After several off notes in January, February may sing a different tune

If the month of January were trying out for “American Weather Idol,” I have a feeling Simon Cowell would not have let it go through to the next round. In fact, January has, by and large, left the Cascade and Olympic snowpacks between 45 and 65 percent of normal.

But the next contestant for American Weather Idol is February and, at least according to current long range trends, this month will likely be singing a different (and lovelier) tune:

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The latest long range forecast from the Climate Prediction Center is showing a 40% chance of below normal temperatures in the next two weeks with near normal precipitation, which almost always translates to snow at high elevations (and sometimes lower elevations) this time of year.

So what is causing this dramatic shift in weather patterns?

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We had a massive ridge of high pressure over our region for weeks on end, pushing the jet stream far to our north into B.C. That ridge is slowly disintegrating, and a series of fairly rigorous and cold low pressure systems look to plow into our region, making for a much soggier weather pattern.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the east coast will catch a break, however. Much of the northern U.S. will be caught in a pretty chilly and moist weather pattern through at least the middle of February.

Will we see any lowland snow before winter is over? That’s a tough call, but if the long range forecasts have any clout, we should at least see some snowflakes in the air before spring has sprung.

Have a great day,

Matthew Leach

Forecasting Kitsap

Questions? Comments? Photos? E-mail Matt Leach at:

2 thoughts on “After several off notes in January, February may sing a different tune

  1. “American Weather Idol” – haha!! I’ve sure been wondering what February will be like after such an unusual Nov-Jan. I always think of February as our rainiest month, whether that’s true or not. Maybe we are just hungry for Spring by then.

  2. You are the first person to note that the North Pacific High did not shift towards the equator, as it annually does, during the winter preventing the Aleutian Low from becoming more active. The West Coast drought and fire conditions and the routing of the jet stream above this massive high has likely contributed to the weather conditions in the Midwest and east.

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