Wet Night Ahead

October 30, 2009

A real quick post tonight.  Looks like cold front is moving towards the coastline quickly.  A nice shot of wind just ahead of the front.  At 10pm it’s gusting to 53 mph on ODOT’s new sensor on the Astoria-Megler Bridge.   It’s turning breezy here in the Metro area as well.

No changes in my thinking for next week.  ECMWF and GFS are a bit at odds for strength of ridging.  We either stay dry all week or get brushed by some rain Wednesday or beyond.  It sure is going to stay mild though.

Enjoy the weekend, not much rain after tomorrow morning.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Gloomy & Wet

October 29, 2009

Whew!  That was one gloomy, drippy, moist, yucky day.  Looks like everyone had at least some rainfall.  The heaviest amounts have been helped along by some generous orographic lift.  That’s lifting of a moist airmass as it passes over hills or mountains.  In the case of today the flow has been from the west/northwest.  That means the west slopes of the Cascades have been very efficient rain collectors.  I see Larch Mtn. Washington has over 1.50″.  Timberline Lodge is up to 1.62″ for the last 24 hours; some of that was snow early in the day before it changed to rain. 

Snow depth is dropping quickly in the Cascades and most of it should be gone by the early part of next week at the latest.  Timberline was up to 23″ and has now dropped to 16″.  Mt. Hood Meadows has dropped from 20 to 14″.  Looking ahead, there is no significant period of mountain snow in the next 7 days, so ski season won’t start REAL early.  But who knows, maybe a quick change is in the works in the week two period and we’ll be skiing by November 15th?  One can hope I suppose.

Speaking of next week…what a mess on the weather maps.  The tendency is definitely there for either split flow or ridging over the eastern Pacific/western USA.  But each model and runs within each model itself have been different.  Drew and I chose to leave the forecast dry for now through next Wednesday or Thursday.  No reason to put rain in the forecast now and then have to take it out later.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Warm Front Thursday

October 28, 2009

Pretty quiet out there today and again this evening.  Radar has the “warm front look” this evening with bands of light rain (mountain snow) coming in from the northwest.  This continues through at least tomorrow morning.  By late morning we should see the actual warm front pass overhead.  Low clouds should lift a bit at that point and we could have some dry periods in the afternoon.  Otherwise another very gray, but slightly warmer, day is on the way.

Friday could end up being a very nice day for the 2nd to last day of October.  We will be in the warm sector of the approaching weather system.  That means the rain and maybe most of the clouds will have pushed to the north;  while at the same time the cold front will still be well offshore.  A freezing level around 10,000′ plus a southerly wind to mix the warm air down means temps shooting up into the 60s.  We could get a surprise 70 farther down the Valley near Eugene with plenty of clearing.

Long range still looks relatively dry and “ridgey”.  Not much rain after Saturday midday or so until at least the middle of next week at the earliest.  November is going to start a bit dry.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

A Long Day

October 27, 2009

snapshotI went to 4 different schools in Woodland, Longview, and Clatskanie today. I actually enjoy traveling around the countryside, but it makes for a long day.  Whew!

So let’s talk weather.

SHORT RANGE: Snow totals were very impressive today. 22″ at Timberline, 5″ at Gov’t Camp, and around 18″ at Mt. Hood Meadows. Unfortunately all that is probably going to be gone by early next week at the latest. A warm front moves inland tomorrow night with clouds and light rain. Then we wait all the way until Friday night for the cold front to pass through. So we’ll have 36-48 hours of strongly orographic rainfall. Not much here in the Valleys during that period (less than .50″), but maybe 1-3″ in the mountains. And it WILL be all rain. Looks like snow levels may exceed 10,000′!

LONG RANGE: Previous discussion follows…(just kidding, had to do that for once). After the cold front passes late Friday night or early Saturday, it’s on to dry weather. The big change in models over the last 24 hours is a much stronger ridge developing over the West Coast. It doesn’t seem to matter which model…the trend is the same. That shunts rain farther to the north Saturday and Sunday. Then Monday and Tuesday storminess stays much farther offshore OR digs farther to the south (depends on model), keeping the ridging over us. Drew and I looked at each other and muttered the phrase “El Nino???“. We were probably being too dramatic, but the effect is the same; it’s looking pretty dry after Saturday morning.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

A Monday Soaker and Weather Anchors

October 26, 2009

Looked like winter at 1pm.

Looks like winter has arrived at the lowest elevation so far this season in the Cascades.  The very sharp (and wet!) cold front has moved through the mountains, dropping the temp at Government Camp from around 50 at daybreak to around freezing right now.  That sensor in the image had read 2-4 degrees too cold for years by the way.  This is a much better reading from this ODOT Maintenance Station at the summit.  Bookmark that one for the winter (or is it “Favorite it”?).

A heck of a soaking down here in the Valleys too!  I see Metro area rain totals range from 1/4 to 2/3 inch at the official stations.   The foothill suburban locations have seen an inch or more.

I’ve been a bit lax on posting the last 4 days…not quite sure how to publicly handle some significant changes to our lineup of weather anchors.  We are all friends, so I’ve decided to keep it real simple.

Here’s the latest:  beginning next Monday Stephanie Kralevich will move to the weekday shows (4/5pm) and Drew Jackson will return to the weekend evenings (5/10pm).  I will retreat to a slightly later shift (8/10/11pm weekdays).  The main idea is to keep weather and news anchors (they are changing too) a bit more condensed timewise on their shifts.  We have more evening newscasts spread over a longer duration than any other station in town.   Much more can/could be said in private, but I think it’s fair to say one thing is likely; all three of us will be more content with where we are a year from now versus where we have been for the past year. 

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


Stephanie Kralevich shot this; a screenshot from Dean Kirchem's home video. He lives just west of Eagle Creek, about 2 miles west across the Clackamas River. The video coming up at 10pm!

A Wild Night Down South

October 21, 2009

lightning2Quite a surprise across a good chunk of Western Oregon this morning.  Widespread thunderstorms erupted with a cold front as it’s been moving inland.  Anyone driving I-5 from Salem to Grant’s Pass probably had a heck of a light show beginning around 2am or so.  I even see one strike (equipment only detects cloud to ground strikes) here in the Metro area this morning, near Lake Oswego/West Linn.

Okay, off to volunteering at my kid’s school this morning.  It’s early for 4th grade math, but I’ll try to re-learn something again this week.

10:30pm Update:

Quite a bit of trauma and drama going on in the weather center today…changes ahead!  I’ll elaborate more on some shifting schedules in a few days.  But this means I ran out of time to add any other thoughts.  I’ll post tomorrow.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Winter Weather Meeting Wrap-Up

October 19, 2009

junk.jpgThis is one of the slides (are they still called that???) in my wrap up of Winter ’08-’09 at OMSI on Saturday.  There’s definitely a bit to discuss on here.  Then here is another image showing just the past 10 years at PDX.  Not much snow most years is there?  But when we do get a good winter lately, it’s lots of fun!junk2.jpgYou can click on either image to get a much better view.

In case you missed it, I’ll attempt to move some of the comments from the previous post onto this one.  Several of you put your summary in the comments, which is great.

This is what I got out of the meeting, which took place during those thunderstorms which meant I was outside or in the hallway during parts of two presentations:  Two forecasters thought we’d have somewhat typical weak El Nino conditions.  The wet season may start big and then peter out…and snow accumulations could be pretty skimpy to none in the lowlands.  The third went crazy with snow; Kyle Dittmer went for 6 snow events here in Portland.  Hmmm, that would be a winter to remember.  Of course that’s exceedingly rare, but he was also basing it somewhat on the lack of sunspots as well.  Feel free to add your own comments as well.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen