying weather equipment up into the Olympic National Park this October? It's all in the name of weather research!
NASA has undertaken an ambitious research project this fall and winter called OLYMPEX (Olympic Mountains Experiment) to cover the Olympic Peninsula -- even its most remote locations -- with all sorts of weather instrument goodies in an effort to help NASA calibrate some new advanced weather satellites.
News sites (and weather blogs) have been filled with stories about how the raging El Niño in the South-Central Pacific Ocean is set to rival, if not surpass the strongest event on record in 1997 and have accompanied daunting forecasts of what could happen in El Niño years.
For the Pacific Northwest, El Niño years have typically meant warmer and drier winters with less than average mountain snowpacks, and the long range forecasts have been consistently trending that way. So much so that it's become somewhat of a tradition in this weather blog to have cute "Emergency Kitten" video therapy for snow lovers who happen upon the forecast.
Turns out in Auburn, if you're a bird who likes to sleep in, you still won't go hungry.
Crystal Clarity was out for a walk in Auburn Sunday afternoon after the heavy rains that hit on Saturday, only to find a rather gross, slimy situation.
"At first, we didn't know what to make of it. There were so many of these odd, pink clumps all over the sidewalk. From a distance, it looked like raw hamburger," she said.
"But once we got close, we realized each of these clumps was actually tens of thousands of intertwined, living worms!"
If you're someone whose heart rate jumps a bit when your 737 hits a few bumps while soaring over the Cascades, then this job is not for you…
An extremely brave crew of 13 "hurricane hunters" spent much of their Thursday and Friday intentionally flying a NOAA P3 aircraft right into the heart of Hurricane Patricia -- what turned out to be the strongest storm on record in the Western Hemisphere. As you might imagine, flying around in 200+ mph winds amid towering thunderstorms and swirling updrafts, the "Fasten Seatbelt" sign was on for a vast majority of the flight (not that it really has one.)
The numbers are staggering: A hurricane bearing down on western Mexico has been measured to have winds stronger than Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Andrew -- and even Hurricane Camille. In fact, put any name there and Hurricane Patricia tops them all: 201 mph!
The National Hurricane Center said Friday morning that based on data from hurricane hunter aircraft, Patricia had strengthened into a monster Category 5 hurricane with peak *sustained* winds at 175 knots -- or 201 mph -- with even higher gusts! That is 6 mph more than the 195 mph winds measured by satellites in Typhoon Haiyan which caused massive destruction in the Philippines in 2013. In North America, Hurricane Allen had 190 mph winds in 1980.
200 mph is also the baseline windspeed of an F5 tornado.
Local photographer Don Jensen has brought back a great time lapse video from the Great Prosser Balloon Rally from late September. It was too windy on Day 1 for the balloons to fly, but it did make for a great sunrise. Then Sunday, conditions were perfect and the pilots didn't disappoint!
As has become recent tradition over the past three years, the Weather Channel is going to once again name winter storms.
They just released their list of names for the upcoming 2015-16 season and one thing is for sure: Headline writers are going to have some options writing about the storms.
It's not easy to create your own optical illusion, but mountain climbers and hikers who have ever been out and about on a sunny and foggy day did just that, creating what's known as a "Brocken spectre."
Radka Chapin and her husband got to see the amazing sight while they were up at Tamanos Mountain on Saturday.
"We got treated to a spectacular light show with Brocken Spectre," she said. "We spent several hours on the summit! We tried to leave several times but then the Spectre would start showing again and it was so magnificent, we had to stay and watch it. We ended up hiking out with headlamps :) "