Northwest Weather

    The Pacific Northwest provides almost every time of weather from the moist , marine environment of the lowlands, the snowy mountain climates of the Cascades and Olympics, to the deserts of eastern Washington and Oregon.  The result is a wide range of active weather that keeps our undergraduates well engaged in the their study of meteorology, including:

1.  Strong cyclones moving off the eastern Pacific that can produce strong winds during the winter that can exceed hurricane strength.  In fact, the strongest extratropical cyclone on record... the Columbus Day Storm of 1962... brought winds exceeding 150 mph to coastal Oregon and Washington!

The Columbus Day Cyclone caused massive poweroutages and other damage around the Pacific Northwest.

2.  A varied collection of mountain weather produced by the substantial terrain of the region, including very heavy mountain snows, windward precipitation maxima, lee rain shadows, downslope wind storms, and the Puget Sound convergence zone over Puget Sound.  The world record annual snowfall record is help by Washington's Mount Baker ski area!

Mountains snows are sometime so heavy that the main east-west highways are occasionally closed.

3.  Summertime thunderstorms over the mountains and eastern Washington.

4.  Onshore marine pushes and strong diurnal winds during the late spring and summer.