Nice Weekend Ahead

June 30, 2006

Looks like a perfect early July weekend ahead.

Ridge of high pressure still centered well to our east this evening (Utah/Colorado).  Southwesterly flow between it and a trough way offshore sent a disturbance up across Oregon today.  Nice series of storms developed mainly in the Central Cascades and then again over far eastern Oregon where they are still in progress as of 8pm.

Lack of onshore flow for one day really allowed the temp to spike today.  91 at PDX gives us our 5th day above 90 already by June 30th.  In an average summer we could expect 10 90+ days from July-September.  So it’ll be interesting to see if this is a taste of the rest of summer, or just an unusually warm start.

Onshore flow is up quite a bit this evening as gradients from OTH-PDX and PDX-DLS are quite a bit stronger than Thursday evening.  This should push our temps back down 3-6 degrees tomorrow.  At least that’s the FIRST LIVE LOCAL forecast plan for now. 

As for thunderstorms, I don’t see a good trigger to give us storms anywhere west of the Cascades this weekend.  One disturbance may come through Sunday afternoon, but it’s quite similar to today’s.  I expect storms will remain over the Cascades each afternoon in south or southwesterly upper-level flow.

ALL models have a cooldown by the middle of next week.  I see that last 2 GFS runs have a sharp shortwave trough and at least a few showers Thursday/Friday.  We could use a bit of rain since it’s been 2 weeks dry at PDX.

Enjoy the long weekend…I know some of you have a 4 day weekend planned!  Mark Nelsen

Rebuttal to “The Weatherman”

June 29, 2006

A much different blog tonight…because my curiousity got the best of me finally…so last week I rented THE WEATHERMAN starring Nicholas Cage.  It’s a very strange and depressing movie, and not for the easily offended either.  But a few small parts of it represented TV life pretty well.  But I just had to comment on several things.
It was obviously filmed at WGN in Chicago, because a bunch of the graphics are the same as Tom Skilling’s except the logo has been changed.
Let’s clear up some misconceptions in the movie:
1.  The weatherman (Cage) says "I really only work 2 hours a day" and constantly shows him sitting around the water cooler doing nothing.
Umm, here’s my schedule:
2:30pm get to work, start making the forecast (on paper)
2:45 editorial meeting with all KPTV newsroom
3:15 KXL radio record
3:30 Bend Radio record
3:30 email Bend fcst to KFXO TV
5:00 record 6 different promos/weather cutins
6:00 KXL radio record
7:30 record :45 KFXO 1st wxcast, 3:30 main wxcast, :45 end wx (all 10pm Bend wx hits)
10:00 KPTV newscast
11:00 KPTV newscast
And at some point in the day I answer emails, phone, make a Google map for newscast, send email forecast to viewers, update web page, blog etc…
I keep PLENTY busy.

2.  People throw things at the Weatherman on the street in the movie
I’ve never had this happen or heard of it happening

3.  The Weatherman pretends to be someone else when a viewer recognizes him at the DMV
I’ve never done this, even when I feel sick or a bit grumpy.  Today I had a 2 minute conversation with a guy named Mike while buying a new weed-whacker at Home Depot.  See, there’s always an opportunity to mix pleasure & business!  So folks just remember, don’t use last summer’s old oil/gas for this summer’s weed-whacking.  It’ll burn up your engine.

 Now, on to weather.  One shower with maybe a rumble slipped through the east side of the metro area this evening.  It COULD happen again tomorrow, but I think it’s unlikely.

The big picture shows troughiness a bit closer to us next week with the ridge farther east, but not far enough away to allow rain inland….Mark

Summer Sets In

June 28, 2006

Looking at the maps it looks like summer really has set in early.  High pressure to our east is sending disturbances north across the Western U.S.  Lots of lightning even at 11pm in Southcentral Oregon.  This should spread farther north tomorrow, but still stay over and east of the Cascades.  For us to get thunder in the metro area, we generally need either straight south or southeasterly trajectory (just like Medford has right now).  I don’t see that in the next 3 days.

A thinner marine layer lets us warm up a bit the next 2 days too.

We are busy with an imminent web change here at KPTV.  At noon tomorrow KPTV.COM will move to a different provider, and it might take a short time to get all the content moved to our new provider.  So don’t panic if you can’t find this blog for a day or two.  Or at least bookmark it right now.

Oh, and there was a comment below wondering what that funny looking thing was on the 4th of July Forecast?  Our system takes a 1 frame snapshot of a 60 frame 7 Day forecast, so it just caught the "edge" of a fireworks graphic.  Or maybe it was the mothership hiding behind the moon???  Mark

A Few Questions Answered

June 27, 2006

A few questions or comments thrown around in the last 24 hours so let me respond:

1. Someone in the comments in the previous post mentioned an "official" temp of 106/108 in Tigard/Milwaukie Monday reported on another TV station in Portland.   So where are the "official" weather stations in Portland?  The National Weather Service & FAA have ASOS (Automated Surface Observing Sensors) units located at McMinnville, Aurora, Hillsboro, Troutdale, Portland Airport, Vancouver, & Scappoose.  Those are the only "official" hourly reporting sites in the metro area.  Then there are "cooperative observers" who report to the NWS once a day (sometimes more).  I would consider those "official" too, but we often don’t get that information for several weeks or months afterwards.

So where do all these other numbers come from on our metro temperature maps?  At KPTV we often use the Mesowest Network from University of Utah, which collects ODOT sensors, mountain data, & RAWS data.  BUT, it also includes people who sign up to send their home weather information onto the internet (I do that from my home too).  Those can easily be unreliable and are often too warm on sunny days because the sensor is in a warm area.  So those are NOT official numbers, but I use them with discretion.  One showed a 107 at Eagle Creek yesterday, so I dumped it.  It’s pretty obvious that when all the "official stations" are 99-103, anything well outside of that range should be viewed with suspicion.

2.  Did it really hit 118 in Mulino or Mollala Monday?  No, for the reasons above.

3.  Did we tie a June record warm low temp today?  Close, but no.  It dropped to 67 at 6:50am this morning.  The June record is 68, twice during June 1948.  Hmm, when I saw that I thought…"June of 1948, that sounds familiar".  Of course! It was immediately following the Vanport flood in late May of 1948! So there was water everywhere around the lowlands of Portland because the Columbia had just flooded large chunks of north & northeast Portland and parts of Vancouver too.  What do you bet it was a very humid month?  That may have led to warmer nights than normal.  Just a theory, but interesting eh?

As for weather the next 5 days…looks like good thunderstorm moisture stays south of a Mt. Jefferson-Wallowas line the next 3 days and probably through the weekend too.  Better marine push tonight gives us our coolest day tomorrow, then warmer through the early part of next week.  No rain in sight!…Mark

Wow…That’s Hot!

June 26, 2006

The well forecast number of 102 degrees was achieved this afternoon at PDX.  That makes it the hottest June day in Portland history, and the hottest since the 103 in July 2 years ago.  Kudos to Drew Jackson for being right on Friday evening.  He had a forecast of 100 & 102 for Sunday-Monday.  It ended up at 101 & 102.  I think that’s pretty good 2-3 days out!

A weak marine push tonight as gradients are just switching to westerly through the Gorge at 5pm and cool air begins spilling through the Coast Range gaps.  I’m a little concerned that the push may be shallow and we only drop 10 degrees tomorrow, instead of the 15 I’m forecasting (a high of 87).

A stronger push tomorrow night gives us brief morning clouds Wednesday and cooler temps.

I really think the big story though is our sudden switch to summer ridging.  Most years we don’t get consistently warm & dry weather until after the 4th of July.  This year ridging began last week and not a single model has precipitation or cooler than normal temps in the next 7-10 days.  Which means "summer" will have started 3-4 weeks earlier this year than last year.  More on that on tonight’s weathercast…Mark

Hottest June Day Ever

June 25, 2006

It’s official… for only the fourth time in June history, the temperature at PDX hit 100 degrees today.  To make the day even more special, the high temperature of 101 degrees at 2:37 p.m. was the highest June temperature ever recorded at PDX.

In several of the comments following my previous post, many of you are wondering how the temperature reached 101 when the highest hourly report was 97 (at 2pm and 3pm)?  Well, during the hour between 2 and 3pm, the wind at the airport died down.  That allowed the temperature to jump to 101 at 2:37pm during the calm conditions… but by the 3pm report, the wind had picked up again, dropping the temperature back to 97.

Discussion of the wind leads me to my next issue — the forecast high for tomorrow.  The "thermal trough" (the axis of warmest air) will be right over the Valley tomorrow… and as a result, the wind will be significantly slower.  And with 850 mb (5,000 ft) temperatures projected to be a degree or two higher tomorrow, I think 102 is a good number to forecast for Portland.  I’ve had 102 on my 7 day forecast for Monday for a couple days now… and see no reason to change it.

Stronger onshore flow develops Monday night and Tuesday, resulting in a cooler afternoon Tuesday… and the rest of the week looks mostly sunny and warmer than average with highs between 80 and 85.

Stay cool…

– Drew J