Weather Eye: Cold, dry interval of inversion is on its way out soon

By Patrick Timm, Columbian weather columnist

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photoPatrick Timm

The sunshine was sure a welcome sight Monday, although there was still a chill in the air even as high temperatures crept into the low 40s. The night had been very cold, with Vancouver officially registering a chilly low of 19 degrees early Monday. There were many other readings in the teens in the outlying area. The coldest I saw was 15 degrees.

But while we struggled to reach 40 degrees in Clark County, elevations around 2,000 feet in the Cascades and Coast Range mountains were in the 60s, can you believe that?

The inversion is with us for a few hours longer. Freezing levels were near 12,000 feet Monday -- almost a summertime number. A weakening low-pressure system is still forecast to break through the high pressure with some clouds and light precipitation. If it comes at night when temperatures are near freezing, we could get sleet or freezing rain -- especially near the Gorge. Forecasters will have a better idea as the day goes along, so stay tuned for a possible Wednesday-morning commute problem, just maybe.

After that, things should go back to normal, with the freezing level dropping down to 3,000 feet and warmer air at sea level. I don't see any real heavy rain heading our way Wednesday or over the weekend, so it shouldn't be a total washout.

Monday's temperature extremes in Oregon were Brookings, on the south coast, at a high of 65 degrees, and Lakeview, in the south-central part of the state, at minus 15. In Washington, I noticed Quillayute was 53 degrees and Deer Park was minus 1.

I might as well mention the east winds that were blowing quite strong Sunday and Monday through the Gorge. Gusts at Biddle Butte in Washington were 60 to 70 mph, and I would expect Crown Point had them 80 to 90 mph. That is what cleared out our fog and low clouds Sunday night and delivered our nice sunny Monday; somewhat of a silver lining I guess. It was still gusting over 40 mph east of Washougal and at Troutdale, Ore. on Monday afternoon.

See you on Thursday, out of this inversion!

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