Lightning over Lakeview, Washington.
Flickr Photo/Emily Neef (CC BY NC 2.0)

Jeannie Yandel talks to state climatologist Nick Bond about thunder patterns in Washington state. 

'The Blog' is indicated by dark orange on the West Coast of the U.S. The Blob is a patch of warm water that was detected by a University of Washington climatologist in 2013.
Courtesy of Nick Bond

Warm, dry weather will probably continue in the Pacific Northwest -- and may last until at least next spring.

New data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicates the warming ocean phenomenon in the Pacific, known as El Nino, is getting stronger.

A historically strong El Niño is taking shape according to climatologists watching the Pacific Ocean. Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said during a briefing Thursday that the current El Niño has the potential to develop into one of the most potent on record by late fall or early winter.

Ross Dam on the Skagit River is one of Seattle City Light's major power generation sites.
Seattle City Light

Seattle’s electric utility says it's taking a big financial hit because of the weather: The lack of rain has affected its ability to produce surplus power to sell in the open market.

Its revenue from selling that surplus is down more than 40 percent, KUOW has learned.

The Wolverine Fire in north central Washington has burned up more than 30,000 acres. Hotshot crews are now trying to save a small Lutheran religious retreat center called Holden Village near Lake Chelan.

Mt. Hood’s Timberline Resort is the only place offering a full summer ski season in North America. But not this year. The resort closed to the public on August 2 -- five weeks earlier than normal. And that’s after a dismal winter ski season.

Firefighters are still on the scene of a quick-moving blaze that burned five homes in rural Mason County, Washington, on Friday. The destruction is evidence of dry conditions even on the west side of the Cascades.

The flooded streets and destroyed homes of the New Orleans neighborhood known as the Lower Ninth Ward were among the most powerful and iconic images from Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath 10 years ago.

Now, much of New Orleans is back — more than half of the city's neighborhoods have recovered some 90 percent of their pre-storm population.

That's not the case for the Lower Ninth.

Today, there's a feeling of desolation on nearly every block of the predominantly African-American neighborhood.

Staying cool in the International Fountain at Seattle Center is one way to beat the heat.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Marcie Sillman speaks with Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, health officer at Seattle King County Public Health, about heat illness and how to stay safe when temperatures soar.

Public health officials are concerned about several major athletic events in the Northwest this weekend.

While the Carolinas brace for Tropical Storm Ana — the first named storm this year in the Atlantic — the Plains states are keeping a vigil for a possible repeat of powerful tornadoes that swept through the region earlier in the week.

Last week, as a big storm bore down on Rockford, Ill., students in a Purdue University classroom prepared to track its effects using Twitter.

Using software jointly developed by Purdue, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Weather Service, they huddled around laptops to analyze a tiny sample of the tweets from the storm's immediate vicinity. They were looking for keywords like "damage" or "tornado" and for pictures of funnel clouds.

Low snowpack this winter could lead to an earlier, and more extreme fire season in the Northwest.

In many parts of Oregon and Washington, the snowpack is just ten to twenty percent of the average. It's not that precipitation is low, it's just that it has fallen as rain rather than snow.

John Saltenberger is with the Interagency Coordination center in Portland. He says the low snowpack means fire season could come early. Normally, firefighters are brought on in June, in anticipation of fires starting in July or August.

Ross Reynolds talks with University of Waterloo professor Daniel Scott about how climate change could affect the winter tourism industry.

Marcie Sillman talks to Bradley Staats, associate professor at the University of North Carolina and visiting associate professor at the Whatron School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, about his study on worker productivity during good and bad weather.