Weather Eye: Cold will break, briefly; warm air will drop heavy rains




The first five days of January were cold and dry. The average mean temperature for Vancouver through Saturday was 32 degrees, eight degrees below normal. Precipitation was 0.08 of an inch as of 5 p.m. Saturday, nearly 1 inch below average.

A strong storm rolls in Monday and Tuesday, with highs near 50 degrees and at least 1 or 1.5 inches of rain as snow levels bounce back above the passes.

The very cold air behind the storm, though, will bring snow down to the foothills and maybe down to 500 feet by Thursday. Some of this is still up in the air, depending on just how much cold air travels down from British Columbia. Some forecast models give us a direct hit with snow showers to the valley floor. So stay tuned. In any event, it will get chilly again.

The first weather system of the New Year brought spotty snow/sleet/freezing rain and plain old rain to most of the county on Friday. It wasn’t strong enough to scour out the cold air in the Gorge and those east winds continued Saturday.

Our high temperatures Saturday lingered in the 30s, staying frozen to the east.

Surprisingly, there were still some patches of snow from Monday’s storm in the Salmon Creek/Felida areas on Saturday, a result of the way the weak storm was elongated and the combination of various winds that kept the heaviest precipitation in a line from Scappoose, Ore., over to western Clark County.

Enjoy the brief wet warm up and then prepare to bundle up later in the week.

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