Moistest month begins with typical tempest; more rain on the way

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Your weatherperson’s column and Pinocchio’s nose would appear to have much in common: The more lies he tells, the longer it gets. This week’s truncated “Weathervine” must therefore contain the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and will hopefully not mark the start of a trend in that direction. As with politics and used car sales, weather prognostication must necessarily combine elements of both fact and fiction, given the highly inscrutable and often inexact nature of meteorology.

Of one thing we can be completely certain: November is here, and with its arrival we embark upon what climatologically has proved to be the Walla Walla Valley’s wettest month of the year, according to records that date way back to 1949 — even before the birth of your sexagenarian seer!

The 2.28-inch average rainfall we might expect to receive here during these 30 days has already begun to accumulate, thanks to a sharp cold front that passed through our area on Saturday with a combination of rain and wind that dropped just over one-quarter of an inch of precipitation at the Walla Walla Regional Airport. Winds there gusted to 40 miles per hour, and much of the hard work done by city residents to gather fallen leaves into neat piles was undone by the stiff breezes.

The Washington coast was buffeted by winds of near-hurricane force before the system moved off to the east on Sunday, leaving mostly cloudy, breezy and much cooler weather in its wake. Locally, Sunday afternoon temperatures never made it above 50 degrees, and gusty winds made it feel even colder. That wind chill and the early standard-time sunset made it seem as if winter had already draped its dark cloak over Southeastern Washington, sending some of us to an unnaturally early bedtime Sunday evening.

A northwesterly flow this week will allow several systems to slide down the front side of a high pressure ridge to our west and into our area with some rainfall expected today, late Wednesday into Thursday and over the coming weekend. Next week also looks to be off-and-on wet with chances of rain Monday, Tuesday, late Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 16 and 17). That should help this month’s precipitation advance rather smartly toward its normal total.

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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