Deep Weather Thoughts

January 13, 2010

Actually I don’t have any real deep thoughts about today’s weather. A nice surge of southerly wind. I put the peak gust map to the left. Looks as if Aurora had top honors with a peak of 48 mph. The 38 at PDX and 46 at SLE are the highest since before Thanksgiving. That does show that we haven’t had a good storm cycle (regular systems moving through on a westerly jet) since the intial one that started the wet season the first half of November.

So…the big question is “do maps for next week show us finally entering a long wet period?”. Maybe or maybe not. I was encouraged last night at this time, but the recent 18z/00z GFS is a bit more disturbing if you want active weather up here in the Pacific Northwest. The first thing that jumps out at me is both the 00z NAM and GFS now show far more splitting Saturday and Sunday; and much warmer 850mb temps. It had looked as if we’d get some decent snow in the Cascades this weekend, not heavy, but at least 5-10″. Now with warmer temps, Saturday could just end up being mild and partly to mostly cloudy.

Beyond that the other thing I notice is how far south the strong jet punches into the USA. Sunday through Tuesday it’s aimed not just at California, but Southern California and Northern Baja! That leaves us on the far northern fringe of the storms…our coastal waters appear to be the graveyard for deep surface lows that unload on California. For example last night’s 00z and the 12z GFS was awfully close to windstorm territory for us with a few lows. But now the 00z GFS has lows farther south and much drier conditions overhead, although generally cool temps hold firm. I’m just thinking that the next few days our models will back off slightly more, and we could easily end up with a dead weather week…one that showed so much promise just a day or two ago. Geez, I don’t mean to bring everyone down, just pointing out the possibility. Plus, someone suggested I shake things up a bit on here, so there you go…discuss.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


Gusty Wind Arriving

January 13, 2010

It’s good to see the forecast turn out nicely.  A good burst of southerly wind is moving up the Valley at 10am.  This is from the low pressure system just about straight west of Willapa Bay on the south Washington Coast.  I see gusts of 40-50 mph from Salem south.  That’ll spread north into the Metro area in the next two hours.  Gusts to 40 mph are likely here for a few hours.  That’s generally not a damaging wind but the strongest south wind we’ve seen since before Thanksgiving.  Say goodbye East wind!  At least for 24 hours or so.

PGE already has 15,000+ customers out of power down in the Central Valley.  Looks like some trees haven’t been “pruned” by the south wind this winter.

Ughhh!  For some reason no 10am observations available…really bad timing.  Would be nice to know what the peak gusts are this hour in the Valley.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen