Weather Eye: Will the snow of December past return this year?



My, how time flies! I can remember 21 years ago this month writing my first Weather Eye column. There has been a ton of weather since that time, with many records and eventful storms. In my book, you never know what the last month of the calendar year will bring weatherwise.

It is usually a safe bet we do not get a white Christmas here in the lowlands, with most Christmas days really rather quiet. Green rather than white.

The one big exception was 2008 when Vancouver had over a foot of snow on the ground for a really white Christmas. We endured nearly two weeks of cold air, with several bouts of snow and ice. One for the record books and for your lasting memories, to be sure.

December 2007 was most noteworthy, as well, with three days of high winds along the coast that knocked down many square miles of forest trees. Heavy rains inundated the western portion of the state, with Interstate 5 being closed near Chehalis.

During that stormy period, the first day of the month brought 0.18 of an inch of rain followed by 1.87 inches and 1.75 inches the next two days. Vancouver ended up with nearly 9 inches of rain that month.

So, how will our month behave this time around? Well, the first week or so looks really quiet, with mostly fair weather, some fog, some frost, some light east winds and only occasional bouts of drifting clouds from the north.

Could this be the calm before the storm? It would be difficult to imagine we could get by the entire month without something exciting. Some computer forecast models do hint of a change the middle of next week offering a shift in the strong high pressure westward a bit, allowing some cold air to flow down from the north. Snow maybe? Perhaps, but usually the cold air travels east of our area. If we do get a northerly flow, it is usually on the dry side but bears watching anyway. The La Niña Express has apparently pulled into the station for a rest but will be back on the tracks soon. Count on that.

Patrick Timm is a local weather specialist. His column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Reach him at