Weather Eye: Expect wind, little rain, warming to start the new year

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Some weather geeks enjoyed the New Year’s Day at Crown Point, Ore., in the Columbia River Gorge, enduring the east winds that were gusting at about 100 mph. High pressure east of the Cascade Mountains and a deep low in the Pacific Ocean combined for this short-lived event.

It’s amazing how the winds can be so strong in the Gorge and east Clark County, and just plain dead-calm at my home in the Salmon Creek area. I knew there was reason why I live on the westside of town.

On Monday, we got brushed with another weather front which brought very little rainfall but warmed the temperatures from the 30s into the mid-50s. Don’t expect much change in the overall pattern in days to come, as we get nicked by a few weather systems this week, and the bulk of the rain falls just to our north. Freezing levels remain high, although later in the week, they fall enough for a brief shot of snow in the ski areas.

The forecast for lower elevations is a few bouts of light rain, some clouds, a few sun breaks, probably a dry weekend heading our way and fairly mild temperatures for January. We are still looking at a possible change in the weather in a week to 10 days. Other than that, there’s nothing really to write home about.

The December rainfall totals are coming in from your friends and neighbors, and are what many are calling very dry. The bulk of the precipitation came in last week of December. If the other three weeks would have been like that, it would have been one wet month!

At my home in the Salmon Creek area, I only recorded 2.43 inches of rain in December, but a year earlier, I measured 9.35 inches for the month. Looking at my total for January 2011, I had 5.07 inches of rain. And in January 2010, I had only 1.21 inches. We’ll see how the month ends up, so stay tuned.

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