Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Seattle Waterspout

Waterspout Hits Southern Puget Sound:

: Cliff Mass Weather Blog Monday, October 13, 2014

First Tornado Warning Here in 17 Years

On Saturday around noon, several of you were startled to get a tornado warning on your smartphones.

The cause: a waterspout that developed near Anderson Island in the southern Sound and which remained intact for about a half-hour. Here are some pics I found on the KOMO and KING-5 web sites. An extremely well-formed funnel and you can see from the first that the winds reached the surface, kicking up lots of spray.                            Beautiful pictures:
Waterspouts are the weaker cousins of the strong tornadoes one finds over the Midwest U.S.
According to the official Storm Prediction Center definition:

A waterspout is a tornado over water--usually meaning non-supercell tornadoes over water. Waterspouts are common along the southeast U. S. coast and can happen over seas, bays and lakes worldwide. Although waterspouts are always tornadoes by definition; they don't officially count in tornado records unless they hit land. They are smaller and weaker than the most intense Great Plains tornadoes, but still can be quite dangerous. Waterspouts can overturn boats, damage larger ships, do significant damage when hitting land, and kill people.

This waterspot, and virtually all of our waterspouts/tornadoes around here, are associated with non-supercell thunderstorms. Supercells are the big Kahunas of the thunderstorm world with very high tops (reaching 40-60K ft), intense rain, hail, and most importantly rotation.

This waterspout came out of a relatively wimpy NW thunderstorm.
Impressive for around here. But equally strong thunderstorms were hitting in the north Sound with no waterspouts. No sign of any hooked echoes...which indicate supercell storms.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Check Out the Latest Pictures From Space!

Click the link for real time pictures of comets, auroras, craters and more.

Taken by joe canz on September 13, 2014 @ tampa fl.

Taken by Frank Olsen on September 17, 2014 @ Sortland, Norway

Theophilus (crater) - Animated Gif
Taken by Giuseppe Donatiello on September 15, 2014 @ Oria (Brindisi) - Italy

SPACE WEATHER - Minor Storm Warning

MINOR STORM WARNING: A slow-moving CME propelled toward Earth by an erupting magnetic filament on the sun is expected to arrive today, Sept. 17th. NOAA forecasters estimate a 50% chance of minor geomagnetic storms in response to the sluggish impact. High-latitude sky watchers, be alert for auroras. Aurora alerts:textvoice

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Active Space Weather - incoming CME

CME is an acronym for Coronal Mass Ejection. Think of it as a solar flare - on an enormous scale.

 DUAL CME: Another CME is en route to Earth. It was launched in our direction four days ago by the eruption of a magnetic filament near the center of the solar disk. This movie from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory shows the Earth-directed CME almost overwhelmed, visually, by a brighter farside CME headed in the opposite direction.

The impact won't be as effective as the double-blow Earth experienced on Sept. 12th, when two CMEs hit in less than 24 hours. Nevertheless, NOAA forecasters estimate a 50% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Sept. 17th when the CME arrives. (Note: Yesterday we wrote that the CME would arrive on Sept. 16th, however, a revised analysis of its speed suggests a later arrival.) High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunny Northwest day stuns ISS astronaut

Published: Sep 6, 2014 

I would think being an astronaut living on the International Space Station would find a new sight each day in the cosmos to be in sheer wonder. 

Friday brought a rare sight to NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman -- something he says never happens and he had a front row seat. 

A galaxy supernova? Not quite; seen it before. 

Rain on the moon? That would qualify but still no need for meteorologists there. 

No, while it was weather-related, it had to do with our own Pacific Northwest:

Photo: Reid Wiseman, NASA

This never happens – perfectly clear from California to British Columbia. in the middle.

I can see the Chamber of Commerce posters now: "Seattle summer: It's out of this world!" 

It's also nearing kicking 1967 out of the record books. Saturday will be Seattle's 41st day at 80 or warmer (with nary a cloud to be found on the satellite image, or seen by the ISS.) The record is 47 days at 80 or warmer. (2nd is 46, 3rd is 45 days.) Long range models suggest the record is not out of reach.

And with plenty of sunshine along for the ride, Wiseman and the rest of the ISS crew should be able to frequently wave hi to the Northwest, only if this pattern keeps up, soon the Tweets will read something like this: 

"Again?!?! Perfectly clear from California to British Columbia. #Seattle in the middle."

Friday, September 5, 2014


Sunday, a house-sized asteroid named "2014 RC" will fly through the Earth-Moon system 

almost inside the orbit of geosynchronous satellites. At closest approach, Sept. 7th at 18:18 UTC, the 20-meter-wide space rock will pass just 40,000 km over New Zealand. This diagram from NASA shows the geometry of the encounter:
                                                                                         There is no danger of a collision with Earth.

Asteroid 2014 RC was discovered on the night of August 31 by the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona, and independently detected the next night by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope, located on the summit of Haleakalā on Maui, Hawaii.  Follow-up observations quickly confirmed the orbit of 2014 RC: it comes from just beyond the orbit of Mars.
The close appproach of this space rock offers researchers an opportunity for point-blank studies of a near-Earth asteroid. Even amateur astronomers will be able to track it. Around the time of closest approach, it will brighten to magnitude +11.5 as it zips through the constellation Pisces. This means it will be invisible to the naked eye but a relatively easy target for backyard telescopes equipped with CCD cameras. 

According to NASA, "[the orbit of 2014 RC] will bring it back to our planet's neighborhood in the future.  The asteroid's future motion will be closely monitored, but no future threatening Earth encounters have been identified."

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