The Rain Train Rolls On…

The winter of 2010/2011 is just about over according to the calendar. However, looking at the next seven days it appears as though mother nature is going to keep the weather around here wet and windy. Although this past winter’s La Nina continues, it has weakened some. The PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation) figure for February was released today. It is still in the negative “zone.” This is about where I would expect to see it at this time of the year, coming off of a La Nina and considering the jet stream pattern over the past 3-4 months. This is all typical of the current ENSO (El Nino / La Nina) cycle. Seasonal forecast models are showing that we will likely stay in the La Nina to Neutral “zone” over the next 6-9 months. Thus, there is a greater than normal chance that we will see cooler and wetter than normal conditions continue this spring. But not all of the spring’s in the past (that fit this year’s mold) have been cold and wet. However, the odds are leaning that way for now. Wet is the word of the day! Such has been the case for the better part of the last 9-10 months, minus the typically dry summer months of July and August.

Speaking of “wet,” it looks like one system after another will be sliding through the Pacific northwest every few days over the coming week. The system on tap for mid week looks pretty juicy as well as windy along the coast. Another system will slide in through the area near the end of the of the week and yet another over the weekend. Normal daytime high temperatures for this time of the year are in the lower to mid 50’s. We will be lucky if we reach “normal” over the coming week. I certainly do not see any big ridge of high pressure in the coming week either. Don’t forget that this coming weekend is when we move our clocks ahead by one hour. I always enjoy this time of the year because I can actually get the lawn mowed after dinner, if need be. By the way, I have noticed that many of the area trees appear to be behind schedule with their budding this year. Perhaps the past 10 months being cold and wet, a record cold summer last year, an early season November freeze and late season snowfalls and freezes in February are all part of the equation? I suspect that to be the case.

Well, that is the latest for now. Stay dry and stay warm. Summer will be here before you know it. For some folks, it can’t come soon enough.

Stay tuned!

Steve Pierce

Steve Pierce

Steve Pierce is widely known as Oregon and Washington's "go-to-guy" when it comes to fast, accurate historical meteorological research and forecasts. Steve is currently the President of the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Steve is also recognized as a regional weather commentator and blogger who can be heard on local radio stations and seen in print media outlets across the Pacific Northwest. His Weather Blog is hosted by the Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Check it out! He is a third generation resident of Vancouver, Washington and holds a degree in Communications. Both sets of Steve's grandparents migrated to Vancouver during World War II. One set traveled from Lenox, Iowa to work in the Kaiser Shipyards supporting the war effort. The other set came to Vancouver from Olympia, Washington to work as educators for the rapidly expanding Vancouver School District. When the war was over, both sets of grandparents decided to stay in Vancouver and continue raising their families, as did thousands of other families at the time. Those who are most familiar with Steve can attest to the fact that weather is his true passion. His love for "all things weather" began at the age of 7 when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980. He was fascinated with which direction the ash plumes were headed. Then came the very powerful windstorm of Friday, November 13, 1981, also referred to as the "Friday the 13th" storm. This was the strongest storm to hit the Portland / Vancouver area since the great Columbus Day Storm of 1962! At age 11, he was asked to publish an extended weather forecast for his elementary school's weekly newsletter. In the 1980's, at age 14, Steve was the youngest of KGW-TV's local "weather watchers" and would phone in his daily Vancouver weather stats to then television meteorologist Jim Little for use on-air. Steve has lived through all of the major Pacific Northwest weather events of the past 30 years, and then some. The most notable events include; the bitterly cold winter of 1978-1979, the record setting snow storms of January 1980, the summer heat wave of August 1981, the windstorms of November 1981 and December 1995, the severe arctic blast of February 1989, the record flood of February 1996, the historic ice storm of January 2004, the Vancouver tornado of January 2008 and the record setting snow storm of Christmas 2008. Not to mention every Mt. St. Helens volcanic eruption in between. With access to the most extensive set of historical weather records available to date, Steve has personally designed and integrated a proprietary system that gives him the ability to quickly locate and manipulate weather data as far back as the 1800's. As one local Meteorologist put it, "Steve has fast access to historical weather data that is needed for media, agriculture, business, personal, historical and other climatological needs. He can quickly manipulate the data in many different ways. His forecasts are also quite accurate, especially at longer lead times." Steve also provides local storm assessments, narratives and weather presentations to the general public, as requested. In his spare time, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, the outdoors, vacationing at his family's coastal cabin and just relaxing! By the way, do you like your weather on the "extreme" side? So does Steve! Whether it is collecting damage assessment data & photos after record setting 125 mph winds at the coast in December 2007, being one of the first on the scene after the January 2008 Vancouver tornado, or feeling (literally) the awesome power of 100 mph wind gusts at Oregon's Crown Point in January 2010, Steve has experienced it all! As Steve says, "don't just love weather, live weather!" Check out Steve's personal weather website at:

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