Friday the 13th, January 2023
Ladders and Black Cats. Yeah, right. Here’s the latest outlook for the next couple of weeks around the PNW & California. Hot java in that Mug?
Currently, the system off the coast is literally being stretched parallel to the coast, with the associated rain field moving inland as the weekend gets underway. Models indicate a tightly wound Low may move north along the OR coast during the weekend, bringing GUSTY WINDS across the region, esp for OR Saturday after dark. The associated rain field will hit CA first overnight tonight (Fri), then swing north into OR. The heaviest rain in OR will target the southern region. It will be damp throughout the PNW, though.
Another STRONG storm will slam California yet again overnight Sunday, with wind gusts strong enough to topple trees from roughly Monterey Bay south. The storm track to the south will keep the PNW mostly DRY on Monday, before the rain returns Tue & Wed next week. Temperatures will begin to cool off after the passage the Wed Jan 18 storm. Plenty of Cascade snowfall during the early part of next week, as well. The entire west coast should see a respite from the rains on Thu Jan 19 and most of the daylight hours on Fri. This should also signal the END to the excessive wet cycle for storm-battered California. Late Friday Jan 20th, rain around the PNW will return starting from the north late afternoon.
Pattern Change. The weekend of Jan 21,22 is looking wet to start, with temperatures dropping rapidly as colder air works in behind the weekend cold front. We’ll point out that showers of rain/snow mix is possible around the north Puget Sound later on Saturday. The cold air mass will seep south into CA during that weekend. Frost possible if the sky clears in your location Mon morning.
WHY? Well, our 'Yukon Dome' of high pressure is modeled to hit the 1040+ mb level by Sunday Jan 22 over the Yukon. Remember: this does NOT always trigger our winter Arctic outbreaks, but we do not get the classic winter cold outbreaks without the Yukon Dome forming first. (That has been my observations since the mid-1970s.). Anyway, High pressure to the west and the Dome moving in from the north should set up the coldest weather around the west since our last winter event in December 2022. Please note, this event will be minor - not super cold at all. Main impact: it will dry out the west coast. Eastern WA & OR will get a decent blanket of snow during the Jan 21,22 weekend. Sip.
The Fraser Gap outflow may return by Mon Jan 23, so be ready. We do not see super-strong winds at this time, just the coldest flow in a month, as noted above. SNOW is not the issue in this chill-off, as the air mass both west and north will be dry. Also, having a high pressure dome to the west will also limit strong Columbia River outflow issues. It will just be chilly dry for several days. California will get strong NW winds and very chilly conditions, statewide. But wait, there’s more —
The dry pattern should hold until Thu Jan 26, and then, a Low system is modeled to move in from the north (on the leading edge of another Yukon Dome), kicking-off low elevation snow showers to end the week. This time, temperatures are charting a bit colder than the weekend before, so expect the Fraser Gap outflow to be rather powerful by late Fri Jan 27. It will be short-lived, if it verifies at all. Another chance for west side snow showers is on the long-range chart - with Low moving down the Alaskan Panhandle & southern BC to threaten The White. We’ll watch this closely.
☕️☕️ Second Cup: one aspect that is a bit different from many of our 'Yukon Dome' cold cycles is that the models are building a very large Pacific Dome of high pressure to our west over a large portion of the Gulf of Alaska, ridging it all the way up into southern Alaska. A blocking-ridge, if you will, but definitely the opposite of the large Pacific Low that has dominated our west coast weather the past two week. This type of pattern can bring us low elevation snow events, as storms move into the PNW along the eastern edge of that high, allowing said systems to pick up colder continental air as they arrive in the PNW. Let’s just wait and see what really happens.
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