Frustrating Forecasts

January 27, 2008

SnapshotWhat an interesting day it has been.  For the first 14 hours of the day, a stationary front and it’s associated steady, heavy precipitation was draped across Northwest Oregon.  The back (western) edge of this snow-producing band was along a line from Troutdale to Salem to Corvallis.  All areas east and south of that line had significant accumulations of snowfall.  In fact it WAS the big snowstorm of the winter for those spots.  It was probably the heaviest snow in years for Lebanon, Sweet Home, & Albany.  Maybe Sandy too.  At my home in Corbett it was the heaviest snow since the 2004 Ice/snow storm.  BUT, east of that line we’ve seen little to no precipitation now for 12 hours!  Does everyone realize that if the back edge would have been 25 miles back to the west, we would have had FIRST LIVE LOCAL weather coverage all day???  The 5" of snow that "no one predicted" would have been the refrain.  Once again location is everything.

Radar shows showers still moving onshore, but they are weak and not really making it over the Coast Range.  That’s too bad since we now have the coolest atmosphere overhead and it’s cold enough to snow anywhere inland.  That’s why I’ve taken out references to elevation in my forecast graphics.  Which reminds me…didn’t I go on a rant in Friday’s blog about forecasting the snow level (200, 300, 500′)?  Today illustrates the point perfectly.  No snow at 1,000′ in the West Hills, yet 5.5" at 300′ in Mulino.  Always remember that snow level is not only dependent on temperature, but precipitation intensity as well.

Moving on…I see no reason that we’ll get anything other than light flurries overnight, EXCEPT for one thing.  The insistence by models that the weak surface low moving down the Washington coastline will be over PDX about daybreak as it weakens.  There should be some lift with this feature, plus no wind of any sort to screw things up.  That tells me that even a few brief showers will turn things white.  That’s how I get my forecast of a Trace-2".  If we don’t get at least white ground by morning, then I’ll admit defeat for this weekends big "BEST CHANCE FOR SNOW IN THE CITY YET" promotion on my Friday weathercast.  I was pretty wound up about the chances.

After tomorrow morning, I don’t see a situation quite as good temp-wise through the next 5 days or so.  The amount of snow at/above 1,500′ is going to be incredible a week from now!  But it’s going to be tough to get the snow level much below 1,000′.  Lots of south wind and no arctic air involved.  Of course tomorrow evening’s system will move moving into our already-chilled airmass, so it’ll be close again.  Most likely a lot of snow in the air, but only sticking up around 1,000′.

On another note, I notice a lot of bitterness, angry words, and general crankiness on the blog today.  It’s obvious that we’re all tired of the "near-misses".  But remember that we all read (or write) on this blog because we have the same interest in weather.  I suggest taking a break for a day or two.  Hard to believe, but you CAN get burned out on weather.  It happens to me after several long days of active weather.  Pray for a Trace to 2"!

One more thing, to many of you this blog has become a place to "hang out" weatherwise.  I appreciate the help that you provide to me as well.  There have been many times this winter where I read the comments quickly during a newscast to see who’s getting what.  Thanks again. …Mark Nelsen

Snow Totals Sunday & Monday

January 27, 2008

As of 8pm Sunday (Condensed from comments):

18.0" Cascade Locks (200′)

6.5" Corbett (1050′)

8.0" Sandy (850′)

5.0" Cherryville (900′)

4.5" Estacada (500′)

9.0" Estacada (1,000′?)

10.5" Beavercreek (1,100′)

10" Colton (1,000′)

5.5" Mulino (300′)

3.0" Molalla (500′?)

4.0" S. Salem (500′)

3.5" Stayton (500′?)

4.0" Albany (300′)

1.0" Corvallis (300′)


6.0" Sweet Home (580′)

6.0" Eugene (400′)

Keep adding to the comments if you have other totals or yours increases by more than 1"

Snow depth, location, and elevation if you know it.