It’s the 2nd to last weekend in January and we’re leaping into the next season like a frog on a lily pad…as in a Goliath Frog making a ten foot leap.
Let’s start with the Willamette Valley and Portland area. Low ceilings and fog are possible this morning with stifled sunshine for the 2nd half of the day. Exact timing for clearing is about as easy to nail as jelly to a wall. An offshore flow (wind from the east) is going to be a key feature in all of this. We also have sinking motion from high pressure at play. The sinking motion makes it hard to clear clouds from the bathtub that is the valley. We need to mix it up. Will the east wind dominate? Or will a westerly flow keep us cool and cloudy?
The trend I’m seeing at this hour: coastal airports are experiencing an easterly component and remain mostly clear. A few airports at the north end of the Willamette Valley are seeing a shift to more of a ENE flow but it’s very subtle. I think the north end of the valley stands the best chance of beginning to clear by 11am or noon today if offshore trends continue. With a good amount of sun the Portland area should be able to reach upper 40’s to low 50’s.
Salem and areas south may only top the mid to upper 40’s, depends on timing of clearing. That is IF clearing happens. If the valley gets a persistent north wind that tends to indicate clouds will congregate over the south end of the valley.
Coast: Each location will be highly variable. Overall high temperatures may reach the upper 50’s or warm to the low to mid 60’s. Offshore flow drives the heating potential via the downsloping east winds. Now if you’re seeking a better chance for a warm beach day you really have to pack it up and go south. Southern OR coast could reach highs in the mid to upper 60’s with a shot at 70. If at any point the east flow weakens and an onshore flow returns, that’s it. No tropical paradise for you.
Cascades: The foothills above ~ 2,000′ and ski resorts will be above the inversion and stand a very good chance of not only basking in the sun but reaching highs in the 50’s for late afternoon. The snow is a great place to get a sun burn as it is highly reflective. WEAR SUNSCREEN!!! Freezing level hovers near 11,000′ – 12,000′ this weekend.
An Air Stagnation Advisory goes into effect Sunday and lasts until Wednesday.
Meanwhile in California, fire season never really ends. Santa Ana winds are typical during the coolest months of the year; Oct – March. However, California has been in a constant state of drought so any significant flare can get a blaze going quickly under gusty winds. Gusts up to 70-80 mph possible today for the Inland Empire, Santa Ana mountains, Sierra Nevada mountains and Bay Area foothills.
The Colorado Fire in Big Sur, CA started Friday night in Palo Colorado Canyon in Monterey County at a time when dry, easterly winds are dominating a large part of California. More than half of California is in severe drought. Nearly half of Oregon is in extreme drought. Unfortunately, there is no rain in the forecast for the western states for a week.
Find more details about the Colorado Fire in Big Sur from our sister station in San Francisco.