Frequently Asked Questions

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by KING5.com

KING5.com

Posted on October 24, 2009 at 11:22 AM

Updated Saturday, Oct 24 at 11:22 AM

What do you mean by high pressure and low pressure?

A high-pressure system is an area of sinking air. As it sinks, the air warms, which tends to evaporate moisture. A low-pressure system is just the opposite: an area dominated by rising air, which forms clouds and precipitation. We usually associate clearing skies with high pressure and increasing clouds with low pressure. You can remember the difference with this rhyme: When the pressure is high, clouds go by. When the pressure is low, clouds move slow.

Is Puget Sound the wettest area in the country?

No. In fact it's usually well down the list of our nation's rainiest cities. On average, Boston, Miami and even Atlanta are wetter! But 1997 was the exception with 44.58", well above the current average of 37.19".

What's the difference between rain and rain showers in the forecast?

When KING 5 forecasts rain, you can expect rainfall over a large area. Rain showers mean you can expect smaller areas of rain. We know which kind of rain is coming by the kind of clouds we see on radar. Wide flat stratus clouds bring rain. Puffy cumulus clouds bring rain showers.

Why is there such a big difference in weather from one side of the Cascades to the other?

Moist ocean air changes temperature more slowly than dry air. The Cascade Mountains act as a barrier to the ocean air, usually preventing it from moving into eastern Washington. As a result our air changes temperature much more slowly than the drier air in eastern Washington. During the summer, temperatures in western Washington rarely move beyond the seventies, or much below freezing during the winter months. However, the drier air east of the Cascades heats up or cools off much more rapidly, resulting in greater temperature extremes throughout the year.

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