Weather Blog

UW alum seeks to forecast perfect ski day through 3D snowflake photos

UW alum seeks to forecast perfect ski day through 3D snowflake photos
Photo of snowflake courtesy of Dr. Tim Garrett, University of Utah.

An Atmospheric Sciences professor at the University of Utah, who also holds a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington, is seeking to improve global snow forecasting through the simple act of taking photographs of snowflakes.

OK, so it's not simple. In fact, it's quite complex.

Latest winter outlook gives some hope for skiers

Latest winter outlook gives some hope for skiers

We're about halfway through the heart of the October-to-March wet season and it's been anything but for this year.

Not only are many cities well behind for the year in the rainfall column -- Portland is almost 7 inches behind for the year -- but the mountains are reeling with some resorts only about 40 percent of their normal snowfall.

And the short term forecast is not good with another long, dry stretch looming to end December. We've already had several dry streaks in October, November and December with perhaps another several day streak in the offing now.

But! There is some hope for skiers -- and maybe it'll even translate to the lowlands?!?

Photos: Bubbles crystallize into spherical beauty during freezing temps

Photos: Bubbles crystallize into spherical beauty during freezing temps
Intricate patterns revealed themselves when bubbles froze during a blast of single digit temperatures around Arlington, Wash. in early December. (Photo courtesy: Angela Kelly, Kelly Images and Photography)

What to do when you've got a creative mind, a knack for photography, and temperatures are hovering near single digits?

Go blow bubbles! Then take pictures of what happens next.

Arlington's Angela Kelly of Kelly Images and Photography has been featured in this blog before for her beautiful natural displays of dew drops and melting frost.

Unusual ice circle forms in North Dakota river

Unusual ice circle forms in North Dakota river
In this Nov. 24, 2013 photo provided by George Loegering is a large spinning circle of bits of ice that Loegering spotted in North Dakota's Sheyenne River while out hunting with friends. (AP Photo/George Loegering)

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — When George Loegering saw a large spinning circle of ice in the Sheyenne River while out hunting with relatives, the retired engineer couldn't believe his eyes.

Photographer gets incredible close-up shots of snowflakes

Photographer gets incredible close-up shots of snowflakes
Macro shot of natural snowflake courtesy of Alexey Kljatov. (Used with permission from photographer and CC 2.0 license.) See more of his incredible work on his Flickr page)

There's nothing like a blanket of fresh snow to make for picturesque scenes around the Pacific Northwest, but among the snowmen and sleigh rides are hidden secrets of the breath-taking beauty of Mother Nature.

But photographer Alexey Kljatov has unlocked some of those secrets, using a unique camera set up to get intricate photos of individual snowflakes, which show off an amazing level of detail that each snowflake carries. They say no two snowflakes are alike, and these photographs show why.

Photos: Rare fog envelops base of Grand Canyon

Photos: Rare fog envelops base of Grand Canyon
A rare total inversion seen Nov. 29 by visitors to Grand Canyon National Park. This view is from Mather Point on the South Rim. (National Park Service photo by Erin Whittaker. Used with CC 2.0 license)

Park rangers and tourists alike at the Grand Canyon over Thanksgiving weekend were treated to a sight only seen on average once every few years: Fog.

It takes a rare inversion set up where cold air gets trapped in the canyons and warm air sits above the rims.

"Much better than Black Friday!" National Park Service Ranger Erin Whittaker posted on the Grand Canyon's Facebook page. "Rangers wait for years to see it. Word spread like wildfire and most ran to the rim to photograph it. What a fantastic treat for all!"

Clear skies allow brief viewing of Comet ISON's 'pre-game' show

Clear skies allow brief viewing of Comet ISON's 'pre-game' show
Comet ISON shows off its tail in this three-minute exposure taken on 19 Nov. 2013 at 6:10 a.m. EST, using a 14-inch telescope located at the Marshall Space Flight Center. Photo Credit: NASA/MSFC/Aaron Kingery

It's been perhaps the most anticipated astronomical event of the year as Comet ISON makes its way toward the sun on a path and proximity that has some experts believing it might end up as one of the more spectacular comets in a long time.

If all goes right, Comet ISON could be so bright, it would rival a full moon at night and could even be visible during daylight. But that's a big "if".

What's it like living in space? Col. Hadfield shows us the answer

What's it like living in space? Col. Hadfield shows us the answer »Play Video
Col. Chris Hadfield looks out towrad Earth from his view on the International Space Station (Photo: NASA)

There are plenty of places that you could argue have the best view on Earth. But as far as the best view above the Earth? Col. Chris Hadfield has seen it, hands down.

Hadfield served six months on the International Space Station earlier this year and in doing so, became the first Canadian ever to command the station.

But in the social media circles, Hadfield might be best known for sharing his incredible office view from his perch 230 miles high and posting them on his Twitter account @Cmdr_Hadfield and posting to his Facebook page.

"I took 45,000 pictures of the world.... and sent as many of them as I could down in real time to try and let people to the best of my ability see that perspective as it looked through my eyes," Hadfield told KOMO News. "And a lot of people came on board and shared it and that perspective is good for us all."

From towering, snow-capped volcanoes to intricate swirls off the the Italian coastlines, his gallery is a treasure trove of information about our home and showcases many planetary features that can't be appreciated the same way from the ground.

The beauty Nature brings after the sun goes down

The beauty Nature brings after the sun goes down
Photo courtesy John Eklund time lapse video: "Purely Pacific Northwest"

It doesn't matter whether you live below the clouds like most of us, or are on a mission high above like those on the International Space Station, the Earth can be a very beautiful place, especially at night.