Springlike warmth on Sunday quickly gave way to more seasonally appropriate weather as a sharp Canadian cold front swept across the state, bringing the year’s most frigid temperatures so far.
Winter arrived early this year for the Walla Walla Valley as a strong Canadian cold front brought a frigid air mass to the Lower 48, plunging our local temperatures to some 10 to 15 degrees below normal for the date.
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.
A weak ridge of high pressure brought a mostly dry Veterans Day weekend to the Walla Walla Valley after a brief deluge last Thursday afternoon that deposited a very welcome four-tenths of an inch of rain in local gauges. That downpour was the result of a well-defined cold front that cut across Washington state, bringing a variety of weather, including wind, snow and an occasional rumble of thunder.
Our fine “Native American” summer weather has regrettably come to an end. Despite our fervent wishes to the contrary, the calendar has advanced to the very end of the month, and with its final days slipping away from us, so too has any illusion that we might stave off the imminent rigors of the coming season indefinitely simply by dint of our collective will alone. The song says “the wheel is turning, you can’t slow down,” and another click forward on its gnarled-tooth rim has brought us to the conclusion of yet another grape vintage. Those who choose to leave grapes on the vine until Halloween or beyond will almost certainly have the devil to pay for their bad judgment.
Thanks to a sprawling area of high pressure whose center resides just off the coast of Washington and Oregon, the Walla Walla Valley has enjoyed some of the finest fall weather to be found anywhere in the United States over the last couple of weeks.
A mixed bag of weather this past weekend paved the way for the first frost of the season in many Valley locations early Monday morning as fall reared its hoary head and emphatically proclaimed its 2013 regnum.
The 2013 Walla Walla Valley grape crush got back on track last week after a multiday hiatus due to occasional rain and cold temperatures. What once had appeared to be a vintage that might end historically early due to a very warm summer now looks to be extended well into this month, as growers and vintners wait for Mother Nature to bestow that last little bit of sunshine to help their grapes attain a perfect level of maturity before harvest.
What had been a near-textbook vintage so far this year, with the sort of weather and growing conditions Washington vintners usually can only dream about, has suddenly taken a rather nightmarish turn. A cool, wet and windy system lashed a broad area of the Pacific Northwest this weekend, dashing hopes of an early end to the 2013 season.
Summer segued damply into fall this weekend as a couple of relatively weak fronts passed through the Walla Walla Valley, bringing some light rain and cooler temperatures to the area. Precipitation overnight Saturday and again Sunday evening amounted to a rather paltry 0.011 inches, but it was the fall-like temperatures that got most peoples’ attention, as the mercury dipped from a high of 82 degrees on Friday afternoon to the upper 50s in the rain on Sunday evening.