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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Feb. 27, 2024

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Weather Eye: Be wary of flooding with rainy, windy systems

By , Columbian freelance columnist

December appears to be arriving in an angry mood with heavy rains, strong winds, heavy snow and then the big melt-off. After shivering in winterlike temperatures since Thanksgiving weekend, the westerly winds broke through about midday Friday and temperatures adjusted back to seasonal normals.

Doesn’t 50 degrees feel much better than the upper-30s like on Thursday? Sure does. There’s more. We will continue to turn the heat up, so to speak, and temperatures over the weekend will jump to the upper-50s, maybe 60 degrees depending on sky conditions. Winds will be out of the south and southwest.

This flow of air will give rise to two or three atmospheric rivers or pineapple express events. Rainfall amounts between today and Tuesday will be measured in inches, which will cause some problems. Local flooding of streets and roadways is certain in low-lying places. As heavy snow in the mountains and lesser amounts in the foothills runs off, rivers and streams will be flowing high and mighty.

Salmon Creek should be the color of gravy by Monday and rapid rises are expected on the East Fork of the Lewis River and the Washougal River. Take good care with all the rainfall and slow down. It is going to be a wild ride for several days.

As of this writing late Friday, heavy snow was falling in the Cascades, where 3 or 4 feet was possible in the higher ski resorts. With several inches of rain falling on top of that, it will compact to a certain extent, but excessive melting will also occur. It would be a good weekend to stay home and keep safe and dry.

November below average

November, which began on a similar note with heavy rain, ended up exactly one-half inch below average with 5.01 inches going into the record books. The average mean temperature was close to normal, so it was not a cold or warm month.

Friday afternoon the National Weather Service had us under a flood watch and a high wind watch. Please keep a keen eye out for updates. I didn’t expect a windstorm but we could see gusty breezes depending on the storm track.

Columbian freelance columnist