Want Warmer Temperatures? Head to Eastern Washington

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Although the region west of the Cascades has been cloudy and wet for many recent days, escape is increasingly possible by driving across the Cascades to eastern Washington.

The seasonal crossover has occurred, meaning that lower elevations of eastern Washington is now dependably warmer than the western side of the Cascades.  During the midwinter, eastern WA is colder than the west side--where the influence of the temperate Pacific Ocean keeps temperatures mild.  But as the sun becomes stronger and eastern Washington loses the mid-winter murk of low clouds, east-side folks enjoy a warmer climate.  Here is  a plot to illustrate, one that shows average monthly temps for Sea-Tac and Richland, WA.  Crossover by March and by now now eastern WA has a decided warm edge.

Consider the average max temperatures for the past month, a period that has been colder than normal.  The warmest temperatures are clearly over eastern WA and NE Oregon (reds).  Tri-cities are particularly toasty.

Here are latest forecasts for the next ten days from the Weather Channel for Seattle and Richland; certainly Richland is far drier and warmer.

Seattle Forecast
Richland Foecast
So heading to eastern WA is good escape from wet and cold, but you got to do this in a meteorologically wise way.   Crossing the mountains on I90, the initial locations might be sunnier (Cle Elum to Ellensburg), but they have a problem--wind.  And the wind is particularly strong during the spring when western Washington is cool and eastern Washington is warm.  Suncadia resort in Cle Elum, might as well be called Windcadia during this period---and if you want some amusement watch folks play golf there when the winds are blowing.   Heading down toward Ellensburg, the winds get worse...that is why all the wind turbines are there.  You see wind turbines, keep on driving.  The center of the warm/dry conditions stretch from Vantage/Quincy down to the Tri-Cities.   Not as good over the far eastern and northeastern portions of the state.

Keep going past Ellensburg and the ridge east of town and descend down to Vantage....a very warm, dry spot that is often not in the winds.  (If it is in this winds, go north or south to get out of it).  Take a hike around Gingko Petrified Wood park...lots of fun.
Gingko Petrified Wood Park
 Or drive up to Quincy and visit Cave-B winery:  nice restaurant with a view of the Columbia and
View from Cave B Winery.  Nice wines and a good restaurant too.
 wonderful hiking down to the river.  Or drive a bit farther north to visit the wonderful trails of the Ancient Lakeswildlife area.   To top in off, the wildflowers should be blooming soon over eastern WA.
Ancient Lake
Or go south of Ellensburg on Canyon Rd (Route 821) to the Umtanum Creek Recreation Area for a walk on a bridge and up into the creek watershed (lots of wildflowers in season).

These are just a few of the excellent day trips that provides gorgeous vistas and warm/dry conditions on most spring days.  Of course, check the forecast...there are occasionally periods when these locations experience clouds/precipitation...but they are rare.
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