Weather Eye: Rainfall expected to give way to dry conditions

By Patrick Timm, Columbian weather columnist

Published:

 
photoPatrick Timm

I was reviewing the latest newsletter from our state climate office on Monday and thought I would share a few bits of information with you. We all know it was wet last year but statewide it was the fifth wettest year since 1895 and the wettest since the turn of the century. The wettest year on record was 1996, followed by 1896, 1950 and 1899.

January was much colder than average across the Evergreen State, averaging 2-8 degrees below average. Vancouver's average mean temperature was only 36.6 degrees, 5 degrees below normal. Rainfall totaled 3.40 inches, 2.10 inches below average. I am still gathering local rainfall reports and will share those with you later this week.

The office says that despite the long warm and dry spell in mid-January in the mountains, the snowpack on Feb. 1 was above average in all areas except on the east slopes of the Cascades where it was slightly below average. Thank goodness for a few good snowstorms near the end of the month.

Okay so what's on tap weather-wise for the short term? A couple rounds of rain before it dries out later in the week and likely stays that way through early next week. I am thinking February follows the trend of last month with rainfall below average.

Still have your studded tires on your vehicle? If you don't have plans for a trip to the mountains, I think it is safe to change them out. If you were one of the lucky ones that didn't put them on in the first place, good for you.

Some long range forecast models hint of a cold spell late in the month. Could this happen? Sure. So far we have not had any arctic air at all. It's possible to be clipped, particularly in the eastern basins if the high offshore shifts westward a tad. (Shouldn't have mentioned removing the studded tires, huh?).

And there is some talk in weather circles that despite rather neutral conditions, we could transition into another La Niña episode. That is still dangling out in the dark right now. Something to watch -- that's why we always have a good weather eye looking out for you.

Patrick Timm is a local weather specialist. His column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Reach him at Weather Systems.