Cold air from the north brings big chill to Peninsula

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

Break out the heavy winter coats, boots and gloves: Frigid temperatures have settled in, and they aren’t going away soon.

Temperatures on the North Olympic Peninsula on Tuesday dipped into the high 20s in the early morning, barely reached 40 during the day in most locations — and it’s going to be even colder in the foreseeable future, said Johnny Burg, National Weather Service meteorologist.

Later this week, the thermometer is expected to drop into the low 20s at night in most lowland locations, or even into the high teens.

It will rise only to the low 30s during the days, Burg said.

Areas close to bodies of water such as the Pacific Ocean or the Strait of Juan de Fuca will be slightly warmer, while inland and those at higher elevations will be colder, he said.

Ice patches

Burg recommended that Peninsula residents use caution while driving, as slick, icy patches could develop; for residents to bundle up against the cold; and to bring in outdoor pets or make sure they have shelter and warmth during the cold snap.

There is a 30 percent chance of snow for areas north and west of the Olympic Mountains on Thursday night, according to the Weather Service forecast.

While cold temperatures aren’t unusual for November or December, the persistence of the current cold pattern is, Burg said.

“Usually, we have a couple of days of cold, then a storm comes in. This will last a week or more,” he said.

Dry patterns

Burg said November was drier than usual, and this month is following a similar pattern.

The two year-ending months are traditionally the wettest months of the year.

Most of the Pacific storm activity that usually feeds the North Olympic Peninsula and the rest of the Northwest in November and December is instead dousing California because of a south-looping jet stream, he said.

The Arctic air mass that is settling into Washington is being pulled farther south into California, where similarly chilly nights have been predicted in the San Joaquin Valley.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 03. 2013 5:42PM
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