Puget Sound Convergence Zone. Band of green shows rain/snow refection on radar
Image from Cliff Mass Weather Blog
I drove to Seattle yesterday through the convergent zone snow over north Seattle and then encountered a rather intense band of convergence zone snow on the way back home late last night north of Marysville. The Convergence Zone is a local northern Puget Sound weather phenomenon where air moving up from the south through the Puget lowlands encounters air wrapping around the Olympic Mountains from the north. The collision causes uplift and a band of rain, or if cold enough, snow. The CZ is a narrow band of cloudy weather and heavy precipitation well known to western Washington weather junkies. Anyone making the Interstate-5 drive between Bellingham and Seattle routinely knows that the band is narrow. So last night despite very bad visibility and very hard snow, I knew it would only last a few miles and 10 miles later we were out of the snow with starry skies.
More of the same today with the added factor of Fraser outflow winds from the northeast bringing in a pulse of Arctic air. As the cold leading edge of the Fraser Arctic air pushes south into the moist air coming into the sound from the west and south, a band of heavy snow will fall. The sky to the south of Bellingham is dark and lots of snow in parts of Skagit County - a client of mine reported 6 inches, but only a few flakes so far in Bellingham with a breeze from the north.
The purpose of my Seattle trip was to see Josh Ritter at the Show Box. Josh grew up on the edge of the Washington landscape near Moscow, Idaho near the Washington border so he knows a few things about the Washington landscape. Apparently he had a bit of an adventure getting over Snoqualmie Pass yesterday as the pass was closed for a period of time due to heavy mountain snow.
Josh had a few funny lines about our landscape and what we value between songs:
He described driving to Washington State and crossing a subtle boundary between where taxidermy is prevalent to where it disappears and where coffee goes from terrible to OK to good.
He introduced another song by saying we would make Tacoma jealous.
His song Thin Blue Line mentions a place he calls Royal City and his band is called The Royal City Band derived from the reference in the song. I'm not sure Josh was singing about Washington States' Royal City, but he did mention it during the show.
A line from his song Harrisburg might fit yesterday's post on rail and coal "I believe the Garden of Eden was burned to make way for a train".
A song Josh Ritter did not play last night, but a favorite of mine might apply for those thinking of spring on this cold February day.