Thursday, Mar. 20th – Lincoln County
Summary: Winter gave us a little bit of everything in its farewell address yesterday. Showers, sunbreaks, fog, northwest winds gusting to 20 mph or so and a high around 50F. Rainfall amounts varied, depending on where the showers occurred, but all areas of the Central Coast reported under a tenth of an inch. Clouds began to dissipate as we headed into night. By about 1:30am it was mostly clear, which allowed daytime heat to escape and temperatures to drop so that this morning there were frosty windshields accompanying a light east wind and a clear blue sky.
Past 24 Hours High/Low/Rain…
Lincoln City: 55F/40F/0.06”
Depoe Bay: 50F/34F/0.02”
Forecast: While it is still officially Winter this morning, the transition to Spring occurs just before 10:00am today with the Vernal Equinox (see Weather Factoid below). And, we have a bona fide Spring day in the forecast with lots of sunshine and a high in the low-50s. Northerly winds of 5-10 mph with a few higher gusts may keep the air a little cool, but you sure won’t need a raincoat for the Lincoln County Master Gardeners workshop on shrub and tree pruning at OCCC in Newport this afternoon. Tonight, mostly clear and chilly with a low about 35F. Full sunshine tomorrow, highs up around 55F, and north winds 5-10 mph are expected. Outlook is for Spring weather to continue over the weekend with sunny days and clear nights, highs approaching 60F and lows about 40F. Another round of wet weather is projected to begin on Tuesday.
Travel: At 8:00am, Highways 18, 20 and 34 are open through the Coast Range with temps around 25F and mostly bare pavement with icy patches expected through mid-morning. Highway 101 along the Central Coast is dry with possible icy spots; ODOT is reporting hazardous debris on 101 at its intersection with Highway 20 in Newport. Valley destinations have mostly dry pavement with temps around 30F and some patches of frost. In the Cascades, passes are well below freezing. Highway 26 at Government Camp has packed snow; Highway 20 at Santiam Pass has numerous spots of ice. The freezing level is 4,000 feet. Carry chains or traction tires.
Cascades Snow Pack: Currently 118”, the same as yesterday, or 73% of normal. Weekly snow total, +9”; difference from last year, -5”; deviation from 30 year average, -3”. NOTE: We use the main Hood/Deschutes basin (North-Central Cascades) reporting stations for our snowpack totals. While this area is about three-quarters of normal this season, other areas are not fairing as well. The Santiam station is at 51% of average; the Willamette basin is only 48%; Rogue/Umpqua is at 29%; and Klamath is quite low at just 24%.
Ski Report – New Snow Inches/Total Inches/Condition…
Hoodoo 0/48/Packed Powder
Willamette Pass 0/26/Machine Groomed
Mt Bachelor 1/108/Machine Groomed
Mt Hood Meadows 2/112/Packed Powder
Mt Hood Ski Bowl 0/26/Machine Groomed
Timberline Lodge 1/93/Powder
Marine: Winds are from the N this morning at 10-15 knots with seas around 12 feet. As of 8:00am, Depoe Bay bar is restricted for all recreational and uninspected passenger vessels. Yaquina Bay bar is restricted for recreational and uninspected passenger vessels 30 feet and less. A summerlike pattern of northerly winds 15-20 knots begins today and is expected to last through tomorrow. Gusts to 25 knots are possible in the late afternoons and early evenings. But seas are slowly subsiding and should be down to 9 feet this afternoon and 7 feet by tonight. Tomorrow, continued N winds and wave heights around 6 feet. Outlook is for seas 5-6 feet Saturday through Monday, N winds 5-15 knots; wind backing to SE on Monday. A series of weather disturbances is predicted to begin arriving early next week with SW winds and seas in the teens.
On the Beach… Sunny, breezy, cool, surf 8-9 feet (moderate).
For a safe and enjoyable time on the Central Coast, the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department offers these Beach Safety Tips.
03/20 Thu 09:31 AM 0.33 L
03/20 Thu 03:51 PM 6.86 H
03/20 Thu 09:19 PM 2.25 L
03/21 Fri 03:34 AM 8.46 H
In Short: Mostly clear, north winds, then more sunshine.
Weather Factoid: What is the Vernal Equinox and why does it mean Spring has sprung? Those two subjects are intertwined. Today, March 20, 2014, at 9:57am PDT, is when the sun’s most direct rays cross over the Earth’s equator from south to north. This is due to the tilt of the earth and where our planet is located in its orbital plane at the moment. We change seasons at this time because the southern hemisphere now gets less focused sunshine and the northern hemisphere gets more. This increasingly direct solar exposure continues into Summer, reaching its peak on June 21st, the 2014 Summer Solstice, before the sun begins returning its strength to the southern hemisphere on September 22nd, the 2014 Autumnal Equinox.