What is a "Pineapple Express"?

      The "Pineapple Express" is when we
      have a weather system that has its origins from the Hawaiian tropics (Get
      it? 'Pineapple' for Hawaii? Who said weathermen don't have a sense of humor?)

      You can usually see it on a
      satellite photo, where the band of rainfall stretches from the Pacific
      Northwest all the way southwest to near Hawaii.

      These tend to be the wettest-type of
      storms we get around here -- bringing between 1-2" of rain per day for
      Seattle and much more near the mountains -- as it has an abundance of warm,
      tropical moisture.

      It also brings high potential for
      flooding, as the warm air tends to raise snow levels quite high around here.
      That has two compounding effects:

      1) It means precipitation falls as
      rain instead of snow in the mountains, increasing the run-off into the local

      2) It will also begin to melt the
      snow at lower mountains altitudes, adding even more liquid water into the

      Pineapple Expresses usually mean
      wintertime temperatures in the upper 50s or warmer. I remember a December
      night in the mid 1990s when the temperature reached 63 degrees -- at 2
      a.m.(!) -- during a Pineapple Express event.


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