LONG RANGE FORECAST THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF MARCH - 2/25/2020
Be sure to see the 3 month forecast down below
We are wrapping up February and headed into March. As such this means winter is in it's last stages. In fact, Meteorological Spring arrives at Midnight Sunday morning. That is also March 1st. February is going to finish warm and dry. So far in the "rainy season" only January has been above average for rainfall. October, November, December, and now February have all been below to significantly below average for rainfall while being above average for temps.
We are moving into the next major transition phase of seasons as we leave winter behind and move to spring. The longer days are already evident and we are seeing warming air and soil temps to match that. The first day of Seasonal of Astronomical Spring is going to be on Thursday the 19th. Typically in March, temps are in the 50s and 60s at the beginning of the month west of the Cascades, but rise to the 60s and the low 70s by the end of the month. The all time record for March in Medford is 86 which happened in 1930. East of the Cascades temps are in the 40s to the 50s at the beginning of the month and 50s to the 60s at the end of the month. Average rainfall for Medford in March is 1.61 inches. West of the Cascades in the valleys typical rainfall is around 2 inches. The Coast can see 3 - 5 inches of rain, and the mountains can usually get 2 - 4 feet of snow. East of the Cascades average rainfall can vary but it is typically under a half inch of rain...or snow equivalent.
As we look at the time period through the middle of March, we are not looking to see a whole lot of change from what we have been seeing. We are going to start off March on the cold and wet side as a series of systems comes through. The second one coming in that set is looking strong enough to be labled a proper storm. It is the one that will deliver the most impact. Especially in terms of rain and snow. After that we have one weaker system to come through, and then it appears we go right back to what we have been seeing through all of February. Looking at the 30 day forecasts NOAA put out on February 20th, there is little reason to believe that these will not turn out to be accurate right now.
3 MONTH FORECAST THROUGH APRIL
When we were coming in to the winter season, i put up the long range forecasts from various sources. And for the longest time it looked like we had a miss for all of them except Accuweather. We were well below normal as hit 2020. And then, we got the hammer of the storms from the 3rd of January throught the 17th. And that brought some of the forecasts back on line to prediction. At least for a time. As we have seen it play out...Accuweather was the big winner for the prediction for the Winter. NOAA with warm and dry would be as well. The big losers were the Almanacs. And that has not happened for quite awhile. In fact, last winter it was the New Farmer's Almanac that won the winter prediction battle. So let's begin by refreshing your memory about the long range forecasts for the winter.
Old Famers Alamanc:
The state of Oregon also does offer long range prediction. There are two phases by the way. Precipitation, and Temperature. The State of Oregon does not release more than a 3 month outlook. So here is what they had for October through December.
So we have looked back to what was predicted. Only one of those sources does a mid season revised forecast. And that is due to the fact they only do 3 month at a time forecasts. And that is Oregon Department of Forestry meteorologist Pete Parsons. Below is what he is forecasting for February through April.
It was what he had to say about April that caught my attention. And then I saw he did an April specific forecast. You can see that below.
Now why would April matter so much to the Oregon Department of Forestry meteorologist? Same reason it should matter to all of us. If April is going to be warm and dry, that sets things up for an early start to fire season and also increases the odds of a bad one. But, a wet and cool April is a great thing to see. And that is exactly what Pete has forecast. If this goes as he is showing it, the odds of a really bad fire season get significantly decreased. If May turns out to be cooler and wetter, then we are well set up for another summer of no smoke. Having very wet thunderstorms like last summer would also be another great aid to no smoke. So right now, this is looking good. Would like to see more moisture for Jackson and Josephine Counties in that forecast.....but that cooler than normal forecast is great.