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A mild January! No sign of lowland snow, ice, or stormy weather

Updated: Jan. 17, 2022 at 9:41 PM PST
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We just “endured” a 2nd consecutive dry weekend, and we’re likely headed for a 3rd. How many times can you remember several rain-free January weekends in Portland? Rare, although not unheard of.

As mentioned in my post 9 days ago, the weather pattern changed after the first week of January. We’ve only seen .30″ rain in 10 days!

Dry & warm
Dry & warm(KPTV)

That’s because the jet stream has been weaker and farther north (than typical) the past 10 days. It appears this continues for ANOTHER 10 days. The highlights, which look very similar to my post from 9 days back…

  • All models agree the next 10 days will feature mild weather with relatively weak weather systems
  • Temperatures remain near or above normal through at least 27th
  • There’s no sign of a cool/wet pattern OR low elevation snow/ice west of the Cascades during this time
  • A cool and/or snowy January isn’t in the cards for this La Nina winter.
  • But we don’t know what is ahead for February; there’s always a chance we get “Winter v2.0″ next month

Check out the 500 millibar anomaly forecast from the ECMWF model for the next 10 days. Warm colors are higher than average heights and cooler = lower. Those colors generally correspond to warmer/cooler down here at sea level too. So yes, a mild western USA and frigid (at times) Eastern USA for at least the next 10 days. If you can’t see the animation, try here

Dry & warm
Dry & warm(KPTV)

3 weak systems make it through the weak ridging this week, tomorrow through Thursday. I expect less than 1/2″ rain in the western lowlands. Then that ridge pops up this weekend, even stronger. Check out midday Saturday 500mb GFS model forecast; other models are similar. That’s a very warm ridge!

Dry & warm
Dry & warm(KPTV)

Depending on the exact location of that ridge, we will get either some or strong offshore (easterly) flow. That will determine whether we have another fog/clouds episode in the valleys or turn sunny. I’m feeling very confident that next weekend could be spectacular along the coastline. No, no one is giving me free saltwater taffy (for example) to write this. But inversions aren’t as much of a problem out at the beaches; some of you could hit the 60s along the coastline either Saturday or Sunday.

This winter is running close to average so far. December slightly cooler than average (at PDX) and January slightly warm. Official numbers for December are out and it was cooler than normal in western Oregon and warmer than average (just a bit) east of the mountains. Remember the really cold air only briefly moved south into northern Oregon last month. My gut feeling is that this present mild/dry spell in the middle of our La Nina winter is likely just a break from the cool and wet. I’d be VERY surprised if we stayed dry/mild into February/March. By the way, the USA as a whole was very warm!

Dry & warm
Dry & warm(KPTV)

That’s it for now, enjoy the rest of the week!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen