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February 28, 2008

SnapshotToday was the  warmest day so far this season…63 at PDX.  Just barely within my 3 degree margin of error (I forecast 60)…whew!

The well advertised strong cold front is still on track to arrive Friday evening.  This should finally give us a brief soaking.  We really haven’t had significant rain in almost 3 weeks.  Hard to believe…but the same thing happened back in 2005 as well.  We had about a 3 week period of unusually warm weather ending in mid-March.  Then it rained off/on for about 5 weeks.

I’ve got a day off tomorrow, so the next post won’t be until Monday.  Enjoy the weekend…Mark Nelsen

A Forecast Bust

February 27, 2008

SnapshotWell, what a way to screw up a forecast…a beautiful day with temperatures up around 60 degrees in late February is a "10" in my book.

This afternoon’s cold front just fell apart as it crossed overhead.  No rainfall was recorded west of the Cascades as far as I know.  Then the mixing with light southerly wind pushed temperatures up nicely.

Tonight we just have high clouds streaming across the region.  The next cold front, which will be significantly stronger, arrives Friday evening.  That gives us a great day tomorrow, then mostly dry again Friday.

I noticed several of you commenting on the sunspots (or lack of them).  I saw something similar a few weeks ago and find it fascinating.  What if we ARE headed towards a Maunder Minimum…wouldn’t that be a surprise!   This is another reason to keep an open mind about climate issues.  Mark Nelsen

Plenty of Snow

February 26, 2008

SnapshotIt’s snow survey time up in the mountains again here at the end of the month.  I could tell by the file date that I used this same graphic on January 31st.  A bit more snow fell in early February, but since then the shovels have been more or less put away up in the mountains.  I see this site in the Bull Run Watershed has gone from 348% of normal to 288%.  But the depth and amount of water in the snowpack hasn’t changed much (water increased a bit).  That means very little melting has occurred above the foothills in the Cascades.  So our big winter snowpack is just sitting up there waiting to supply us with irrigation, power, and drinking water later this Spring.

Not a whole lot of snow coming up in the Cascades the next few days, but Friday-Sunday do look quite a bit cooler with a significant cold trough swinging through.   Mark Nelsen

Mild Weather Continues

February 25, 2008

SnapshotWell, I figure it’s probably time to call it a winter for PDX snowfall.  Since 1971, we’ve only had recorded snow at PDX once this late in the season.  That was March 1989 in the first few days of the month.  Considering there is no cold air in the 7-10 day maps…we’re done.

For those of you living above the city, there’s no reason you couldn’t still get an inch or two (or more).  That could happen into late March with a cold northwesterly flow…showers behind a cold front.  Remember March 2005?

Nice and mild again today, high of 55 at PDX was above average.  Tomorrow looks real nice with light easterly flow, a frontal system well offshore, and warming atmosphere overhead.  Should be another 60 degree (or at least near 60 degree) day.

Mark Nelsen

A Nice Weekend!

February 22, 2008

SnapshotThis images sums up the 7 Day forecast quite well.  It’s the 6-10 day forecast of 500mb anomalies.  Click on it to get a less blurry view.  You’ll see a ridge centered right over us and the rest of the West Coast.  This ridge builds behind the California storm this weekend.  So very little (or no) rain will fall this upcoming Monday-Friday workweek.

As for this weekend, tomorrow is looking real nice with strong offshore flow developing on the north side of the California Low.  It doesn’t really kick in until the afternoon, so we may have lingering clouds in the morning.  850mb. temps aren’t all that warm, so I don’t think it’ll be a 60 degree day.

The lingering moisture and a sort of deformation band moves north into Oregon tomorrow night and Sunday.  I changed the Sunday forecast to mostly dry based on 00z models keeping almost all the rain with this to our south and east.  The farther south and east you go this weekend, the better chance for rain.  This will be one of those rare times where Astoria and the North Coast will be the driest spot in the region.
It’ll be in the last week of February…so the combination of warm 850mb temps, some offshore flow, and increasing sun angle could easily push us well into the 60’s…a true taste of spring on the way!  Mark Nelsen

Hard to Find Rain

February 21, 2008

SnapshotAnother slow weather night.  I sure didn’t think we’d have a quiet February weatherwise in a La Nina winter. 
Tonight’s system only gave us a trace of rainfall, and now I see our RPM model shows very few showers tomorrow.
A nice break Saturday, just like today, as a stronger system moves into California.  We get those leftovers Sunday.
The big picture shows a split in the Jet or a ridge along the West Coast through the end of the month (next Friday).  So it appears February is going to be a dry month….Mark Nelsen

The Big Solar Eclipse Is Coming!

February 20, 2008

Moon_eclipseJan Landis from N.E. Portland sent us this nice montage of "pre-totality" shots tonight.  The Lunar Eclipse was total between 7 & 8 pm.  If you missed it, next chance is in just a bit less than 3 years…December 2010.

(borrowed from late August 2007 posting)

For many years I’ve been anticipating "the big one" here in the Northwest.  Just 10 years away now, the  Total Solar Eclipse of August 2017 will turn the sun completely dark for around 2 minutes in the late morning on a summer day.  The path will cross from around Lincoln City to Salem to Madras to Ontario as it races east at many hundreds of miles per hour.  NOTE TO FUTURE BOSS:  I plan to take the day off from work.  I was 10 years old when we had the one in 1979.  And it was cloudy west of the Cascades during that eclipse in February.

Mark Nelsen