Is Winter Over?

January 21, 2010

The short answer is…very likely not.

But how about that weather today!   I rode my bike this afternoon here at work and it felt like March.  The sunshine after the morning sprinkles was very nice!  Temps surged again into the 55-60 degree range, about 10 degrees above average.

I just checked the monthly numbers for AST, PDX, SLE, EUG, RDM, & PDT.  All are running 5 to 8 degrees above average this month, completely negating the cold weather of December.  It looks like it’ll turn more average for the last week of the month, but January 2010 will definitely go down in the record books as a warm one.  As of today it’s the 3rd warmest January on record here;  right after 2006.

BUT, I don’t want to hear any whining about the mild weather yet from you weather freaks:

1. We can get a decent arctic blast into about the 2nd week of February. That gives us a 3-4 week window now in which we need to keep a close eye peeled to the north.  After that, daytime temps climb dramatically on sunny days due to the increasing sun angle.  So we can get a chunk of arctic air the latter part of February, but the sunshine pushes us up into at least the 30s.  It was 2006 when that happened; one day in the 30s and then it hit 40 the following day.

2. We could get an “all-day” type snow event through the last week of February or first few days of March. And yes, I know a trace or so could fall even in the lowlands in the month of March, but that is very rare.  We all remember 2008 and the spring break snow in the hills.  But even then no day had a high temperature lower than 46 degrees at PDX!  So you’re dreaming if you think we’ll get significant snow in March.  Oh, make sure you copy-paste that last statement so you can throw it back in my face when if we ever get a 10″ snowfall for spring break.

3. Should I unwrap my pipes or take my snow tires off? NO.  As I just mentioned, we could easily get a snowstorm, and your pipes should stay wrapped for the next 3 weeks or so.  Now if we get to Valentines Day and there is no sign of a cold snap at that point, then go ahead and turn the faucets back on.

Speaking of the next few weeks, it looks to me as if we are heading maybe a bit more “splitty” with a better chance for cooler easterly flow at the surface returning again.  Next week doesn’t look very exciting to me, although the GFS appears wetter than the ECMWF.  It (ECMWF) has very little rain next week at all after Monday morning.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

The Big Avalanche

January 21, 2010

You probably heard about this the last few days; on Sunday night a major avalanche begin near the summit of the southeast face of Mt. Hood.  It travelled all the way down into the edge of the Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Area.  Luckily that part of the ski resort (Heather Canyon) was closed at the time.  The ski area has a great write-up and impressive pictures on their blog here.