The Weather Cafe ® by Rufus

Written by Rufus La Lone since 1994.

Turning Drier

Posted by Rufus La Lone on

Monday January 16
Drier pattern ahead, which will be spell relief for California.  Get your Mug ready.
Some showers over the Puget Sound area today, with drying on Tue; the rest of the PNW will be dry until late Tue night.  Wednesday will be WET with temperatures dropping considerably as the day progresses.  Snow will fall below the passes.  The Wed system will also be the last in the soaker-series of storms that have saturated the Golden State this month.  
As we head into the weekend, a weak system may bring showers over western WA north of Chehalis late Fri into early Saturday, but other than that, it will turn DRY all weekend for the entire PNW and CA.  We do NOT see any wind issues out of the Fraser Gap, as the High pressure dome will drop into the US farther to the east.  STRONG east winds will develop over CA during the weekend.
Next week is trending DRY for the PNW.  There could be fog in the usual locations, as the air will be still.  Models have varied considerably in charting the weather for the end of January.  The trend has been for a colder pattern, or at least one that brings wet, foothill snow systems in from the NW.  Expect the last weekend of January to be wet with the threat for SNOW at very low elevations.  
To repeat, the overall pattern continues to indicate a wintery-chill to end January.  The Yukon Dome bit from our last Mug together has trended off the charts (it could return, as we have seen many times).  We’ll visit the Café here on Friday for the next Mug time.  Enjoy the week.
“The proper time to do the proper thing is before you have to do it."
Copyright © 1994-2023 - All Rights Reserved - The Weather Café   ®
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Colder Wx Coming

Posted by Rufus La Lone on

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. 
“A person is at middle-age when they take their high school annual out of the bookcase and hide it where the children can’t find it."
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More Rain

Posted by Rufus La Lone on

Monday January 9
Plenty of blustery weather ahead.  Sadly, serious flooding in CA will continue.  Let’s take a peek ahead.
Blustery winds today (Monday the 9th) as a small, tight Low drifts north along the OR coast up to Vancouver Island.  The larger west coast storm, though, is slamming all of California.  The next CA storm is right behind the current front, so no break in the action for Patrons down there, other than a few dry hours.  
For the PNW, Tue will be the DRIEST DAY of the week.  Don’t miss the break, as the rain & blustery conditions return on Wed.  In fact, Wed/Thu will be much wetter than the past few days, as the ‘January string of pearl' storms continues.  The next mostly dry day on the charts looks to be Sunday Jan 15th; there will still be a few widely scattered showers, with COOL temperatures.  
Next week, Jan 16-20 will present two moderate rain storms for the PNW; they could arrive Tue, Thu or Wed, Fri - depending on which model verifies.  CA will also get slammed yet again with 2 or 3 more very WET systems during that week, as well.  We see cooler conditions arriving mid-month, which will greatly aid in adding to our Cascade snowpack. 
Ponder Point: we will monitor the potential for the next 'Yukon Dome' to form, as there have been a few “hints" of a 1040+ mb high pressure ridge to forming later this month.  The first since our last cold outbreak.  Stay tuned.
<<  We look forward to greeting Patrons at the annual OVS Grower Meeting in Newberg on Tue, Jan 10.  Our presentation topic will be ‘Understanding Extreme Weather in the PNW'.  Mug Up! >>
“Too many people are like buttons - always popping off at the wrong time."
Copyright © 1994-2023 - All Rights Reserved - The Weather Café®️
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More Pearls

Posted by Rufus La Lone on

Friday January 6
Today we continue the admittedly weak metaphor of a String of Pearls for the multiple number of Pacific storms heading towards the west coast.  Unfortunately, models were correct about the serious impact of the storms, thus far, on California.  The Golden State is not out of the flooding/wind threat yet.  So, Mug up.  Here’s the update.
Strong storm approaching CA today, and to a lesser degree, the PNW.  This one does not have the super low barometric center pressure of the last system, but it is a powerful storm, nonetheless.  It will be very windy, with heavy rainfall, in CA; western OR could have wind gusts around 25 mph later this afternoon, with periods of rain.  Gusty east winds out of the Gorge will turn on again.  Coastal zones - CA, OR & WA - will have rough wave action.  (Sounds like a January forecast, right?)  
The wet & breezy pattern will continue on through the next week and until at least Jan 21st.  The models chart a slight shift of the “pearls” from northern CA up to the PNW after Fri the 13th.  In the meantime, expect each Pearl to be spaced out about 24-48 hrs apart.  CA will receive moderate-to-heavy rain from now until Tue; not as wet for OR/WA.  It will be breezy at times and esp windy in CA.
One benefit of the storms is that the snowpack in CA is now measured at 174% of normal for this time of year - great news for drought issues in the Golden State.  For the PNW, we may head into another chilly, winter pattern in the last half of January.  Not unusual to have a shift to cold late in the first month of the year.  Stay tuned.
“One thing is certain - smiles never go up in price or down in value."
Copyright © 1994-2023 - All Rights Reserved - The Weather Café®️
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String of Stormy Pearls

Posted by Rufus La Lone on

Monday January 2
Happy New Year, Patron!  We have interesting weather possibilities on the topic board today.  Get your holiday Mug filled, and read on.  
As indicated in our last report, the general wx outlook for the next couple of weeks is an ‘on / off’ type pattern, with a ’string of pearls’ series of Pacific storms rapidly approaching the west coast.  A bit of background is needed to fully appreciate the pattern of concern ahead.  
Patrons recall that surface storms are generated in the zone where warm & cold air cells meet (usually along the borders of High & Low pressure lobes) in the atmosphere.  We, in jest, compare this battle zone to the friction between Left & Right political ideologies.  Of course, this is quite simplistic, but it goes better with a morn’n beverage.  Anyway, for the next 10 or more days, that battle of the air masses will essentially be in play just to our west, over the eastern Pacific.  A very strong, fast ‘jet stream’ wind in the upper atmosphere will help intensify this surface battle-action, driving the systems (pearls) rapidly along that Low/High pressure boundary right towards the west coast. (Please, stay with us here.).  It is the combination of temp, pressure, upper-level wind that causes surface Low pressure storms to intensify quickly, with barometric pressure readings dropping extremely fast in 24 hr periods.  Such will be the case repeatedly, the next week or longer.  The Implication... for our area to be on alert for any of these storms that may track closer to the PNW than models indicate right now, as their Low center pressures will be deep enough to generate powerful WIND FIELDS (which happened a week ago) should they move onshore.  There will be HEAVY RAIN associated with these storm fronts.  Where will it fall?  (California did get a major storm over New Year’s weekend, with flooding in many locations).)
The weather for tonight into Tue should be mixed, with some shower and breezy conditions for the entire region.  The conditions noted above get started in earnest on Wed Jan 4.
The first in the ’String of Stormy Pearls’ will rapidly deepen to a pressure below 960 mb (!) and is modeled to turn north before beginning its associated rain field strikes the west coast on Wednesday Jan 4 - which will save everyone from high winds, but still brings on plenty of rainfall.  California will get hit hard with RAIN; less so in the PNW.  A 2nd stormy pearl will follow right behind, so another threat for wind moves close to the coast of OR Thu morning, Jan 5.  Again, models turn it north BEFORE serious threat to the mainland. 
Fri/Sat Jan 6,7 will present the next couple of systems, the second of which may bring heavier rain to western OR & WA.  We are not done yet.  More stormy pearls are modeled to follow very similar tracks as the week of Jan 9-13 gets underway.  Storm fronts are scheduled essentially back-to-back all week.  The weekend of Jan 14,15 looks quite stormy for the PNW, with temperatures dropping rapidly, as the coldest air behind the String of Stormy Pearls arrives.  Plenty of Cascades snow; coast range and foothill, too.
Total precipitation expected from now until mid-January exceeds 4” -5” in the Willamette Valley; higher in southern OR. WA less so, as the storm energy will be to the south.  Much of northern CA may get deluged with 10”-12” in the lowlands; >20” in coastal hills of northern CA.  Patrons that live in northern CA or have family & friends there, BE PREPARED for potentially life-threatening flooding.  We hope the models are wrong.
Long writing today.  We felt it warranted.  It is important to note that ANY tracking error of just a couple hundred miles or so to the west, and wham, we may be hit with repeated strong wind fields.  Hence the cautionary tale above.
“The ‘good ole days’ were when inflation was something you did to a balloon."
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