Old Man Winter Returns
After nearly three weeks of dry weather marked by higher than normal snowfall levels, fog and other non-eventful weather, it looks like old man winter will be making his mark next week. Speaking of old man, my entire family has been hit with old man “flu” this past week. Yuck! Anyway, enjoy the nice weather on Friday (tomorrow) because things are going to be on the move. Friday, a ridge of high pressure will pop up ahead of the next storm due in here on Saturday. Friday should see the fog clear out a little earlier than the past few days. Highs should be in the 50’s on Friday across the Portland / Vancouver metro area. Saturday a system from the Pacific will slide down over the top of us and make for a pretty gray day with plenty of moisture on tap. Looks like that system will move out of here by later Sunday. So if I was planning anything outdoors this weekend I would plan for Saturday morning or late Sunday afternoon. Then on Valentines Day, a more potent storm system will move north off the coast. The frontal band from this system will move across the area mid-day and bring with it rain and plenty of coastal wind.
Ok, let’s talk about the potentially interesting weather that I have received plenty of e-mails about lately. People want to know if the “s” word is sneaking back into the forecast next week. No folks, I don’t mean “sun,” I mean “snow.” That is always a dicey question, but now that we are within 7 days I think we can touch on this subject with more accuracy. Models are in near complete agreement that a larger scale change in the weather is coming starting next Tuesday. The nice ridge of high pressure than has been over us for the better part of the past 10 days will be moving out and will be replaced with a cold trough of low pressure from the Gulf of Alaska next Tuesday into Wednesday. Snow levels will drop to Cascade pass level, then even lower later in the week. How low it will go is still uncertain, but some models are suggesting that this will be the coldest trough since early January. If this verifies, snow could fall to as low as 1,000ft.
It is also hard to tell how much moisture will be available when the coldest air arrives. One thing I can say for sure is, “this will not be an arctic blast.” This is basically a cold trough of low pressure coming in from the Gulf of Alaska, then moderating over the Pacific before making landfall. However, if the trough is as cold as currently forecasted, snows could be coming back to a hilltop near you, maybe lower. But this is all still a long way out. Things are likely to change as we get closer. Check back here for updates as we get closer and I will post my latest thoughts. If the trough digs to far offshore then we will be left with not much excitement. Models are still waffling a bit, but have been quite consistent in the larger scale idea of wetter beginning this weekend and colder and wetter next week, with low snow levels. Speaking of waffling, I always get a kick out of Accu-weather’s forecasts for Portland. I think I saw a low temperature of 8 degrees next week with heavy snow in Portland / Vancouver. I had to chuckle at that. Accu-weather puts out some really good products and some that, well, I won’t say. 🙂 What most people see is an automated forecast taken directly from raw model data, without any input from a human. It will update several times a day with completely different forecasts. Thus, many errors.
Side note – this time of the year I always look at the calendar and remember that the days are getting longer now and how much harder it is to get a good snowstorm in here after February 15th. However, as I mentioned in my post last week, February 19th 1993 was one for the record books. Could it happen again? For fun, here is an old Jim Little weather clip from his short stay at Ch 2 in Portland. This was shot on February 19th 1993 after the Portland / Vancouver area picked up 7-12” of snow from a wild and heavy snow storm. I won’t soon forget it. For the 1993 snowstorm video and some of my other cool weather videos, click: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpV1qn…