Posts Tagged ‘inversion layer’

Think Seattle. Think rain? Think again.

For the past fortnight, Seattle has been wrapped, swathed, and swaddled with fog. It’s been like living in a cloud. Foghorns call across the Sound, echoed by ghostly ferries out on the cold waters. Hillsides disappear, the Space Needle is missing its top half, and the sun has been replaced by a vague drear that illuminates the mist but provides no aid to vision. Heading up to the park-and-ride this morning, visibility ended a block up the street. Streetlamps, stop lights, and brake lights defined the roadway with glowing balls of light.

Overnight, temps drop into the 20s and the fog freezes as it touches down, creating slick, invisible ice and limning everything with hoar. During the day, the mercury barely gets its head above freezing, and the frost persists near houses and fencelines, wherever the weak sunlight cannot reach.

Drive up to the mountains, though, and you’ll break through the inversion layer. At 1000 feet, the sunlight coalesces into an orange ball above. At 1500 feet, you break through into open air and a cloudless sky. Temperatures soar, and you remove your gloves, your scarf, your coat, and walk in shirtsleeves through the warm sunshine. Below you is a sea of fog, bright white stretching from mountain to mountain, from the Cascades to the Olympics.

Tomorrow, Seattle will be reprieved. Tomorrow, a storm comes.

Think of Seattle. Think rain. Tomorrow.

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