Weather Eye: Sunny day will give way to cool temperatures
Thursday, December 6, 2012
We had a welcome break Wednesday from the heavy rains and even got to enjoy some sunshine a good share of the day. That was a transition day from a southwest flow of air to a cooler northwest flow of air. The good news is that the mountains should receive 1 or 2 feet of new snow, including the passes, between now and the weekend as orthographic showers develop over the mountains.
The bad news, if you will, is the much cooler temperatures, with highs in the 40s and lows in the 30s. Any clearing by the weekend will lead to frosty conditions. The snow level is not quite as low as we thought earlier in the week. Snow could fall down to 2,000 feet.
The weekend at this point looks to be not too bad, other than cool with some dry periods, and more rain moving in later on Sunday. Next week looks unsettled, with rain or showers. There still is a threat of cold and lowland snow the week prior to Christmas — but don't place bets on it just yet.
According to the Washington State Climate office, November was warmer and wetter than average across the entire state. With just a couple of exceptions — at Wenatchee and Yakima — areas east of the mountains had above normal precipitation.
The office also reports that an El Niño pattern is unlikely now and things will remain rather neutral, which leads to an equal chance of having either below, above or normal temperatures and precipitation this winter. It does say that precipitation amounts have a 40 percent chance of being above average in December only.
Snowpack in the mountains as of December 1 was 273 percent of normal in the Olympics and 127 percent of normal in the north Cascades. The southern Cascades in Washington had only 77 percent of normal. We will make up some for that in the next few days.
Patrick Timm is a local weather specialist. His column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Reach him at Weather Systems.