Seattle Living

How to Beat the Winter Blues: Tips From Seattle’s Weather Experts

Meteorologists Morgan Palmer, Walter Kelley and Steve Pool weigh in with tips to stave off SAD.

By Gwendolyn Elliott February 4, 2018


This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Seattle Magazine.

This article appears in print in the February 2018 issueClick here to subscribe.

It’s that time of year when SAD—the oh so apropos acronym for seasonal affective disorder, when winter’s limited sunlight and gray skies can cause depression—really sinks in. We tapped some Seattle weather experts for tips to get us through until the forecast brightens.

Cliff Mass, a University of Washington professor of atmospheric sciences, calls SAD “a solvable problem.” “Get out in the middle of the day when there’s the most light,” he suggests. Go for a run or walk, and at the very least, “Do not eat lunch at your desk.”

You can also visit places in the state’s rain shadow (such as Sequim, Port Townsend and Whidbey Island), where there’s more solar radiation, or head to the other side of the Cascades. But skip the Tri-Cities area, where there are low clouds. “Go to a place like Cle Elum, where it’s sunnier,” Mass advises.

KIRO-TV chief meteorologist Morgan Palmer says, “Find a location with bright lighting and bright colors. Go shopping. Spend an hour in a restaurant or another location with bright lighting. Get a good workout at a brightly lit gym.… As a last resort, find a resort!” Palmer recommends the Southwest desert or Hawaii. 

Walter Kelley, Q13 Fox chief meteorologist, recommends skiing or hiking in the mountains. “The contrast of snow helps brighten things up.” His other advice? “Remain positive and remember that after December 21, the days start getting longer by an average of three minutes a day. The key is don’t remain idle and enjoy the fantastically beautiful Pacific Northwest.”

KOMO-TV lead weathercaster Steve Pool’s top tip? Light therapy. “I use a UV light at home. It especially helps when it’s been raining for a while.” When he’s really feeling sluggish, he goes for the liquid sunshine. “Lots of coffee helps,” he says. “You get really happy if you drink enough of it.” Fortunately, that’s one aspect of Seattle that needs little improvement.

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