Under the Weather: After wet and windy start to January, expect fairly quiet weekend

2021 continues throwing us for a loop in terms of weather, doesn’t it? The rain keeps piling up, and to make things interesting, we had a decent windstorm thrown into the mix.

Through the first 13 days of the year, Paine Field has accumulated a whopping 5.36 inches of rainfall—a staggering 14.87% of the normal annual rainfall. This total could be higher, too, if we hadn’t been caught in the Olympic rain shadow. By comparison, Sea-Tac Airport has seen 7.53 inches of rain in the same time frame.

Then came the windstorm that took quite a few people by surprise. Significant windstorms over our region require a perfect setup, which can be read about in a prior article here. In that article, I mentioned how our windstorms tend to occur when a low pressure center crosses over the southern tip of Vancouver Island, with the most significant storms having deep low pressure centers. Below is the surface analysis for the storm from late Tuesday night.

Notice the closed low over the sweet spot—bingo! Although this low pressure wasn’t too deep, at just 991 mb, it was still enough to pack a punch. At Paine Field, the max wind gusts were about 48 mph. You can see the area’s max wind gusts for this storm in the image below.

Part of the reason why this event was quite damaging for a not-too-impressive storm (in terms of pressure) was because the ground has been so saturated from the amount of rainfall we’ve seen lately. When the ground is wet, trees are more easily uprooted, meaning that moderate wind gusts cause significant damage from fallen trees.

To read a more in-depth analysis on this storm, check out this excellent blog post from Dr. Joe Zagrodnik here.

After all the action we’ve seen recently, the weather in the coming days will seem like child’s play — a welcome sight for most. Besides a couple weak systems expected this weekend (both mostly overnight), the weekend should be predominantly dry.

The first of these storms arrives late Thursday night into Friday. This should be a quick mover, and by Friday afternoon, dry weather is expected as a ridge of high pressure sets up over the region. This ridge is likely to stick around during the day Saturday, as will the dry weather.

The second storm moves in Saturday night into Sunday. As a result, Sunday is expected to start out a little damp, but in comparison to the storms we’ve seen in the past couple weeks, it’ll be a walk in the park. We should dry out by later in the day Sunday.

Next week looks to continue the relatively calm weather, with no major storms expected. There is still time for this to change, but at the moment, there’s nothing to write home about. Some models and ensemble members are suggesting that we could start seeing colder temperatures by the end of next week (with some even showing the possibility of lowland snow), but at this time, it is just something to keep an eye on. We are still too far out to begin speculating on lowland snow. I will be paying attention to it and will give additional updates as necessary.

In the meantime, enjoy the dry weather! Have a nice weekend

— By Kelsie Knowles

Kelsie Knowles is a meteorologist and recent University of Washington graduate who lives in north Lynnwood. After writing weather blogs as a KOMO News intern, she discovered a passion for writing about weather. You can learn more in her blog www.wxnoggin.com and you can also follow her on Twitter at @kels_wx3.

 

 

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