Weather Eye: Higher altitudes enjoy the winter sun; cloudy skies to linger

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You didn’t have to go very far to bask in warm sunshine Wednesday. Just straight up 2,000 feet! Skies were clear, and temperatures were in the 60s.

Clear weather at the coast, in the Cascades and east of the mountains as well.

Yes back to our old inversion pattern with not much change in sight. However we should get some east wind and clear things out beginning in east Clark County by Friday. Otherwise mostly cloudy skies into next week and rain changes are slim at this point.

Some experts believe the rest of our winter will be status quo. We sure need snow in the mountains. The heavy snow bumped the snow pack to 50 percent of normal but of course that is melting off.

Battle Ground weather observer-photographer Tyler Mode took a hike Wednesday above Bridal Veil, Ore., in the Columbia River Gorge on Angels Rest Trail and noted at the 1,000-foot level it was 35 degrees. He commented, “On the way up, it warmed so quickly my camera lens fogged up!”

Funny thing about our weather this winter is that we are in a neutral year without El Niño or La Niña influence. We should be experiencing a more normal winter with rain, snow, storms, etc. It is acting more like an El Niño. Scientists are puzzled and are exploring other possibilities, so stay tuned.

When Ellen Smart of Ridgefield reported her December rainfall she added this commentary, which kind of sums it up for everyone: “My 2013 rainfall was only 27.1 inches, which is very little for here. As I remember it, 42 inches is the average for where I live. That reminds me — friends in Rhode Island asked me how can you live there in the Pacific Northwest where it rains all the time? So I looked up Kingston, Rhode Island, where I used to live, and they get 52 inches. People really do not have any notion that we get no rain in the summer. Ah well, a very well-kept secret.”

And so it goes, hoping for a peek of sunshine here in the lowlands. Come back on Sunday and we will talk more weather!

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