Atmospheric Refrigerator

Posted by Rufus La Lone on

Friday February 18
Ok, what’s that tag line all about?  Get your Mug refilled.
Yes, after an extended period with very little precip and mild Feb temperatures, our weather will return to a winter pattern for a few weeks.  The weekend will start out dry, then a cold front will drop in from the NW.  Rain & showers will spread across the PNW by Sunday, with the freezing level dropping each day.  By Tue, the coldest air will be in place, so don’t be surprised to see rain/snow mixed at the surface overnight Tue, as well as a dusting of snow, esp south of Salem and the higher foothills (500 ft+), as cold air filters in from the Columbia Gorge as the moisture source exits to the south.
A High pressure ‘Dome’ over NE Alaska & the Yukon will deepen to around 1044 mb by Tue night and shift into position to start up an offshore flow of cold air.  The Fraser Gap Outflow will kick-in sometime late Tue (and, to a lesser degree, the Columbia Gorge by Wed/Thu).  Temperatures west side of the Cascades are likely to drop into the low 20s on Wed morning, and repeat in the mid-20s the next couple of mornings.  It will be crisp in the afternoons, as well.  
It will warm up again (upper 40s to low 50s) the last weekend of February, but it will be WET and breezy.  A series of moist Pacific systems are charting to arrive in succession starting Saturday evening (north-to-south).  There will be breaks in the precipitation, but all-in-all, a wet pattern for several days.  (Total precipitation from roughly Feb 27 to March 6 should be just over 2” in NW WA to 1.5” in the Willamette Valley.). Also, the air mass will be on the cold side, so plenty of mountain snow in that period and, quite possibly, as few snow flakes mixed in at the surface, at times, early March.  Any thoughts of pre-planting ‘working the ground’ will have to be put on hold.  Jokingly, a new atmospheric refrigerator will arrive, door open - - potentially, the coldest cycle since December.
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