Weather Blog

Mountains don't need to be big to create their own weather

Mountains don't need to be big to create their own weather
A small fog bank is created over Tillamook Head just south of Seaside, Ore. on July 10, 2014.

Photo galleries around here are full of dramatic cloud shots created by some of the tallest mountains, be int Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood or even just the Cascades or Olympics.

But mountains don't have to be measured in thousands of feet to create their own weather patterns.

We've had a number of examples lately where some of of the region's regular-sized hills have done a good job of at least generating their own cloud layers.

The clouds are formed by the winds racing up the hillsides as the local air mass sits right on the edge of saturation. Rising air cools and while it's certainly not a dramatic cooling over such a short distance, it's just enough in these examples to make its own clouds and fog.

The photo above of Tillamook Head just south of Seaside's beach shows the marine air along the ocean was just on the cusp of saturating, and the onshore wind was pushed up the side of the hill and condensed into fog.

Here is a great example of Whidbey Island making its own weather, courtesy of SkunkBayWeather.com



And here is an example from 2012 of the fog rolling up and over Bainbridge Island;



The photo gallery above also has some other recent examples.

Long range forecasts maintain generally warm pattern through February

Long range forecasts maintain generally warm pattern through February
Sen sets over Seattle on July 17, 2014. (Photo courtesy: Bruce Hogarth)

For much of late winter and spring, the message has been the same by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center: Expect a warmer than normal summer.

So far, July is delivering, with several days of 80s and 90s around the Pacific Northwest, and even a few triple digit days east of the Cascades.

Portland is just one spot in the region, but it's a whopping 2.5 degrees above normal so far.

And the forecast for this week brings a return of more warm-to-hot weather to finish off the month!

So what about August? Those same long-range forecasts suggest more of the same. And September. And October. And November. And...see a theme developing?

Northwest wildfires take 'shine' out of Midwestern sunshine

Northwest wildfires take 'shine' out of Midwestern sunshine
Photo: Jonathan Yuhas, KSTP-TV.

The wildfires raging across Washington, Oregon and Idaho are not only bringing a dense, smoky haze to much of the area just to the east of the Cascades, but its effects are being felt over 1,000 miles away across the Upper Midwest.

Jonathan Yuhas, a meteorologist with KSTP-TV in Minneapolis, noted that skies over Minnesota have taken a "frosty haze" to them ever since the wildfires have erupted here in the Northwest.

Pacific Coast residents wonder: Who needs a meteorologist?

Pacific Coast residents wonder: Who needs a meteorologist?
Shore Acres State Park in Oregon (Photo courtesy Flickr user Doug Kerr. (Via CC 2.0 license.)

Would you like to live in a place where no matter what the weather is, be it sunshine, pouring rain, or a foggy overcast, the temperature is about the same?

All you have to do is head west, stop just before you get pummeled by ocean surf, then either put in your tent stakes or, more comfortably, talk to a local real estate agent.

Photos: More dramatic pics of Earth from International Space Station

Photos: More dramatic pics of Earth from International Space Station
We flew over a big tropical cyclone “Guito” near Madagascar this morning. (Photo & Caption courtesy Koichi Wakata (@Astro_Wakata) and NASA)

Surreal pics: Nebraska homes, cars blasted by tennis ball-sized hail

Surreal pics: Nebraska homes, cars blasted by tennis ball-sized hail
A home's siding is torn off after being blistered by large hail and strong winds in Hooper, Nebraska on June 3, 2014. (Photo courtesy: Kevin Krohn )

If it was in Mother Nature's playbook, it was used against parts of Nebraska Tuesday evening: Torrential rain, constant lightning, near-hurricane-force winds, tornadoes, and tennis ball-sized hail...

Pretty much all at the same time.

Let's start with the torrential rain as I was wide-eyed watching the rainfall numbers come in from Omaha.

The storm began with quite the punch, bringing a burst of rainfall and a gust of wind that was clocked at 72 mph!

The rain just kept going from there, which included jaw-dropping rainfall rates that saw over a half-inch of rain (0.53") fall in 3 minutes! That's 0.01" of rain per 3.4 seconds.

Photos show towering hailstorms over South Carolina

Photos show towering hailstorms over South Carolina
A towering thunderstorm is seen over South Carolina on May 23, 2014 as photographed by Stu Broce with NASA's IPHEX project

We're all likely familiar with what a hail storm looks like from the ground -- around here, it's as if someone dumped gazillions of frozen peas on the ground... if the peas were made of ice.

But have you ever seen a big hailstorm from the top? (And I mean BIG hailstorm, not the "what passes for big in Portland but Midwesterners and East Coasties laugh as child's play" hailstorm? The kind that could be disguised as a golf ball or, when you're really in for it, a softball?)

Gorgeous time lapse video shows off intricacies of fog

Gorgeous time lapse video shows off intricacies of fog
Photo: Simon Christen

Nothing shows off the beauty of fog like time lapse video.

Photographer Simon Christen, who put together one of my all-time favorite videos, "Adrift" that shows a series of foggy time lapse videos in San Francisco, is out with a new video "A Time Lapse Collection" that has more fog from the Bay Area, as well as a trip to Dubai.

In harm's way: Cameras provide views from inside a tornado

In harm's way: Cameras provide views from inside a tornado

With cameras everywhere these days, it's inevitable that a tornado will find a few over the course of the stormy seasons.

The most recent one was a surveillance camera stationed outside a church in Tupelo, Miss. as an F3 tornado struck in April.

Northwest climate change report: Shrinking snowpacks, drier summers

Northwest climate change report: Shrinking snowpacks, drier summers
FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2012 file photo, Natural Resources Conservation Service employees Chris Mundy, front, and Nicholle Kovach measure snow depth at a site near Wanoga Snoplay Area west of Bend, Ore. (AP Photo/The Bulletin, Rob Kerr)

Tuesday was a big day in the science community with the release of a major federal scientific report on climate change.

The 840-page report, several years in the making, looks at regional and state-level effects of global warming, compared with recent reports from the United Nations that lumped all of North America together. A draft of the report was released in January 2013, but this version has been reviewed by more scientists, the National Academy of Science and 13 government agencies and had public comment.

It is written in a bit more simple language so people could realize "that there's a new source of risk in their lives," said study lead author Gary Yohe of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

The report breaks the nation down into 8 geographical regions, including the Pacific Northwest, which for their report encompasses Washington, Oregon and Idaho.