Weather Eye: It’s not as cold or as wet as it could be

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Record cold weather has hit northern Alaska for over a week now — even the North Pole set a new record low Saturday for Nov. 19, at 42 degrees below zero. Fairbanks was 36 degrees below zero.

Here is the weather discussion from the Fairbanks National Weather Service Forecast Office: “Today (Saturday) marks the fifth consecutive day with a low temperature of 30 below or colder at the airport. This ties with 1956, 1969 and 1989 for the most consecutive days with a temperature of 30 below or colder so early in the winter season. The low temperature has now been 35 below or colder each of the last five days. This has never happened so early in the winter season at Fairbanks. The old record was only two days in 1989.”

I read the above just a few minutes before beginning today’s column. I was going to start off saying it felt very chilly late Saturday as skies cleared and the sun went down. It’s hardly worth mentioning when our temperatures are in the 30 degrees above zero range, eh?

The weather went pretty much as forecast, with snow down to the 1,000-foot level and a few wet flakes mixing in Friday around the area. Sticking snow was never expected at city levels, and that panned out as usual. No surprise there, but the snow in the mountains the past few days was measured in feet with some ski areas opening this weekend.

We didn’t get quite as much rain as I thought, with a November total in Vancouver so far at only 2.21 inches — about 1.25 inches below average. Last year at this time, we had received 4.84 inches of rain.

The forecast charts do indicate some heavy rainfall the first three days of this week somewhere in western Washington and northern Oregon. Just where is not pinned down yet. Anywhere from 3 to 6 inches could fall along the coast and in the Puget Sound region, causing forecasters to issue hydrologic outlooks.

Could we see Thanksgiving Day floods somewhere in our state?

Possibly.

It depends where the band of heavy sub-tropical moisture streams in and how long it hangs around. We certainly do not need the Pineapple Express to follow the recent heavy mountain snows, for sure. Stay tuned for that scenario.

If you’re planning a trip over the mountain passes Wednesday, you should be okay with mostly rain falling. We will chat again on Tuesday; have a great start to your holiday week.

Patrick Timm is a local weather specialist. His column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Reach him at http://weathersystems.com.