A Warm Month

This was a great day to get outside.  I actually took a bike ride midday under the swaying trees…a bit scary at times up in the Cascade foothills today with gusty downslope winds.  But with temperatures up near 60 degrees it felt like March.  It has been a very mild month.  I see Salem is running +6.8 degrees from average and Portland over 5 degrees so far.  And there’s no big change on the way.  No model shows a blast of cold air or snow to low elevations in the next 7+ days.  Do you realize neither Portland or Salem have even seen a frost this month so far?  Strange…I think it was 2006 when we went without a frost at PDX the whole month.  But as we know…a lot could change in the next 10 days.

In the short term, the east wind backed off this afternoon after a wave went through, but approaching low pressure system #3 this week should really tighten up the cross-Cascade gradient by midday tomorrow.  So I think it’ll be a windy and mild afternoon again on Wednesday.  Some rain may fall at some point tomorrow, but it won’t be much.  That deep low makes a very slow move up the Coast late tomorrow night and Thursday, negating any good chance for strong south wind in the Valley.  I’m sure it’ll turn windy at the beaches, but other than that this one could be a snoozer inland with no significant wind OR rain.  I really like the sub 980 low that moves into SE Oregon on Friday…you don’t see that very often!  Lots of snow in the Great Basin coming up…

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

279 Responses to A Warm Month

  1. Jethro (Canby ~187') says:

    Wow, this is just sad… 974mb low sitting right off the coast of Tillamook, and all it can muster is a few ~30 mph gusts on the coast. This baby’s going to drift off to the NW rather quietly…

  2. Karl Bonner says:

    This may be considered slightly off-topic (out of season), but all the talk about how warm January has been gets me thinking about it now, so……..

    Just how warm can it get under a late February ridge if the setup is just right? (no fog, no cool north wind, some downsloping compression winds from the Cascades, etc.) I’ve witnessed plenty of sunny February days where it gets several degrees F above average, but so far I haven’t seen a warm spell that rivals the ones we’ve gotten in early March.

    I’d imagine we probably can’t break 70 before March 1, but I wonder if 65-68 is possible? There were a couple times when we got awfully close to 60 in the first half of the month, which leads me to believe it could get quite a bit warmer than that at month’s end.

    Remember, I’m talking about a ridge here. No cheating with the Pineapple Express!

    • eugene in vancouver says:

      Not much time left. We’re getting towards the end of January now with no signs of anything changing weatherwise.

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      Karl, I don’t know where you live. But as I wrote a couple of days ago it has gotten up to 70 in 3 different years in Salem since 1968. In 1968 we had a string of 5 days with temps of 65,70,70,72,and 67. That by the way was a very cold summer in Western Oregon. In 1986 Salem hit 74 in late February. Salem also hit 70 in February 1977. But we havn’t gotten over 70 since 1986 in February. This year just might be the year though.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      74 sounds kind of nice right now.

    • Punxsutawney (aka HIO Phil at work by Sunset High) ~280' says:

      Records for KHIO are in the 69-70 degree range at the end of February, so I would say maybe 70-73 is possible at the end of February here if conditions are correct.

      This was a big time early (heatwave?)

      March 2005 date and temps for my station.

      6, 68.6
      7, 72.9
      8, 74.7
      9, 71.6
      10, 75.7
      11, 77.0

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      In March of 1947 Salem hit 80 degrees. That is the all time high for March. Salem averages 2days over 70, and 10 days over 60 each March. So we aren’t very far away from the time of year when significant short term warm spells can occur. As far as February goes we usually have 2 or 3 days each over 60 each year. This year I actually expect 5 or 6 days. The negative aspect of early season warmth would be an early melting of an already paltry snowpack. But you see that’s the true beauty of weather. It does what it will and is not under the dictates of man ( Thank God for that ).

  3. Mr Data says:

    38.8F for my low an hour ago now back to 40F and cloudy skies.

    Was clear for a while.

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

    Back to bed.

    I’ll be back should another burst of crazy winds wake me up.

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

    Furthermore…. 3:46 AM PDX reported S 13 G 22, then 4 AM PDX reporting S G 20 with no southerly gradient present and no south wind reported anywhere else in the area. Very odd. There was some light rain moving through, but could this have been mixing? Doesn’t make sense to me. This seems to somewhat coincide with those sudden gusts…. But what could have caused this. This is why I love weather. The unknowns. The surprises. The “I didn’t see that coming. What was that?”

    • k5mitch says:

      0.0 MPH here in NE PDX

    • k9onyx - debbie - east vancouver says:

      I didn’t have many gusts either and just got back in from taking the dogs out and there was light rain here as well. I ❤ weather even though I don't understand half what's discussed on this blog. It's a wealth of knowledge.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      I would say it lasted no more than 45 seconds with perhaps 4-5 gusts. It was highly unusual. As for now it’s back to a tame 15-20mph east wind more typical of a Gorge ‘gap’ wind or downslope I’d usually see. I’m really glad you posted and reported the same because I think everyone would have thought I had lost my mind. 🙂

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

    For my location there weren’t many gusts…. It was just sudden.

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

    Wow…. SUDDEN very strong east winds here. It ramped up from nothing to 40mph out of nowhere…. I don’t recall the last time this occurred.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Temperature has risen from 46.8F to 52.0 very quickly to.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      AH I see why. The 971-973mb low is moving NW and is nearing an optimum point where it can pull offshore flow the most efficiently. Well at any rate some of these gusts are impressive.

    • k9onyx - debbie - east vancouver says:

      yep, just got a massive gust up here in vancouver about 5 mins ago. don’t have a way to measure the wind but i wasn’t expecting it and the roar startled me 😉

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      You too? My peak was 40.7mph and what was strange was it ramped up as you’d expect with a south wind storm, not east wind. It kind of reminded me of a downslope/mountain wave type gust.

    • k9onyx - debbie - east vancouver says:

      Yeah, very strange! I knew it had to be an east wind because at the moment the door between my garage and house isn’t shutting properly and my exterior garage door faces east. I heard a roar and all of a sudden the door blew open from my garage. Crazy!

      In my backyard, the trees looked like the wind was coming from southeast, but I live at the bottom just blocks north of that east-west ridge in Vancouver which skews my wind among other things. It was my location that had that crazy fog-snowstorm on Christmas Eve & Christmas.

    • Yes, between 3:30 and 4:30 am, east winds picked up rather abruptly. Not big gusts (19 mph) but a quick, sudden surge. They “died” shortly after 4:30.

      I live about a mile from you Debbie off of NE 137th Ave at about 44th street.

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

    Hmmmm 970mb low 100 miles west of Cape Blanco moving north and seems to be picking up forward motion.

    Still don’t expect anything.

  9. Mr Data says:

    *feels dizzy*

    In case anybody is even remotly curious you can all me either Tetra or Mr Data…………………………………………………………………………… whatever you feel most comfortable with.

    I just use the name since I relate most…………………………………………………..*lost in thought*……………………………………………….

    42.3F and partly cloudy with yet ANOTHER clearing just over silverton oregon only while clouds bank the deep valley all to the west.

    Going 2 bed…………………………………………… http://www.smileyhut.com/naughty/dead_n_final.gif

  10. 48.2F…East winds have backed off….0.01″ rain…Barometer 28.96″

  11. yevpolo1990 says:

    man that system in the pacific is a healthy boy!
    when does jet stream move more north?

  12. stevied (North Portland) says:

    end of WRF-GFS at hr 180 also hints at possibility of brief snow or zr in PDX at onset of precip. Something to keep an eye on too:

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Looks quite chilly…. Would be nice to see something. At least eastern Washington appears to be cooling off with maybe some type of cold pool developing.

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


  14. stevied (North Portland) says:

    Hmmm… that’s a very chilly rain Sunday morning with east wind. Hmmmm….

  15. Battle Ground Brian says:

    Mountain wave windstorm out here this afternoon has ended this evening with lots of broken branches. It ripped about 8 ties off my carport canopy. Overall there is more debris from this afternoons burst then what was experienced last sunday night. Sunday nights event was a southerly wind and todays winds were of an easterly component.

  16. Christiana in Forest Grove says:

    Raining in Forest Grove nothing heavy but persistent.

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


    and then there’s this…
    28km WV Loop Pacific Basin
    Absolute Goliath of a system developing. With the jet lifting back to the north we had better watch things carefully.

    • boydo3 N Albany says:

      I guess the weather gods will do as they please!

    • Jeremy says:

      Good shot of that system here: http://www.weatherimages.org/data/imag6.html

      If you missed my reply below there are two Crane Prairie’s in Oregon. The chilly one is east of Seneca.

    • W7ENK says:

      You know, I was looking at that mass of wetness out between 165E and 180, 30N & 45N earlier today. What I didn’t see before was that low that’s now spinning out of Russia at about 55N… now that one looks mean! Depending on what the jet does over the next few days, we could either end up with a Pineapple Express, or a deep cold low out of Alaska… or nothing? The way things have been going as of late, I’m banking on nothing.

      Rob, what were you thinking?

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Thinking that massive entity nearing the date-line is steered right into the PNW as the jet lifts north and provides ample support/energy. Well….. maybe.

    • W7ENK says:

      You see that low coming off Russia, right? I’m wondering about that one… 3 hours ago, it wasn’t there, and it’s already looking impressive!

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Yep sure do. It’s a beast.

    • Jeremy says:

      Curious if there is a point where the models just don’t get it. Cali is set to make all time low pressure records tomorrow. This setup is really odd. We have no traditional blocking high. Someone already pointed this out but its like we have an Aleutian low sitting on top of us.

    • W7ENK says:

      I can’t help but wonder, where’s the compensation for this ridiculously low pressure we’re getting? Is there some super-massive high approaching 32.00″ somewhere else on the globe?

      Imagine the two going to battle!!!

      Okay, I’m fantasizing now… 😦

  18. Jeremy says:

    The coldest spot in Oregon may be CRANE PRAIRIE, OR (CPFO3)
    Elev: 5500 ft; Latitude: 44.1572; Longitude: -118.4714. Situated in a high mountain sink this spot likely hit -60f back in 1933.

    Unfortunately the automated reports recently stopped. Does anyone know why?

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Hmmm…. I always thought the coldest places would have been around Seneca or the John Day highlands. I’ve been to Crane Prairie Reservoir a few times… Neat place. and nope I have no idea why.

    • Jeremy says:

      You are correct. THIS Crane Prairie is 25 miles east of Seneca.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Ooooo alrighty thanks.

  19. boydo3 N Albany says:

    You know…a “typical” el nino pattern would have us under a big H while storms are steered over and under us in a split flow. This is more like sitting in the middle of the Aleutian low with Cal getting our weather.
    Just plain weird.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Definitely no boring Fog ridge and definitely not behaving like a typical El Nino overall. Perhaps right now it may seem so with a strong jet hammering California, but the other features don’t seem as such as you excellently pointed out.

    • Jeremy says:

      One could hope for an interesting transition as the jet moves back north in a week or so.

    • Jethro (Molalla ~320') says:

      boydo3 – that’s exactly what I was thinking. Cali has our jet stream, and we have the lows that normally spin around in the gulf. It’s like everything moved south a few hundred miles for a week or so.

    • Eternal Yamcha (SE Milwaukie) says:

      Wait… Santa’s in reach?! ROAD TRIP TO SANTA’S PLACE! WOOOO!!!!

  20. Stevengibson says:

    Can someone tell me whats going on?

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Awfully vague question, Steven.

      Well it’s dark outside. We’re in the calender month of January. Barometric pressure is staggeringly low. There are different variances of cloudiness in the area. Any snowman build back on December 29th has definitely melted by now.

      Ummmm no wind storm tonight.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Built* I should rather say.

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

    Almost has the appearance that this isn’t just a batch of moisture rather there may be some type of forcing or shortwave? Well running the radar loop I get that notion… maybe.

  22. Mr Data says:

    45F here

    no new rainfall recorded despite an obviously VERY short burst of light to steady rain. 😦

  23. Mr Data says:

    *Reply to Alohabb fail*

  24. PhilinForestGrove says:

    Looks like radar is indicating that Forest Grove is about to get slammed with rain.

  25. alohabb says:

    Hard to think that all will be quiet when that darn low looks so darn impressive on radar. But,if Rob says quiet, then i gotta believe him. He has much more knowledge about this than me!

    • alohabb says:

      Now reporting a steady 3-7mph south wind…

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Yeah radar shows a batch of moderate to heavy rain moving into the Aloha/Hillsboro area. Unfortunately it will be quiet… Just isn’t enough energy pointed towards us. Actually the jet has dug even further south steering the “fun”(If I can call it that?) down south.

      *Imagine if we had a cold dome in place over the Columbia Basin with a 970mb low just off the southern Oregon Coast. Can you say widespread damaging downslope wind storm? It would have been rather extreme.

    • Mr Data says:

      alohabb Says:

      January 20, 2010 at 8:42 pm | Reply

      (Pushes reply button on alohabb’s thing and types in the comment)

      Hi Alohabb. Last minute Wind advisories/Warnings anyone?

      I quite agree with you about the intriguing radar screen.

      *Pushes submit button and prays to the Gods that the comment doesn’t move several posts down to the wrong one*

  26. wendy-silverlake,WA says:

    If this does produce winds, when are we suppose to expect it? I’m losing track of what low is what and what day each fall on and so forth. Is this a tonight one? Tomorrow?

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      The low is for overnight tonight into tomorrow morning. We won’t see any significant south winds. There is too much low pressure spread out from PDX well down into northern California. This equates to little pressure difference. Also the low offshore is moving slowly and will be weakening soon.

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

    Looks like a quite evening on tap.

  28. Andrew Johnson says:

    Where is Timmy Supercell?! He should be out here in Oklahoma, we are having lots of thunderstorms tonight! I was reading the Tulsa NWS discussion the other day and they compared this year to 1989/90. With very cold air in December and early January (here) giving way to much warmer weather in late January and Feb. Of course the PNW would score if we had a similar setup to Feb. 1990!

  29. alohabb says:


    With the way this low is spinning and following the coast line, it sure looks as if in the next few hours this will really pull those south winds up north and hit the NW part of Oregon. The rotation is really looking like that of a huricane!

  30. yevpolo1990 says:

    28.97 pressure (rising) here

  31. yevpolo1990 says:

    Looks to me like the low is around 968 or so

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

    Right now I feel like we are in a big arctic blast like last December and missed out on a big snow storm even with all the cold air in place there was no big system headed our way and so the cold atmosphere was essentially waisted…. Now it sucks to have pressure readings so low right now but no wind storm will materialize for us, even with big extremes like we have seen, Oregon weather just will not produce anything epic during this El `Nino year.

  33. yevpolo1990 says:

    Also just checked wunderground stations in Medford, and almost all of them have south wind reporting anywhere from 8-16mph sustained

  34. Josh "The Snowman" From Everett,WA says:

    I’m too damn lazy to look at the models because I’m drinking as usual but the forecasters up here have sure pushed for a cooler, wetter pattern for next week.

    Anyone care to tell me why?? I know the jet is supposed to be more consolidated next week, but any chance of maybe a dip with a trough out of the gulf?

  35. yevpolo1990 says:

    Hmm now looks like this low could have an eye

  36. Appears pressure may have bottomed out….

    50.2F…East wind gusts to 25….Barometer at 28.951″

  37. Stevengibson says:

    So whats going on now through tonight?

  38. Rich says:

    Data as of: 6:18 PM
    Wind Chill: 43°F
    Humidity: 65%
    Dew Point: 37°F
    Avg Wind: 9 E
    Pressure: 28.98″

  39. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    Winds are pretty stiff here at my place. Out on fishers landing they have steady east winds blowing.

  40. Mr Data says:

    Wow just WOW Paul! 😮

    That video is SOOOOOOOOO peacfull and makes me wish for winter 2 come back 🙂

    Bring back, Bring Back oh bring back my snowstorms to me to me. http://www.smileyhut.com/naughty/axe.gif

    43F for my low
    49F for my high:

    0.00 inches of rainfall in the last 24 hours. 😦


    Sky conditions: It’s raining steady which I actually GET WET outside.

  41. alohabb says:


    That low sure looks as if it is heading due north just hugging the Oregon Coast….

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

    Holy Pancakes!

    Check out the severe line of storms/bow echo moving through the San Diego area.

  43. yevpolo1990 says:

    seriously i feel something is going to happen, its like that feeling in my body, not sure how to explain it, like something is waiting to just ERUPT

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

    My pressure says 28.94 nice and low.

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

    28.85 and falling. Incredible.

    Also IR loop shows the main low is due west of the OR/CA border and appears to beginning its northward swing soon. It also looks like the low may be deepening a tad. We probably won’t see much if anything in terms of south wind impacts, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Well WAS falling… 28.88 now… still ridiculously low.

    • yevpolo1990 says:

      Make a magic trick and have an area of high pressure over cascades please. Rob so what if we say the low bombs to 965? will that change anything?

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