Weather Eye: Our groundhog may see shadow

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When Groundhog’s Day arrives Thursday, if there is one around here locally he most likely will see his shadow. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean six more weeks of winter. Almost time to pull out my annual video watch, “Groundhog’s Day” with Bill Murray. So funny.

After some more rain Tuesday night and Wednesday we go into a dry pattern probably into early next week. I am thinking about taking my winter tires off early this year as the odds of a big blast of snow and ice are fading quickly.

Despite plenty of cold air to the far north there is just no mechanism forecast to bring it down upon us at least in the next couple of weeks. Alaska is having one of its coldest winters in decades. A few days ago, Prospect Creek about 180 miles north of Fairbanks reported in at 77 degrees below zero just three degrees short of tying the all-time recorded low of minus 80 degrees on Jan. 23, 1971. That was the coldest temperature ever recorded in the United States.

I find this remarkable that we have not had an arctic outbreak from the very cold air over Alaska and Canada. A persistent ridge of high pressure has kept that flow of air for the most part away from us. Puget Sound did receive a glancing blow a couple weeks ago. There are still piles of snow from Centralia westward to Aberdeen left on the ground as proof to the southern extent of the recent snow and cold.

For those of you that did not attend last week’s meeting of the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorology Society’s meeting on Global Climate Change, pictures and video can be found on their website, http://ametsoc.org/chapters/oregon.

Monday, I noticed a few flowering cherry trees bursting out with pink blossoms and dozens and dozens of robins were scampering across the grass. Yes, spring is just around the corner but maybe, just maybe a few bumps yet to go. Have a great week.

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