Announcement: The Northwest Weather Workshop will be on Feb 28th/March 1st in Seattle.
The NW Weather Workshop is the big annual gathering of those interested in the weather of the Pacific Northwest and everyone is welcome. For more information, including the agenda and registration information, please check out: https://www.atmos.washington.edu/pnww/
During normal winters, the Pacific Northwest experiences several atmospheric river events in which plumes of moisture surge into our area from the southwest. This winter there has been a general absence of such features due to the persistent ridging over the eastern Pacific.
But things have changed, and this week we will have a persistent southwesterly flow that will produce heavy precipitation amounts from northern CA through British Columbia (see the upper level map below for 8 AM Wed morning-- a broad swath of southwest flow is heading into the NW. Winds are parallel to the lines).
Our water supply is about to be greatly enhanced and the threat of a drought will recede.
Back to the atmospheric river. Here is the predicted total amount of moisture in the vertical for 10 PM Tuesday night.. You see the plume of high moisture values (white and reds)?. That is the atmospheric river.
Now it is time to impress you. Here arethe 72 h precipitation totals encompassing the next 6 days. For the first three days (through Friday at 4 PM), many of the crests of NW mountain ranges will receive 5-10 inches of precipitation (in rain or snow, the value is the amount of liquid water in the precipitation). Near the Oregon/CA border it is over 10 inches.
As of Wed morning, a number of NW rivers are at bankful and several are at flood stage including the Skokomish River of the SE Olympic Peninsula and a few over SW Oregon (see graphic from NW River Forecast Center)
The precipitation near the CA/OR border is particularly welcome...this will help fill some of the big reservoirs in northern CA that are so critical for agriculture in the Central Valley.
And we had some strong winds (gusting to 30-60 mph) Wednesday morning as a low center passed across southern BC (see map)
The latest seasonal (Feb-March-April) outlook from the Climate Prediction Center is for normal precipitation over Oregon and Washington, but drier than normal over California. We will see..