A LOT of hype about tonight’s potential for Northern
Lights.The forecast looked VERY
promising.Unfortunately, the results
are pretty underwhelming.Around noon
today it should have been around KP6 (visible from here at night)…..Unfortunately, it was quiet to KP1….This event may have slipped by earth…..Then again it may just be late….Auroras are very fickle and hard to
predict.Cloud cover is always a
concern, but it cleared out nicely this afternoon…
The other concern is the bright moon that can
wash out the view…. I have also attached
are a couple of snips from Spaceweather….Not an optimistic outlook.
be running my good night cam tonight that updates every 60 seconds.It starts updating 60 minutes after sunset
and stops 60 minutes before sunrise.
To say the least, this has been a memorable winter. We have experienced an abundance of remarkable
weather anomalies. For example, we have
been hearing a LOT from the media about this February being the third coldest in
Seattle recorded history. This blog is
not going to recite what we have all heard on the news. I want to look at these last few months in a
different way. (Full Disclosure.... I got the idea from Scott Sistek KOMO)
I am only going to dissect the interesting stuff... wind and low temperatures.... This is where the largest anomalies are. We tend to look at weather history using minimum,
maximum and averages. What if we looked
at wind and temperature in minutes? Time vs. a static number....
My analysis depends on some arbitrary parameters. Let’s start by defining a “Winter Minute”. Since I have poetic license on this blog, I am going to define a "Winter Minute" as any time the temperature as 35 or below. I am also going to define a "Wind Minute" as any time the wind is 30mph or more. If we add
up the "Winter Minutes" or "Wind Minutes" we have a nice summary metric
for how long it has been really nasty cold or windy....
I have two temperature sensors on my site because of the marine influence. One is on the water side and the other is behind an out building further back on the property protected from on-shore winds. The protected temperature is more representative of temps further inland. They can be quite different.
December was underwhelming from a statistical standpoint, so I am just going to look at January and February "Winter Minutes". I have data by the minute back to 2013.
First, let’s look at January…
January was really quite nice. Not record breaking but we were starting to wonder what happened to winter.... Then February happened.... "OUCH".... Remember, these temperatures do NOT include wind chill....
Almost double the "Winter Minutes" of any of the previous 7 years. Another way of looking at this is you had about a 35% chance of being greeted by a nasty "Winter Minute" every time you stepped out the front door..... (Without wind) And this data is from the water side sensor that is always warmer in the winter. Here is the same data from the "Protected Side"....
The protected side bumped your odds to 40% of being greeted with a winter minute when stepping outside..... "With No Wind"....
Just for reference, if you stepped outside during a maximum "Winter Minute" and a minimum "Wind Minute" at the same time.... (35 degrees and a 30mph wind) the "Feels Like" temperature is 21.7 degrees.....
I have been talking about this being the windiest year I can remember. Not record setting wind storms, but consistent very strong winds.... We have been getting slammed in Skunk Bay..... So let's look at "Wind Minutes".... A "Wind Minute" is (30mph or above)...
December is impressive....
January was brutal....
And February joined the party wearing a lampshade with sparklers......
I rest my case that this has been the WINDIEST winter I can remember....
I just heard it said that "February was a LONG year".... I agree....
This analysis used summaries down to the minute. For a broader view, I have a link on my page where you can see historical information that can be summarized by the day since 2006:
This has been a historic weather week.Obviously one of the most used phrases over
the past 10 days has been “I have never seen anything like this”. This qualifies as a story about something I have never seen before. I thought I would take some time to write
about one of the most remarkable memories I will have of this parade of storms….
The “Gamble Bay Freeze Over”
I have lived on Puget Sound all of my life.I have lived in Hansville for over 40
years.I have never seen any part of
Puget Sound freeze over and I really didn’t think it was possible.So, when some friends of ours shared photos
of Gamble Bay with ice on it I was astonished.How could this be?What made this
possible?Has this ever happened
before?I did a little research.
First, seawater will freeze at 28.4 degrees vs. 32 degrees
for fresh water.The average temperature
in Puget Sound is 52 degrees.So, if the
water is 52 degrees and it has to be 28.4 degrees to freeze, how could this
Here is a map of Gamble Bay.
Notice that it is a long narrow bay with a very narrow inlet.This would dramatically reduce the amount of “mixing”
with the 52 degree water in Hood Canal.
The other thing to notice is there are at least 4 fresh water streams
flowing into the bay.When fresh water
meets salt water it does not mix right away.Fresh water is not as dense as salt water so it will “float” to the
top.In this situation, it will also hug
Now, let’s introduce a bunch of frozen fresh water thanks to
a heavy burst of wet snow.This
chills that surface layer of fresh water even further.Suddenly Gamble Bay becomes an ice maker….
This is an amazing sight and I am very thankful to Hayley
Pistay and Greg Gabrio for sharing these incredible images with me. Definitely something I will remember from all this historic weather....
A couple more images were shared with me of frozen over salt water