We haven’t done one of these in a long time. Let’s give it a try. You only get to vote once (if I set it correctly).
And, I’m thinking of shaking up my on-air performance a bit…how about this?
It’s a brand new week; the 2nd week of February now, and dull-sville continues on the weather maps. The only items of interest are a series of mild & wet systems moving into the Pacific Northwest later this week. Of course dull weather has it’s benefits; such as the blinding sunshine out there today and probably tomorrow as well. All our friends and family probably love this weather pattern, but weather freaks (the species that inhabit this blog, and me) are looking for something a bit more interesting.
The 6-10 day 500mb. forecast above shows a massive upper-level positive anomaly over a good chunk of Canada (including the Olympics location in SW B.C.) all of next week. Note the upper-level ridge centered over the West Coast of North America. It’s actually there a bit in the 6-10 day outlook as well. That means the systems coming in later this week will be mild for the most part. Once again this season, little or no snow is in sight below 4,000! The latest SNOTEL numbers show 49% of average snowpack (for this time of year) in the Willamette River Basin and 58% of average in the Mt. Hood area. That means we’ve been slowly falling farther behind as we have been moving through January and February. It’s the worst at those lower elevations. I like to keep an eye on North Fork, Greenpoint, and Clear Lake…all in the 3,000-4,000′ range. They are in the 30-60% of average range…pretty bad. As we always say, we could make up a lot in the next 5-7 weeks leading to Spring Break, but not in our El Nino winter. We are in the “prime” El Nino effects time here in the Pacific Northwest. The mild/drier than average effect tends to be strongest in the late winter (late January through early March).
That brings up a point…Drew and I were just chatting about El Nino/La Nina here in the weather center this afternoon. He mentioned (and I agreed) with the following point. With each ENSO episode the reputation/effects on our winters appear to be getting more “cemented” into reality. For example this year we’ve fulfilled more or less the typical expectations for El Nino here. A quick start to the ski season with good mountain snow and valley rains, then we turned drier and milder in the mountains, and eventually it turned drier and milder here in the valleys as well (after Christmas). And looking ahead in the maps, there is no sign of stormy/wet/cold weather possibly through the 20th of February. Our last two La Nina years did well with snowfall and cool weather too, about what we would expect from those winters.
Sure, we can all argue (and I’m sure we will!) about the unusually cold December and the big cold snap that made it through. But let’s keep an eye on the whole winter, the big picture.
One thing I am surprised about…no cool pool of air through most of January (and so far in February) east of the Cascades at the lowest elevations. That has meant no real strong east wind…sure lots of 5-8mb. PDX-DLS gradient days, but only once (1st week of January) have we seen the gradient go up to 10millibars or more.
So in reference to the title, it’s probably okay to uncover your faucets for the the winter. Yes we COULD have a freeze, but it looks very unlikely.
Okay, now discuss…
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen