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 possibly happen?
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 the shoreline.
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
Between Shelton and Olympia