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Pacific Northwest Weather - May 2023


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3 hours ago, Phishy Wx said:

I've wondered if/how a smoke layer can decrease convection?

I know huge fires can create their own Pyrocumulus but I'm talking away from the actual  fires like in those satellite photos tim posted

 

One might think that the answer is due to reduced sunlight reaching the ground. I think that answer is part of the picture, but the real answer is a little less intuitive.

In terms of how smoke affects temperatures and mixing beneath the boundary layer, from what I have observed, there really isn't much of an effect. This is particularly true if the smoke is surface based. A good majority of sunlight still reaches the ground; and if you're in May-July, you can afford to lose a little energy while still mixing through. Hell, back in August of 2021, Redding managed to push 120F amidst dense surface smoke. Fuckking yikes, no thank you.

What I think prevents convection isn't a lack of surface heating, but rather the absorption of energy by the smoke in the air aloft. This warms the boundary layer and strengthens capping; inhibiting convection.

You could imagine how this would play out... A forest fire blows up somewhere in the OR Cascades in late July. Smoke drifts NE under retreating high pressure, eventually settling and pooling in the Columbia Basin. The following morning, a convective environment exists, accompanied by rapid height falls and rapid cooling in the upper levels. Come sunlight, thermal towers beneath the boundary layer mix the smoke which settled near the surface overnight. The settling of smoke actually ensures that air temperatures at the surface would remain the same, assuming there are no high altitude smoke layers. Remember, beneath the boundary layer it's a fairly closed system, meaning that even the energy that is stolen from the ground by particles of smoke is still deposited into the air mixing to the ground.

Thermal towers over time deposit more and more of the smoke contained with them into the cap as their overshooting tops lose their buoyancy. This cumulating smoke content within the cap absorbs sunlight even more, which warms the cap over time. From there it's a game of cat and mouse, as the mixed layer warms over time, and the cap reciprocates. Thus convection is prevented. But this effect is probably subtle most of the time.

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Weather stats for MBY

Snowfall:

-Total snowfall since joining: 50.25"

-2018-19: 21"

-2019-20: 2.5"

-2020-21: 13"

-2021-22: 8.75"

-2022-23: 5.75"

-2023-24*: 0.25"

-Most recent snowfall: 0.25”; January 17th, 2024

-Largest snowfall (single storm): 8.5"; February 12-13, 2021

-Largest snow depth: 14"; 1:30am February 12th, 2019

Temperatures:

-Warmest: 109F; June 28th, 2021

-Coldest: 13F; December 27th, 2021

-Phreeze Count 2023-24: 40

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3 hours ago, Phil said:

Yeah pattern doesn’t look like Feb-Apr. Much closer to average temperature wise, and probably wetter than average too. A lot more zonal.

But exactly when it sets in is uncertain/debatable.

Pretty good chance we will finish May well below average for our 7th straight month of well below average temps. Pretty incredible streak down this way. 

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1 hour ago, jcmcgaffey said:

Ya for sure. My point was more towards the reactions to the weather back then when it was cold and rainy for quite a while. Obviously the warmth has been winning the battle overall but I think there is hope in the fact that things will flip back from this current stretch of warm and dry weather just like it did from the cold and rainy weather. At least in the Puget sound region we have managed to keep up with average rainfall and the soil is still saturated. 

Heat miser pattern definitely blowing its load early this year.

foto26446a4f1f801ef3b3d1564dea31df66.png
"Western troughing literally kills people at this time of year. And in the most gruesome of ways."
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13 minutes ago, AlTahoe said:

Pretty good chance we will finish May well below average for our 7th straight month of well below average temps. Pretty incredible streak down this way. 

I bet that theme continues into June/July at least.

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foto26446a4f1f801ef3b3d1564dea31df66.png
"Western troughing literally kills people at this time of year. And in the most gruesome of ways."
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53 minutes ago, MossMan said:

The one time I wish it would have stalled at the Canadian border. 

Smoke was pretty much non existent up here today.  Just enough to make a pretty sunset but it wasn’t really very noticeable during much of the day

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Oh wow. Friday night looks very Sept 2019ish. Several hundred j/kg CAPE amidst moist diffluent SSW flow. Some models show initiation.

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Weather stats for MBY

Snowfall:

-Total snowfall since joining: 50.25"

-2018-19: 21"

-2019-20: 2.5"

-2020-21: 13"

-2021-22: 8.75"

-2022-23: 5.75"

-2023-24*: 0.25"

-Most recent snowfall: 0.25”; January 17th, 2024

-Largest snowfall (single storm): 8.5"; February 12-13, 2021

-Largest snow depth: 14"; 1:30am February 12th, 2019

Temperatures:

-Warmest: 109F; June 28th, 2021

-Coldest: 13F; December 27th, 2021

-Phreeze Count 2023-24: 40

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12 hours ago, Omegaraptor said:

D7F7DA5F-9C02-4708-B173-DDFC4031731A.thumb.jpeg.ba07bffaa7b371131f4eefa9b5e45f67.jpeg

And PDX rolls into the hourly.

Omg it’s Manti Teo! 

Snowfall                                  Precip

2022-23: 95.0"                      2022-23: 17.39"

2021-22: 52.6"                    2021-22: 91.46" 

2020-21: 12.0"                    2020-21: 71.59"

2019-20: 23.5"                   2019-20: 58.54"

2018-19: 63.5"                   2018-19: 66.33"

2017-18: 30.3"                   2017-18: 59.83"

2016-17: 49.2"                   2016-17: 97.58"

2015-16: 11.75"                 2015-16: 68.67"

2014-15: 3.5"
2013-14: 11.75"                  2013-14: 62.30
2012-13: 16.75"                 2012-13: 78.45  

2011-12: 98.5"                   2011-12: 92.67"

It's always sunny at Winters Hill! 
Fighting the good fight against weather evil.

 

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64 on the car thermometer at PDX. 

Snowfall                                  Precip

2022-23: 95.0"                      2022-23: 17.39"

2021-22: 52.6"                    2021-22: 91.46" 

2020-21: 12.0"                    2020-21: 71.59"

2019-20: 23.5"                   2019-20: 58.54"

2018-19: 63.5"                   2018-19: 66.33"

2017-18: 30.3"                   2017-18: 59.83"

2016-17: 49.2"                   2016-17: 97.58"

2015-16: 11.75"                 2015-16: 68.67"

2014-15: 3.5"
2013-14: 11.75"                  2013-14: 62.30
2012-13: 16.75"                 2012-13: 78.45  

2011-12: 98.5"                   2011-12: 92.67"

It's always sunny at Winters Hill! 
Fighting the good fight against weather evil.

 

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For y’all 

EF4C6C3F-7FB4-45BF-866C-4DD33DEA4B81.jpeg

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Snowfall                                  Precip

2022-23: 95.0"                      2022-23: 17.39"

2021-22: 52.6"                    2021-22: 91.46" 

2020-21: 12.0"                    2020-21: 71.59"

2019-20: 23.5"                   2019-20: 58.54"

2018-19: 63.5"                   2018-19: 66.33"

2017-18: 30.3"                   2017-18: 59.83"

2016-17: 49.2"                   2016-17: 97.58"

2015-16: 11.75"                 2015-16: 68.67"

2014-15: 3.5"
2013-14: 11.75"                  2013-14: 62.30
2012-13: 16.75"                 2012-13: 78.45  

2011-12: 98.5"                   2011-12: 92.67"

It's always sunny at Winters Hill! 
Fighting the good fight against weather evil.

 

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Could be worse 

DF66E852-BB61-432B-BD7F-D96B1B33B56C.jpeg

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Snowfall                                  Precip

2022-23: 95.0"                      2022-23: 17.39"

2021-22: 52.6"                    2021-22: 91.46" 

2020-21: 12.0"                    2020-21: 71.59"

2019-20: 23.5"                   2019-20: 58.54"

2018-19: 63.5"                   2018-19: 66.33"

2017-18: 30.3"                   2017-18: 59.83"

2016-17: 49.2"                   2016-17: 97.58"

2015-16: 11.75"                 2015-16: 68.67"

2014-15: 3.5"
2013-14: 11.75"                  2013-14: 62.30
2012-13: 16.75"                 2012-13: 78.45  

2011-12: 98.5"                   2011-12: 92.67"

It's always sunny at Winters Hill! 
Fighting the good fight against weather evil.

 

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4 minutes ago, Cascadia_Wx said:

Only 57 is probably about ten degrees above average for the low.

53 now. PDX hanging tough at 63.

Snowfall                                  Precip

2022-23: 95.0"                      2022-23: 17.39"

2021-22: 52.6"                    2021-22: 91.46" 

2020-21: 12.0"                    2020-21: 71.59"

2019-20: 23.5"                   2019-20: 58.54"

2018-19: 63.5"                   2018-19: 66.33"

2017-18: 30.3"                   2017-18: 59.83"

2016-17: 49.2"                   2016-17: 97.58"

2015-16: 11.75"                 2015-16: 68.67"

2014-15: 3.5"
2013-14: 11.75"                  2013-14: 62.30
2012-13: 16.75"                 2012-13: 78.45  

2011-12: 98.5"                   2011-12: 92.67"

It's always sunny at Winters Hill! 
Fighting the good fight against weather evil.

 

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Looks like a genuine cooldown this weekend into early next week, maybe longer. Nice to see.

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Weather stats for MBY

Snowfall:

-Total snowfall since joining: 50.25"

-2018-19: 21"

-2019-20: 2.5"

-2020-21: 13"

-2021-22: 8.75"

-2022-23: 5.75"

-2023-24*: 0.25"

-Most recent snowfall: 0.25”; January 17th, 2024

-Largest snowfall (single storm): 8.5"; February 12-13, 2021

-Largest snow depth: 14"; 1:30am February 12th, 2019

Temperatures:

-Warmest: 109F; June 28th, 2021

-Coldest: 13F; December 27th, 2021

-Phreeze Count 2023-24: 40

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6 minutes ago, Ken in Wood Village said:

That's plan and simple nasty. You can see the fire smoke is really close to the Portland area 🥺

G18_sector_pnw_GEOCOLOR_24fr_20230518-0941.gif

I think its going to start lifting out the NE today... you got lucky down there.  

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**REPORTED CONDITIONS AND ANOMALIES ARE NOT MEANT TO IMPLY ANYTHING ON A REGIONAL LEVEL UNLESS SPECIFICALLY STATED**

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10 hours ago, Meatyorologist said:

One might think that the answer is due to reduced sunlight reaching the ground. I think that answer is part of the picture, but the real answer is a little less intuitive.

In terms of how smoke affects temperatures and mixing beneath the boundary layer, from what I have observed, there really isn't much of an effect. This is particularly true if the smoke is surface based. A good majority of sunlight still reaches the ground; and if you're in May-July, you can afford to lose a little energy while still mixing through. Hell, back in August of 2021, Redding managed to push 120F amidst dense surface smoke. Fuckking yikes, no thank you.

What I think prevents convection isn't a lack of surface heating, but rather the absorption of energy by the smoke in the air aloft. This warms the boundary layer and strengthens capping; inhibiting convection.

You could imagine how this would play out... A forest fire blows up somewhere in the OR Cascades in late July. Smoke drifts NE under retreating high pressure, eventually settling and pooling in the Columbia Basin. The following morning, a convective environment exists, accompanied by rapid height falls and rapid cooling in the upper levels. Come sunlight, thermal towers beneath the boundary layer mix the smoke which settled near the surface overnight. The settling of smoke actually ensures that air temperatures at the surface would remain the same, assuming there are no high altitude smoke layers. Remember, beneath the boundary layer it's a fairly closed system, meaning that even the energy that is stolen from the ground by particles of smoke is still deposited into the air mixing to the ground.

Thermal towers over time deposit more and more of the smoke contained with them into the cap as their overshooting tops lose their buoyancy. This cumulating smoke content within the cap absorbs sunlight even more, which warms the cap over time. From there it's a game of cat and mouse, as the mixed layer warms over time, and the cap reciprocates. Thus convection is prevented. But this effect is probably subtle most of the time.

Well depending on how elevated the smoke is, it could warm the top of the boundary layer, acting like a quasi-EML, which could (in theory) augment CAPE/strengthen convection should the air under the cap destabilize sufficiently to pop it (particularly if the large scale environment is favorable to sustain convection). Usually need low level warm/moist advection to overcome the cap, though, and I imagine that can be a challenge in the PNW.

For instance, the EML induced cap (produced by advection off Rocky Mountains) is the primary reason storms over the Plains can be so severe. Delays convective initiation, allowing surface/lower BL to warm further, then kaboom.

Not to mention the various aerosols in a smoke plume can act as cloud condensation nuclei. In truth the effects of smoke on convection are state dependent and not fully understood. If you’re in a climate that lacks surface based heating/instability then it probably hurts in terms of convective *initiation* (not necessarily intensity).

But I know out here that convective days with an EML or an elevated smoke plume often overperform. The 2012 derecho was an EML day and the result was 20 minutes of nonstop 80-90mph winds (we were lucky enough to catch the most intense microburst swath anywhere during the entire event, lol).

 

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"Western troughing literally kills people at this time of year. And in the most gruesome of ways."
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1 hour ago, Meatyorologist said:

Looks like a genuine cooldown this weekend into early next week, maybe longer. Nice to see.

Head fake IMO. Ridging probably comes back for a week afterwards then comes the more real/persistent change.

This won’t be the only ridgy period this summer but it’s very likely to be the most intense (relative to climo). Especially for southern parts of the region.

Up north in NW Canada (BC/Alberta/Yukon) all bets are off, though. There is room for multiple rounds of nasty m’fing ridging throughout the summer, generally migrating farther north through the summer.

People in the SW US/OR and most of the Intermountain West might be sitting pretty for a couple of months after this +TNH/+PNA ridging event comes to a close, though. One of the summer months might even wind up cooler than average if intraseasonal cycles are timed just right.

WA people are on the border, but this is still probably the most climatologically-anomalous bout of ridging of the warm season there. Doesn’t look like a furnace summer.

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foto26446a4f1f801ef3b3d1564dea31df66.png
"Western troughing literally kills people at this time of year. And in the most gruesome of ways."
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14 minutes ago, Phil said:

Head fake IMO. Ridging probably comes back for a week afterwards then comes the more real/persistent change.

This won’t be the only ridgy period this summer but it’s very likely to be the most intense (relative to climo). Especially for southern parts of the region.

Up north in NW Canada (BC/Alberta/Yukon) all bets are off, though. There is room for multiple rounds of nasty m’fing ridging throughout the summer, generally migrating farther north through the summer.

People in the SW US/OR and most of the Intermountain West might be sitting pretty for a couple of months after this +TNH/+PNA ridging event comes to a close, though. One of the summer months might even wind up cooler than average if intraseasonal cycles are timed just right.

WA people are on the border, but this is still probably the most climatologically-anomalous bout of ridging of the warm season there. Doesn’t look like a furnace summer.

Glad we're getting this out of the way while we still have time to get significant rain. Better than having it in midsummer and being probably 2-3 months off from the next big rain.

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42 minutes ago, westcoastexpat said:

It's fog

Now there is more daylight, you can see the smoke on the Eastside of Washington and Oregon. It's a little to close for me. 

When the Eagle Creek fire was happening, I was my mom's caregiver. The evacuation notice (I can't remember if it was be prepared to evaluate or it was mandatory) was East of 257th. We lived off 238th. My mom needed special care and it stressed me out on what and where to take her. Ever time I see smoke in the air, I start having panic attacks. Having smoke this early in the season is not good for me. 

I know the West winds will push the smoke more east but it's still to close for comfort for me.

G18_sector_pnw_GEOCOLOR_24fr_20230518-1137.gif

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23 minutes ago, Phishy Wx said:

good thing is even with the air quality warnings out, nothing has translated to the surface yet here of any consequence.  AQI still in the low 40s

I’m used to seeing your garbage fill the skies here in August/September but have never seen it happen in May before. Sun was a faint, blood-red orb until 10AM yesterday.

Whatever is going on up there must be particularly nasty.

foto26446a4f1f801ef3b3d1564dea31df66.png
"Western troughing literally kills people at this time of year. And in the most gruesome of ways."
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Can’t imagine how bad it must be up there if its blocking the sun here. Must be a lot of s**t burning.

I was probably lucky with the timing of my visits in 2017-19. Each time the sky was as blue as anything I’ve seen anywhere, and it felt like late October here with the cool, quiet nights and ravens calling from the trees in the morning. No bugs either. Was really nice.

My family said a few days after I left in August 2018 the air quality got really nasty. Missed it by 36hrs. 🙏 

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"Western troughing literally kills people at this time of year. And in the most gruesome of ways."
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7 minutes ago, Phil said:

I’m used to seeing your garbage fill the skies here in August/September but have never seen it happen in May before. Sun was a faint, blood-red orb until 10AM yesterday.

Whatever is going on up there must be particularly nasty.

Why do you keep calling smoke names like "your garbage". It's really strange. We all live on the same planet. 

 

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7 minutes ago, FroYoBro said:

Why do you keep calling smoke names like "your garbage". It's really strange. We all live on the same planet. 

 

Just playful ribbing. To get reactions like this. 😁 And bc i’m bored on a bus to NYC.

But I’ll stop if it’s actually offending people.

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"Western troughing literally kills people at this time of year. And in the most gruesome of ways."
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54 minutes ago, Phil said:

I’m used to seeing your garbage fill the skies here in August/September but have never seen it happen in May before. Sun was a faint, blood-red orb until 10AM yesterday.

Whatever is going on up there must be particularly nasty.

A lot of this (for now) is upper level stuff so the air quality is still good at the surface. But the haze is very much visible. 
 

I wouldn’t go hiking! 

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1 hour ago, Phil said:

I’m used to seeing your garbage fill the skies here in August/September but have never seen it happen in May before. Sun was a faint, blood-red orb until 10AM yesterday.

Whatever is going on up there must be particularly nasty.

Almost 2 million acres burned in Alberta in the past few weeks.  There are also several large fires in BC too

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