weather | KUOW News and Information

weather

If you liked the warm, dry start to our Northwest summer, you'll probably like the rest of it. There's no change to the dominant weather pattern in sight.

You've heard the one about it being so hot you can fry an egg on a sidewalk, well how about it being hot enough to ground a jet?

That was the case in Phoenix on Tuesday, where temperatures were forecast to climb as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Firefighters put out flames at the Salmon Bay Marina, one of three fires caused by spontaneous combustion this month.
Courtesy of Jon Odegard

The warm weather made a welcome comeback in Seattle, but it's also caused a few problems.

Three fires in the city in May were caused by spontaneous combustion, which happens when something heats-up internally and bursts into flames.

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.


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. 

Bill Radke speaks with Joe Casola about the impact a warming region could have on Seattle. Casola is deputy director of the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group.

Multiple destructive storm systems damaged property and killed at least 19 people over the weekend, and continued to batter much of the U.S. with rain, snow and wind today.

All 19 reported deaths were in the South, where apparent tornadoes ripped through towns over the weekend, damaging and destroying buildings in multiple states.

"Trailers are just flat, just laid on top of people," Debbie Van Brackel, a volunteer EMT in Adel, Ga., told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday. "You need a bulldozer to pull it off. Trailers are upside down."

Old Man Winter has struck again east of the Cascades. Residents woke up Wednesday to find the deep snow covering the area frosted by an ice storm.

In the Tri-Cities, children have had nearly a dozen snow days and late-start days this winter. Piled on with airport, mountain pass and work closures -- many parents are feeling quite trapped.

The perfect day for an outdoor wedding or a baseball game? That’s a “mild day,” says Sarah Kapnick, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“I like to call mild weather days the ‘Goldilocks days,’” she says. “They’re not too hot. They’re not too cold. They’re just right.”

Kapnick is one of the co-authors of a study published Wednesday that has good news for picnickers and hikers in the Pacific Northwest: As climate change advances, we’ll have more mild weather.

A storm system that dumped precipitation on multiple states in the West appears to be easing, but rivers have yet to crest and many communities are still digging out from record snowfall.

It was a historic evening for Portland and surrounding areas Tuesday night as record snowfall led to one of the snowiest days ever recorded at the Portland International Airport.

By 5 a.m. Wednesday morning, the National Weather Service said it recorded 6.5 inches at their offices near the airport.

“That makes this the ninth snowiest calendar day at PDX since 1940,” said Colby Neuman, a meteorologist with the NWS in Portland. The agency also described it as the snowiest day in the Portland and Vancouver area since Jan. 20, 2008.

A major storm east of the Cascades has dumped snow and closed businesses and schools Monday. The weather has also been a factor in several accidents and deaths. Bend, Oregon, has nearly three feet of snow in some places.

Homeless RV
Flickr Photo/A. Kwanten (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/Bv6MSo

It's cold for everyone this week in the Northwest - especially those who are homeless. An estimated 4,500 people are without shelter in King County alone, according to last year's one-night count.

Low temperatures, snow drifts, and northeasterly winds east of the Cascades are making things difficult for Northwest ranchers and dairy owners. They are struggling to keep their animals hydrated, fed and warm.

Mountain pine beetles will be challenged by the current cold weather.
Flickr Photo/Government of Alberta (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/o3U8ax

You can thank this cold weather for making Washington's forests healthier in the new year. Forests, and backyard gardens, rely on bouts of cold weather to kill off destructive and invasive pests.

KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

It will be a cold start to 2017 in the Seattle area. Forecasters say that as the ball drops New Year's Eve, a cold front starts moving into the northwest from Canada.

The rainiest fall on record in parts of eastern Oregon and Washington was good for keeping late-season wildfires at bay, but torrential rains wreaked havoc on some timber harvesters in the Northwest.

Pages