This week’s forecast resembles deodorant ad: ‘stay cool and dry’

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A robust Pacific low pressure system brought a decent shot of rain to the Walla Walla Valley and several inches of snow to the nearby Blue Mountains this past Friday. Precipitation totals ranged from one-third to nearly half an inch of rainfall on the Valley floor and up to a foot of snow in the highest elevations of the Blues.

Saturday and Sunday featured partly to mostly cloudy skies and a cool, blustery regime punctuated by an occasional shower or two — in other words, a near-perfect weekend to stay indoors and enjoy the myriad football offerings on TV without cavil from woman or beasts, all of whom were quite content to bask in the comforting warmth of a good fire.

This week will exhibit both the good and the bad of Washington weather in mid-November. A warm front attached to a low pressure system to our north and west looked to bring some rain to the area early this morning before migrating off to the north. As the pressure gradient deepens between the incoming low and higher pressure to our east, winds will ramp up today, and gusts to near 40 miles per hour can be expected before the trailing cold front slices across Southeast Washington late in the day.

Cold air behind the front originating well north in western Canada will filter into the region tonight, leading to a much cooler and drier stretch of weather as high pressure and a northerly flow assume control for the balance of the week. Skies will be generally clear, but temperatures will struggle to crack the 40-degree mark in the afternoon. Nighttime lows may edge below a very chilly 20 degrees in some of our more noteworthy cold spots.

As the high becomes established over the area, winds will drop off, and under clear skies and calm conditions, freezing fog may form in the lower parts of the Valley by week’s end. The one factor mitigating against the formation of such fog will be the very dry nature of the air mass. If it does, in fact, occur, affected locations may be slow to clear, which would suppress maximum temperatures even more in those places.

Dry weather should continue for the upcoming weekend. The 16-day Global Forecast System outlook, which for several days had been touting a wet Thanksgiving week, appears to have backed away from that forecast for the time being and pushed any precipitation off into the following weekend — though the lack of run-to-run consistency in the model would seem to make its offerings about as believable as a sworn promise from embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford to immediately forego alcohol and drugs and hew henceforth to the straight and narrow.

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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