The Answers II

August 22, 2006

A bit more free time tonight, so let’s catch up on more questions.

First the weather;  there’s not much to talk about, more onshore flow tomorrow, then it weakens as we go into Thursday.  Friday-Sunday are either northerly or northeasterly flow for temps back up close to 90.  We are likely done with 100 this season since we’ve only hit it 2 times beyond the period of our 7 day forecast.  You can see the slow change on the maps today.  Look at the 18z GFS 500mb fcst. on my personal weather page and you’ll see the increasingly deep polar lows as northern latitudes already start cooling down.

So, here are a few answers…

Q.  what is your opinion on the fall/winter outlook? Think we might see a better winter this year or stay on our average of the last 8+ years of having not so great winters….Josh (The Snowman) & Andrew in separate questions

A.  I have never issued a fall/winter outlook because I really think it’s a crapshoot.  Or am I just no fun???  We just seem to have milder winters lately, but even if our climate is slowly warming, what if that 1950 pattern sets up again or the 1979 one?  Instead of 4 big snowstorms in a month we might just have 3.  I have no idea, but I’ll once again state this fall that we’re overdue for a major windstorm (70+ mph gust at PDX).

Q.  don’t mean for this to be personal but where do you like to vacation? As in do you go chase storms ever or anything when you take a vacation? If you don’t want to answer that its cool with me.

A.  That’s not too personal.  I just didn’t want to give out my address, weight, or kid’s pictures.  I actually like to go to warm tropical places (Hawaii in March anyone?).  I would LOVE to go on a storm chase and my wife has even offered to join, but maybe when the kids are a bit older.  The last few years my family & I have had great times staying in fire lookouts in the Northwest.  They are cheap, there is often lightning, and no people (of course I love all our viewers here at FOX-12, but you know what I mean).  We just stayed at Thompson Peak near Missoula last week.  I missed the lightning by one day, but what a night to leave the windows open with the stars shining and town lights miles away and half a mile straight down.

Q. Besides Portland, what city would you find most interesting to forecast for?

A.  I have a friend doing TV in Wichita, KS and it’s crazy weather there.  Anywhere in the Midwest from the Rockies to Indiana or so would be pretty busy much of the year.  Fall is slow everywhere.  There are places that would be interesting but I would never go to.  That includes the Gulf Coast or Atlantic Coast states (not counting Maine).  Too hot or too many people in those places.  Northwest works just fine for me since it’s home anyway…Mark

The Answers I

August 22, 2006

A bit slow getting caught up tonight.  But some good questions during the week I was off.

Q.   I know you grew up in this general area, so I’m wondering when you actually became a weather fan? At least that earliest you remember being crazy about the weather.  My second question, what was your favorite childhood weather event here, as far as the most memorable to experience/follow? I can think of any number of crazy weather events here from the late ’70’s through the ’80s, so I have to wonder…Dmitri

A.  I don’t remember exactly when, but sometime around 1978 maybe?  Those ice storms in the metro area didn’t get my home near Mt. Angel, but the TV pictures were very cool for a 9-10 year old.  The November 1981 windstorm was a biggie, but I clearly remember being interested in weather before that time.  As for most memorable, that’s probably it, along with the 1985 Thanksgiving snowy period.  And that weird January 1985 dry spell too.  We were under an inversion almost the whole month.  I would consider the February 1989 cold spell more of a "young adult" memory since I was already around 20 years old at that time.

Q. What’s the craziest weather you’ve ever seen?

A.  Tornado over Kitsap County in 1991, spotted WHILE IN FORECASTING CLASS 20 MILES AWAY at the University of Washington!  It was April or May and there were a few thunderstorms around, but none in North Seattle.  We were busy plotting our weather charts on the 6th floor of the Atmospheric Sciences building.  As always, I was staring out the windows, not doing my work.  I looked to the east and noticed a dark gray "shelf-ish" looking cloud at least 10 miles away.  Then I looked back about 10 seconds later and noticed there was something hanging out of it.  I made a joke like "wow, looks like a tornado over there".  Of course no one listened to me (always happens).  But within 5-10 seconds it suddenly lowered and appeared to be a tornado forming.  Pretty small from that distance but it was somewhat obvious.  Me & Steve sprinted down the hallway, and up the stairs to the roof.  Just as I crested the roofline you could see a chunk of water or vapor suddenly swirl up the vortex.  KING-TV had video of that and I would assume that KGW (sister company) got that video back then too, so maybe it showed up here in Portland too.  What’s the chance of seeing a tornado in Seattle, while in a meteorology class???

Let’s forget weather for tonight, it’s late and we just have a stronger push the next 2 days, then back to warming this weekend…no rain in sight…Mark