Weather Eye: Forecast is hard to decipher beyond the next few days

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Surprise, surprise, surprise. That is what some folks thought Friday evening as snow fell to some low elevations around Clark County. Generally, areas about 1,000 feet and higher had anywhere from 1 to 2 inches of wet snow. A brief interlude of a winter wonderland.

I noticed rain and snow mixed in my Salmon Creek neighborhood and some large wet flakes were reported in many lowland areas. But that was Friday, and now, back to a brief dry spell and fairly mild temperatures.

On the coast

One weather-related item of interest is about to occur in Clallam County near the town of La Push. Recent storms in the Pacific have generated large swells in the 20-foot and higher range and, coupling that with very high tides, part of the jetty has been severely eroded. On Monday, forecasters expect 15-foot westerly swells at the same time as a 9-foot high tide.

If the jetty breaches, it could mean serious flooding for La Push and also the lower Quileute Tribal Village. The National Weather Service office in Seattle has issued a coastal flood watch for this event.

The weather forecast is fairly easy for the short term: a little rain on Monday and then dry for most of the week. The problem comes in the extended outlook. Some forecasts have indicated a number of wintry scenarios: dry and very cold, cool and snowy, and back to a large high-pressure ridge with same old same old stuff.

There is quite a bit of arctic air about to spill out over the Bering sea. Some will dump into the Gulf of Alaska and could stir up a brewing pot of big storms. Or some of the cold arctic air could slip down into southern British Columbia and spill over onto us via east winds.

My friend and Anchorage forecaster David Percy commented Saturday about our bland winter so far: “Lucky West Coast folks, 5 degrees, north 10-20 mph winds with light snow up here in Anchorage. But better than the -40 to -55 F McGrath has had all month.”

I feel warmer already. Enjoy your week.

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