Updated: Sunday, 5:10 p.m.
What a sunset! The silver (or pinkish-orange, as the case may be) lining of our stagnant air mass has been the absolutely spectacular display of color when the sun is on the way in or on the way out each day. In addition to getting Northwest photographers running out the door to grab amazing sunset shots, a massive ridge of high pressure along the west coast is doing several things:
1) It's keeping our usual wet weather from getting in
2) It's forcing unseasonably cold, wet weather to dig down east of the Rockies, with snow this weekend from New England to Alabama
3) It's allowing fog to blossom at night, and combined with sub-freezing temperatures, leads to black ice on the roadways and sidewalks
4) It's trapping our own pollutants, like exhaust and wood smoke in place, leading to air quality issues and local burn bans
5) It's steering wildfire smoke from California's terrible December blazes all the way back into Western Washington
All of that particulate matter hanging around has prompted an ongoing AIR STAGNATION ADVISORY, but at the same time, it's allowing the sun rays to bounce around through the haze and scatter out a series of gorgeous sunsets.
As pretty as they may be, we ARE in need of a good scrub down at this point, but there still isn't any real cleansing rain in sight for a few more days. A weak disturbance approaches the coast late Monday, and we may pull down a few sprinkles near the ocean beaches into early Tuesday, but that's as close as the precipitation will come. However, it will start to get our stubborn high pressure set-up knocked around a little bit, and it will open the door for more movement and change coming down the pike later in the week.
Wednesday will be a transition day with partly sunny skies, then we'll see increasing clouds by Thursday, until finally...finally! The much-needed rain returns by early Friday morning. The passes may see some freezing rain at the onset, but should otherwise turn back over to snow as our more familiar December pattern returns, and the ski resorts will be back in business with mother-nature provided snowfall right through the weekend. Down below near sea level, the rainy routine will recommence, and outdoor activities like caroling and Christmas-ship viewing will be best done by donning waterproof slickers.
Temperature-wise, we'll see little change for the next few days: lows at or below freezing with areas of freezing fog and black ice when it's dark (drive carefully on those morning commutes!), then partial clearing and highs in the 40s during the day. Once the rain hits, daytime highs will still max out in the 40s, but the overnight lows will bounce back closer to the 40-degree mark, too.
Until then, heed the burn bans, enjoy the pink sunsets, and look forward to the petrichor (fresh rain!) smell later this week.
Meteorologist Shannon O'Donnell
The KOMO4 Forecast Team
Today's Record Temperatures