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Skiers in the Methow Valley, which gets almost as much sun as Las Vegas or Phoenix.
Courtesy of Brian de Place

This winter was one of the rainiest winters on record in Seattle. That got KUOW listener Tom Donnelly wondering, “How far from Seattle would you have to travel to get a full day of sunshine?"

We too were desperate to know.


It's Raining, But Wildfire Season Is Starting In Washington

Apr 14, 2017

Despite a wet and windy spring, wildfire season officially begins in Washington state Saturday. Oregon’s fire season typically begins next month, depending on weather conditions.

As the season begins, fire officials caution people working in the woods or clearing land to have fire prevention equipment on hand.

FLICKR PHOTO/Ed Suominen(CC BY-NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/hTZt4V

Jeannie Yandel speaks with KUOW's Morning Edition host Emily Fox about a question she is trying to answer as part of our Local Wonder series. The question was posted by listener Tom Donnelly. He asked, "How far and in what direction do you have to travel away from Seattle to get a full day of sunshine?" Yandel also speaks with State Climatologist Nick Bond about where to find sunshine in the state.

The Northwest has had above-average snowpack and rain in many areas this winter. That’s good -- it’s wiped out drought. But all that water has wildland fire managers concerned about the terrain’s greening cheatgrass.

One of the three boilers at King County’s West Point Wastewater Treatment Plant is back on line, heating water to the ideal temperature for the microorganisms that digest Seattle’s sewage. That’s an improvement since February, when an electrical outage followed by a mechanical failure caused massive flooding inside the plant.

When Mother Nature throws travelers a curve ball and freezing fog descends over the airport in Medford, Oregon, it can delay takeoffs and landings. But ground crews there and at several other Western airports have an unusual tool at their disposal to bust the fog.

Scientists have new cautionary predictions based on the low Northwest snowpack levels of the last two winters.

Roads in a large swath of central and eastern Washington and Oregon have been devastated by melting snow and heavy rain. The flood of potholes and washouts has stalled heavy trucks carrying wheat, cattle and equipment.

In Washington and Oregon, head-high piles of snow are starting to melt out east of the Cascades. But even Northwest cities that are used to clearing abundant snow are tallying up extra costs this winter.

A major bottleneck in Ellensburg and other central Washington towns is loosening up as two of the main Cascade mountain highway passes reopened Friday. Snow slides and danger of avalanche forced the unusual closure of White, Stevens and Snoqualmie passes all at once.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared Thursday that a weak and short-lived La Niña weather phenomenon is over.

The three busiest mountain highway passes in the Washington Cascades remain closed at this hour due to high avalanche danger. The Washington Department of Transportation said Snoqualmie Pass may open Thursday night. The latest on White Pass is that it will remain closed overnight.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. ET

A wall of dangerous storms is moving across the South, threatening communities in their path with high winds, severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes.

In the grand tradition of Seattle's public transportation going ass over tea kettle: Madison Street Cable Car derailed in Snow First and Second Avenues, January 1929.
Courtesy of Seattle Muncipal Archives 3258

If you've lived in Seattle for a long time, you know that snow is unusual, and increasingly so. 

Jesse Taga took this photo on the way to the water taxi on Vashon Island.
Courtesy Jesse Taga via Facebook

There is almost nothing so special as a snowy day in Seattle. They are rare, about once every other year, and when they hit, the city shuts down. 

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