Stories by Patrick
I had a chuckle about a cartoon, an old one for sure, that I came upon Sunday. The just of it shows two characters, and one comes up to the other and asks for a good sunblock. His buddy hands him a piece of paper, and he replies, "What is this?" The other says, "Directions to Seattle." And so it goes, the Northwest always gets the brunt of the wet and cloudy jokes.
Is winter over? Going by the calendar, we have almost six weeks yet, but we weather folks call March the first month of spring. Two weeks left in February.
Not a whole lot on the horizon weather wise after some showers today. The weekend still looks dry with seasonal temperatures, nothing to write home about in our neck of the woods, for sure.
I was reviewing the latest newsletter from our state climate office on Monday and thought I would share a few bits of information with you. We all know it was wet last year but statewide it was the fifth wettest year since 1895 and the wettest since the turn of the century. The wettest year on record was 1996, followed by 1896, 1950 and 1899.
Well, what do you know. As I sit here typing my column, the house is shaking, rattling and rolling. Yep, a small earthquake about 3.5 occurred near Amboy, immediately becoming the only highlight to a rather boring weather day.
Monday was a typical January day — dark, gray and wet. What else would you expect?
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.
As promised our inversion is long gone but not without a few brief pockets of sleet or freezing rain, mainly near the Gorge. It seemed the media made a bigger deal out of it than what occurred or what was on the horizon. Forecast models had the precipitation arriving earlier, during the early morning hours, than midday.
The sunshine was sure a welcome sight Monday, although there was still a chill in the air even as high temperatures crept into the low 40s. The night had been very cold, with Vancouver officially registering a chilly low of 19 degrees early Monday. There were many other readings in the teens in the outlying area. The coldest I saw was 15 degrees.
The afternoon high temperatures for Saturday went like this: In the foggy areas, it remained just a couple degrees above freezing. In the sunny areas, it managed to pop into the 40s. Along the coast, it was in the 50s and in the mid-elevation levels of the mountains, it was in the 60s and even some 70s, about 30 to 40 degrees above average for January.
No change in the weather pattern through early next week, except hopefully the warmer and drier air aloft will work its way to the surface at some point and bring our temperatures back up to normal or above and get rid of the low clouds.
After I wrote my column Saturday afternoon — of course — one could see moisture streaming over the top of the massive ridge of high pressure and moving southward over the interior of British Columbia on Sunday. This produced enough moisture in the lower layers of the atmosphere and aided in providing a lift that produced some periods of light snow.
After a chilly night and lots of clouds, the sun came out here in Salmon Creek about 3 p.m. but at 4 p.m., my high was only 32 degrees.
Talk about being under the gun for lowland snow. We are indeed. Of course, we need the two all-important ingredients at just the right time, cold air aloft and moisture. We now have that cold air aloft and there are several disturbances forecast to drop down the coast bringing moisture. Some forecast models keep the moisture offshore, while others bring it inland. I wish I had a surefire forecast for snow.
Another round of winter weather will hit Washington and Oregon as a strong cold front moves inland late tonight. After a mild start, Wednesday will see falling temperatures and lowering snow levels.
The first five days of January were cold and dry. The average mean temperature for Vancouver through Saturday was 32 degrees, eight degrees below normal. Precipitation was 0.08 of an inch as of 5 p.m. Saturday, nearly 1 inch below average.
Cold enough for you? Wow, those strong east winds in the east Clark County lowered wind chills significantly. Wind speeds of near 100 mph were occurring in the west end of the Columbia River Gorge. The areas out of the wind had very low overnight temperatures. Vancouver officially dropped to 21 degrees but there were reports in the outlying areas of the upper teens.
Surprise, surprise, surprise! What a way to end 2012 — with a nice, white snowfall!
Portland froze for the first time this season early Saturday, at 29 degrees. Many locations in Clark County dipped into the mid-20s, with Vancouver officially recording its coldest winter temperature at 26 degrees.
I hope everyone had a great Christmas, although it always seems to come and go so quickly! And for you weather enthusiasts out there, I hope you got a weather gadget or two to play with (I did)!
Merry Christmas! It will be a stormy holiday around the great Northwest with heavy rain, snow and strong winds, a very good day for the indoor festivities for sure.
Boy what a difference a year can make? Last year on the first day of winter I wrote a 'letter home to family' about our weather and shared it with you. The stormy, wet and cold weather we have experienced this fall and early winter was basically nonexistent this time last year.
'The Rise and Fall of Weather Forecasting." That sounds like a good title for a book, especially after the variety of weather we have endured the past week or so and with the forecasts of windstorms and snowstorms and not really much of either materialized.
It was blustery Sunday night into early Monday, but nothing out of the ordinary, just a good winter storm. Although some computer models predicted a much stronger storm, it appeared to me that it would begin to "fill" or lose strength rapidly the moment it hit land, which is exactly what happened. I mentioned in Sunday's column there could be 40-50 mph winds up and down Interstate 5.
The first snowflakes of the season mixed with the rain here at city levels early Saturday morning while Clark County locations above 1,000 feet got an inch or two of snow.
Winter weather is upon us, at least in the higher terrain. We are slowly but surely adding to the Cascade snowpack. Freezing levels will remain low enough for the next week or so that any moisture falling will be in the form of snow above 2,000 to 3,000 feet but occasionally dropping to the foothills and Coast Range passes. I am sure most folks here in the lowlands don't mind that we don't have to shovel the moisture that is falling here. Computer forecast models are certainly not in any agreement beyond a few days, so my confidence on what the weather will be like as we head toward Christmas is very low.
Not a whole lot to get excited about this week weatherwise outside of a little rain today with decreasing showers Wednesday and then more rain over the weekend. Freezing levels went way up Monday but will drop tonight below mountain passes. The next 10 days or so any moisture that heads our way will be in the form of snow in the mountains.
We had a welcome break Wednesday from the heavy rains and even got to enjoy some sunshine a good share of the day. That was a transition day from a southwest flow of air to a cooler northwest flow of air. The good news is that the mountains should receive one or two feet of new snow including the passes between now and the weekend as orthographic showers develop over the mountains.
As promised here the other day, lots and lots of weather action heading our way for the weather buffs out there.
November went out with a bang Friday evening, as a rather vigorous squall line moved through before midnight with gusty winds and heavy rain, putting some local rain amounts over the edge. November rainfall reports are coming in to me and I will report them this week. They are impressive -- well above November normals. Rainfall totals in the foothills were between 15 and 25 inches. Yep that is a lot of water!
A large low pressure system is anchored in the Gulf of Alaska and will remain there for several days, continuing to spin weather systems our way on regular intervals. A good punch to the coast today with high winds and surf, and general rains everywhere both west and east of the mountains. The higher Cascades will get snow.
We had a very nice break from the heavy rains after Thanksgiving and we will enjoy one more day before we enter an extended stormy period Wednesday and beyond.
Happy Thanksgiving! Hopefully this day will offer the very best to you, your family and friends. We have many things to be thankful for and one is the great weather we enjoy in the Pacific Northwest. Like the fantastic late summer and fall weather we just had. Sure we get storms, snow and flooding but nothing compared to other parts of the country.
‘When it rains it pours,” someone once said, and, of course, that was true on Monday. Heavy rains pelted our area with several inches in the foothills, and we were well on our way to the 2-inch mark in the city by 5 p.m. It was a stormy day in the neighborhood, to say the least.
Wednesday was one of those textbook autumn days, foggy in the morning with afternoon sunshine and fairly calm winds. One of those lazy days to rake the leaves or, in many cases, use a leaf blower, moving them who knows where.
Nothing too surprising this week weather-wise, with lots of clouds and showers, some dry periods and highs mostly in the 50s forecast. No big storms looming on the horizon.
It was a much cooler start to the day on Wednesday, with a see-your-breath kind of thing heading out to work in the early morning. The well-advertised cold front moved through overnight and lowered our afternoon highs into the 50s Wednesday. Further cooling will occur today and Friday with highs struggling to hit 50 degrees.
I hope you enjoyed Monday because later tonight everything changes. A much cooler air mass drops south from the Gulf of Alaska and lowers snow levels and brings a chill in the air even at lower elevations. I mentioned this last week and everything is on track.
In two weeks, weather geeks from around the Northwest will gather at OMSI for the annual winter weather forecasting conference hosted by the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society. The meeting, open to the public, will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17. Details are at http://ametsoc.org/chapters/oregon.
The steady rained ended just in time for Halloween trick-or-treaters with scattered showers only lingering throughout the evening hours. Mild temperatures and some occasional brisk winds were common as well.
Monday was a welcome interlude to our wet weather regime with some blue sky and sunshine and mild temperatures well into the 60s. Today will be much different, with periods of moderate to heavy rain.
A wet weekend? Yes of course, our rainy season is finally well underway and October will leave with an abundance of water in the rain bucket. With over four inches for a monthly tally already and a brief visit from the Pineapple Express today and Monday, we will surely be over five inches, maybe even six inches, before all is said and done.
Today, we transition from a cold, upper-level trough of low pressure to a warmer ridge of high pressure. It won't stay dry for too long as rain will follow this brief dry spell. Freezing levels will be higher during the weekend and into next week, so much of the snow that fell below 6,000-8,000 feet will melt. After all, it is early in the season.
The first snow of the season fell on the Cascade passes early Saturday and was beginning to stick as seen on the traffic cams. Although amounts will not be heavy, most passes will see 2 to 4 inches for the weekend, with more above 5,000 feet.
Weather highlights: The grass is starting to green up, the trees are showing their colors, the geese are flying south in massive flocks, fresh snow on the mountain peaks, today will be warmer, near 70 degrees, and rain with mountain snows returns for the weekend.
Stormy weather continues in the Pacific Northwest as another betrayer front moved through last night. Blustery winds accompanied this storm with winds along the coast over 55 mph and inland 30-40 mph as of 6 p.m. Monday. There was even some lightning and thunder scattered around from the coast inland Monday evening.
The seasons changed rather quickly Friday as the first of several weather systems moved inland. Rainfall amounts surpassed longstanding records locally and also in other locales. The weather front stalled over southwest Washington with rainfall amounts between one and two inches. More heavy rain was expected today and Monday, along with breezy conditions especially along the coast and in the mountains.
I am thinking that today will be our last 70-degree day for the year as a major weather pattern change begins on Friday. It has been well-advertised for nearly a week now and the giant weather machine is cranking up in the Gulf of Alaska, getting ready to make up for lost time.
Finally it appears our weather pattern is changing to be more fall-like by the end of the week. A series of weather systems out of the Gulf of Alaska will move through with various strengths but all bringing some much-needed rain.
Our dry October continues until further notice well into next week. We will see more offshore flow resulting in very dry air. In the wind-sheltered areas the next couple of night temperatures will plummet to freezing or below in the normally colder areas.