A Warm Screw Up

February 16, 2010

Well, I had a really bad forecast score last week due to missing EVERY single high temp forecast and one low.  I need to be within 3 degrees; last week’s annoying cool east wind plus some extra warm sunny days messed things up big time.  The first day of THIS week is no different; I went for 55 and we hit 59.  I’m fine with the actual forecast (showers to PM sunshine) was fine.  Obviously some real challenges ahead temperature-wise the next few days as well.  We’re getting into that time of year where we can see unusually warm temperatures, let’s say 60+ from east wind coming down off the Cascades.  In the Thanksgiving to Valentines period our record highs generally come from warm southerly wind.  During this transitional time it’s always tough to forecast high temps.  Tomorrow we start out much cooler than today and have plenty of fog to start with too.  Then drying easterly wind breezes across the metro area by afternoon.  So I figure we’ll end up quite close to today.

I think it’s a different story Thursday through Sunday though as a cool pool of air develops to our east.  It’s pretty obvious on the WRF-GFS model.  Due to that I lowered high temps Thursday and beyond due to strong easterly wind (20g35 mph at PDX seem likely each afternoon).  In that pattern this time of year I think it’ll be tough to get above the mid 50s.  I could be low…we’ll see.    More likely on Thursday it’ll be 52 at Troutdale and 59 at Oregon City and McMinnville.  Coolest temps near the Gorge, warmer farther away etc…

I’m glad we stayed with a dry forecast for the weekend, I see the 00z GFS and ECMWF are still showing a change to wetter flow around Tuesday of next week.  The GFS is much cooler than the ECMWF.  The ECMWF looks like a return to warm systems and flat ridging over the West Coast for the very last week of February.  Either one says we can definitely turn on the faucets and probably take snow tires off too.  Tomorrow might be the big day to call off the rest of winter…

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen