WeatherWatcher: Happy Winter Solstice - winter officially starts

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy winter Solstice! Winter officially started at Wednesday December 21, 2011 at 9:31 PM. December 22nd 2011 is the first full day of winter. December 22, 2011 with Sunrise: 7:55AM, and Sunset: 4:18PM, is the shortest day of the year.

ENSO status: La Niña Advisory

  • Winter outlook: Colder and Wetter than average.
  • January may spend most of the time under a brutal cold snap.
  • Winter weather tips/prepare for the worst, there's a good chance it will be harsh.

Current ENSO status as of December 8th, 2011 is La Niña Advisory
During November 2011, a weak to moderate La Niña has been present, as observed from ocean sea surface temperatures in the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean and the overall convention patterns over the equatorial Pacific Ocean. A weak to moderate La Niña is expected to continue for the rest of the 2011-2012 winter season. In general, continued colder than normal weather, and soon to be wetter than normal as well until March 2012.

What does this mean for Shoreline and Lake Forest Park?
I hope everyone enjoyed our impressive and unusual dry spell for December 2011, this is going down as one of the driest Decembers on record. We are much colder than our average temperatures for this time of year, December has averaged almost 5°F colder than normal. However, this is not the pattern that will continue into January and February 2012. 

We will maintain the colder than normal weather, but we will add storms to it as well bringing higher than normal precipitation. I use the word precipitation instead of rain, because a good portion of it could fall in the form of snow.

January - the near long range
Some indications are now hinting at a significant and lasting snow/Arctic event for us around or after January 5, 2012. This could last up to a whole month from what some of the long range models and meteorologists are predicting. 

Here's how it's expected to play out. Starting on Christmas Day, (December 25th) the storm track is going to strengthen and flow right into Western Washington, bringing us a series of storms. From Christmas Day beyond New Years Day and into January 5th or 6th we may have several wind events. 

Strong Pacific storms are expected to blow through one after another with rain and wind at times. Meanwhile a strong, brutal, cold air mass is looking to develop over British Columbia. After January 6th or so, the Pacific storm track is going to nudge a little further south of Washington. As lows pass by to the south, they will pull the cold air down into Western Washington. This could result in a significant snow event and brutal cold. The good news is, it will probably be our only Arctic outbreak this winter.

Carl's Winter preparation tips

  • Make sure all outdoor water fixtures are correctly insulated.
  • Have flashlights in places you can find in the dark, with spare batteries. It's a good idea to keep a working flashlight in every room.
  • Have a means of cooking food without electricity on hand, such as a camping stove.
  • Keep enough bottled water on hand to last at least 3 days for you and your family, including your pets.
  • Never operate any camping stove, gas heaters, generators, or any other CO and CO2 emitting devices that run on fuels inside a house, shed, or garage. CO gas is odorless, and colorless and can kill. Most deaths during power outages are caused by CO poisoning.
  • And finally, check out Take Winter By Storm for winter weather preparedness tips and resources for Western Washington.
Carl's Shoreline Weather Station
Twitter: SWeatherWatcher


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