Long Range Thoughts: Consistently Inconsistent


The Climate Prediction Center, or CPC, predicts long range temperature and precipitation probabilities for two time periods: 6-10 days and 8-14 days. The above maps illustrate Washington State having a 33% chance of below normal temperatures and normal precipitation within the next 6-10 days.

33% is not very high at all, but meteorologists have to be conservative when it comes to climate predictions. The models have been horrendously inconsistent lately (at least for the past month or so) concerning the weather trends in the long range. The CPC does have a good point: most models have been hinting at a cooler weather regime by mid February or so, and while it is still uncertain exactly how MUCH cooler it could get, it does look like we could find ourselves back in a below normal pattern as soon as next weekend.

When dealing with extreme events, meteorologists look for a believable range, a weather pattern showing up between 7-10 days. If an epic snowstorm shows up in the models 14 days out, it is not smart to put any stock in that event happening. But if a severe cold wave showed up on the models and threatened to hit us by next Sunday, then more stock and research would be put into the particular event. Granted nothing at this present time looks especially mouth watering (cold, snowy, stormy weather :)), sometimes models don’t pick up on storms soon enough, and something significant could show up in the six to ten day time frame without warning.

Here’s what I am seeing: by next weekend, the American models have been toying with the idea of chilly, sloppy weather coming back to the Northwest and lasting for a considerable amount of time. That’s good news for the mountains. The European models, being “different” because Europeans love to be that way, are showing a much more tranquil pattern, leaving us high, dry, and mild.

The current state of the ocean waters is a La Niña, which typically favors cooler, wetter weather around here (Use last year as a perfect example of the sass and spice La Niña’s deliver). I find it hard to believe a strong ridge of high pressure will set up shop in our neck of the woods, bringing sunshine and mild temperatures with a La Niña, but it can happen.

So I’ll keep a close eye on the long range trends, and you can too by going to the CPC website:


The above link and other weather model links are also on the right hand side bar under “Weather Links” for future use.

As for the short term? Not really a whole lot to talk about except for some cool weather over the weekend, but nothing we haven’t seen: highs in the lower 40s with clouds,  breaks, and a few showers on Sunday. Tomorrow will feature more sun than clouds, while Sunday will be the opposite.

Partial sunshine and highs in the upper 40s look good from Monday through Wednesday, though there is the chance we don’t mix enough of the clouds out during the day in which case we’d be stuck in the 30s with clouds and fog. I will seriously explode in a billion pieces if I have to endure that weather pattern ONE MORE TIME this winter. Sorry…I tend to get emotional about certain weather patterns…

Later in the week, however, clouds roll in and bring some rain with ’em, though at this time it just looks like harmless showers. Highs will cool into the mid 40s.

Have a fantastic weekend!!

Matthew Leach

Kitsap Weather