Another Year Gone…

December 31, 2007

SnapshotSnapshot2A bunch of Portland weather geeks got together at the NWS on Saturday…here is their group picture.  Now you can put a few faces with names that regularly appear in the comments.  Sorry I couldn’t make it, I had walls to paint and trim to nail.  But what a motley crew eh?  You can click on the picture for the full resolution.

Well, we are just a few hours away from the year 2008, but I really don’t have much to be sad about.  2007 treated me well and I hope/pray for more of the same this upcoming year.
I did learn something today;  DON’T park in front of a sign that says "Don’t Park In Front of This Gate!" .  Let me explain…

I woke up to beautiful sunshine early (for me) at 7:30 or so.  With fresh snow on the ground and much more a thousand feet up, I figured it was early in the day or never for some quick X-Country skiing.  I headed up Larch Mtn. Road east of Corbett, made it to where the snow was just scraping the bottom of my Subaru, and found a spot to park off the road and out of the way.  In front of the aforementioned gate.  Not a soul in sight, blue skies, and a couple feet of snow on the ground, what could be better?  Of course no loggers are going to work on New Year’s Eve Day with all that snow on the ground right?  Nah…so I enjoyed the skiing for an hour or so, came back down and saw my car had been moved (with alarm on) about 20 feet.  There were 3-4 pickups and some irritated-looking guys standing around.  Oops…well, turns out they were real nice guys and didn’t see the need to call the towing company.  Instead they plowed out the turnaround area and we talked weather (of course).  That was pretty generous considering what an idiot I was parking on the road to their operation.  So I have to give a shout-out to Tim Baker (Baker Logging) and I think it was Daniels Logging from the Aims/Sandy area for not crumpling my car with their bulldozer.

Now, on to weather…pretty slow, for about 36 more hours.  High pressure settling into the Intermountain region means gusty east wind is now blowing through the Gorge and spreading out through the metro area.  It has pretty much eliminated the fog & low clouds.  I notice lower dewpoints are even spreading south down the valley too, so other than high clouds, we have a bright, mostly sunny day for January 1st.

The cold front offshore is weakening as it moves in Wednesday morning before daybreak.  This one is much warmer than any in the last week, so it’s all rain west of the Cascades with a snow level up around 4,000′.  Above maybe 500′ at the west end of the Gorge and from Bonneville Dam out east at river level, it’ll be freezing rain or snow, more likely snow.  Probably a quick couple inches early Wednesday morning.  The flow never goes westerly later Wednesday or Thursday for that matter, so the cool air is going to get trapped in the Gorge through that period.  So this setup is not cold enough to get freezing rain out to Troutdale, but cold enough to make a mess in the Gorge itself.  Watch out if you’re traveling through there on Wednesday.

Back to wet & windy Thursday-early next week.  I notice two things.  As of the 12z/18zruns, several deep surface lows track south to north WELL offshore, similar to the big coastal windstorm early this month.  The first two have quite a southeasterly gradient;  not much strong  wind in the valleys.  The other is starting Saturday:  Back to cold/wet onshore flow.  Snow levels will probably come down into the hills again on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday.  So our wet La Nina pattern is going to continue…enjoy the sun tomorrow.

Don’t forget, if you’re bored and have nothing to do, come on out to the Oregon Zoo at 11am tomorrow and watch the weather guys in town get their hind ends frozen in the polar bear pool!  Mark Nelsen