Not 90, but close

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

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When Vancouver topped out at 89 degrees on Monday, it was the third straight day the city had recorded a new high temperature for 2012. Expect the mark to last a little longer this time.

Now the cool-down begins.

“We are expecting some more seasonal weather to impact the area starting (today),” said Liana Ramirez, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland.

After a recent run of unseasonably warm weather, high temperatures should drop back down into the 70s for the next couple days, then fall even further into the 60s by the end of the week. Highs typically land in the high 60s or low 70s this time of year.

Monday’s high temperature raised the bar for 2012, but didn’t threaten the all-time record for that date. On May 14, 1939, Vancouver reached 94 degrees, according to the weather service.

It might be too early to tell if the Northwest is primed for a warm spring, Ramirez said. The region has endured unusually cool, wet conditions during each of the past two years. But if nothing else, this year seems to be off to a better start.

Monday gave Vancouver its sixth 80-degree day of the year so far. Two of those came in April. In 2011, the city waited until June to record its first day of 80 degrees or higher. The first 90-degree day didn’t arrive until late August last year.

Of course, warm air doesn’t necessarily translate into warm water. Local rivers are running high and cold as snow melt continues, and the weather service recently warned those waters may only be 45 or 50 degrees. But that didn’t stop droves of Clark County residents from heading outdoors last weekend to soak up sunshine or cool off.

The region’s streak of dry days may come to an end soon. Early weather models show a potentially strong system arriving next week, Ramirez said, but that forecast could change in the next several days.

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