Dry Stretch then COLD

Posted by Rufus La Lone on

Friday January 21
Warmth has been delayed; colder wx remains a threat for early Feb.  Let’s take a Mug shot at the outlook.
While it will remain dry this weekend, the ‘warm portion’ of the high pressure that we had hoped would build over the PNW has been delayed a few days.  So, expect fog or low clouds to hang around a bit longer, thus tapping down afternoon temperatures.  Offshore air flow could kick-in on Sunday, and if so, the low cloud deck will clear away early.  Patrons in southern OR are going to have those 50+ degree days start first, then, that warmth will slowly work north as next week progresses.  
Again, across the entire PNW, it will remain DRY through the weekend and all of next week.  A few model runs are holding off any precipitation until next weekend; others keep us dry until the very last night of January (Sunday).  COLDER weather will be returning in February.
Winter Returns.  As the new month -February - begins, a cold pattern is charting to bring back Fraser Gap outflow WIND, low elevation snow (may get to sea level, esp north Puget Sound), heavy rain/showers, snow east of Cascades, and subfreezing temperatures.  The cause will be Arctic Cold air mass pooling over the Yukon and interior BC (1048-1050 mb), then moving south.  A first shot of cold will arrive around Jan 29 or 30th.  For now, models keep us DRY with this cold air mass, although temps will drop fast east of the Cascades.  An east wind will push cold air through the Gaps - Fraser and Columbia.  The second, much colder outbreak - the 1048-1050 mb Dome noted above - arriving by Feb 2.  This one has the potential to drive temperatures down to 10-15 degrees in the Bellingham area (powerful winds again!) with SNOW at the surface probable, if this verifies.  Portland and Willamette Valley could get temps in the low 20s.  Dates are Feb 2-4.  
SNOW should be primarily centered over NW WA and maybe around Portland, depending on where a Low develops and moves in from the west.  Too early to peg location for any of The White just yet, other than above 500 - 1,000 ft for western OR, lower as one goes north of Portland.   Some models bring in moisture from the south, threatening snow from roughly Salem north.  Point for now is that a pattern somewhat similar to that of December appears to be possible early in February.  Plan now, just in case.  Travel will be impacted yet again.  The WIND issue for southern BC and north Puget Sound could be serious.  Stay Tuned to ALL of your favorite weather sources.
The first weekend in February looks to be either WET at sea level locations, with snow in the hills, or quite a mess, as moisture moves in from the west over the colder air pressing through the Fraser Gap and, to a lesser degree, the Columbia Gorge.  Seattle north could be a nightmare dressed in White. 
Note: the Yukon Dome could do its usual, and skirt southeast along the eastern slopes of the Rockies, leaving the PNW alone.  We have seen all of these ‘wild winter’ events charting before, only to find out models were in error.  Still, the models get it right enough to warrant preparations ahead of time.   For newcomers to the PNW: having winter weather repeats in February is not uncommon.
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