Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Your sallow-skinned soothsayer and several of his similarly afflicted sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder will be soliciting signatures in your neighborhood sometime soon for a petition to be sent to the White House.
We’re asking that the calendar be advanced directly to March in view of our recent relentless spate of gloomy, foggy, snowless and downright nasty Walla Walla Valley weather.
After all, is such a request any more unreasonable than those already submitted asking for the deportation of Piers Morgan or the construction of a Death Star? Or rescinding an invitation to gangnam king PSY or arresting David Gregory, host of Meet the Press? Or any of the dozens of secession petitions sent by outraged citizens of several states in our somewhat tenuous union?
Sunless, subfreezing days are also a primary factor in the winter weight gain many of us experience every year, and your portly prognosticator is now skipping his weekly weigh-in to avoid the bad news borne by his already overtaxed scale.
Fortunately, this did not stop him from adding yet another protective layer of insulation on Friday night at the Chef’s Table in the Marcus Whitman Hotel. There, super-chef Antonio Campolio turned out a series of sumptuous culinary creations designed to chase the winter blues and put a smile on the face of even the most sickly SAD-stricken patron.
Thanks to that remarkable repast, your weatherperson is now protected down to a temperature of minus-10 degrees Fahrenheit — just like his grapevines now standing in slumbering silence awaiting the first cuts of the pruner’s shears in a week or two.
It does appear as if Mother Nature herself may supply some relief shortly, which is a very good thing considering the prospects for success of our aforementioned petition.
The high pressure system which has been responsible for the inversion at the root of our foggy, cold streak of several days appears just about ready to move along to the east — with a little help from an incoming front off the Pacific.
It seems likely that by late tomorrow or early Wednesday it will have generated enough wind with its incipient arrival to scour out the low clouds and much of the cold air trapped near ground level by the inversion. There also is the chance of a shower or two of rain — possibly mixed with snow — as it passes through the Walla Walla Valley on Wednesday afternoon.
A transient area of high pressure will build over the area in its wake on Thursday for fair weather. But by late Friday another front will be making its way onshore in western Washington, bringing southeast parts of the state a renewed chance of rain in lower elevations by early Saturday though forecast amounts appear to be on the light side.
In the medium range outlook, the last week of January is trending wetter with a series of fronts expected to bring up to a half-inch of precipitation to our area during that period.
Unfortunately, the temperatures forecast for that period do not appear to be sufficiently cold to favor snow except at higher elevations of the Blue Mountains. So it appears that January will fall far short of its average snowfall of six inches that we normally expect for the first month of the year.
In the realm of the long range, the national Climate Prediction Center issued its seasonal outlooks for the rest of 2013 (and beyond!) last Thursday, presumably for those whose belief system includes Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, unicorns, the chupacabra, intelligent design and Manti Te’o’s girlfriend.
These outlooks are so far out there they make Lance Armstrong seem like a credible source of information.
According to the CPC, Walla Walla can look forward to a cooler-than-normal spring with average precipitation, a warmer-than-normal summer with below average rainfall and a continuation of that regime into the early fall, which will be greeted warmly by our local grape growers if that particular forecast does indeed come to pass.
A lifelong fan of both the weather and the Baltimore Orioles, Jeff Popick is an instructor at the Enology and Viticulture Center at Walla Walla Community College and manages the school’s teaching vineyard. Send your questions and comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.