Evan Leeson / Flickr

Idaho isn’t the only state in the west that’s been dry for more than a month. Most of the Rocky Mountain region is experiencing lower than normal snowfalls and higher than normal temperatures.

The general lack of winter forced the cancelation of Idaho’s State Special Olympics Winter Games. Boise’s local ski area, Bogus Basin, isn’t even open yet. In 69 years, Bogus Basin has never seen such a snowless season.

Andrew W. Sieber / Flickr

The National Weather Service says a high pressure system over the Northwest is keeping the lid on air pollutants.

A stagnant air advisory is in effect for much of Washington, except for the mountains and part of the coast, until Friday afternoon.

Forecasters say the high pressure is trapping cooler air near the ground. With poor mixing of the lower atmosphere because of the inversion, wood smoke and car exhausts can build up.

High winds and sheets of rain are causing problems along the coast and some of Oregon's highways Tuesday.
Trees have been blown down along Highway 18 in Polk County -- at the east end of the Van Duzer Corridor.
Lou Torres of the Oregon Department of Transportation says the road is closed.

A real fall storm blasted Washington with high winds on the coast, drenching rains in Western Washington and heavy snow in the Cascades and parts of Eastern Washington.

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — It still may be technically summer this weekend, but the snow level is going to drop on the Cascade Mountains.

The Bellingham Herald reports that the snow level will drop from 10,000 feet to 5,500 feet in the North Cascades. It will drop to 6,500 feet in the Central Cascades.That means hikers and campers heading to the mountains may see a dusting of snow or cold rain.

The fall equinox is Sept. 23.

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

The National Weather Service says Washington is in for one of the hottest stretches of summer this week.

Dunechaser / Flickr

This we talk about the weather, but as usual, don't do anything about it ... except offer some favorite sayings for your amusement, starting with the classic, definitive bad opening line of all time:

It was a dark and stormy night.
– Edward Bulwer-Lytton

National Weather Service, 7-15-11

Grouchy Northwesterners are starting to call this 'The year of no summer.' While we may be secretly glad to miss the heat wave that’s punishing the Midwest, we're wondering why we’re stuck with clouds … and when will it end?

When I talked to experts, the first thing they told me: It is no coincidence.

Brianna / Flickr

The weather for the 4th of July this year is looking pretty good, with scattered clouds in the forecast and highs in the low seventies.  

That’s actually pretty typical, says Carl Carniglia with the national weather service in Seattle.  He looked back at local statistics from the late 1800s to the present and found the historical data contradicts the cliché of rainy weather for Independence day.

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

With the first day of summer this week, it’s finally beginning to look like it outside. If you think that’s a good sign for the rest of the season, think again. There really isn’t a good way to tell how summer will turn out.

Sadie Babits / Northwest News Network

The southern part of the U.S. – Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California – will likely have significant wildfires this year. Already fire crews are battling more than a dozen fires just in Texas. But here in the Northwest, the fire outlook is much rosier.

Elaine Thompson / AP

The Washington State Climatologist is out with a report card on how the weather phenomenon La Niña treated the Northwest. If you thought it’s been wetter and colder than usual since November, you’re right. But overall, this La Niña was milder than predicted. KPLU's Tom Banse reports:

ChrisDaniels5 / Twitpic

Some major western Washington rivers are expected to flood today, including "major" flooding forecast along the Snohomish and Snoqualmie, according to the National Weather Service.

Heavy rains the past few days, with heavy concentrations in the Cascades and Cascade foothills, and warmer mountain temperatures, have produced rapid runoff.

Flood warnings are issued for these rivers in Snohomish and King counties:

  • Snohomish
  • Skykomish
  • Snoqualmie
  • Tolt
  • Stillaguamish (north and middle forks)
  • Green (middle reach upstream of Auburn)

Construction should start as soon as Wednesday at a site near Copalis Beach in Grays Harbor County on a Doppler radar station.

Sen. Maria Cantwell's office says it could be operating as soon as September, giving the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) a better look at Pacific storms heading for the Northwest.

The new radar will fill in information that is missing because the Olympic mountains block the only other Western Washington Doppler radar station on Camano Island.

Gary Davis / KPLU News

You might have wondered -- as you gazed out your sunny window and listened to news of record cold and snow sweeping the midwest and East coast -- is there a connection?

Yes, there is.

"Our weather often is the just the opposite of what it is in the eastern part of the united states," says Cliff Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. 

"When we are cold, like it was just before Thanksgiving, they tend to be warm," says Mass.

The reason we're yin when they're yang, and vice versa, has to do with the jet stream and "ridges" of high and low pressure in the sky, as Mass explains it.

National Weather Service/NOAA website

You might not have realized it, but weather forecasts have been getting more accurate for the past ten to twenty years. Forecasters have a lot more precision about when and where different weather systems will hit.  But, this isn’t always communicated very clearly.

You can handle a weather rocket, create a flooding torrent of mud, and learn how to make a cloud inside a one-gallon jar this Sunday. 

It’s all part of a one-day exhibition called Weather-Fest, which pops up once a year as part of the American Meteorological Society annual conference.  The meeting this year is in Seattle, from Sunday through Jan. 27th. 

Burn bans are ending in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties.  

The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency says air quality is improving, due to a new weather system moving into the region today.  

Gary Davis/KPLU

Get Ready for Brrrr

Are you ready for snow? There's a possibility you'll see some late Sunday or early Monday in northwest Washington. The north Olympic Peninsula, the San Juan Islands and Whatcom County have the best chance for snow.  Conditions may bring it south to the Seattle area.