I’ve spent the morning reading through weather models, and forming my own hypothesis — and what I’ve found is disappointing. At least for people who like clean air, ample drinking water, and niceties like food.
At this point in time, I feel that our record-shattering, 3-month mini-drought is just the beginning. I think it’s the second of what will be many record, or near record-breaking dry streaks in the next 18 months.
Frankly, I saw this coming as early as last December. The stubborn high pressure system which gave us three rainless weeks in the peak late-fall rainy season was, in my mind, a precursor of bigger changes to come. From what I’ve researched, such a dramatic and lengthy event rarely just comes and goes, and it’s continued re-appearance is almost certain. When a high becomes that persistent, the atmosphere “wants” it to exist … for lack of a better term. An opportunistic ridge of high pressure very aggressively re-forms whenever possible, and once it establishes itself, is extraordinary in its persistence.
The same thing happened beginning in July. A re-forming high pressure system parked itself over us for 100 days, and even though it let a weak low system move through here and there, as soon as the disturbance moved through, the high quickly and dramatically reformed … stubbornly refusing to budge for weeks.
I don’t think it’s done.
Keep in mind that last year’s exceptional December high occurred during a La Nino (wet) year. This year, “meteorologists” (whose prediction records are almost as good as mine) have predicted that we’re going into an El Nino (dry) setup.
While we’ll no doubt have plenty of rain this fall/winter, perhaps even a couple of super-wet months, I think a pattern of intermittent, yet near-record-breaking dry spells will continue to dominate through the next year, and possibly beyond.
What does this mean?
It could mean higher food prices, dirtier air, more glare, less water reserves, colder nights, and a smaller snowpack for skiers. It could also mean continued fires and ruined crops for the farmers of the PNW.
On the bright side, those of you who like it when it’s 45 degrees and sunny should be happy, which, according to our local corporate news, is all of you.