Monday, January 21, 2013

The Great Inversion of 2013

The past week has been one of the more memorable inversion events in western Washington. Icy fog throughout much of the Puget lowlands of western Washington with warm air and sun only a few hundred feet above. High temperatures have been mostly stuck in the 30s in the fog, but 60s have been reported above the fog in the Olympics and highs reaching 70 were reported at a couple of weather stations above the soup south of Olympia.

Following Bob across the Samish Flats

Mount Baker and the Twin Sisters and me all above the inversion layer (this picture was from an earlier inversion event this winter)

Cold air has settled into the Puget Basin and the lack of wind has kept the cold air trapped. The fog has been present in Bellingham where I live but it has been not as bad as in the more enclosed Puget Sound. I had a project up the Skagit Valley that was outside of the fog. It was warm and sunny and hard to leave to go back to the freezing fog.

The weather in the Puget lowlands is very similar to the cold foggy inversions that routinely develop in eastern Washington. Southeastern Washington in particular is a nearly completely enclosed basin with the Columbia Highlands to the north, Cascade Range to the west, Horse Heaven Hills to the south and the Blue Mountains and Rockies to the east. Last winter I got above the murk and enjoyed sun and mild temperatures above what could be thought of as a giant freezer chest. 

The high pressure causing the inversion is supposed to break down tomorrow as we return to cold rain.

Above the inversion layer in eatern Washington

No comments: