A Brutal Day in the Weather Center

I have a brief break before I go on-air and apologize to the masses for the 2-5 hour commutes this evening.  I’ve been constantly busy since around 2:30pm.  This blog has seen about 34,000 hits today!

I’ll give my thoughts on today’s mess tomorrow when I get a chance.  For now it’s obvious we won’t have any dramatic warming overnight.  But we do gradually transition to mild onshore flow the next 12 hours at the surface and up above.  So unless we get some sudden clearing westside metro, the only spots to refreeze will be right near the Columbia River Gorge. 

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

106 Responses to A Brutal Day in the Weather Center

  1. Eugene in Vancouver says:

    32.1 now and precip approaching on radar

  2. Battle Ground Brian says:

    Dec 30th stats at of 515pm

    High: 37.7 Low: 33.5 Precip : 0.34

    Still trace of slush out there on the lawn

    Scale of 0 to 10 today Weatherwise…

    I give it a “1” rating

  3. Azzurri says:

    Very surprised to see it snow down in Portland. The mountains here in Southwestern BC saw a mix of rain and snow overnight! Temperatures last night only hit 33 @ 3100 ft (Cypress Mountain).

    GFS showing a prolonged period of melting/thawing at high elevations (Pineapple Express). Pretty much a good thing as I’ll be less tempted to hit the slopes. Doh.

  4. Matthew says:

    The 18z gfs stinks bad. After 120 hours it don’t show us going below 1c at 850mb throughout the rest of the forecast period. In fact after 226 hours it shows heavy rain and temps in the upper 40’s to mid 50’s. bad. Hope all enjoyed the snow, I sure did.

    • Gordon says:

      I wouldn’t get too down by the current models. Remember last week they looked even worse and look what happened yesterday.

  5. Cherie_in_Vernonia says:

    38 on the old temp gauge at work…& still 2 more hours before we go home 🙂

  6. pdxdave says:

    I don’t begrudge weathermen a missed prediction here and there. The climate is a fickle thing affected by many, many variables.

    Here is what amuses me, though: If one suggests that the whole global warming thing might not be as “settled” as some claim, he is viciously attacked and called names. And if he is a meteorologist, he will be harassed, threatened, or fired.

    The only thing more fickle than the weather, I guess, is people.

  7. Brenda, E Vancouver says:

    The temp is slowly creeping up here I’m at 36 degrees. Still wet/melting snow in the grass and lots of slush on our street, but wet pavement where cars have been passing. The backyard didn’t get as much play time with the kids so it has more snow but I’m able to see the grass tips a little better now.

    We had 1 inch when I measured the patio last night. Then around midnight or so it snowed again but I didn’t go back out to measure. It stayed around 30 until 10pm then slowly went to 32. When I finally went out to check the temp this morning it was still only 33.

    Right now it’s a very calm quite day, waiting for the warm air to stir in. My kids were both happy to see the snow still here this morning and played in it again.

  8. WEATHERDAN says:

    I am amazed at the recriminations of yesterdays possibly blown forecast. What we are all forgetting is that just a few hours before the snow hit, most of us were hoping, nay even begging for snow. How beautiful it looked falling from the sky. Landing on the trees and the lawns. I saw people last night who turned their Christmas lights back on just for the snow. Kids having snowball fights. And the building of the obligatory snowman. Now that the snow is gone it’s who blew the forecast. And gee do you think it might snow next week,or will it be too warm. Amazing. Mark you do a heck of a good job at forecasting our crazy weather. My hat’s off to you

    • James (SE Portland/Vancouver by day) says:

      Anyone who looks or reads other’s model interpretations knows that all weather forecasters are at the mercy of the models. Given what was available, the timing, and the unknowns involved in this event, there is no blame to be passed to anyone human (except maybe trimet and ODOT).

      I imagine that blogger’s opinions — especially bloggers who call for snow in some pretty inane situations — don’t mean too much in the grand scheme of things.

      I’m really curious though. How did Mark’s bosses react? Did he catch any flack from them? I’m hoping today’s update shares a bit from that angle.

    • BrianInKeizer says:

      I agree Weatherdan. Mark is one of the best. Hey, he misses a few once in awhile, but at least he lists multiple reasons for his forecasts and possible alternative solutions if something happens differently. This is one of the most informative blogs I have ever visited. Everyone in here who knows how to read models and know meteorology is much appreciated by me and all the amateur winter weather lovers.

      I don’t think Mark Nelsen needs to apologize for anything. I do recall reading on his blog title the night before, “Close Call…” for his forecast.

    • Annie in Vancouver ~330 ft. says:

      Brian & Weatherdan – agree 100%. Nobody could have called that one, at the very least not that MUCH snow. We rely so heavily on technology, and sometimes it fails.

      Noooooo big deal! It was a beautiful and fun surprise!

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Mark is human (Sometimes it’s hard to tell) I MEAN that as a compliment. 🙂 These computer models aren’t exact and I’m actually glad they are not. What would weather be without surprises and the unexpected occurring? Sure would be boring if we knew everything that happened at the exact moment.

      It was a tough forecast until 8 AM or so Tuesday AM.

    • “What would weather be without surprises and the unexpected occurring? Sure would be boring if we knew everything that happened at the exact moment”

      Couldn’t agree more! 🙂

  9. Milwaukie Mom says:

    Enough about yesterday,…. When is the snow coming back! *-)

  10. Adam in SE says:

    My god, it’s suddenly 47° here.

  11. JohnD says:

    Still 34’@ TTD @ 1:00 p.m.–just checked –with an easterly drift. The Gorge influence will never cease to amaze! Can’t wait for a toddy and to gaze out when I get home from work tonight. Snow should still be there!; (well, at least the piles that I shoveled last night!)

    Can’t believe how dead the blog is today. Maybe people are still getting over the daze of yesterday’s massive traffic jams. I was very fortunate. Chained up and drove 16 miles on Marine with no problems at all. Very scenic!

  12. David Mall205 says:

    Hey mark I thought of a new headline graphic/tagline you guys can use at the station next event…… SNOWZASTER, I like it, nice ring to it. Run it by the news directors and see what they think.

  13. Ron says:

    This was indeed a strange weather event with micro-climates really showing up. I’m at 290′ between Oregon City and Canby. I started out as snow, flipped to zr and sleet, back to snow, back to sleet and rain, back to snow and the dance went on for several hours and accumulating only about 1/2″ at 30-32f. Only one mile further north and at 430′ it was almost all snow and 2″. I’ve lived here since 1950 and this was the strangest transition events I have seen. Other areas were all snow, others mostly rain. Would really love to understand just how the upper layers of the atmosphere work in these situations. Looks like organized chaos to me at its finest.

  14. Jethro (Canby ~187') says:

    Now up to 45.5F, wind out of the south at 7 mph. Sure is nice to have all that fog inversion crap out of here!

  15. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    The model soundings that came out for yesterday did show snow…I really think it was the duration of snow/amounts that caught most mets off guard. Even as the snow started here, I figured maybe we would get 1/2-1″, not 3″.

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