Groundhog Day!

February 2, 2009

Snapshot This will give you something to discuss this evening…A little hedgehog at the Oregon Zoo today saw his shadow around mid-morning.  Theoretically that means six more weeks of winter here in Portland.  I noticed that if we would have put that little lady rodent in a car and driven her around the Metro area she might have had a different forecast…so instead of doing that, I've come up with the forecast myself based on the sky conditions at 10am!

Later I'll post my thoughts on the extremely benign forecast weather pattern the next 7 days or so.  You won't want to miss it!

10:20pm:  Looks real quiet the next 3-5 days.  A ridge of high pressure in the upper atmosphere over us moves a bit off to the southeast the next few days.  That splits the offshore cold front, with some energy going into California and the rest into Northern British Columbia.  Drew and I were talking earlier about this…we never saw split flow last winter and none so far this winter.  It's like the good (bad) old days of the early 2000s isn't it?  The split sticks around through the weekend.  I do notice that a more organized trough passes through on Monday, which drops snow levels quite low again.  Then there is significant disagreement among models beyond that time.  We either go back to mild/ridgy, or more progressive flow with occasional weather systems moving into the Pacific Northwest.  Depends on which model and run you look at.  I sure don't see a significant cold/snowy pattern for now.  Keep in mind that we don't have major arctic outbreaks after the middle of February due to the increasing sun angle.  After last winter/spring, we should all be very clear on the fact that it CAN snow into March, or even April in the hills, even though it's unlikely after late February.  So I think it's now safe to say that the coldest/snowiest period of the winter was back in mid-late December.

In the short term, air quality is REALLY bad this evening…into the Unhealthy for Some category around town.  Increasing easterly flow (over 4 mb. PDX-DLS) this evening may help to clear us out a bit tomorrow.  We'll see…Mark Nelsen