Cold Rivers Plus A Warm Weekend

May 15, 2009
Watch Out If You're On The Rivers!
Watch Out If You’re On The Rivers!

Of course anyone who has lived in this area long knows that at the first onset of warm and sunny weather, folks will be jumping into local rivers.  Watch out if you do that this weekend;  the big rivers are about as cold as the Pacific Ocean.  The rivers draining the Cascades are swollen with ice-cold snowmelt, running at only 40-45 degrees or so.  You may remember when I did the Polar Bear Jump back on New Year’s Day 2008?  Everything pretty much seized up at 48 degrees that day when we jumped in the water, and within one minute I was feeling quite a bit weaker.  Imagine fighting a current at the same time.  Definitely don’t do it if you’ve been drinking either.   Of course these are things your mother should have taught you, but they always bear repeating right?

Moving on…the weather forecast shows a taste of summer the next 3 days.  High 500mb heights combined with very weak onshore flow means warm, but not hot weather.  This is not a set up where we get the hot east wind and temps in the 90s like we saw last year.  The reason is that the upper level ridge is quite flat, as opposed to a sharp ridge with the upper level high centered closer to us.

Last night’s change with the 00z GFS (see previous post) was correct apparently.  The following runs have continued that idea.  I think we have to give the ECMWF kudos for forecasting this warm spell while the GFS spent days waffling around with the details.

I’ll be participating in Solv’s Down By the Riverside event tomorrow morning from 9am-Noon.  There are something like 350 projects spread across the state.  Me and several others from my church will be helping out at Beaver Creek near the Sandy River in Troutdale.  Looks like plenty of sun and no rain…good news there.

Mark Nelsen