Winter’s still here, but the weather will reflect a sense spring is coming

Feb 19, 2024, 7:41 AM

Warmer temperatures recently brought people out to Green Lake....

Warmer temperatures recently brought people out to Green Lake. (Photo: Bill Kaczaraba, MyNorthwest)

(Photo: Bill Kaczaraba, MyNorthwest)

It is mid-February. Each day is getting a bit over three minutes longer and daylight hours have expanded to about 10.5 hours. In a couple of weeks, daylight-hour lengthening will peak at about 3,5 minutes per day, meaning we’ll get 3.5 minutes more of daylight each day. The first 6 p.m. sunset will be on Tuesday, March 5 with the spring equinox set for two weeks after that on March 19.

It may still be winter right now, yet there is a sense that spring is coming and the weather this week will reflect that.

A strong upper level low off the Northern California coast is going to send more active wet weather into California and southwest Oregon through the middle of the week. Further north, this system will send considerable cloud cover and light amounts of rainfall into western Washington through Wednesday. Rain amounts will likely be less than two tenths of an inch in all, and some locations may receive far less than that. The sun may also peek through the clouds at times as well.

High temperatures through Wednesday should range from the upper 40s to mid-50s. Average mid-February high temperatures across the region are right around 50 degrees. Overnight lows are expected to stretch from the upper 30s to mid-40s.

In the mountains where the snowpack needs a big boost, expected snow amounts are anticipated to be rather meager, ranging from perhaps an inch of new snow to as much as 6 inches through Wednesday. Snow levels on Monday will be around 3,500 feet, climbing a bit on Tuesday and Wednesday from 4,000 to 4,500 feet.

Looking ahead to later in the week and beyond

By Thursday, higher pressure aloft is forecast to build over the Pacific Northwest for dry weather and a great deal more sunshine. High temperatures should climbs above average, into the 50s with lows hovering on either side of 40 degrees.

El Niño may be weakening as sea surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific tropical waters cool from their quite warm readings earlier this winter, its influence on this region’s winter weather continues. Temperatures thus far this month have been overall, warmer than normal. For instance, Olympia is running two degrees above average, and Forks is currently 3.5 degrees warmer for the month. Total monthly rainfall so far has generally been drier than normal, with a deficit ranging from just over one-half inch in Bellingham to a bit over three inches at Forks.

Following this week’s mild weather, the rest of the month looks cooler and wetter than average. This trend also looks promising for the mountains with additional snow anticipated and snow levels dropping to at least the passes.

Ted Buehner is the KIRO Newsradio meteorologist. You can read more of Ted’s stories here and follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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