Weather Eye: Winter arrives early, bringing sunny days and frigid nights

By Patrick Timm, Columbian weather columnist

Published:

 
photoPatrick Timm

Winter has arrived a bit earlier this year, as our meteorological winter usually begins on December 1. However, cold, dry air from Canada has settled in over the region and will allow us to bask in sunshine during the day and freeze at night.

Speaking of night, overnight lows early Wednesday were in the 20s in most of Clark County and officially 27 degrees at Pearson Field in Vancouver. I had 26 degrees in Salmon Creek and weather observer Phil Delany above Dole Valley had 22 degrees. Early morning lows today were expected to be in the lower 20s, with temperatures in the upper teens in the colder outlying areas. This will last into the weekend. Highs Wednesday were only in the mid-40s locally, upper 30s in northern Washington and barely cracked freezing in Eastern Washington in some locations. Brrr!

East winds will pick up in intensity as the inversion east of the mountains increases. That is — warmer air aloft and cold air in the lower 2,000 feet of the atmosphere.

So the outlook the next five days goes like this: East winds gusting 30-50 mph at the east end of the Columbia River Gorge near Troutdale and Corbett and 80 mph — maybe 100 mph — at Crown Point. I know die-hard weather geeks will be up there at Crown Point, where there will be a bitter-cold wind chill, this weekend.

The coast and mountains will bask during the day in temperatures in the 50s, maybe 60s, under sunny skies. We will remain in the chilly 40s for the most part. With highs only 45-50 and a dry air mass, the thermometer will drop like a rock after sunset.

Any moisture heading our way? That is the million-dollar question. We may see some moisture knocking at our door the day before Thanksgiving or on Turkey Day. That means traveling over the passes to Grandma's house for dinner may be dicey. Forecast models are at odds right now on that outcome, so the holiday could remain dry.

Meanwhile, it's a good time to get ready for the holidays, decorate outside to your heart's content and remain dry — but bundle up!

Chat with you on Sunday!

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