Weather Blog

UW Prof: 'Godzilla' El Nino to vanquish warm 'blob' of ocean waters

UW Prof: 'Godzilla' El Nino to vanquish warm 'blob' of ocean waters
A large size figure of Godzilla in a diorama is on display at Cheepa's gallery in Tokyo.

Two weather entities have been battling it out for media attention of late: The warm 'blob' of water in the Pacific Ocean largely blamed for our year-plus long of warmer temperatures in the Northwest, and a budding El Niño of super strength that has been given a variety of monikers, from "Bruce Lee" El Niño to "Godzilla" El Niño.

But University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences professor (and fellow weather blogger) Cliff Mass says only one can survive, and the two will engage in a meteorological battle that will rival those found on late night monster movies.

Who will win? Mass reveals who he'd put his money on:

"Just like in the movies, Godzilla will become our ally. And it makes sense that the mighty Godzilla will prevail," Mass wrote.

Mass says the atmospheric conditions caused by El Niño will create an opposite effect over where the warm "blob" lives, eventually causing its demise.

"Basically the blob is there because we had high pressure that was just sitting the Eastern Pacific and the higher pressure caused us to get warm and it caused the sea surface temperatures to get warmer than normal," Mass told KOMO News Radio. "But El Niño is going to cause a different pattern. We're going to see lows forming offshore and it's going to change the wind pattern a lot... I think the blob is going to die and I think El Niño is going to win."

(Mass has many more details in his weather blog entry.)

It just won't happen overnight -- we'll have to wait until later in the winter. Until then, long range forecasts maintain it'll remain warm -- don’t forget, even if "blob" goes away, El Niño's themselves tend to make for warmer than normal winters.  

"I suspect we will not see a great deal of lowland snow in Seattle and the Puget Sound region this year," Mass said.

But Mass thinks compared to the last two winters that were quite abnormal -- especially last winter with temperatures 4-5 degrees above normal, he thinks this upcoming winter will seem tame in comparison, with only slightly warmer than normal levels. And as for mountain snowpack?

"Last year we had extremely low snowpack. I expect more of 75-80 percent of normal this year," Mass said. "That's a big improvement."

He says once "Blob" is defeated, and El Niño eventually fades next year, we should get back to more typical weather conditions, meaning the region's long warm spell has a light at the end of the tunnel…

Just as long as it's not Mothra's laser eyes.

For More Information:

Cliff Mass' Weather Blog

Photos: Dramatic images of record hurricane activity in Pacific Ocean

Photos: Dramatic images of record hurricane activity in Pacific Ocean
Hurricane Jimena churns in the Pacific Ocean as seen from the International Space Station. (Photo: NASA / Kjell Lindgren)

Chalk up two firsts for the planet this year when it comes to hurricanes this summer -- a parade of three simultaneous hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean over the weekend, plus a rather odd record set in the Atlantic too.

First in the Pacific, where three Category 4 hurricanes -- Kilo, Ignacio and Jimena -- were roaming the Central Pacific Ocean waters at the same time on Sunday. It's the first time in the satellite imagery era (think post 1950s) that three major hurricanes were observed at the same time east of the International Dateline, according to The CIMSS Satellite Blog via the University of Wisconsin (aka "the other U-Dub".)

Photographer gets incredible shots of the Northern Lights at Mt. Baker

Photographer gets incredible shots of the Northern Lights at Mt. Baker
The Northern Lights as seen from Artist Point near Mt. Baker on Aug. 22, 2015. (Photo courtesy: Jack Nichols)

Jack Nichols and his friend Nate had a plan under what should have been a starry night Saturday night - wait until midnight when the quarter moon sets and it's totally black, then head up to Artist Point and get some amazing shots of the Milky Way galaxy over a majestic Mt. Baker.

Photos: New stunning pics of Earth from International Space Station

Photos: New stunning pics of Earth from International Space Station
Subtropical Storm #Ana churns off the East coast of USA. #Wx from @Space_Station. #YearInSpace (Photo & Caption: Capt. Scott Kelley / NASA)

Watch: Time lapse video of gorgeous Mt. Rainier lenticular cloud

They're sometimes mistaken for aliens, but really, it's just a sign rain might be on the way.

Luke Meyers just recently published this time lapse video of a rather strange-looking lenticular cloud over Mt. Rainier last March. It's a good illustration of how they form -- the clouds look stationary but there's quite a bit of movement in them as air rises just enough to saturate, then dries enough as it sinks to "go invisible" again.

A few easy tips that can save your life on the water

A few easy tips that can save your life on the water

As sunshine and 70s become more common this time of year, so do the spontaneous trips out to enjoy the warmth out on the water. And with that comes the busiest time of the year for water rescuers.

Sadly, May is the month with the highest amount of water-related fatalities in the Northwest and this year is no different.

Watch: Lightning strikes two jets on approach to Sea-Tac Airport

Watch: Lightning strikes two jets on approach to Sea-Tac Airport

SEATTLE -- Some of the people on their way into Seattle Wednesday evening got quite the hello from Mother Nature as lightning struck two different jets as they approached Sea-Tac Airport.

University of Washington student Owen Craft was out in the University District trying to film lightning strikes as a thunderstorm moved through and caught the two massive bolts as they passed through the planes' fuselage.

"I was stunned for a second because I couldn't believe what I just saw," Craft said. "After the second (plane) got hit, I knew I was on to something spectacular!"

Northern Lights turn region's skies green for St. Patrick's Day

Northern Lights turn region's skies green for St. Patrick's Day
Photo of the Northern Lights as seen from Picnic Point in Edmonds early on the morning of March 17, 2015. (Photo courtesy: Julia Kelley)

Surprise!

A bit of a sneaky and severe solar storm hit the planet last night, bringing a show of the Northern Lights in the wee hours of St. Patrick's Day morning.

The photo above was taken by Julia Kelley who went down to Picnic Point Beach last night to catch some fresh air and relax.

Northern Lights peek out over Northwest

Northern Lights peek out over Northwest
Photo of Northern Lights on 15 second film exposure as seen from Mukilteo on Feb. 23, 2015. (Photo: Liem Bahneman)

It was a bit of a surprise considering there wasn't much solar flare activity but the Northern Lights made a faint appearance over Western Washington Monday night.

2 routine events combine for spectacular scene over Canadian skies

2 routine events combine for spectacular scene over Canadian skies
Photo of a "FallStreak" cloud spotted over Surrey, B.C. at sunrise on Feb. 22, 2015. (Photo courtesy: Zora Fernandez)

Those who were up early enough Sunday morning in Surrey, B.C. and happened to look up were treated to a spectacular scene in the heavens that looks like something straight out of the imagination of a futuristic Hollywood alien blockbuster film.

In actuality, it was the combination of two rather routine events that just happened to have impeccable timing:

A sunrise (one for the ages on its own) …and a plane descending through a solid, stable cloud layer.

Rare, undulating clouds enchant visitors in Grand Teton

Rare, undulating clouds enchant visitors in Grand Teton
This photo taken Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015, and provided by the Grand Teton National Park, shows an unusual cloud formation across the summit of the Grand Teton in this view from the park's headquarters campus at Moose, Wyo. (AP Photo/Grand Teton National Park, Jackie Skaggs)
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A bizarre sheet of wispy clouds undulating over the Teton Range enchanted tourists and even veteran employees of Grand Teton National Park.

Drivers stopped along the park's main highway Thursday morning to gaze in awe and shoot photos of the rare phenomenon hovering over Grand Teton mountain. At 13,775 feet above sea level, the Grand Teton is the highest point in the Teton Range.

Oregon dust storm now blamed for 'milky rain' in Eastern Washington

Oregon dust storm now blamed for 'milky rain' in Eastern Washington
Photo of a dirty, milky substance that has fallen on cars outside the National Weather Service office in Spokane, Wash. on Feb. 6, 2015. (Photo courtesy: National Weather Service)


The mystery surrounding a white, milky rain that fell across Eastern Washington and parts of Oregon and Idaho Friday has a new theory, although I'd call it more of a tweak of the previous theory.

The event coated vehicles and windows in more than 15 cities, including Spokane, the Tri-Cities, and Hermiston, Oregon. Initial thoughts of the source originating as volcanic ash from a distant eruption or debris blown from summer wildfire-scarred terrain were quickly disproven.