Grape growers and winemakers received some encouraging news Friday as weather experts based in Washington and Oregon passed along optimistic forecasts starting Sunday.
“While current conditions are cooler than average over most of the western U.S., conditions over the next 10 days appear to be heading to dry and closer to normal temperatures,” Greg Jones, professor of environmental studies at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, said in a news release Friday.
Jones, recognized globally as a climate expert with a focus on viticulture, issues reports to the Pacific Northwest wine industry throughout the year. And while growers on Red Mountain – perhaps the warmest grape-growing in the region – have seen most of their customers take their grapes, there is plenty left to be harvested elsewhere.
It’s not necessarily an issue of ripening, but the hope is temperatures during October will extend hangtime, keep the clusters dry and push back the inevitable “game over” freeze.
“Overall, October is forecast to end up being near normal to slightly warmer than normal, with near normal rainfall across the western U.S,” Jones said. “Given the scenario described above, the 6-10 day and 8-14 day forecasts both point to a greater chance of normal to warmer than normal temperatures in the PNW and normal throughout California. Precipitation forecasts over the same time period point to a greater likelihood of generally drier than normal conditions over the majority of the western US.”
Showers, breeze in store for Columbia Valley on Saturday
Washington State University’s AgWeatherNet, a service operated by meterologist Nic Loyd and director Gerrit Hoogenboom, said today won’t be indicative of the rest of the week.
“A weak disturbance dropping down from the north will cross Washington (today), yielding clouds, breezes and a chance of showers,” according to their report issued Friday. “Drier weather will return on Sunday, when high pressure builds into the area.”
AgWeatherNet’s forecast for the Columbia Valley calls for mostly sunny conditions with highs in the upper 50s to mid-60s with lows in the 30s to low 40s.
“Next week, calm and dry weather will dominate under the influence of a ridge of high pressure,” the report said. “However, nights will be stable and cool despite the sunny and warmer days. Morning low clouds and fog are possible, especially in western areas. The mountains will remain above any inversion layers, such that sunny and much warmer days are likely in the high country next week.”