A real nice way to start March today. Warmest temperatures so far this late winter/early spring season east of the Cascades (66 at Pendleton). The thick high cloud cover kept us from getting wildly warm west of the Cascades. Considering we still made it to 59 at PDX with mostly cloudy skies, I have a feeling we could have hit 65 with mostly sunny skies today. Temps at the ski areas made it well into the 40s as well and I see there is little or no snow now at Government Camp. Mt. Hood Ski Bowl is closed until Friday for that reason. Apparently I’ve even received a bit of sun yesterday and today; Wayne just walked in before the 8pm show and said I looked like I had some “white” powder on. A little behind-the-scenes makeup talk here…I use one color in the sunnier part of the year and the lighter color in the winter. Apparently it’s time to switch because I lost my pasty whiteness over the weekend. He said something about “you look like you’re dying”…nice!
Enough TV talk; I crunched the numbers for the last two months and it appears we’ve seen our warmest January-February combo since 1992 (another El Nino year). You may recall that March of 1992 was a very warm one too. As I mentioned in the previous post, many El Nino winters suddenly turn wetter sometime in March, but during the 1992 one the warm and dry weather continued right on through Spring and Summer. That was a drought year with less rain than we’ve seen this winter.
In the next 7+ days the split flow and mild pattern will continue. The GFS has been doing a terrible job, regularly forecasting a return to cool and wetter weather; I agree with the NWS that the ECMWF is probably correct in handling the cutoff lows heading southeast into California. In fact is has been doing a much better job through the last 2 months. Just two days ago the GFS was bringing the cold troughs right over us later this week while the ECMWF was correctly showing them going to the south. Not much rain then in the next week, and we’ll probably get a surprise 60 degree day sometime during that period too.
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen