Monster inversion: Mt. Rainier station warmer than Las Vegas

Great shot of the Seattle inversion from Michael Shaprio on board Alaska Airlines Flight 486 on way to San Diego on Jan. 16, 2014.

Weather patterns that feature strong inversions can make for some zany temperature readings, but zany could be quite the understatement Friday.

How else to explain those enjoying the sight of Mt. Rainier from Paradise Ranger Station (5,000 feet up) were experiencing warmer weather than those on the Strip in Las Vegas?

At 3 p.m., the temperature at Paradise was a whopping 69 degrees, while it was a paltry 67 in Vegas. A strong ridge of high pressure has brought incredible warmth to the middle levels of the atmosphere, while the cold nights have in turn allowed cold, dense air to remain trapped at the surface, resulting in cool, foggy weather down in the lowlands.

Seattle-Tacoma-Everett areas were stuck the upper 30s to low 40s for much of the day -- colder than the 10,100-foot elevation Camp Muir, the last stop before summiting Mt. Rainier!

Here is a nice chart of high temperatures Friday:

Paradise Ranger Station at Mt. Rainier (5,000 feet): 69
Las Vegas: 68
San Francisco: 67
Forks: 64
Hurricane Ridge: 57
Mt. Baker Ski Area: 54
Stevens Pass: 54
Snoqualmie ski area (Alpental): 52
Mt. Rainier's Camp Muir (10,100 feet up): 43
Seattle (Sea-Tac): 42
Everett: 40
Tacoma: 39

The inversion takes a brief break Saturday but returns with a week-long vengeance Sunday. An Air Stagnation Advisory is in effect for Seattle through Friday...January 24. Next chance of rain still isn't really until a few days after that.