More Sun & Winter Meeting

I felt like I left the kids out in the cold last night when I hopped on the computer this morning and realized in all the high pressure/sunshine excitement I forgot to blog.  I figure that’s alright though since you seem to talk amongst yourselves just fine without me.

A VERY persistent pattern over us.  Ridge of high pressure sits overhead through Friday, then gets beaten down by a pretty good shortwave trough that eventually moves through the Northwest Sunday.  Tough call on rain for Sunday.  Most likely a few sprinkles or a shower here & there.

The ridge may pop back up again after that, so I’ve "sunnied" up the forecast for next Monday-Wednesday.  Of course with 850mb temps around +5 to +9 instead of +17 (today), it’s going to be quite a bit cooler as we head into the first week of October.

By the way, I’m working on some graphics tonight for the annual WHAT WILL THE WINTER BE LIKE? meeting that the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society sponsors each Fall.  This year it’s going to be on October 20th, a Friday, 10am-Noon at OMSI’s auditorium.  I highly recommend you try to get there because it’s a real-life version of the constant winter discussion that takes place on this blog.  4 or 5 professionals will give their prognostication for the winter.  I don’t forecast for the winter, but start the presentation with a look back at the past year (and last winter).  The event is free and open to the public.

Tonight I’m working on that depressing snow chart that shows yearly snow at PDX for the last 130 years.  Wow…time to move to Spokane or Missoula if you want to see snow apparently. 

A couple of notes on the snow charts:

In December 1995 when the NWS installed the ASOS unit, snow observations stopped, then restarted a few years later.  Observations are now taken at the Airport AND Portland Forecast Office, about 4 miles ESE on 122nd Ave near Sandy Blvd.  I’ve kept track of both over the years, but sometimes measurements were incorrect or incomplete, especially in the late 1990’s.  One other note;  the NWS includes snow pellets, hail, & ice pellets (sleet) in the totals.  So some trace amounts may just be hail, but not snow…MarkPortlandsnow6years_1
Portlandsnow Corvallissnow

86 Responses to More Sun & Winter Meeting

  1. Justin says:

    Not to oppose Mark,but my ‘official’ PDX snowfall stats, while not much more impressive, are a bit different. Just wondering where he got his data from, because as far as I know these are the official PDX snowfall stats since the station became automated.
    This data is gathered from the Portland National Weather Service Office, April 1, 1996- April 30, 2006:
    2005-06- 1.9”
    2004-05- Trace
    2003-04- 12.2′
    2002-03- 0.0”
    2001-02- 0.6”
    2000-01- 0.1”

  2. Derek Hodges says:

    Ok how about this, we all wear watches on our right wrist. As far as I know almost everybody wears them on there left wrist for some reason. I WILL do that and other people should too.

  3. Derek Hodges says:

    Obviously snow is on the decline, and by that graph we will have had our last snow ever by 2015 or so lol. Not likely. I think we have just been in a bad cycle, probably will go up a little bit in the coming years I think. Not a lot but we are probably for at least the next 50 years have snow at least every couple years.

  4. salemphil says:

    I would love to go to that!!!! I may be able to make it since I don’t have classes that day but I will need to see if my buddy can watch a client of mine I caregive for. If I go I will let you all know. As far as being able to identify each other there, Maybe KPTV can make up some Weather Blog T-shirts we could all wear there. We would know who we all are and they would advertise LOL.

  5. Dmitri K says:

    I’m personally amazed that 2003-04 even happened.

  6. Sarah N. says:

    Damn, those snow totals are depressing to say the least.

  7. Dmitri K says:

    Is it me or does that site look just like the Jim Little site? Anyway that’s cool, I’ll definitely check it out during a major plains outbreak whenever that happens next.

  8. Justin says:

    BTW, here’s the all you need to know about storm chasing site
    Pretty good with a lot of updates and all of the best chasers posting there. I think it has a bit about tourist chasing trips/fees.

  9. Justin says:

    LOL. Its really sad when you think about how insanely stupid some people are, the ones who are ignorant of the dangers and especially the ones who are just going out of their way to be in the middle of all the action.
    Almost a bit surprisingly though, I don’t think any chasers have ever been killed on the job by the weather itself, just in car accidents. Knock wood on that one though.

  10. Dmitri K says:

    I think they also pay for their own motel stays so it does get pretty expensive. I think it ends up costing just as much as a regular vacation anywhere else would cost.

  11. Dmitri K says:

    My favorite chase videos are the ones where they show clueless, idiot motorists still driving down the highway when the chasers pull over despite the tornado being right there. I remember one where they pull over on a two lane highway and watch a tornado in front ready to cross the road about a half mile away. As they’re watching some car appears on the horizon driving toward them (RIGHT by the tornado), and passes them heading the opposite direction like nothing is happening. One of the chasers went “holy sh*t he just drove right through the wall cloud.”
    I thought it was hilarious.

  12. Justin says:

    Yeah Dmitri, that’s what I was referencing to. Every May I know a couple of the lifelong chasers take a few people for a week and sort of give them a training guide to chasing. Its a lot of money and always has the potnetial to bust, but it sounds like a pretty interesting experience. And with gas being so damned expensive nowadays I think it would be better to have somebody else filling up the tank.

  13. Justin says:

    Yeah, I’ve heard that the greatest danger of storm chasing is with moronic storm chasers who drive too fast trying to catch stuff and end up hydroplaning or just losing control. And seeing as I’m a total novice when it comes to storm chasing, I think it would be better to just go on a chaser tour with a real pro instead of getting myself killed.

  14. Dmitri K says:

    There are actually tourist “excursions” now for tornado watching. For something like $300 you literally get in a van with trained tornado chasers/meteorologists, and drive across three states hoping to catch something.

  15. Derek Hodges says:

    I really want to do that sometime…just don’t kill yourself. I have seen plenty of idiot’s videos of almost doing that.

  16. Dmitri K says:

    Boulder is a great area in general. Very hot relocation market too for that reason, one of the few Real Estate markets that is still doing well in the country at this point. Plenty of sunny days, never really too hot, never really gray for too long. And the fun stuff – thunderstorms, blizzards, extreme cold waves, extreme wind storms. Mmmmmm…

  17. Justin says:

    Yeah, they can get some good thunderstorms around there, hail included. Which reminds me I’m still preparing for a week out in th Plains some time next year, hoping of course to catch a few tornadoes.

  18. Derek Hodges says:

    Don’t forget the massive hailstorms among other things. 🙂 They average about 58inches a year of snow or something. Usually get severe hail either every year or every other year or something like that.

  19. Justin says:

    That book’s a nice read, good research in there and a lot of events, am glad I bought it.
    And Derek, so you’re going to the University of Colorado? Boulder’s a nice area btw, they get nice snow events and a lot of quick flash floods around there.

  20. Derek Hodges says:

    Hey thats what I was saying should happen this winter, and by should I mean I would like it too. Only better 😉

  21. Dmitri K says:

    My personal favorite is the all-time grand daddy of freak East wind storms – April 21-22, 1931. This one blew top soil from the Columbia basin all the way across the Cascades, spread it out over the Willamette Valley, over the Coast Range and over the Pacific where ships reported dust as thick as fog.
    Don’t know if you guys have read about this one, here is a nice account from the Oregon Weather Book –
    Scroll down to about page 4.

  22. Derek Hodges says:

    Don’t forget I say next winter will be a la nina, so whatever we don’t get this year we will next year. Too bad I will be gone to college. Oh well, where I am going it snows a lot. (First year in Salt Lake city, then Boulder for my other years.)

  23. Derek Hodges says:

    Lucky for me I had my windproof coat so I could laugh at people, aren’t I nice?? 🙂

  24. Derek Hodges says:

    I decided to look back at some of the old posts and now I remember something else. It was gusting sooo hard that my house was shaking..not visibly but during the big gusts things would rattle and stuff, it was cool lol.

  25. Justin says:

    Yeah, I remember there were garbage cans flying down the street that day, wasn’t pretty.

  26. Derek Hodges says:

    It was crazy windy at my house for sure during that. I remember my weights teacher made us go outside and help bring some bleachers inside, ahh!!!! lol

  27. Justin says:

    Yeah Droppin, glad to see others were impressed with that windstorm in February. I had gale forced gusts at my house for about 10 hours straight, was lucky my power wasn’t knocked out.

  28. Justin says:

    Speaking of east wind, PDX came close to that 60+ mark on February 10, 2006 this year. That was a crazy little downsloping storm, gusts just to my north topped 70mph. Very localized, but very intense classic little east wind. Wasn’t that enough for you guys? Last winter was actually pretty good for east winds, from the cold ones in December and the February 17 arctic outbreak to the big east windstorm I just talked about.
    I think when a true La Nina comes we’ll accomplish a couple of those things Derek. Haven’t had a potent La Nina since 2000, when we last had a pretty big Pacific windstorm in Portland.
    Also, we’re due for a really good rain event/Pineapple Express in Portland, although if you remember the mid 90’s you probably don’t miss them a bit. But its been a while since we’ve had a 2”+ rainstorm in Portland, we came close a few times last winter but January 29-31, 2003 was our last one, we average one every 2-4 winters so it seems more likely this year than anything else.
    Although I agree that we’re wavy overdue for a big windstorm, El Ninos typically throw the strongest stuff to our south and north and we generally just get clipped with crap.

  29. Derek Hodges says:

    I enjoyed them too, it was crazy stuff. Especially out at my school. It was so crazy windy that it was pushing me around like a hurricane or something. Hey didn’t weather channel actually send somebody to troutdale during the big storm? just wondering.

  30. Derek Hodges says:

    I am not saying those things will happen, I am saying we are due for them this year, or within a couple years.

  31. Droppin says:

    Lol I’ve always enjoyed it, but last year when we had the 2 significant actual east wind storms Ooooo that was fun! Hearing the 60+ mph gusts booming over the house, hearing the roar off to my east a few miles, then get closer and closer. I can’t wait! Lol.

  32. -100F says:

    lol Derek, I really hope your predictions come true. For some reason I am expecting a no snow/ Little snow year. I really hope I am wrong.

  33. Derek Hodges says:

    Droppin, I feel we both need help to get over our east wind obsession lol. I can’t wait for them, I hope a tree falls over next to my house from them, nobody gets hurt of course. 🙂

  34. Droppin says:

    1 thing we can guarantee, the east wind will be raging sooner than later. I can’t even begin to make any predictions as far as the winter goes regardless of a -PDO or not, but I’ll try. My feeling is the middle of December there will be snow chances, as well as Late January. Btw welcome back Jesse. I’m glad that situation was resolved.

  35. Derek Hodges says:

    Just to stir up discussion. Seriously, please comment haha. Here is what we are due for this winter and how likely it should be discounting “global warming will end it…etc”
    1. A below average temperature winter – Very High
    2. A strong windstorm – Very High
    3. A abnormaly wet water year. – Fairly High
    4. Above normal snowfall in Portland – Very High
    To go into more detail…
    What has it been 7 years since we had a below average winter, really last year was but Januray changed that, I think its becoming more unlikely that we have a warm winter, though my current forecast still says that. :p We are well overdue for a windstorm, we are getting to the point where its unusual to have gone this long without a 60+ storm at PDX. I believe the last one was like 95 or something, for a REAL one anyway. Thats almost 12 years ago, average is 8-10. Don’t be fooled last winter was wet, but we are only going to end up about 2 inches above normal for the year. Our last really wet water year was also 98-99 I believe. As far as snowfall goes, yes it is decreasing over time but its not like we are LA just yet. We still average several inches a year and after the last two nothing years we are due for another big one. Just thought I would note as Justin pointed out atmospheric conditions are converging into years with pattern where these things I mentioned were met. Years like 68/69, 94/95, 03/04. None of these fit perfectly of course but its better those years than 04/05 or the other super drought year. Now lets get some discussion rolling in here. 🙂

  36. Derek Hodges says:

    Perhaps I should write my forecast several hours before and post it at 12:00:00 just to beat you. The blog will tell who posted first though lol.

  37. Justin says:

    Hey -100, sounds like January 9, 1880. I could go for that in October.
    And yes, the snow stats are pretty depressing so I try not to think about them too much. The more you think about it the more you want to move to Welches or anywhere on Mt. Hood.
    One day I may even move out to Stevenson or Hood River, they get the best of both worlds out there.

  38. Justin says:

    Hmmm…. I’ll wear a red bandana and a 1977 Bill Walton jersey. I’ll be the reddest guy in the room.
    I’ll try and go, I’ve known about these conferences for several years now but until today I didn’t know that they were free to the public. Sounds like Mark is going, I’d bet George Taylor, Matt Zaffino, Jim Little, maybe Drew or Rod Hill will all be there. Sounds like a great experience.
    Oh, and I’ll try and beat you with the forecast and have mine down for exactly midnight on the 12th, lol.
    And that blog ‘1st snow of 2006-07 contest’ is still up and running, I want to see Mark’s guess.

  39. -100F says:

    I am predicting a cyclonic snow system to roll into the Northwest early next week. I predict the 850mb temps to be -20c and temps in PDX close to zero. East winds should be 75-100 mph. Atleast 30 inches should fall down to sea level.
    jk, im just bored and upset after looking at the amount of snow fall we have gotten in the past few years. ..

  40. Justin says:

    Also, in case anyone’s wondering, last night I got down to 45. Pretty chilly considering we have a stagnant ridge on top of us, and considering the NWS forecasted 52 for me. Tonight I’m expecting more of the same, and that freeze next week is starting to look more likely.

  41. Derek Hodges says:

    Just for the heck of it my very final outlook will come out the same day Justin. My true feelings support a little more than I am currently gunning for and not just hope feelings but actual research. We will see if I keep those ideas by October 12th but I thought I would throw that out. Justin if you go, how will you distinguish yourself? I still don’t know for sure what I will do but I would really like to meet some of my friends I have never seen before lol.

  42. Justin says:

    Also Mark, depressing as our snow totals are, it gets so much more depressing when you see the past snowfall totals.
    Here we used to be comparable to Philly and NYC, and nowadays we get excited over a half inch of snow. I’m willing to bet that from 1850-1980 the very spot I’m living at now used to average a solid 20-24” of snow a winter.

  43. Justin says:

    Ouch, I don’t know if I can make it that day. I’ll have to check my schedule, but Fridays are work days for me and 10am-noon is honestly the worst possible time. Perhaps I’ll stop by during lunch, I’m sure everyone’ll be there. I expect a full report though.
    Anywho, my own winter outlook will come out on the best day of the year, October 12 (Columbus Day of course, 44th anniversary of our typhoon), so it’ll be interesting to see if their thoughts coincide with mine.
    BTW Derek, I can give you lots of info on some winter forecasts over the next couple of weeks as they become more frequent.
    Here’s one from WSI Energycast just released forecasting a cold, or ‘cool’ winter due in part to the -PDO
    I’ll say this, though trend says otherwise, a -PDO with an active Southern Jet storm track could be the best case scenario for snow lovers this winter. It would give us many more opportunities for nice snowstorms, and increase my expectations for this winter greatly. I still can see the 1968-69/1992-93/1994-95 solution verifying, so at least this winter may be one with some potential.
    My money says its a 2004-05 repeat though… at best (at least I had some snow in January 2005).

  44. Mat says:

    Or just move to Minnesota. Anyways, whats up everyone? I’ll be at Omsi that day, and I’ll wear camo hat,,,,, anyone else?

  45. Derek Hodges says:

    Its ok Mark, we..sob..sniffle..will get over it…lol I firmly belive this is the last week with much above 80 degree temps for the year. It wouldn’t surprise me if we didn’t hit it again.
    As far as winter things go I can’t remember if I mentioned this but down at the station Rod was having me look up “big name” winter forecasts and just for fun I put mine on the bottom. Slightly warmer and drier than average but with snow a very good bet in December. As well as a wind storm risk being above average in Nov-Jan.
    I happen to have school off that day so I will probably go to that thing, I also suggest some of you come along. Maybe we should all have something a certain color so we can recognize people from the blog. Like a red wrist band or something haha.

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