Muggy and Rainy

March 11, 2013
10:40 P.M.

I tried to be creative and somehow link the post I made ten days ago to this one, but when I typed “Lil’ Wayne Rain” or even “Lil’ Wayne Precipitation” on Google Images, all I got was Lil’ Wayne making it rain (aka throwing money in the air, because that’s what it takes to become a highly esteemed individual in 21st century pop culture. Kids these days…).

In any event, we are seeing that same sort of “atmospheric river” pattern I was talking about, except this time, we are getting clobbered with rain. Take a look at the column-integrated water vapor chart below. In essence, this chart shows how much water vapor is in the atmosphere, and you’ll notice that a fat stash of good ol’ gaseous dihydrogen monoxide is being conveniently transported right to the Pacific Northwest. Awesome.

Valid 11:00 am PDT Tue, 12 Mar 2013 – 18hr Fcst: UW 00z WRF-GFS: 36km Column Integrated Water Vapor

Compare this picture to the one on my last blog post, and you’ll notice that this one has a lot more chutzpah, although it may not be as perfectly symmetrical.

Valid 04:00 am PST Fri, 01 Mar 2013: UW 12z WRF-GFS: 36km Column Integrated Water Vapor

What does this large influx of moisture mean? A LOT of rain. But not for everybody.

Pineapple Express events are the bringers of incredible amounts of moisture, but the Olympics to our west are the wringers of said moisture. I remember a time back in 2009 when there were record-setting floods on some of the Cascade Rivers. The Snoqualmie River at Carnation crested at 62.31 feet on January 8, over a foot above the previous record set in 2006. It was insane. But in the meantime, Seattle hardly got any rain. I remember going to school the morning of January 7 and having a hard time wrapping my head around the thought of major flooding occurring in the Cascades.

07:25 am PST Wed 07 Jan 2009

I remember Cliff Mass blogging about this storm. This is what he had to say in a blog he posted later that Wednesday morning.

It was kind of surreal for me this morning….I biked to work absolutely dry and in warm conditions, while ten miles to the south there was moderate rain and all hell was breaking loose in the mountains.

In any event, that same sort of thing is going to happen this time around too. The flooding in the mountains won’t be anywhere close to as severe as it was back in January 2009, but the models still paint a pretty profound dry socket around Seattle.

Valid 05:00 pm PDT Wed, 13 Mar 2013 – 48hr Fcst: UW 00z WRF-GFS: 4km 48-Hour Precipitation, 10 meter winds
The 48-hour totals for the Olympics and North Cascades? Up to seven inches in spots. On the UW campus? Maybe one tenth of an inch.
Will most locations see gratuitous amounts of rainfall? Absolutely. Will most people see gratuitous amounts of rainfall? I’d have to do a census check before jumping to any conclusions, but Seattle looks to stay pretty darn dry throughout this entire event, and I know there’s a good number of people here.
Alright, off to explore the wonders of alternating currents! Up, up, and awaayyyyy!!!
Charles
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