A New Weather Book

October 31, 2008

MASWEA I just found out about a new book related to Pacific Northwest Weather today.  The details are here.

Cliff Mass, the author, is a well-known expert in our weather, especially the Puget Sound area.  He was my favorite professor back when I was at the University of Washington (way back in 1990!).  That program had a very heavy emphasis on research and graduate work back then.  But Cliff was one of the few professors who seemed to actually love the day to day weather like we do.  Many hours were spent listening to his thoughts on upcoming weather patterns in the map room.  For you young kids, we actually used to hang maps on the wall because computers were a bit slow and cumbersome for displaying maps quickly.  It was like that until only 8-10 years ago!  

It was during Cliff's synoptic map-drawing class, when two of us (me and Steve Abarta) sighted the 1991 Kitsap County Tornado.  I was actually staring out the window not paying attention.  I'm easily distracted by the way.  Hard to believe that the only tornado I've ever seen was in the middle of Seattle DURING a meteorology class.  I haven't read his book yet, but I'm sure it'll be full of good info for both "normal" folks and those of us that track weather closely.

As for weather, looks like we just barely avoided the rain during prime trick or treat hours.  A band of showers has been moving across the around between 9 and 10pm tonight.  Lots more to follow the next week or more.  November is going to come it just as it should…Mark Nelsen


Early Morning Update….From Rob Martin

OK Good Morning all, I am just giving a quick little morning update.  There is a Winter Weather Advisory in Effect Until 4pm Today … INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…GOVERNMENT CAMP…DETROIT.. SANTIAM PASS…MCKENZIE BRIDGE…OAKRIDGE…WILLAMETTE PASS.. COLDWATER RIDGE VISITORS CENTER…MOUNT ST. HELENS -NWS

Expect rain for most of the day turning to showers this evening here in the Metro Area with highs around 50. Tonight we will see a low near 45, leading us into tomorrow with more showers and a High of 50. The snow level will continue to drop, 4500' this afternoon, 3500' tomorrow afternoon. Expect snow falling up on Mt. Hood above pass levels today, down to pass level tomorrow.  We have a crew up at Timberline this morning and there is SNOW on the ground and falling from the sky right now(7:15AM)!!!  The road up there is only wet up to Govt Camp, turning to snow after you turn on to the Timberline Road.  Happy Trails, Rob Martin

Here Comes the Rain

October 30, 2008

SnapshotDrew was definitely the winner and I am no longer the weather master at FOX-12, for at least a day or two.  Refer to the previous post for details…solid cloud cover the entire day today with a "watery sun" at best.  Temps only made it into the upper 50's across most of the metro area, yet warm air has been right above our heads all day.  That is surfacing nicely in a few spots this evening as easterly and southeasterly flow increases.  Notice Newport and Troutdale temps at 9pm?  Lower 60s in those spots.  I see mid 60's now at Sandy and Estacada!  Too bad we couldn't get that when the sun was actually up!  I'm raising tonight's low temp forecast to 50 degrees, basically thinking that only rainfall will cool us down to that temperature.

A nice break still on tap for tomorrow afternoon for the little kids.  We will be between tonight's wave of moisture and Saturday's more organized system.  You can see the center of that one getting organized near 145W/40N.  A general easterly surface flow will continue all the way through Saturday night.  Each wave moving by (one west of Cape Blanco right now) will increase outflow through the Gorge, then the wind should relax a bit.  I sure didn't expect gusts near 50 mph at the west end of the Gorge this evening, but November is only 1 day away, so it's not too hard to do this time of year.

Lots of rain in the 7 Day forecast.  Quite a bit later Saturday through Monday, then a good slug of moist and mild southwesterly flow later Wednesday through Friday.  It's definitely looking like November on the weather maps…Mark Nelsen

Rain on the Way

October 29, 2008

Snapshot A quiet evening out there…I made a quick trip to a very large warehouse store to buy a very large pumpkin pie for the crew (and me of course).  Exciting life that I lead…

What a nightmare for forecasting today.  Those of you on the east side think we overdid the cloud forecast, those on the west side of town wondered why it took until 2-3pm for the clouds to dissipate.  By sunset the clouds were just barely clearing all the way down near Salem!  Looks like fog is now developing over parts of the Willamette Valley.  McMinnville has some mist at 8pm.

Quite a forecast debate in the weather center tonight.  I want to go partly cloudy at worst because I have a "feeling" that the clouds will be thin and high tomorrow.  Couple that with easterly surface flow and mild southerly flow just above, and I figure we have a 65 degree day.  Drew (and current IR satellite imagery) says a pretty solid high cloud cover tomorrow with highs only in the lower 60's at best.  No libations are bet on this, just my pride, and the chance for Drew to say I TOLD YOU SO for 8 hours tomorrow afternoon & evening.  We're staying with my forecast mainly because we don't want to change something like 10 different graphics.

Easier forecast for Friday and beyond…WET!  It sure doesn't really look stormy or exceedingly wet at least through the beginning of next week.  Remember the 1st week of November 2006?  Something like 5-6" of rain in the metro area and glacial outburst flooding on Mt. Hood.  A low of 63 degrees one day too!  Mark Nelsen

Bright Fall Colors

October 28, 2008

DSC_6427  Don Best from Rockaway sent me this picture today.  He's a prolific photographer.  There are several other photos in the photo album to the left.  It's been a great Autumn for colors, possibly due to the consistently chilly nights and warm days?  I'm not an arborist, so I don't know, but I do know that I have been able to get outside regularly before work most mornings since Labor Day.  I don't think we've had more than 3 days in a row that were wet or cloudy this season.  I got quite a bit done at home the last few days with just perfect weather.  Part of that included keeping a close eye on an old still smoking slash burn pile on property right next to mine.  It never got beyond that, but I was a bit nervous early Sunday morning when I could see sparks being blown around by the east wind!

Moving on…a weak upper-level disturbance is passing over the middle of Oregon right now.  It's headed off to the northeast…too bad it isn't July because it would have been a prolific thunderstorm producer.

A weak cold front is gradually approaching from the west, but models say it never reaches us due to a new and deep upper-level trough developing in the eastern Pacific around 140W.  This trough sends waves of moisture along with surface lows north around 130-135W Thursday and Friday.  That's too far west to give good southerly gradient along the Coast, but is close enough to turn as back into easterly low-level flow over the metro area from tomorrow evening through Saturday.  IF we get significant sunshine Thursday, the combination of that easterly low-level flow and warm southerly flow above could push our temps up close to 70 degrees.  That's near record territory.  Too much cloud cover though and we stay in the low-mid 60s.

It still looks like November starts just like it should…wet.  I don't see any big & windy storms early next week, but compared to the last few weeks it looks much more active…Mark Nelsen

Lets See Some Snow…and Rain in the Valley

October 28, 2008


Good early morning all.  So the weak upper level trough is moving a bit to the north, into our area this afternoon into tomorrow.  This will affect the coast cloud layer a bit, with morning fog and cloudy skies for the day before it moves inland on Wednesday.  I don’t see a strong chance of precip with it before the ridge rebuilds as the trough moves east.  It’s a quick move.  As Halloween comes we will see a long filament trough move in, pushing the ridge out of the area, creating a wet forecast.  (I also see a hint of a cut off low and kicker trough set up, up stream…yay).  Yesterday it looked like we might see some showers late Thursday, but now I think it will hold off just in time for trick-or-treating. 

I am happy to see the possibility of snow for the cascades late this weekend into early next week.  I am getting the ski jitters! -Rob Martin

Winter Weather (and Chemtrails)

October 24, 2008

Snapshot  Well, it was good to meet a bunch of you at the meeting today.  I caught a few others out of the corner of my eye but we can't all talk to everyone.  A good meeting with lots of info. 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I get the impression this is one of those years that no one REALLY has a good idea of what might happen.  No El Nino, no La Nina.  No clear signal of any sort except that it's been a dry Fall so far.  You can check out the presentations on the Oregon AMS Meetings Page.  I did the first presentation, looking back on a year of exciting weather.  Lots of interesting graphs and charts, some of which you've seen on this blog in the past year.  You can find that on the same page or right here.  

The highlight for me was a woman asking (in front of 160 people) what I thought of the government cover up of chemtrails.  I instantly received a headache and thought of Art Bell.  Don't get me wrong, I watched almost every episode of the X-Files and, (farther back), might believe that there may yet be brothers of man who even now fight to survive somewhere beyond the heavens…but please, no chemtrails!!!

All in all there were good times today!  It's possible that next year's meeting will be on a Saturday, which would probably work much better for lots of you that have non-weather jobs and can't get out of work.

Slow weather this weekend, no changes.  Dying front sags over us later tonight and tomorrow, then strong offshore flow Sunday and Monday.  MAYBE some rain late next week, so enjoy the sunshine this weekend.  It'll give you a chance to read up on the latest in Government Secrecy too…Mark Nelsen

Big Meeting Tomorrow!

October 23, 2008

Snapshot Just a little graphic to whet your appetite for the winter weather meeting tomorrow.  Don't forget that any member of the public is welcome to come to the OMSI Auditorium (right side of building as you enter) from 10am to Noon tomorrow.  It's the 16th Annual WHAT WILL THE WINTER BE LIKE meeting, sponsored by the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society and OMSI.  This is always the biggest meeting of the year for the Oregon AMS.  What is it?  I start with a presentation showing the different weather events of the past year, then 4 or 5 prognosticators take a stab at a winter forecast.  This is one meeting in which I have no idea what they are going to say.  We have no El Nino or La Nina now or forecast…so it's a La Nada year right?  Sounds like we should roll the dice.  The meeting is FREE, which is always a good draw.  And you'll get to meet lots of other weather professionals along with weather geeks (like us).  It's good to put faces to names as well.  For those of you that can't make it, I'll try to get my presentation online tomorrow evening.

Not a whole lot going on weatherwise, one weak system moved through today, another late tomorrow, then a strong upper-level ridge of high pressure moves overhead late in the weekend and early next week.  I think we'll be pushing that 70 degree temperature mark again Sunday and Monday…Mark Nelsen