A Beautiful Saturday; Likely Sunny For The Hedgehog

February 1, 2013

I have tomorrow off and am really looking forward to getting outside; you should be too.  Although it won’t be spring, it’ll be the closest we get to it in early February.  Just about totally sunny in the metro area (some morning fog away from the Gorge), a breezy east wind to dry out the ground a bit, and mild temps into the low-mid 50s.  Maybe even a few notches higher than today.  By the way, the zoo’s hedgehog, Jabari, will be making his annual prediction at 10:30am tomorrow at the entry plaza.

East wind is just getting going in the Gorge this afternoon, a weak 2.2 millibar pressure difference is giving us gusts 25-30 mph at Corbett and Vista House.  That gradient should be up in the 6-8 millibar range by midday Saturday, so it’s too bad that you folks out there will get sunshine, but it won’t exactly be enjoyable with gusts up around 50-60 mph.  By the way, Vista House access is now open, I saw the road closure was gone today on the way to work.  Probably gusts around 70 mph out on “the steps”.   Nothing too crazy, but fun for the tourists too.  As far as I’m aware, the plan is for it to be open too.  So you could go experience the wind and also get a warm drink.

The wind dies off and probably goes just about calm Sunday, and there are hints of weak onshore flow Sunday too.  Neither our RPM or the WRF-GFS show low clouds developing.  We’ll see.  Either way Sunday will be dry inland, but low clouds might bring drizzle/fog to the coastline.

Beyond Sunday…pretty quiet Monday through Wednesday as ridging weakens and a trough approaches.

Thursday and Friday next week should be quite chilly with snow levels at least down to 2,000′, but not real  cold and not a whole lot of moisture either.  In fact drier than average appears to be the theme for the first 10 days of February.  Looking at 10-15 day maps for the GFS, ECMWF, & GEM they all show ridging of one sort or another wanting to stay close to the western USA coastline through the period.  Some ensemble members of the GFS and ECMWF keep trying to push the ridge slightly farther offshore which would allow cooler troughs to drop over us.  Here is the 18z GFS ensemble map, showing what I just mentioned:


That model shows less than 1/2″ rainfall in the next two weeks!

…and the 12z ECMWF chart:


So for now, it appears that the first 10 days of February will be quite slow weatherwise.

As I had mentioned two nights ago, I don’t want other issues elsewhere to bleed onto this blog.  SO many of you get annoyed by drama here, and luckily there has been very little over the past 6-9 months.  But it blew up again last night and 4 commenters got into it.  I really don’t appreciate it occurring exactly two minutes after I walked out of here (11:32pm).  I better follow through or I’ll look “spineless” right?  So those 4 can take a break (no posting) for two weeks.  You’ll know you are on the naughty list if your comment says it’s “held for moderation”. 

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, since I love you all, you’re welcome back.  Next time it’ll be a month if you can’t play nice.

10pm Update:  Here’s the 00z GFS ensemble chart this evening.  Apparently the very mild 00z operational run is a bit of an outlier; quite a few ensemble memberse are cooler.  Notice the one member with a mid-late February arctic blast like 2011?


Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen