The offices of the Seattle and Spokane National Weather Services are supporting the National Hurricane Center’s forecasting efforts for Tropical Storm Ian.
SEATTLE — You’ve probably heard the saying, “The flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil can trigger a tornado in Texas.” The butterfly effect is a fluid dynamic phenomenon that’s also relevant to weather because the atmosphere is liquid. Even the smallest disturbances in the atmosphere can create significant differences over time, reminding us that everything is connected.
Weather in Washington is affecting and affecting weather in other parts of the US This is being particularly amplified at this time as the weather pattern over the Pacific Northwest will have important implications for the eventual path and evolution of Tropical Storm Ian in the northern Caribbean.
A developing high-pressure ridge over the PNW will bring warmth to Washington, but more importantly will influence the development of a low-pressure valley downstream. The PNW ridge is an arc-like, north-facing curve in the jet stream, while the downstream trough represents southward movement of the jet stream. This southward tilt of the jet stream will play a role in affecting the track of Ian by affecting how far west or east the system travels before being scooped north.
Tropical systems are affected by the position and strength of valleys as tropical systems move north to higher latitudes. This is because the direction of movement of tropical systems is generally in the opposite direction of winds associated with troughs. The closer a tropical system moves to a trough, the less westerly motion a tropical system will have and turn more northward.
This highlights the importance of our current weather and shows that everything is truly connected. Because of this connectivity, the National Hurricane Center asked the Seattle and Spokane National Weather Service offices, along with other NWS offices across the US, to participate in more frequent balloon launches over the next few days. The additional balloon launches will help the NHC better predict Ian by feeding more data into the weather models used for the forecast.
Weather balloons are launched twice daily from 92 stations throughout North America and the Pacific Islands. There are also 10 operations in the Caribbean. Attached to the balloon is an instrument known as a radiosonde, which takes temperature, humidity, pressure, wind speed and wind direction readings from the ground to the entire atmosphere up to an altitude of 100,000 feet, or almost 20 miles above the ground. The instrument attached to the balloon communicates with equipment on the ground every 1 to 2 seconds to record and collect the data. Read more about weather balloon launches here.
Data from the additional balloon launches will be incorporated into the weather models, helping the models get a better picture of the current state of the atmosphere and helping them more accurately represent future states of the atmosphere and hence the track and intensity of Ian, which helps them NHC makes the most informed and accurate predictions possible for the future with Ian.
Additional balloon launch requests are nothing new. This often happens during extreme weather events like major winter storms, severe weather and tropical cyclones, but this is the first time some offices in the PNW have been asked to participate in additional balloon launches, according to the Spokane NWS office.
https://www.king5.com/article/weather/weather-blog/washington-weather-impact-hurricane-florida/281-512d0033-91ae-4c3b-b40f-de98ab494e4d Why weather in Washington will impact track of Tropical Storm Ian