Storm Wrap Up

A nice line of storms made for a crazy (and quick!) 2 hours.  If you were in a movie theater you probably missed it.  Here are the highs and lows.  Let me know if I’ve missed something important.


1.  Wind:  The storm was really about the wind here in town.  Peak gust of 49 mph at PDX is the highest since December 2006.  It’s been even longer since Hillsboro has been up to that 55 mph gust.  Although both sensors had a different calculation for peak gust during the December 2006 storm.  So most likely with today’s current peak gust calculation they both would have been above 60 mph during that storm.  A little bit of “apples to oranges” on the comparison, but they were both very impressive speeds.   Around 6:30pm I pulled up the radar loop and notice the very obvious outflow line had quickly moved north on I-5 to Longview.  Do you think there may have been a bunch of dust helping out the reflectivity on the radar?

2. Scary looking clouds: Even I started to freak out briefly at home.

3.  Tornado warning in Marion County:  I can only think of maybe 1 other times in my career when the Portland NWS put out a tornado warning based on rotation detected on radar.  Usually our crappy radar coverage shoots right over the top of our generally weak storms and/or a warning has come out after a tornado is already on the ground (or maybe has already dissipated).

4.  Great job by the weather team at KPTV and models: I saw Drew once and heard him on the radio while driving.  And Rob Martin came in close to “bedtime” to help out and keep things under control.  And it definitely was not a “surprise” storm.  I made a point on the air (10pm Wednesday) and in the previous blog post about the good chance for evening thunderstorms farther north Thursday evening.  Models did very well showing some sort of big blowup of storms somewhere between Salem and Longview.  SPC issued the severe thunderstorm watch for the Metro area in the early afternoon and the NWS followed through with severe thunderstorm warnings.  Anyone paying attention to any sort of media wouldn’t have been surprised.


1.  Lightning:  I saw very little.  We’ve seen far better and more frequent lightning out of storms just in the last year (May 2008 and July 2008).

2.  Rainfall:  In the Metro area amounts were relatively light.  No flooding here.

3.  Hail:  As far as I know we didn’t get significant hail in the Metro area either.

4.  Mark is Missing!:  This is the first thunderstorm outbreak in the last 8 years in which I haven’t been at the station.  It was a scheduled day off with family.  I sure missed being there, but considering it only lasted 1-2 hours, it would have been too late to go into work anyway.  I don’t have any days off scheduled in the next 2 weeks, so the weather should stay quiet.

Mark Nelsen

107 Responses to Storm Wrap Up

  1. Tetra says:

    For some reason if your broswers cache history is full you tube videos don’t load so I erased mine and now I can watch The Tube.

  2. Snow-Zone/Monmouth-Elv200' says:

    I don’t know why there are those big spaces/gaps on the third line, that post did take awhile to post so maybe something happened when I submitted the comment some sort of error happened.

  3. Snow-Zone/Monmouth-Elv200' says:

    From taking an observation of the mid and high level clouds coming overhead they do appear to be the kind associated with t-storm development/debris clouds, or higher instability moving into the region which could be followed by t-storms developing later on, of course we aren’t really expected to see any storms in the valley tomorrow but it is interesting….

  4. Snow-Zone/Monmouth-Elv200' says:

    Some nice sounding thunder Tyler, hope to get some more in the not to distant future, current temp 71.6 down from a high of 77 degrees.

  5. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    Turn up your speakers…good shots of thunder. For some reason, youtube kills the audio, I have the volume maxed and my speakers up…

  6. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:


    Today is so much nicer than yesterday. It is a pleasant 72 right now with partly cloudy skies. Yesterday didn’t even top 65 with cloudy skies all day.

  7. Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

    Well 12z WRF-GFS has cut back on the instability, so this is likely a non-issue…. Also there’s no trigger…. Enjoy the cooler more typical early June weather.

  8. Jstar says:

    We’re also back from camping (at Detroit Lake) and I came looking for info on the storm because it was SO crazy. It was sunny and 82 while we were on I-5. We could see the billowing white clouds and then when we turned east and got past Silverton on Hwy 22 the skies turned almost black. It was super windy and huge branches were blowing sideways. It dropped to 55 degrees in about 20 minutes. A tree blew over in the median and we saw a biker out (we were worried about that guy!). Then it started raining so insanely that my husband actually pulled over to the shoulder for a bit (he’s never had to do that before). It was a wall of water. We got back on the road when it changed back to more ‘normal’ rain, and then were held up for 40 mins while the fire dept cleared a huge downed tree off the road. We didn’t even want to get out and look because there was so much lightning. We all mentioned the tornado word there was so much debris flying around. It also hailed briefly. All our stuff was in the back of the pickup and we hadn’t tarped it (being so hot and sunny as we packed)! So we spent a little time at the laundromat on Saturday in Detroit drying our kid’s clothes. It was all very exciting feeling like we were in the eye of a huge storm.

    Our friends who beat us to the campground said it rained briefly and was really windy, but nothing like what we went through in terms of the rain. A tree fell on a camper trailer in the campground next to ours so we had to stop and take a picture.

  9. Skies are clearing quickly this morning, looking nice. Currently 56.6°.

  10. Hey Rob…the drifts were 2 or 3 inches…just eyeballing as i drove by….
    ..and yes, the old skyline road to Olallie among others….that road sure has deteriorated; big ol’ craters in in the old pavement part; you can go the backway in from the 46 road and get past the first still snow shut part, but up above triangle lake there’s still snowfield remnants blocking the road…

    • Andrew Johnson (Silverton) says:

      How much snow is left at Olallie? I was talking to some girl at the bar tonight who said she was going to be working at the resort there in July or something. Speaking of thunderstorms I got caught out on Olallie Lake in a huge one on a rubber raft about five summers ago, interesting to say the least!

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Where is Triangle Lake?

  11. Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

    Hello, Larry…. Sure was a great storm. How deep were these hail drifts? And final question…. You’re speaking of Skyline Road to Olallie, right?
    So anyone ready for more possible storms? I posted earlier today about these possibilities based on the 12z model runs, and now tonight’s 00z WRF-GFS CAPE model has really exploded the instability over PDX Tuesday afternoon-evening!

    2:00 PM

    CAPE values quickly develop up to 1000j/kg over the Foothills with lesser instability over the Coast Range and SW Washington.

    5:00 PM

    Instability continues to develop further and begins to fill in the Willamette Valley and PDX/VUO metro areas.

    8:00 PM

    Instability peaks at 800-1200 over the northern Willamette Valley and PDX/VUO metro areas. 500-700mb shows wind is SSE…. Bringing storms into the area. This may be something to continue to watch! Surface temp model tries to get PDX/VUO metro around 80F-83F on Tuesday as well.

    Any thoughts?

  12. …back from a camping trip, was heading out when the storm hit the Mollala area….no hail, a heap of wind, and from my vantage point a LOT of lighting for about 30 or so minutes….downed power lines from cottonwood branches in the Dickie Prairie area, found hail drifts between there and Colton on back roads…..
    Camped up the Clackamas almost to the divide between that and the Santiam system, lots of roads in the Ollalie area still blocked by snowdrifts and downed trees….and there’s hardly anyone in the woods..
    ..sure was a lot cooler…..

  13. Tetra says:

    *borrows the KPTV weather van to drive to Pittock Mansion to watch the sunset but crashes before he gets out of the Fox 12 parking garage due to not feeling too good* 😦

    *gets cited by police*

  14. Tetra says:

    Last comment at 1:37pm. Amazing what the June Gloom does to the blog. If this was in Eureka, California we would NEVER have comments in the summer unless it hits 78F which would be a heatwave for them or have ther rare low in the upper 40s. 😛

  15. I now seems unlikely we will hit 71 today. It looks like from the visible sat picture, a small surface low is developing of the coast that is bring thicker clouds to NW Oregon

  16. Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

    Katu is saying that the severe thunderstorm watch we had could have been the first to include the Portland Metro

  17. Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

    Nice radar loop, Timmy. Thanks for posting..

    Well I had a few sun breaks earlier, but those have quickly disappeared and my temp has fallen from 64F to 60.8F now.

    For what it’s worth 12z WRF-GFS CAPE model is trying to develop instability Tuesday afternoon.
    2:00 PM

    5:00 PM

    8:00 PM

    CAPE values 500+

    A cold pool aloft moves overhead with 500mb temps -15c to -17c with may steepen lapse rates enough to fire off showers and perhaps a t-storms or two.
    Latest SREF model though doesn’t seem to indicate negative LI values, so I wouldn’t expect much. Maybe it is worth keeping an eye on as this is the 2nd or 3rd model run showing instability developing for both Tuesday and Wednesday.

    • Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

      Wouldn’t that be strange if parameters increase significantly and we have more warned storms? As we already had enough!

  18. Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

    Hey guys, I posted a youtube video of that storm we had. Its a radar loop of it.

    • Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

      Very cool! Thanks for sharing!

      Only 63 here right now. That was closer to our 8 AM temp last week.

  19. Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

    Mark, I forgot to ask, what do you mean by crappy radar coverage? The whole line of storms showed on the radar just fine to me. I never noticed crappy coverage with Valley storms, but only with Coastal storms.

  20. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    A couple of land spouts east of the Cascades yesterday…

    • Mback says:


      Not sure why the guy who took those pictures called them tornadoes. They are awesome pics and the sky looked very mean but it doesn’t appear that those dropped out of the sky. It looks more like a huge dust devil to me but I the pics make it hard to tell.

    • Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

      It’s a hiking website, so I’m sure he thought they were tornadoes. No matter what they were…very impressive!

    • Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

      Those are tornadoes. And some tornadoes don’t have visible funnels, so its likely. And given the fact that a rotating thunderstorm happened to be right above them. It’s sort of given if you ask me.

    • Mback says:

      They are awesome pics indeed and I would have loved to have been there. Not sure if they were tornadoes or not but hopefully I’ll see a real tornado soon!!!

    • Andrew Johnson (Silverton) says:

      Ya I’m pretty sure those were tornadoes as well.

  21. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    You can see the outflow from the storms in north central Washington.

  22. Snow-Zone/Monmouth-Elv200' says:

    I would consider the severe T-storm out break on Thursday the transition event out of a long stretch of very warm temps and humid conditions. Just like when we transition out of an arctic air mass usually with a big snow or ice storm. So there are two very different types of transition events you can see if you have a long stretch of sunny weather. It just depends if it is a cold/dry or hot/humid air mass, and that depends on what season you are in.

  23. Snow-Zone/Monmouth-Elv200' says:

    The cells are stronger over the water then die off once they come on shore.

  24. Snow-Zone/Monmouth-Elv200' says:

    There are some moderate cells forming off the central coast so far nothing much of 45 dbZ, but does anyone els think that if we had a decent amount of sunshine that there could be a lot more heavy showers, with maybe an isolated embedded t-storm in some?

  25. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    A line of severe storms developing in Eastern Washington. Ping-pong sized hail being reported in North Central Whitman County.

  26. Tetra says:

    Does anyone know what happened to Andrew Johnsen who used to live by Silverton?

    Did he see the storm?

  27. I saved several GRLevel 3 images from the storms on Thursday the 4th on my Flickr website…They may not be the best quality but you can get an idea of the radar from that day….

    527pm 06042009 VIL

    Overcast 62.5F currently here

  28. ashley watson says:

    hey all,

    i lived in oregon city for 16 years and never remember there being a “severe thunderstorm watch”.
    Does any body (including Mark Nelson) know how many times western Oregon has been under a “severe thunderstorm watch”

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      Not to be a pill, but how did that snow outlook turn out last winter, ashley? :p

  29. Snow-Zone/Monmouth-Elv200' says:

    I think if we could bust out into solid sunshine we would see a lot more showers fire up. There has been light rain most of the day here even though the radar doesn’t show rain over me.

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