April in January; A Very Warm Day For Some

January 27, 2011

Today was a fabulous late January day across the region; definitely a case of Spring Fever for those of you able to experience it.  Many areas saw temps up in the March or early April range. 

At the beaches, temps 60-70 degrees.  Newport and Tillamook hit 66, Lincoln City 65.  In the Willamette Valley:  the inversion broke late this afternoon except in the north part.  Salem jumped to 57, Eugene 62, and two different RAWS sites between 500-1000′ on the east side of the Valley hit 66.  In the Cascades and Cascade Foothills:  67 degrees at Horse Creek (3400′), 66 at 1,100′ near Estacada, 60 at Brightwood, 61 at Corbett, and 62 near the Larch Correction Facility in Clark County (1,200′).  A real scorcher above 500-1000′ in general by January standards.

Much cooler tomorrow with a cold front and “onshore” flow developing soon after sunrise.  Mesoscale models show a real nice surge of solid cloud cover and some showers as the day goes on.  So tomorrow and Saturday will be quite gloomy and drippy, but no significant rainfall.

Looking ahead…I think we actually have some mildly interesting changes coming up; we’re talking baby steps here folks.

1. Models have changed a bit the last 24 hours for Sunday through the middle of next week.  An arctic high plunging down through the middle of the country comes a bit closer to us, shoving colder and drier air south east of the Cascades later Sunday and Monday.  Then a strong upper-level ridge moves directly overhead, capping the cool and dry air in the lowlands the rest of the week.  This change means that instead of more fog/sun and mild temps, we’ll likely see cool, sunny (little/no fog), and windy conditions starting Monday.  I actually like the crisp and cool weather better than rain.  But it’ll be strange to have a 2nd week with little/no rainfall.

2.  Some models have had some slight retrogression to the persistent Western Ridge & Eastern Trough pattern.  Some push the ridge a bit farther west, allowing cooler air in from the north, but other runs say no…more of the same.  The 12z & 18z GFS still have little or no rainfall through the 16 day period.  If that’s the case, then winter here in the lowlands is toast.  But all it’ll take is a little retrogression-action and we’ll be back in the “winter business”.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen