December Starts Warm

Meadows_12_01_08 Nice image for September isn't it?  This is the base of Mt. Hood Meadows on December 1st.  There SHOULD be a decent amount of snow at this spot (5,400') this time of year, but apparently the ski season is going to start quite late this season.

Before anyone gets too worked up though, remember what happened the winter of 1989-1990.  Very little or no snow fell at pass elevations through the ENTIRE month of December.  Government Camp officially received no snow that month;  the only snowless December on record there.  Then precipitation arrived right around January 1st and the floodgate (or skies) opened up.  Frequent storms moved in for most of the following 6 weeks.  At the same elevation as the picture above (Mt. Hood Test Site), the water in the snowpack went from 7.40" to 31.30" in the month of January.  About 23" of melted precipitation fell, raising the 18" on the ground January 1st up to 105" at the end of the month.  The point is, that the very slow start to the ski season sure doesn't mean it'll be a bad year.  Of course that's what happened in 2000-2001, so who knows?

For the rest of us, the clear message on the short and long range weather maps is slow, slow, slow and boring, boring, boring.  More fog, sun, and occasional east wind.  The first ten days of December are going to be uneventful.  But we can always hope that the arctic blast of the decade is just 5 days after that right?  All I really want is a freeze.  I still have not hit freezing at my home up at 1,000'.  I've had frost on the deck a few times, but only 33 degrees.  None of my plants show any sort of frost damage.  The banana plants are still green and nasturtiums are still growing slowly.  I started early today (8am) and visited four schools down the Valley.  Mt. Angel, S. Salem, Scio, and N. Salem were the stops and then it was back to Beaverton for work.  So it's time to go home, I'll leave the evening forecast in the capable hands of Drew Jackson…heck, maybe I'll even hop on the blog when the 00z comes in just for fun…Mark Nelsen

71 Responses to December Starts Warm

  1. Mat the Salmon Killer says:

    Hey Rob, I think you’ll like the PDX forecast discussion for the east winds Thursday

  2. Brian in Bellingham says:

    And here is more hope. The PNA is forecast (for now) to go negative. For those who don’t know, in a nutshell when the PNA is positive, we have high pressure in the west, and there is a trough in the east, so they get the cold. It is like that now. When it is negative, we have a trough, which could allow for cold air to get down here, under the right circumstance.

  3. mike from orchards says:

    Lets forget the models! Lets go back to good “old time” weather prediction…Just look up at the sky…is it raining/snowing?…cold?…cloudy?…etc……Lets get those ‘ole ship reports at sea including the famed “Columbia River lightship” and the coastal bar conditions….Just kiddin’…but it was fun in those days to just rely on “weather instincts”………..

  4. Andrew Johnson (Silverton) says:

    November wrap up
    Temp Dep. Precip Dep.
    Astoria +3.3 +.99
    Eugene +3.3 -4.46
    Portland +3.4 -1.46
    Salem +2.6 -2.77
    Hillsboro +1.0 -1.43
    Pendleton +2.4 -.23
    Meachem +5.2 -1.07
    Baker City +2.4 -.22
    Burns +4.9 -.32

  5. Andrew Johnson (Silverton) says:

    Mark, the pain is real…We need hope! That is crazy…I’m guessing that if we don’t drop below that this evening that it would be a record.

  6. Aloha Rainshadow (Formerly Luvry in tanasbourne) says:

    Rob, there are some DEFINITE signs something could hit us mid december…
    The models have shown this off and on first of all.
    THE AO is forecast to go negative, teague sent me this link…

    Also, the PNA is forecast to go Negative around that time as well which bodes well for us.
    Guess we’ll see, maybe a sideswipe we didn’t see coming.

  7. Mark Nelsen says:

    Did anyone notice that the low for PDX was only 50???
    We didn’t even make it down to our normal high of 47!

  8. Andrew Johnson (Silverton) says:

    I’m sitting at 56 degrees right now…Somebody make it stop!!!!

  9. weathergirl - colton - 1000 ft says:

    It could be worse… I have a friend flying through Denver today and I just checked the weather – it is 71 degrees!!! Of course, life on the Rockies is fun – they will have snow overnight….

  10. blowmedown says:

    Amen Rob. We need to wait toward the 22nd-28th of December before anything remotely interesting STARTS TO HAPPEN !!!!

  11. Heisson Rob (BG Lake) says:

    Something like this Rob? –
    “You are getting sleepy… Your computer screens are getting heavy… These are not the models you’re looking for… When I snap my fingers, you’ll awaken, and think that it’s snowed outside”

  12. Dr. Rob -Far S.E. Portland- says:

    Just today it hit me….
    I am starting to get a real sense that the models are lulling us all to sleep…. Which they really are. Run after run of boredom. Forget cold/snow/Arctic air we can’t even get a trend or model agreement for a pattern change. ANY pattern change. So I think as time wears on this is occurring. Until the middle of December and then the pattern changes. Probably initially NW flow giving us progressively cooler weather systems. Valley rains and mountain snows. Then near/after Christmas the bottom drops out. The door is open from Siberia into far eastern Alaska and eventually pushing SSE into Yukon Territory and British Columbia/Alberta. Amplified ridging around 148-153 W pushing and nosing NNE into Alaska is the culprit bringing down strong N to NE flow delivering modified then true Arctic air into northern/eastern Washington flooding southward.
    Well this all sounds good, right?

  13. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    Which is unfortunate because the 00Z has been one of the worst runs for cold air the last few days.

  14. Aloha Rainshadow (Formerly Luvry in tanasbourne) says:

    Gidrons, the GFS gets new data from weather balloons at the 00z, I believe it also gets info from the balloons on the 12z, but not 100% of the time. The 06z and the 18z get info from previous model runs and a couple other factors but not the raw incoming data from the weather balloons, etc…as far as I know.
    The 06z and 18z have always been considered the least reliable as far as accuracy goes but in recent years have made substantial improvements catching up to the 00z and 12z in reliability.
    Still though, in my eyes, this is how you want to look at accuracy, 00z, 12z, 06z, 18z in that order,(the last two being somewhat interchangeable), IMO.

  15. Andrew Johnson (Silverton) says:

    Another very warm day for December. At least the GFS long term gives us basically normal conditions, right now I’d take that. The 06z was awful.

  16. Brian in Bellingham says:

    Well then why do they look at the Meteostar website, which is apparantly the same thing? True, it does show thicknesses and heights, but is no more accurate then accuweather.
    One of these days the models will get it right. I know there are predictions of a retrogression of the ridge in a couple of weeks. We shall see.

  17. Ian *Longview* says:

    a lot of people dont like accuweather, cause it almost always has snow in the 15 day forecast. its just not a good site for looking at forecasts.

  18. Gidrons says:

    What is the data that gets fed into the GFS that it spits out such radically different models every 6 hours? Is this the same computer that does the BCS ranking?

  19. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    Err… Ready would be read. 🙂

  20. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    The 12Z is…
    Drum roll!!!
    …Nothing special! Does away with ridging long term and at least brings cool air (-3) inside of hour 240.
    MeteoStar I’m pretty sure is raw GFS forecast data. However, the difference between AccuWeather and MeteoStar is pretty icons that make it easy to ready. The MeteoStar extracted text is just that text that not everyone can read.

  21. Brian in Bellingham says:

    The Euro model is indeed updated 2X per day. At 11AM and 11PM.
    Does anyone know what exactly the MeteoStar forecast is? I am guessing it is just the raw numbers from the GFS, in which case, that is what Accuweather does. For some reason, everyone puts down Accuweather here, but as far as I can tell, Meteostar does the exact same thing, except for it lists heights, etc.

  22. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    The accuweather site is a pretty solid resource for seeing what the GFS is predicting short and long term. I know just enough to understand most the GFS & MRF models.
    I can’t read a Euro model to save my life.
    I think they only update the 15-day forecast 2x a day though.

  23. wendy-silverlake,wa says:

    I know that nobody on here likes Acuweather much, but for people who don’t know how to read the charts its great to be able to see what you are all talking about. Anyways, I’ve noticed now that since December 10th has shown on the 15 day, it has always showed snow. That is reasuring that maybe something will happen. Usually they put snow in and take it away the next day, but it hasn’t gone away and hasn’t changed dates. Could winter be starting??????????? One can only hope.

  24. Brian in Bellingham says:

    Either Jacob reads Ed Berry’s blog, or he has seen the long term Euro weeklies (like Brett Anderson did).
    Just to refresh your memories from the last thread, here is what the Euro weeklies showed, according to Anderson:
    Dec. 8-14
    Normal temperatures and slightly below-normal precipitation across British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest.
    Dec. 15-21
    -Well below-normal temperatures from eastern Alaska and the Yukon Territory through the Northwest Territories, down into the Prairies and into the northern U.S. Plains and Midwestern United States. Generally drier than normal in northern and western part of this region, but frequent clipper storms could lead to normal snowfall from Saskatchewan to the Midwestern United States.
    Dec. 22-28
    –Bitterly cold (well below normal) from the Yukon Territory through western parts of the Northwestern Territories then down into the northern half of BC and the northern Prairies.

  25. JN (850 ft. ENE of Washougal) says:

    Looking at the GFS ensembles there are still plenty of solutions that put us in any of the following… Cold and dry with a N to NNE flow, cool and damp with low snow levels in a NW flow to nearly zonal or my least favorite – a trough well off shore with us in a mostly dry SW flow and a ridge centered to our east. I don’t think we can put a grain of salt on any of the above until we see some consistency, but after years of studying North West climate and long range models, I would put my best guess on cool and off/on damp but that the high out there never really builds ‘tall’ enough to give us arctic air. Not yet anyway. No snows in PDX – 90%, but maybe some hope for the mountains 50%. Arctic air in PDX I would give about 10% at best right now based on the few ensembles still showing the right stuff.

  26. Aloha Rainshadow (Formerly Luvry in Aloha) says:

    Word of advice Ladies. Don’t always focus on the GFS…
    GFS is toying with some type of offshore ridging…this is good after the 18z wanted nothing to do with a ridge.
    00z Euro has decided to look at a SE ridge. This teleconnects very well with us getting cold. The Euro also has us in a very strong NWerly flow starting at 192 with some pretty low heights.
    GEM also looks similar to the Euro.
    I think everyone is strictly focusing on the long-range GFS, when that should not happen…you should always take into account trends on ALL models. Just a word of advice 🙂
    FYI, the GFS ensembles have a couple of very cold members…which alway have a chance at verifying…

  27. yevgeniy.beaverton says:

    hopefully gfs fixes itself on a right track

  28. you must not know jacob then.. he will always post like that giving us a tease but never… rarely coming forward with what he has to say in detail hahahah

  29. cap says:

    Maybe a couple gusts of 25 to 30. Nothing much, but compared to the past couple weeks, anything gets the attention of a weather geek.
    Between the Beavs and this weather, I’m in a pretty deep funk. Thank God for the Blazers

  30. Andrew Johnson (Silverton) says:

    Wow I get home from work and look at that 00z GFS…just terrible.

  31. mike from orchards says:

    Pretty good line of showers moved in between 8:30 and 9:00 tonight (surprised me)….over 0.25″….I had to double check this…

  32. Dr. Rob -Far S.E. Portland- says:

    How windy would you estimate, Cap? Can you hear an audible roar?

  33. cap says:

    A vigorous little front is moving thru Hood River at this hour. I almost forgot what wind blowing sounded like.

  34. Dr. Rob -Far S.E. Portland- says:

    Mark, thanks for the update.
    John, great post. I just looked at IR/WV loops and the low looks to be about due west of Astoria now. I notice the southerly surface gradients are responding accordingly as this low approaches. It actually to me looks as if this low may dive just a bit south of PDX.
    [Surface gradients]
    As of 10 PM
    PDX-EUG: -2.7
    OLM-EUG: -4.2
    I agree with you John that we could see a brief wind burst perhaps 15-25+mph. Definitely not a deep low, but hey it is some weather excitement compared to things recently.

  35. Oh Jacob! Please spill whatever info you have that, in all probability will not happen because the weather gods curse us!

  36. Winds have slowed since the front has passed around 630 – 700 pm. I recorded a 20mph gust as it passed. According to Ben, who is in Lincoln city tonight, he is still seeing some good winds. It looks like the low is getting closer to to the coast from looking at the radar that is shows a slight center rotation. The NAM has it entering the Oregon coast near Astoria tonight. I think we might get some additional winds in the valley when the low tracks inland.,%20OR&showstorms=31&map.x=384&map.y=184&centerx=424&centery=170&lightning=1&smooth0&showlabels=1&rainsnow=1

  37. TriforceofEternity says:

    10th! I wish Mark would visit the Silver Falls School District.

  38. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    00Z is just as bad as the last 00Z. Warm.

  39. Boring Larry in Cherryville el.918 says:

    …am i the only person to get his name mentioned 3 times in one blog post?….

  40. data from my weather station
    Record high temperature: 64.8 °F on day 07 at time 3:07pm
    Record low temperature: 34.9 °F on day 24 at time 7:58am
    Record high wind gust : 27.6 mph from 225 °( SW) on day 13 at time 3:04am
    Record high average speed: 13.8 mph from 203 °(SSW) on day 11 at time 8:11pm
    Maximum rain per minute = 0.083in on day 02 at time 12:16am
    Record low barometer: 29.41 in. on day 03 at time 11:05pm
    Record high barometer: 30.59 in. on day 14 at time 10:50am
    Record daily rain: 1.24 in. at: on day 12
    Monthly Rainfall for November 2008: 5.811 in
    Record low wind chill temperature: 30.3°F at: 06:58 on: 23/Nov/2008
    Record high heat index: 72.2 °F on day 07 at time 1:11PM
    Record high humidity 98 % on day 30 at time 11:59PM
    Record low humidity 44 % on day 19 at time 9:24PM
    Daily rain totals
    00.21 in. on day 1
    00.46 in. on day 2
    01.13 in. on day 3
    00.33 in. on day 4
    00.17 in. on day 5
    00.62 in. on day 6
    00.12 in. on day 8
    00.04 in. on day 10
    00.64 in. on day 11
    01.21 in. on day 12
    00.70 in. on day 20
    00.04 in. on day 21
    00.13 in. on day 25

  41. jacob BPA says:

    well I ve got some good news if it comes to pass
    Expecting the Middle part of December to go cold and wet
    Snow for X mas ???????????????

  42. that picture makes me cry… wow i would do almost anything for good snow up there right now so i can go snowboarding!!!

  43. Tyler in Vancouver says:

    I’m ready for some exciting weather. This kinda foggy, sometimes clear, no wind, is so boring. I would rather have it be completely sunny! Or pouring rain and wind.

  44. Ben says:


  45. Heisson Rob (BG Lake) says:

    first? For no good reason?

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