Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Possible End to Split Flow Next Week?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010
3:19 P.M.

Hello everybody. The models today have been showing some interesting stuff in the long run. And although the job of meteorologists is exactly to NOT do what I am doing now - hyping up predictions in the computer models - I'm going to do it anyway because it's fun and I always like to have a record of possible predicted storms for our region and ask myself the question, "what if"?

First, let's go over the general weather pattern predicted for the rest of this week into early next week. A ridge of high pressure is currently over us and will stay parked over us for two whole days, giving us dry conditions and normal temperatures, what most people would call "good weather." Thursday may be a bit chillier than average however, as the ridge is centered over British Columbia and will direct some chilly (but not cold) air into our region.

Later Friday into Saturday, a weak system will arrive, but this won't have much affect on the area besides a few periods of light rain and some clouds. By Sunday, high pressure will rebuild in the wake of the cold front, but it won't be strong enough to keep all the clouds away. It will dry us out temporarily though.

Later Sunday night into Monday marks the beginning of a series of storm systems beginning to hit the West Coast. These storms look to have a slightly subtropical origin, so they will have heavy rain and above average temperatures. At this point, the temperatures and freezing levels don't look to be rediculously high (upper 40s in the lowlands and 4000-5000 feet in the mountains, except at the surface in the passes due to a cool easterly flow in them from cold air entrenched east of the Cascades), but flooding could still occur on some rivers, particularly the Skokomish, the most flood-prone river in the Pacific Northwest.

This image shows the predicted 24 hour precipitation from 4 P.M. Sunday to 4 P.M. Monday. The most intense precipitation is centered on Vancouver Island but we look to get pretty wet too, especially if the storm comes in further south than expected. We could also be quite blustery, especially on the coast, as the storm center is predicted to be around 969 millibars as of right now in the computer models and that is more than enough to set the winds howling to storm force at places like Tatoosh Island off of Cape Flattery. The duration of the rain will also be long, lasting from late Sunday to early Tuesday in many places.

I really hope this prediction comes true! El Nino winters can be boring but they can often bring "atmospheric river" or "pineapple express" events, even though this looks to be like a weak one at this time. Have a great day, and thanks for reading! You guys are awesome!


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