Weather Eye: We're past the coldest part of winter and thinking about spring

By Patrick Timm, Columbian weather columnist

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The weather has turned much more seasonal, with showers, highs in the 40s and lows in the 30s. That will continue awhile, with snow possible in the higher foothills tonight. I expect highs for Wednesday through Friday near 50 degrees.

Our average high and low temperatures for today are 49 and 36 degrees. By the end of the week the normal high is 50 degrees, so we have passed the coldest time of the year. Of course, there's still time for a shot of cold and snow but nothing like that is visible on the horizon as of today.

Garden centers are stocking primroses and pansies, and pots of daffodils and tulips. It won't be long before we get a touch of spring fever! The sun is setting after 5 p.m. now, and getting later each day.

Good news: The mountains have had 6-10 inches of nice dry powder snow this weekend, really needed after mild weather at higher altitude.

January's average mean temperature is at 35 degrees so far in Vancouver, 6.3 degrees below normal. Precipitation is down 2.90 inches, so the month has been colder and drier than average.

Last year about this time, I wrote: "It almost felt like springtime Wednesday afternoon, with temperatures running well into the 50s. And it has been very wet this week, although we got a brief break for most of Wednesday.

"Vancouver's monthly rainfall topped 6 inches Wednesday, almost 2 inches above normal, and … we will certainly add to that."

January 2012 ended with a fairly wet 6.61 inches.

I doubt we will even get up to half normal unless we get a few heavy showers this week. Our warmest day this month was Jan. 8, at 55 degrees; the coldest was Jan 21, 19 degrees.

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