By Bill Biddle


Not yesterday I learned to know  

The love of bare November days

Before the coming of the snow.


Robert Frost in his poem “My November Guest” thinks that “these dark days of autumn rain/are beautiful as days can be.” We should feel the same. With two bouts of snow in the valley during October (the second one accurately predicted by Weatherwatch), we should be ready for wintry conditions during November. Alas, more rain than snow for this November. The Winter guide that will appear on Nov. 11 predicts a winter to come with many clear, crisp 10-degree mornings followed by low clouds, 40-degree days and light rain.

The culprit? El Niño – but with important qualifying comments. A moderate to possibly strong El Niño is developing that will affect the weather of the Pacific Northwest throughout this coming winter. More reports will be forthcoming in the media during the next six weeks, but Weatherwatch will use the information on the front page of the Oct. 23 issue of the Capital Press, The West’s Ag Weekly. This newspaper, published in Salem, Ore., every Friday, is a newcomer for the eyes of Weatherwatch. It can be found at various locations throughout the valley and is highly recommended for its colored maps, its Opinion page and its excellent articles on many topics of importance to the Pacific Northwest. The comments here are based directly on the article in the Capital Press.

However, Weatherwatch will not go into the game of more likely/less likely, wet/dry, cold/warm forecasts that accompany an El Niño event, but it will give its considered opinion on what all this means to the Methow during November. The complete winter forecast is in the Winter guide, as aforementioned.

November will be rainy, snowy and chilly. The first week will have altocumulus and cumulus clouds spotting the sky until the first weekend, when the clouds will thicken and light snow changing to rain will develop. The second week will have “bare November days” that will test our endurance for autumn rain.

But snow during the third week will whet our appetites for the winter to come and four or five inches of snow on the ground over the third weekend will look promising. Alas, a few days before Thanksgiving, 40 degrees and light rain will dash those promises. But what ho’, me lads and lasses! After a few days of faux Indian Summer, the first real cold snap will chill the valley right after Thanksgiving. Temperatures will plummet to below zero and Robert Frost will come to the aid of the perplexed Methow Valleyite with lines from his poem “Good-by and Keep Cold”:


“How often already you’ve had to be told,

Keep cold, young orchard. Good-by and keep cold.

Dread fifty above more than fifty below.”


For a pre-look at December and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” see the Winter guide.

For Weatherwatch’s take on December? Stay tuned!