Foggy, hazy weather continues until changes come midweek | Weather

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Foggy, hazy weather continues until changes come midweek
Foggy, hazy weather continues until changes come midweek

New day, same January pattern:  a glorious ridge of high pressure is planted over the Eastern Pacific, bringing quiet, peaceful weather to the Pacific Northwest.  Any other time of year this would probably be a very welcome visitor, but in the winter?  Not so much. That monster high pushes down on us--keeping us rain-free, yes--but also trapping plenty of fog and low cloud cover in the interior of the Sound.  As a result, overnight lows keep dropping into the 20s, whereas afternoon highs are struggling to get a few degrees above freezing.  Not exactly the pleasant scenario we envision when high pressure comes to town!

Air quality continues to deteriorate, as wood smoke and vehicle emissions are trapped near the ground.  An AIR STAGNATION ADVISORY is in place for much of Western and all of Eastern Washington until noon on Tuesday.  And as tempting as a crackling fire sounds, it's a big no-no for Thurston, Pierce, King and Snohomish Counties, as a Stage 1 Burn Ban is still in effect. This means that you can't burn anything in your fireplace unless it's your only form of adequate heat.  {Certified wood-stoves are acceptable, however}  Lows will again drop into the middle 20s to about 30 degrees in Puget Sound, and more fog and freezing fog will keep visibility low and the chance for black ice high.  Be careful navigating around out there Sunday morning!

This big upper ridge isn't going anywhere, so the remainder of the long holiday weekend will serve up more of the same:  foggy, hazy weather that will keep highs in the 30s to about 40 for Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and Everett right through Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  If this stagnant pattern is getting a little old for you, you don't have to head too far to find something different:  above the inversion, blue skies and sunshine are creating glorious afternoons over the Cascades.  If you go skiing or sledding in the mountains, you'll find much brighter and warmer conditions up there than you'll find below (the very definition of an 'inversion'...our usual weather is turned upside down!).

Similarly, the coastline has been fabulous.  The air is able to move much more freely near the beaches, so sunshine and highs on either side of 50 degrees will be the rule from Long Beach to Forks for the remainder of the long weekend.

Things finally start to change up a bit by Tuesday.  Our ridge begins to break down some, so we'll see a bit more blue sky peeking out by late in the day as the inversion is peeled apart.  Highs will probably inch up to just above 40° as a result.

If Tuesday is our 'transition day', Wednesday marks the day for significant change.  RAIN finally makes a big comeback into Western Washington, and with the inversion totally wiped out, highs will bounce back into the 40s for the I-5 corridor (yet will come back down into the 30s in the passes...our weather will be right-side up again!).

Showers will pass by off and on for the rest of the week and into the weekend.  The latest model runs bring the snow level down quite a bit by next Saturday, but that's a ways out--nothing to worry about (or, from the inverted point of view, get EXCITED about) quite yet.

Enjoy your weekend,

Meteorologist Shannon O'Donnell
The KOMO4 Forecast Team