By Linda Weiford, WSU News
PULLMAN, Wash. – Suddenly, February is April. Remarkably warm weather is embracing the Pacific Northwest, awakening daffodil bulbs and reviving community parks.
In some locations, high temperatures should climb as much as 15 degrees above average through Friday, said meteorologist Nic Loyd of Washington State University’s AgWeatherNet.
“It’s definitely not normal weather for this time of year, it being more typical of springtime than midwinter,” he said. “Even so, it sure feels great.”
The warmth is so unusual, that when Loyd checked the temperature reading of AgWeatherNet’s Long Beach, Wash., coastal weather station on Monday, he did a double take.
“It peaked at 78 degrees over there. Clear and sunny too,” he said. Meanwhile, near the Paradise visitor center at Mount Rainer National Park, it topped out at 71.
A strong ridge of high pressure – commonly seen during summer months – built up over the western side of the region and is gradually moving inland. Where Portland, Seattle and Long Beach are seeing their warmest temperatures now, the eastern half of Washington and Oregon should see the mercury peak on Thursday and Friday, he explained.
Expected to hit 60 degrees are the Tri-cities and Walla Walla, Wash., and Lewiston, Idaho, while communities such as Spokane, Yakima and Pullman should bask in the low to mid 50s.
“Even nights will be warmer than we’d expect,” said Loyd.
The high pressure ridge responsible for the springlike weather is expected to weaken considerably this weekend. But temperatures will still run above average for February, he said.