Weather Eye: Coolness helps firefighters; warm weekend to come

By Patrick Timm, Columbian weather columnist

Published:

 
photoPatrick Timm

Looking at satellite photos Wednesday afternoon, I saw an impressive-looking weather system lurking off the Washington and Oregon coast. Impressive for mid-August, that is. Light rain was falling along the coast at 5 p.m., but there were just clouds inland. Most of the moisture was expected to dissipate as it moved across the Coast Range, but some scattered showers or heavy drizzle was possible in the western valleys.

I mentioned we could get a good downpour in Tuesday's column, so I am still hoping we get a little rain, at least. Rain might settle the dust for a day or two, and it would make the roadways extremely slippery.

Cooler weather has helped the firefighters in Southern Oregon so much that many of the firefighters have moved operations to Alaska. Yes, Alaska. Crews there are still battling wildfires, which is a little unusual this late in the summer.

In our area, we have enjoyed a very nice summer without the extensive heat waves that sometimes occur. In August 2012, we had six days of 95 degrees or more. This summer, we've had only one: In June 30, it got up to 96 degrees. Every month so far this year — except January — the average mean temperature has been above average.

Looking ahead, look for a lot of clouds Thursday and Friday, then improving weather during the weekend, with high temperatures back in the 80s. Just consider it a continuation of our up-down weather this summer.

I mentioned that some readers are noticing a change in the weather already. Looking at the overall pattern out in the Pacific Ocean and the lack of the huge summer high pressure systems we typically get, it sure would look like it. Autumn begins for us climate and weather folks in just 17 days.

Did you get a glimpse of the Perseid meteors earlier in the week? We had enough clearing at times overnight to see them. Enjoy your weekend!

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