Normal conditions should supplanton-and-off showers

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Seems as if the ol’ crystal ball has been performing at a very high level recently for your weatherperson, who is riding a serious hot streak with his last couple of columns. As predicted, more than a half-inch of rain in the last week or so has sent the wheat and pea people into a state of semi-delirium, and orders for new pickup trucks have doubled at our local dealerships during that time.

A few of the old-timers were even seen doing a bit of a two-step on Main Street in the middle of a recent rainfall, barely bothering to dodge the raindrops gleaming as brightly as shiny silver coins falling from the sky.

No new pickup for your fearless forecaster, but he has been assured that there is a spot reserved for him in the Wheatgrowers Hall of Fame in Hoisington, Kan., along with a lovely 1/18th-scale replica of a 1952 Deere combine, which he will forever treasure.

The grape folks were a little less grateful, as last week’s rain played havoc with non-systemic fungicide sprays. Not to mention the morning when low temperatures flirted with the freezing mark in some areas, prompting a few of them to once more rev up wind machines, which had seemingly been put to bed for the season a while back.

With bloom fast approaching, there was tension — as well as raindrops — in the air as grape growers feared less-than-ideal conditions for the delicate flowers, which favor sunny, warm and dry weather this time of year in order to ensure a successful pollination.

The pattern responsible for the recent unseasonably cool and inclement weather is forecast to stick around for a few more days before yielding to a somewhat drier and milder regime at the end of the week. Persistent low pressure just off the Oregon coast has been periodically pinwheeling disturbances of varying strengths inland, the most recent of which brought some light rainfall to the Walla Walla Valley with considerably more falling in parts of central Oregon.

Another of these disturbances will pass through the Valley on Wednesday, though its focus will again be south of our region, followed by high pressure finally building back in on Thursday and Friday for improving conditions. However, another fairly vigorous area of low pressure is forecast to drop south into the Pacific Northwest from British Columbia on Sunday, leading to a renewed chance of showers for much of the state.

There does not appear to be any truly warm weather on the horizon for the Walla Walla area any time in the near future, with temperatures holding mostly in the 70s, very close to the normal highs of 74-75 degrees expected this time of year.

A lifelong fan of both the weather and the Baltimore Orioles, Jeff Popick is an instructor at the Center for Enology and Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College and manages the school’s teaching vineyard. Send your questions and comments to him at jeffrey.popick@wwcc.edu.

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