West Seattle Weather Watch: Clouds move in for lightning show

August 9, 2013 at 11:52 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle weather | 42 Comments

(SCROLL DOWN for lightning photos, some added Saturday)

11:52 PM: Thanks to Christi for the Friday night sunset shot, as clouds just started to wander this way. Right now, some areas of Western Washington are seeing lightning and thunder, and the National Weather Service has a short-term alert in place, suggesting it might head in this direction. WSB commenter “MetPatrick” noted in e-mail hours ago that this might happen (especially 2-5 am) – potentially again Saturday night, maybe even Sunday night. So don’t be surprised if you hear rumbles and/or see flashes.

12:38 AM: And there it is – rain, lightning, and some thunder.

2:48 AM: Added the lightning photo, which is by Chris Clark (thanks!). All’s quiet now, but that was quite a show!

ADDED MIDMORNING SATURDAY: Another photo! The one immediately above is by Mike Russell.

ADDED SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Two more photos just in! This one is courtesy of Max – looking east past the bridge:

And from John Brunt

Thanks again! Still a chance it’ll be stormy again tonight, but right now, the sun’s back, and a welcome sight for the afternoon.

ADDED SATURDAY EVENING: SP from Arbor Heights had a great view, pointed toward Vashon/Maury:

Right now the southeast and east are seeing/hearing lightning again – late tonight we might too.


  1. Bring it!! :-)

    Comment by Rumbles — 12:29 am August 10, 2013 #

  2. What a show!!!

    Comment by GunnerDDog — 12:48 am August 10, 2013 #

  3. covered up my deck furnature just moments before it started to rain, whew. YAY clean air tomorow!!!

    Comment by sophista-tiki — 12:54 am August 10, 2013 #

  4. “some” ha! It’s lighting up every 5 seconds and the thunder is rolling faster and faster. Pretty cool.

    Comment by Mike — 12:59 am August 10, 2013 #

  5. Lots of lightning and thunder at Alki right now! Awesome!

    Comment by scotter123 — 1:03 am August 10, 2013 #

  6. AMAZING lighting & thunderstorm and refreshing rain!! Had to walk out in it and absorb the fresh scent of such needed rain……it was like a light show right outside my house!!

    Comment by Danielle — 1:05 am August 10, 2013 #

  7. Party on Wayne

    Comment by Rob206 — 1:09 am August 10, 2013 #

  8. This IS the best sustained thunder/lightning storm I remember ’round here in quite some time. More Florida duration, really…

    Comment by WSB — 1:15 am August 10, 2013 #

  9. Party on, Garth.

    Comment by chuck and sally's van man — 1:19 am August 10, 2013 #

  10. way way way way way way way better than the Mariner’s fireworks show

    Comment by Diane — 1:22 am August 10, 2013 #

  11. “if the thunder don’t get you the lightning will.”

    Comment by JayDee — 1:22 am August 10, 2013 #

  12. 1997 or so was the best I recall…but this is second.

    Comment by JayDee — 1:23 am August 10, 2013 #

  13. I usually never believe anyone when they say there will be a thunderstorm out here. I lived in VA before and we got them a lot, and I’ve been missing them. This is quite awesome !

    Comment by Luce — 1:24 am August 10, 2013 #

  14. Hope you folks around the area are enjoying the show and the smell of the rain. What just ” breezed ” through was just the weather equivalent of an appetizer, the main course is FAST APPROACHING W. Seattle now and should last until about dawn or slightly past. and then we do it ALL OVER again later this evening ( Sat Night ) and potentially even stronger than what has already and what WILL pass through this am.


    Comment by MetPatrick — 1:29 am August 10, 2013 #

  15. is this an intra cloud thunderstorm or a cloud to ground thunderstorm? Just wondering because I’m in my room and the flashes and thunder are impressive but I’m hoping it’s not striking the ground since there are massive trees surrounding my house.

    Comment by a — 1:33 am August 10, 2013 #

  16. One heck of a Storm!

    Comment by Noelle — 1:43 am August 10, 2013 #

  17. I love a good old fashioned thunderstorm. Just like what we always get when I was living on the east coast. Bring it on.

    Comment by strike em out kinney — 2:15 am August 10, 2013 #

  18. @ ” a ” These storms are part of a shortwave embedded in NNW flow associated with an upper level low near the Calif./Ore border and were producing CG’s ( cloud to ground lightning.) With the unstable atmosphere at the mid and upper levels and increased surface heating and integrated LI’s ( Lifted Indices ) CAPE ( convective available potential energy ) and MLLR’s ( Mid level lapse rates ) and uplift with southerly flow at the surface allowed for these mid and high level based T-storms to develop. The surface based CAPE #’s were nearly off the charts for this part of the country, more on the order of the type of #’s you see in the midwest, CAPE #’s this aft/eve were in the 2800 J/kg range which is Oklahoma territory. And couple those CAPE #’s with the aforementioned MLLR and LI #’s and you have the perfect setup for some spectacular T-storms. Looking forward to tonight ( Saturday evening ) the parameters look to be even stronger and more associated stronger convection as the ULL ( Upper Level Low )will be closer to the coastal Washington waters thus enhancing further development of more storms and likely stronger and longer lived.

    Hope that helps.


    Comment by MetPatrick — 3:00 am August 10, 2013 #

  19. Neato. Happy for the rain.

    Comment by Thunder — 3:30 am August 10, 2013 #

  20. Need to add to my last comment, I am seeing new data supporting borderline Severe storms later tonight that could produce 3/4 inch hail and very gusty localized winds in excess of 45+ mph. If the later morning model runs and meso analysis support the data I’m seeing now then later tonight could be far more eventful than what passed through a couple hours ago and nothing like we have seen for 10+ years.


    Comment by MetPatrick — 3:35 am August 10, 2013 #

  21. JUST noticed the NWS posted their AFD a few minutes after my above comment and they are in line with the data I just spoke about.

    Comment by MetPatrick — 3:36 am August 10, 2013 #

  22. I wish we got t-storms more often!

    Comment by OP — 6:34 am August 10, 2013 #

  23. Surprised no one has complained about the frightening noise and why we weren’t notified in advance of the show… :) Just kidding. Loved the show and the smell of fresh, rain-cleansed earth.

    Comment by CanDo — 6:37 am August 10, 2013 #

  24. MetPatrick- roughly translated you mean that it was OMG awesome and take out the camera tonight for another electrifying escapade! Thanks!

    Comment by West Seattle rocks — 8:03 am August 10, 2013 #

  25. CanDo and West Seattle rocks: LOLing over here. :-) And MetPatrick, thank you for the awesome weather update!

    Comment by FreGirl — 8:17 am August 10, 2013 #

  26. all our gardens are a bit happier now

    Comment by Marcus M — 8:44 am August 10, 2013 #

  27. Loved it. Unfortunately the dog flipped out!! Apparently the most comforting position was literally on top of me

    Comment by Emmyjane — 9:04 am August 10, 2013 #

  28. Can’t wait for the repeat performance tonight. Having grown up in the Midwest, I LOVE thunderstorms. I find them soothing.

    Comment by anonyme — 9:12 am August 10, 2013 #

  29. That’s my kind of fire works….great performance nature.

    Comment by Kathi — 9:56 am August 10, 2013 #

  30. Missed the whole thing. How did I sleep through that? Rats—I really like t-storms.

    Comment by WestSide45 — 11:18 am August 10, 2013 #

  31. Thanks MetPatrick for your informative posts. And thanks to WSB for the venue to get his word out.

    Comment by dsa — 11:22 am August 10, 2013 #

  32. Thanks Patrick! Steve Pool ain’t got sht on you! :-)

    Comment by a — 11:29 am August 10, 2013 #

  33. LOVED watching lightning show over downtown Seattle til ~3am from Admiral; look forward to repeat tonight
    although, MetPatrick; that “3/4 inch hail” part is a bit scary; that could do major damage to cars/windows

    Comment by Diane — 11:56 am August 10, 2013 #

  34. I logged into West Seattle blog just now with the hopes that some folks that captured the lightning last night. Thank you Chris Clark and Mike Russell! It was a beautiful night. The rolling thunder, the flashes of light, the jagged bolts crisscrossing the sky. When a particularly beautiful bolt lit up the sky, you could hear the “oohhs” and “aahhh”s from neighbors 2-3 blocks away. Loved it!

    Comment by Alkira — 12:07 pm August 10, 2013 #

  35. Alkira – I have another photo that just came in, too, and we’ll be adding that (although I might have to move it over if we get a forecast update later). My fellow-night-owl teenage son and I enjoyed watching the storm as well. We’re a little trepidational for tonight because we would hate to see the outdoor movie get postponed (we’re involved with that as media sponsor and sometimes as tech assistant volunteers) but we’ll make that call in the early evening … if the storms don’t return until after midnight, that’s cool! – TR

    Comment by WSB — 12:42 pm August 10, 2013 #

  36. Very disappointed that I slept through it! I love storms!

    Comment by Kadoo — 12:47 pm August 10, 2013 #

  37. A wicked good display all right and we can only hope for another tonight. Did learn a new term for the horizontal lightening that was so impressive: anvil crawlers. More here: http://www.stormeyes.org/tornado/SkyPix/crawlers.htm Guess it is fairly rare in these parts. Thanks for all the reports and pics.

    Comment by DML — 1:17 pm August 10, 2013 #

  38. Thanks WSB. And thanks DML for the link to the anvil crawlers. Cool!

    Comment by Alkira — 1:46 pm August 10, 2013 #

  39. Yet another explosive topic on WSB, with over three dozen comments in a little over twelve hours! ;-)



    Comment by miws — 2:27 pm August 10, 2013 #

  40. Camera at the ready now bring on the lightning again

    Comment by JimClark — 5:16 pm August 10, 2013 #

  41. So metpatrick, how we looking for another show :) still looking favorable for tonight?
    Thanks for your informative posts!

    Comment by West — 9:10 pm August 10, 2013 #

  42. Looks like one cell is slowly heading our way now, but yeah, would love to hear MetPatrick’s input. Still looking like it will be bigger with more lightning than last night?
    Trying to decide if I want to actually leave my house with the camera tonight for a better view. (Instead of just pointing it out my bedroom window like last night!)

    Comment by MikeRussellFoto — 10:48 pm August 10, 2013 #

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