That Darn Marine Layer

September 18, 2008

1996_IceStorm Now that cooler weather has arrived, I can finally start thinking about the upcoming winter…even though it's still at least 2 months away.  In between we have lots of gray skies and plenty of boring weather.  So…anyone know what year and ice storm this picture is from?  It can be found on the NWS home page.  Answer at the end.

A very tough forecast day with a much thicker marine layer than anticipated.  Looks like the cool air was about 3,000' thick.  I see Wanderer's Peak at midafternoon was 77 degrees (at 4400'), while at the same time the Willamette Valley below was lingering near 60.  This was quite a strong inversion which was tough to break.  I'm anticipating the approaching upper-level trough to the southwest along with cooling in the upper atmosphere will allow a return to sunshine tomorrow afternoon…or at least that's the plan.  Either way the temperature damage has been done.  We went from 90 to 80 to 63 in just 48 hours.  Instant Fall!  Looks like the cool weather is going to stick around through at least Monday.  I notice a trend of the 00z models is to just give us drips of rain Sunday/Monday, instead of a good soaking.

There seems to be some sort of longwave ridging returning to the West Coast Tuesday and beyond, but details are different on each model run.  The 12z/18z GFS and 12z ECMWF were nice and warm with 850 mb temps back up around 10-12.  That would push highs back into the mid 70s.  00z GFS is flatter with even some rainfall Wednesday.  Hopefully future model runs don't flatten the ridging even further.  Mark Nelsen

The date of the picture?  It was from those rare back to back ice storms between Christmas and New Year's Eve…1996.  At the west end of the Gorge where I lived there was just about 6" of solid ice on the windward side of objects, which included school buses tipping sideways and trees down all over the place.  The first storm was Christmas Night and the 26th, the 2nd was 2 days later, before the ice from the first had melted.  I remember during the night of the 2nd storm it was 23 in Corbett with sheets of rain coming down, while the wind was gusting to 60+ mph.  That was a wild night!