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The Blob: Not The Horror Movie, But The Summer Weather Influencer

060614TB_WarmBlob.jpg
Sea surface temperature anomalies in degrees Celsius drawn from NOAA/ESRL database.

"The Blob" was the title of a 1958 sci-fi horor movie. It's also the nickname Washington state climatologist Nick Bond has given to a large patch of warmer-than-normal seawater off the Pacific Northwest coast.

This blob is unlikely to become the subject of another movie, but it will influence our summer weather.

The big blob is centered about 700 miles off the Washington and Oregon coasts. Bond said the water temperatures at the surface out there are about four degrees Fahrenheit warmer than normal for this time of year.

"The blob is basically a hangover from the unusually quiet and dry weather we had in the Pacific Northwest from October 2013 into February of this year," Bond said.

Bond expects the blob to persist through the summer. Prevailing winds off the ocean mean this will affect the weather all the way to the inland Northwest.

"That air that is coming in is going to be warmed and moistened more than usual by this warmer water underneath," Bond said.

Bond sees high potential for a warmer and rainier late summer. No guarantees, but he also sees conditions that favor development of thunderstorms.

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be found online and heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.