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Jeff Popick

Stories by Jeff

Hot Oriole bats presage sizzling temps on the way

It was a week marked by blustery storms, damaging stones and crackling electricity in the Walla Walla Valley — and then there was the weather.

Impending low pressure to take area by storm

Our weather so far this month would appear to have much in common with the current race for Walla Walla County sheriff: a prodigious amount of annoyingly hot air that seems as if it will never go away.

Valley’s thermostat stuck at 90-plus degrees

The heat is most definitely on here in the Walla Walla Valley and has been for several days now.

Natural fireworks could precede man-made variety

This past weekend featured a rather un-summerlike array of weather. A lingering trough of low pressure that had brought nearly one-quarter of an inch of rain to the Walla Walla Valley on Thursday and Friday continued to provide partly to mostly cloudy skies, occasionally gusty winds and afternoon temperatures that fell about 6 degrees short of the date’s normal high of 84.

‘Mixed bag’ of weather on the horizon

Your weatherperson celebrated the first weekend of summer by enjoying the mostly sunny and seasonably warm weather from the comfort of his favorite seat on the couch. He was intently focused — as were many others — on events unfolding in Brazil, where a wildly entertaining World Cup provided a seemingly endless supply of chills and thrills.

Sun drives away un-Napa Valley-like weekend moisture

Your peripatetic prognosticator is once again on the road this week and finds himself in California’s Napa Valley to visit his son and daughter for a few days.

Fishing, camping weather should continue

Another glorious late-spring weekend graced the Walla Walla Valley as high pressure continued the streak of mostly sunny skies and warm temperatures that began last week. Highs in the low 80s and lows in the 50s made for a near-perfect regime that caused few — if any — to grumble.

Grape pollen ready to get set, grow

Your wandering weatherperson not only survived his Memorial Day weekend excursion to the wilds of Asotin County, but enjoyed his time there immensely — despite the fact that it rained briefly a couple of times at our campsite in lovely Fields Springs State Park. The discovery of several morels in the surrounding woods provided a savory note to our stay, and much of the time was spent with eyes intently focused on the ground in an effort to find the very tasty — but elusive — fungi.

More of the same on tap: Warm week, cooler weekend

The Walla Walla Valley was treated to a preview of summer last week as a strong high pressure system over Washington brought a mini heat wave to the area, with temperatures soaring to near 90 degrees.

Stampede weather to float in — just a few days too late

Once again, Mother Nature conspired to prevent many of this past weekend’s Balloon Stampede events from getting off the ground. Winds above ground level were sufficiently strong to make flying the colorful balloons a risky undertaking.

Record high temps temporary previews of summer to come

Only in its sixth day, the month of May has already dramatically demonstrated a serious bout of bi-polar personality with a couple of episodes of record-breaking heat followed by a precipitous drop in temperatures that caused a nasty case of “weather whiplash” in many residents of the Walla Walla Valley.

Spring’s splendors now on full display after watery weeks

If April showers do indeed bring May flowers, as the saying goes, then the Walla Walla Valley should be overrun by all manner of flora for the next four weeks or so as the area has just concluded a very wet two-week period that began on April 17.

April gets the drops on Walla Walla Valley residents

It appears as if the Walla Walla Valley is in for a wet week. A series of fronts is slated to traverse Southeast Washington over the next several days, bringing periods of rain accompanied by rather cool temperatures.

Wind machines are grapes’ biggest fans

The wind generated by the machines is useful in mixing the warmer air aloft with the shallow layer cold air situated at and just above ground level so that sub-freezing temperatures are mitigated to the point where there is no more danger to the very delicate and susceptible growth.

Frost, mildew lurk, could undo April’s vineyard progress

The general outlook for the next five to six weeks is nail-biting days followed by sleep-interrupted nights, and vineyard managers everywhere will collectively breathe a deep sigh of relief around the second or third week of May.

Sun, warmer temps supplant period of much-needed moisture

A few days of significant rainfall (totaling 1.15 inches at the airport) — some of which fell in thundershowers — boosted the monthly rainfall total to 50 percent above normal (3.03 inches vs. 2.01 inches).

Grape guy flees Valley for Grapefruit League

The Walla Walla Valley enjoyed a delightful first weekend of spring under the benign influence of high pressure that brought generally fair skies and mild afternoon temperatures to the area.

Winter is over? Not so fast ...

Cool high pressure behind Monday morning’s cold front will rule with fair weather until later Wednesday. Then a second reinforcing shot of cold air should zip through the area with a chance of showers followed by clearing on Thursday.

Wet March tempers drought discussion

Throughout the Evergreen State, there is some measure of relief that mountain snow packs are in considerably better shape now than they were at the beginning of the year.

If you like wet weather, this week will be a treat

Several waves of moisture will sweep over the area this week, leading to a mostly soggy series of days featuring lots of puddle-dodging and muddy footwear.

Spring marches on after moisture-impaired February

Only now can we fully appreciate the arrival of the third month of the year and its promise of a gentler, more hopeful and benign weather regime.

End of stormy stretch in sight

Wet and windy weather will continue in the Walla Walla Valley for the next couple of days before a calmer regime becomes established here for the end of the week and the coming weekend.

Tease photo

Rain, snow quench thirsty West Coast

Mother Nature rolled out her full winter arsenal and loosed a barrage of torrential rain and heavy snow on the (mostly) grateful residents of California, Oregon and Washington.

Series of systems should moisturize relatively dry winter

The 16-day Global Forecast outlook has been touting a rather wet period for the Valley, beginning around Feb. 11 and lasting through Feb. 19.

Wind to blow Valley’s cover

January 2014 will be remembered not for its scintillating weather but for the stultifying sameness of a seemingly interminable string of dreary days cloaked in a cold and clammy blanket of low clouds and fog.

Wetter period at month’s end could clear up gray areas

"The Game” has been played, and the losers sent home to lick their wounds while the victors pack for the next — and final — round in New York City on Feb. 2.

Temps, tempers to rise as huge football weekend approaches

It wasn’t quite as windy as all the dire warnings indicated it might be, but an energetic Pacific low pressure system did bring a host of varied weather with it as it passed north of Washington this weekend. Copious amounts of rain, heavy mountain snow and winds gusting in excess of 100 miles per hour in some places made for a very interesting weather weekend across the state. But all that did nothing to derail the Seahawks juggernaut, which faces its severest test of the season this coming Sunday, when a tough-as-nails San Francisco squad visits the Emerald City for an epic battle to determine this year’s NFC champion and a spot in the Super Bowl.

Dry December puts winter cap on arid year

The long-awaited holidays have now come and gone and left your weatherperson with a mixed bag of items that leaves him somewhat less than 100 percent enthusiastic about the New Year: the nastiest cold he has had in decades; enough bills to paper the wall of his office at Walla Walla Community College; and the gift of a self-improvement book that would have been of considerably more value to this old dog had it been received 20 or 30 years ago.

San Diego a haven from winter fog, chill

Your peripatetic prognosticator finds himself during these last few days of 2013 in San Diego — the eighth largest city in the United States and home to over 1.33 million people for whom the word “winter” is an abstraction. Fair skies and high temperatures in the low 70s here have reminded your weatherperson that there are places in this country that even in the darkest days of late December remain untouched by freezing fog and an accompanying dearth of sunshine that practically guarantees a near-terminal case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, a couple of items that Walla Walla has recently offered in spades.

High pressure off coast puts squeeze on grape growers

Your weatherperson is spending Christmas week visiting his beloved children in California’s Disneyland North — the Napa Valley, land of generally overpriced and underwhelming wine.

Seasonal conditions to resume as winter approaches

Your weatherperson, in the company of his best bi- and quadrupedal friends, is treating himself to a little pre-Christmas break in the breathtakingly beautiful Methow Valley of northern Washington. Tucked into the woods just outside the mountain hamlet of Mazama sits a lovely inn where he and his charges appear to be the only guests. Six inches of pristine snow have placed a soft and silent mantle of white over the landscape, and the only sound outside is the wind occasionally rustling the pine boughs that are laden with their frosty burden.

Higher temps to return by weekend — perhaps to a balmy near-40

The past week of absolutely frigid weather here in the Walla Walla Valley has neatly disproved the liberal myth of global warming — hopefully for once and for all. If only some of the other annoying myths that regularly plague our existence — like a heliocentric universe, the theory of evolution, “size doesn’t matter” and the legitimacy of the Obama presidency — could be dispelled as easily.

Cold snap to put grape harvest on ice

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.

Cold Canadian air visits Valley, decides to stick around for a while

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.

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

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.

Grape vines, vintners approach season of rest and relaxation

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.

Dome departs, leaves door open, lets the cold air in

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.

High pressure storm deflects storms, preserves splendid fall

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.

Clear autumn skies herald end of 2013 wine vintage

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.

Walla Walla grape growers desperately seeking sunshine

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.

Blustery weekend nearly has grape growers in a jam

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.

Skies to clear by weekend as grape harvest continues

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.

Storm was a dramatic conclusion to summer weather

Walla Walla’s summer of 2013 chose to leave the stage with some real theatrical flair this past weekend with a blustery exit that was uncannily reminiscent of an event just 10 days earlier. After two days of absolutely crushing, record-breaking heat, dark and ominous-looking clouds once again gathered on the southwestern horizon on Sunday evening, presaging the wild weather that was soon to follow.

‘Tempest’ brought winds, cooler temps, but relatively little rain

Your tanned, rested and ready weatherperson is recently returned from a rejuvenating week seaside in Ocean Park, where he did some serious work on his avoirdupois with a steady diet of clam chowder and fried oysters. While he was stuffing his face, the weather world went on without him: One of the strongest thunderstorms in recent memory ripped through Walla Walla last Thursday evening, doing some real damage around town and scaring the living daylights out of just about everyone here.

Valley eludes hailstorm but gets natural fireworks shows

It was an active weekend of weather for the Walla Walla Valley. A Pacific low pressure system just west of the California/Oregon border spun spokes of moisture from the southwest to the northeast through Oregon and Washington, touching off rounds of showers and thundershowers on both Saturday and Sunday.

Summer continues, but Mother Nature drops hints of fall

Summer 2013 rolls on with little change this week.

Cloudy skies clear in time for unfulfilling meteor show

An abundance of celestial pyrotechnics and a serious paucity of precipitation marked the Walla Walla Valley’s latest dalliance with a Pacific low pressure system this past week, as thunderstorms skirted the local area while dropping copious amounts of rain on neighboring portions of the Evergreen State.

Heat-breaking moisture could reappear

The Walla Walla Valley received some sweet relief from the heat last week. An unusually potent area of low pressure pumped substantial amounts of moisture into many parts of Washington state, leading to a three-day reprieve from the unrelenting sun of summer 2013.

Thankfully, 110-degree heat stays in Vegas

Your peripatetic prognosticator returned to Walla Walla on Friday after a 24-hour whirlwind tour of Las Vegas, where the heat was definitely on.

Water, elevation the only escapes from above-normal highs

The heat was on for the last several days in the Walla Walla Valley as a strong high pressure system from the southwestern U.S. maintained a flow of hot and dry air into our area. Weekend highs topped out in the upper 90s to 100 degrees — or about 10-12 degrees above normal for this time of year.

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