Season will change; weather won’t

County gives spring a chilly reception

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

Published:

Updated: March 19, 2012, 6:56 PM

 

You know it’s been a gloomy winter when Winnipeg, Manitoba starts sounding like a spring break destination.

Consider this: While Clark County woke up to snow flurries and temperatures in the 30s Monday morning, the Canadian city — north of Minnesota and North Dakota — had already cracked 70 degrees by midday.

Don’t expect Southwest Washington to clear that mark any time soon.

At the outset of spring, the Northwest remains stuck in a weather pattern that looks more like January than March. Chilly, rainy conditions are expected to last well past Tuesday, the first full day of the new season.

High temperatures typically land in the upper 50s this time of year. This week will bring temperatures mostly in the high 40s, with plenty of rain and mountain snow on the way, according to the National Weather Service.

Heavier rain was expected to arrive over the region late Monday, though the brunt of the system will likely stay to the south of the Portland-Vancouver metro area. But Clark County could still see 1 to 2 inches of rain by Wednesday, said Andy Bryant, a hydrologist with the weather service in Portland.

Flooding unlikely

The moisture may swell some local rivers and streams. Bryant said he didn’t expect flooding to be an issue for Clark County.

The forecast continues the wetter, cooler-than-normal conditions that have marked the final stages of winter. As of Monday, Portland International Airport had already surpassed March’s average rainfall total. There were still 12 days left in the month.

“It’s been a late-blooming winter, so to speak,” Bryant said. “Things were really quiet around here until January. … It’s been very active since then.”

The early-spring outlook points to a cool April, with near-normal precipitation — that is, “still kind of on the wet side,” Bryant said. That doesn’t mean 2012 will match the unusually cold, rainy springs of the past two years, Bryant said. But Washingtonians shouldn’t hold their breath for an early summer, either.

Eric Florip: 360-735-4541; http://twitter.com/col_enviro;eric.florip@columbian.com.