Weather Eye: Northwest weather remains difficult for forecasters




“The Rise and Fall of Weather Forecasting.” That sounds like a good title for a book, especially after the variety of weather we have endured the past week or so and with the forecasts of windstorms and snowstorms and not really much of either materialized.

I started a book on Northwest weather and haven’t completed it as I ventured into writing my first fiction novel. But I will return to the weather book eventually, which will talk among other things about the ups and downs of weather forecasting here in the Pacific Northwest.

There was more kinds of weather around the Northwest on Wednesday than I can describe in this column but everything from rain, snow, hail, thunder, winds, flooding, blizzards to name a few. A large storm off the coast fueled high winds and surf along the coastal strip and heavy snow in the Cascades. Even the Columbia River Gorge received upwards of six inches of snow from the Oregon towns of Cascade Locks to Hood River.

The combination of southerly winds and lack of heavy precipitation to bring down the snow level eliminated the threat of snow here in Clark County, except at the highest elevations. Snow did fall in the Olympia-to-Everett areas early Wednesday, however.

We aren’t through with the active weather as more rain and wind and low-elevation snow daunts the Northwest. As heavier precipitation falls, snow levels behind the cold front will drop again to the Coast Range and foothills. Snow levels remain low through the weekend.

Winter officially begins Friday and will be behaving in good fashion, to say the least. If you have travel plans be sure and check ahead for conditions as they may vary from region to region.

One thing for sure, it will be a snow lover’s paradise in the mountains with tons of fresh powder this weekend to enjoy. Looking ahead to Christmas Day it appears it will be the typical “green” Christmas rather than white for us in the lowlands and maybe even on the dry side.

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