My name is Kelsie Knowles, and I recently graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in meteorology. I will be writing a new column, Under the Weather, which focuses on weather topics in the areas of Lynnwood (where I have lived all my life), Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace.
I am so excited to have the opportunity to write about my passion for the community where I grew up. But first, I want to share a little bit about my journey up to this point.
I was an easily frightened child. A lot would scare me, especially things that related to nature, such as volcanoes, fire and thunderstorms. It wasn’t a little fear, either. I would get quite nervous if I heard there was a chance of thunderstorms. I remember having to weigh the pros and cons of which bunk to sleep on when I shared a bunk bed with my sister. If I slept on the top bunk, I would be safe from lava, but it would be harder to escape in a fire. If I slept on the bottom bunk, it would be easier to escape a fire, but in the event of lava, I’d be out of luck. Ridiculous, right? I tell you this to show you how far I’ve come.
My mom recognized these fears, and because she would often work at my school’s book fairs, she would bring home books that taught me about different natural disasters, especially those related to weather. As I read these books, I learned more and more, which helped me realize that I didn’t need to be afraid. I started branching out more to obtain weather knowledge by watching the Weather Channel. I loved to learn about weather, and I continued learning as I got older. Rather than being terrified by storms, I was captivated by them. I couldn’t turn away. Fear had been turned into fascination. By the time I was in middle school, I knew that I wanted to be a meteorologist.
After I graduated from Lynnwood High School in 2015, I attended Shoreline Community College before transferring to UW Seattle to join the Atmospheric Sciences department.
Once I graduated from UW, I interned at KOMO News with Shannon O’Donnell and Scott Sistek. During this time, I started writing the daily KOMO forecast blogs. I realized that I really enjoyed writing about weather, and that I was good at it. In fact, after my internship concluded, I created my own weather blog, called Weather Bloggin’ for the Common Noggin, which focuses on writing about weather in a way that everyone can understand.
My passion for weather has never dwindled, and if it is even possible, it has grown. My hope is that I can transfer some of that love and appreciation of weather and nature to my readers. I promise, there is enough to go around.
As I write future articles and give forecasts, there’s one thing I would like everyone to keep in mind. While there have been many scientific advancements in forecasting, there is still some level of uncertainty in any weather forecast. Meteorologists look at a variety of models (which all have pros, cons and biases) and analyze the atmospheric setup/environment in order to create a forecast. Some models perform very well, but none are perfect. Thus, no forecast is perfect, and no meteorologist is perfect, even if they have been in the field for decades.
A perfect example of this has been very pertinent lately: smoke from wildfires. It has been absolutely awful, with air quality the worst it has been in quite some time. This past weekend, models were suggesting that smoke could start clearing out early this week. But alas, that did not happen. The models were wrong.
Related to that, the thick smoke significantly impacted temperatures this past week, due to the smoke layer limiting the amount of solar radiation able to get into our atmosphere. Most models do not take smoke into consideration, so it was a lot colder than forecasted. Again, the models were wrong.
We meteorologists strive to give the people we serve the most accurate forecasts we can because we understand that weather impacts everyone. Sometimes we are thrown for a loop and things don’t happen in the way we expect. It’s just the nature of meteorology.
I am excited to be writing to the great community that I’ve been surrounded by my whole life. I hope that you will learn from my articles something new about the weather or nature. You will not want to “mist” out.
And now, here’s a look at your weekend forecast.
Finally, much-needed rain should be making its way back into the area. This should help cleanse the air some, and it’s looking like we *should* get some relief this weekend. Temperatures should be normal for this time of year. I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m so ready for fall.
— By Kelsie Knowles
Kelsie Knowles is a meteorologist and recent University of Washington graduate who lives in north Lynnwood. After writing weather blogs as a KOMO News intern, she discovered a passion for writing about weather. You can learn more in her blog www.wxnoggin.com and you can also follow her on Twitter at @kels_wx3.