Weather Eye: 'May bees' do fly in January — but will snowflakes? Maybe

By Patrick Timm, Columbian weather columnist

Published:

 
photoPatrick Timm

Satellite pictures out in the Pacific on Saturday afternoon were giving signs of things to come. A change, maybe? Yes, maybe, but for how long?

The center of the high pressure is moving north-northwest up toward Alaska, which will allow more of a westerly flow to undercut the ridge and, yes, bring us some much-needed moisture. Only light rain at first, probably later on Monday. Beyond that, the timing of weather is not clear. The upper atmosphere will cool as the week wears, on allowing any moisture to fall as snow in the mountains. That is good news. No, that is great news.

Longer-range models all show a cooling trend with lowering snow levels. Any snow in the near future for us at low elevations? A mere possibility. I was trying to avoid saying "maybe" again, but of course I am I still hedging.

This winter, after all, has not been behaving as it should and computer forecast models haven't either. Neither man nor computer has had a high success predicting rain beyond a few days out this winter season. No worry — we will do better next year. Perhaps the great mystery — why the stubborn ridge of high pressure has been anchored offshore for so long — will be solved and factored into computer models.

Maybe (there I go again) we will get enough rain to squash the fire danger. I mean, when was the last time we had winter wildfires burning just above the ocean beaches? Kind of scary for residents of Cannon Beach, Ore., and surrounding areas. There were three wildfires burning at one point last week in Oregon.

And no wonder, with humidity levels below 20 percent, temperatures in the upper 60s in the Coast Range and strong gusty east winds over 50 mph. We'd better hope we recover in part from the extended drought or it may be a crazy wildfire season this year.

Meanwhile, another fair day before clouds and rain return to us. Maybe (do I win an award for this?) we should place a sign out along the Columbia that reads, "Rain: Welcome back to the Evergreen State. Thanks for dropping in."