Extreme weather lessens, but showers to continue through the holiday weekend

Another low-pressure system expected to arrive Tuesday

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter

Published:

Updated: May 23, 2013, 6:46 PM

 

The weather system that set rain and low-temperature records in Vancouver is on its way out, but not fast enough to make this an ideal Memorial Day weekend.

The high of 50 degrees Wednesday broke the previous record for the date for lowest maximum temperature, 52 degrees, set on May 22, 1905. And the 1.12 inches of rainfall that day also broke the old 1905 record of 0.85 of an inch.

That’s likely the worst that the current upper-level low-pressure system will offer before it finishes moving out of the area on Monday. But another storm system is set to arrive on its heels starting Tuesday, said Tyree Wilde, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“It’s going to be a slight improvement going into the weekend, but we’re still stuck with a trough pattern” that will bring showers and moderately cool temperatures, Wilde said.

The agency is predicting a 60 percent chance of showers and a high of 60 today, a 40 percent chance of showers and a high of 66 for Saturday, a 40 percent chance of showers and a high of 68 for Sunday, and a slight chance of rain and a high of 65 for Monday.

“Then Tuesday, when we all get back to work, we’re going to get hit with another cold, wet system,” Wilde said.

And it looks like that trend may continue for several days, said Steve Pierce, a Columbian weather blogger and president of the American Meteorological Society’s Oregon chapter.

“Models are sort of all over the place at this point,” Pierce said. “It’s a coin toss, but it looks like we’ll probably stick this way for at least the next week.”

Outdoors lovers will probably be just fine firing up the grill on the long weekend, but campers might want to think twice, Wilde said.

“If you’re grilling, you might have to wait an hour or two for a shower to pass, but I think camping will probably be on the damp side,” Wilde said.

Even if the skies do clear up some, it’s not a bad idea to be prepared, Pierce said.

“Anybody planning outdoor activities this weekend better bring along an umbrella or a raincoat,” Pierce said.

The current weather system, which came out of the Gulf of Alaska, marks a stark contrast to the highs of 79, 83, and 85 degrees, respectively, on May 9, 10 and 11.

“That was a type of pattern where we get offshore flow and we get all this warm weather coming up from California,” Wilde said. “That was nice for a while, but it looks like it will be a bit before we get back to that.”

Normal highs for late May are in the upper 60s.

The rainfall amounts are actually good news though. Vancouver has now clocked 2.1 inches of rain for the month as of May 23. That’s above the 1.87 inch average.

“We’re about a quarter inch above normal, but we’re 4 inches below normal for the water year that starts in October and we’re 7.5 inches below normal for the calendar year,” Wilde said. “We definitely have a deficit, and going into the dry summer months, this will help.”