In Like A Lamb Today

A real nice way to start March today. Warmest temperatures so far this late winter/early spring season east of the Cascades (66 at Pendleton). The thick high cloud cover kept us from getting wildly warm west of the Cascades. Considering we still made it to 59 at PDX with mostly cloudy skies, I have a feeling we could have hit 65 with mostly sunny skies today. Temps at the ski areas made it well into the 40s as well and I see there is little or no snow now at Government Camp. Mt. Hood Ski Bowl is closed until Friday for that reason. Apparently I’ve even received a bit of sun yesterday and today; Wayne just walked in before the 8pm show and said I looked like I had some “white” powder on. A little behind-the-scenes makeup talk here…I use one color in the sunnier part of the year and the lighter color in the winter. Apparently it’s time to switch because I lost my pasty whiteness over the weekend. He said something about “you look like you’re dying”…nice!

Enough TV talk; I crunched the numbers for the last two months and it appears we’ve seen our warmest January-February combo since 1992 (another El Nino year). You may recall that March of 1992 was a very warm one too. As I mentioned in the previous post, many El Nino winters suddenly turn wetter sometime in March, but during the 1992 one the warm and dry weather continued right on through Spring and Summer. That was a drought year with less rain than we’ve seen this winter.

In the next 7+ days the split flow and mild pattern will continue. The GFS has been doing a terrible job, regularly forecasting a return to cool and wetter weather; I agree with the NWS that the ECMWF is probably correct in handling the cutoff lows heading southeast into California. In fact is has been doing a much better job through the last 2 months. Just two days ago the GFS was bringing the cold troughs right over us later this week while the ECMWF was correctly showing them going to the south. Not much rain then in the next week, and we’ll probably get a surprise 60 degree day sometime during that period too.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

130 Responses to In Like A Lamb Today

  1. kcteach (Gresham 500') says:

    Are you talking Sunday or Monday?

  2. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    -7 to -8C @ 800mb in the evening to night time hours with some moisture present and weak south winds going to calm spells a brief valley snow event to me.

    I may be underestimating the sun this time of year.

  3. stevied (North Portland) says:

    Hmmm… things starting to look interesting again. Starting to really look like some low-elevation snow (maybe 500-1000ft) possible in the near future. I’m going to analyze the WRF-GFS when it finishes up to see the detail. Definitely looks interesting! I see Mark shows a high of 48 on Monday on the 7-day.

  4. yevpolo1990 says:

    I see some maybe brief morning snow for the west side people

  5. dabears (Hillsboro-Tanasbourne) says:

    This run of the 00z is the first time I’ve followed a run frame by frame as it comes out in months. Looking good so far, I see the trough looming out there at hour 78!

    • Justin (Brush Prairie) says:

      You’re pretty desperate. Just go to the mountains if you want interesting weather. Spring is mostly a bore here, and March is spring.

    • ken says:

      I think most of us are desperate for a little winter weather. Its one of the draws of the NW for us weather nuts. If you want boring you probably wouldn’t be here on this blog

    • dabears (Hillsboro-Tanasbourne) says:

      I also have much lower standards than the typical PNW weather weenie. A dusting would thrill me.

    • Justin (Brush Prairie) says:

      I don’t want boring weather, I just want spring to come and to stay. March troughs are notorious for being chilly and dull with the obligatory 1000′ snow level. There’s not much thrill in wasting early spring days with clouds, drizzle, and highs in the 40’s. I’d love to have some genuine snow but there’s not much of a chance of that happening next week. The 00z would translate to chilly and fairly dull weather.

    • ..i want any weather that the weather happens to want to give….

  6. Stevengibson says:

    So maybe some snow monday? ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Ken says:


  8. Ken says:

    why am i being moderated again?

  9. boydo3 N Albany says:

    Dude, er Jesse. It’s March, the sun plays a much bigger role than January. While the 850mb temps appear to becoming quite cold next week, the surface temps just won’t drop as they would with lower sun angles and shorter days. Some convection is more likely, however.
    I said frosty nights IF we get clearing in association with the lower 850mb temps. And by golly I’m stickin with it! No hard freeze.

    • boydo3 N Albany says:

      BTW, not ALL models are on board. And the way they have performed lately I wouldn’t be surprised to see the whole idea go away in a few more runs.

    • dabears (Hillsboro-Tanasbourne) says:

      I will bet you $50 right now that we will have a hard freeze next week if the GFS verifies.

    • boydo3 N Albany says:

      Can’t bet on ifs. And what do you consider a “hard” freeze? LOL

    • dabears (Hillsboro-Tanasbourne) says:

      28 degrees or less.

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      I take it meteorology isn’t your strong suit, is it boydo?

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:


    • dabears (Hillsboro-Tanasbourne) says:

      Jesse, I like you.

    • boydo3 N Albany says:

      Meteorology is not the same as taking computer models at face value. And no it ain’t my strong suit (and I doubt it is for anyone on this blog judging from the constant wishcasting) tho I have taken aviation weather many years before you were born. But we shall see. I wouldn’t mind seeing some chilly weather especially in the mountains as I said in an older post.

  10. …in the category that humans are losing their minds:
    Just saw the story on the latest tale of non-thinking people following their GPS unit till they get stuck in the snow……
    …and, it’s the SECOND TIME!!!! it’s happened to this particular family!!!!!…. my soapbox….

    • dabears (Hillsboro-Tanasbourne) says:

      That shows over an inch of precipitation with temperatures in the low 30s. Oh my.

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      Getting about as close as you can get to a “lock” as far as the GFS is concerned.

    • Justin (Brush Prairie) says:

      It’s hardly a lock. Even at face value that trough isn’t wet enough to bring much snow below 1500′. The only ways we can really score an inch or more of snow this late in the year is with a strong upper level low and convective showers, or if a major deformation zone sets up.

      If the GFS continues to advertise cold troughing for the next few days then we can better estimate the chances for one of those two things happening, but for now nothing is a lock.

    • dabears (Hillsboro-Tanasbourne) says:

      Yeah, I would hardly say something over 90 hours out is a lock. Not even close, especially when there isn’t even full model agreement yet.

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

    Personally I don’t want it to snow. I certainly do not mind a pattern change, but I don’t want to see a freeze as it would be disastrous to the flowers and trees. A 1,500′ snow level with cold core convective activity would be great.

    • PaulO says:

      Snow or not (doubtful I feel) Monday night continues to look quite cold for March. Likely hard freeze if this does not back off the next few runs.

    • boydo3 N Albany says:

      I don’t think we are looking at a freeze, although some frosty nites might be showing up. Doubt that would be any big problem. Seems like we always get some cold showery weather in March. With hail, thunder and lightning.

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      Dude, read the models, at face value we would see a very hard freeze for this late in the season.

      If played as advertised this wouldn’t be a typical March cold-trough setup. What sets it apart is a small intrusion of modified arctic air behind Monday’s front. A freeze, even at PDX, is a no-brainer in early March simply if it’s simply a clear night with low dps. The pattern shown would certainly do the trick.

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      Rob, you don’t want any snow??

      Do I know you??

    • Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

      I think its because since its March, we got our minds mainly on thunderstorms now, so Rob wants thunderstorms. And so do I ๐Ÿ™‚

      And you do to ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Snow would be “okay” at best…. I think I’m ready for the cold core convection season to begin. Give me frequent showers, hail, and some lightning. Above all let’s get a bunch of new snow up in the Cascades.

  12. boydo3 N Albany says:

    If it pans out we will see some fresh pow in the mtns.

  13. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    All I can say is Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

    At least the GFS is keeping things exciting as we transition from winter to spring and thunderstorm season!

    GFS gets even more bullish on cold weather with the 12Z run. Looking towards the 00Z run tonight to see if it continues with the trend. It’s been locked on it since last Sunday/Monday.

    I haven’t looked at the GEM yet. Is it still turning toward the GFS solution?

    • Aleta-West Gresham says:

      I’m going to have put a garbage can over my bleeding hearts at this rate. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Due to all the blooming and budding going on in my yard i hope it stays at least above freezing!

  14. 12Z EURO still not measuring up to the GFS…


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

    I wonder what today’s 12z ECMWF shows.

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

      Good Question.

    • Battle Ground Brian says:

      Looking at the new 12Z GFS

      Looks exciting with potentially a hard freeze middle of next week after the cold core upper low exits followed by a high amplitude ridge with temps warming in the 60’s
      With the GFS’s poor track record lately, I am not going to buy into this solution at this time. It will likely change to when 00z comes out this evening.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Brian, unfortunately I’m going to have to agree with you. Unless the EURO comes around I just have little confidence in the GFS right now. IF tonight’s 00z continues the theme though hmmmm…..

    • PaulO says:

      GFS has one thing going for it this time, it has been consistent several runs and last couple even colder…

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Very true. I’m rooting for the GFS no doubt about it. Ohhhh the plot is thickening more than Grandma’s molasses.

    • dabears (Hillsboro-Tanasbourne) says:

      Yeah, I can’t help but feel nervous until the ECMWF comes around, but it’s hard not to get excited looking at the GFS.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Cautiously optimistic seems like the way to go.

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      Why on Earth would you all want snow and cold now? I was hoping for it all winter long. But now that March is here I’m sick and tired of all the nasty weather. I want sunshine and 70 degrees. It’s baseball time out there guys, leave the snow until next year-ok.

    • lurkyloo says:

      I agree with Weatherdan. Tulips coming up, birds all twitterpated, trees blooming, low on firewood …

      It would be just like Old Man Winter 09-10 to pull something like this. He’s got a weird sense of humor in my opinion.

    • Ken says:

      Hey Rob! How can i access the ECMWF models. I have access to NAM, GFS, and RUC. Your help is appreciated. The medium range forcast keeps getting us closer to cold and low level snow vs what normally happens in which case fades away. Kinda looking forward to a bit of winter. Poor plants. Thanks for your help.

  16. timmy - scappoose says:

    you got to be kidding me… i missed the only other exciting weather this winter due to my honeymoon. of course we are going to Disneyland this saturday-thursday. i have the mark nelson vacation curse. ill try to go on more for your guy’s sake

    • lurkyloo says:

      Timmy, I’m so jealous! Make sure you use the Fastpasses — they’re awesome. Oh and they close the monorail during the fireworks so don’t get stuck …

      Sorry — not weather-related! My bad. Let’s see, um, hope it’s not hot in Anaheim.

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

    Wow, -8 850mb temps forecast next week. Where was that in January? No moisture present at the same time of course. -38c 500mb temps later in the week as well. It’s been a while since we have seen the upper air that cold.

    • PaulO says:

      Yes we could have used this mid January. Seems like an odd pattern for us to be so cold aloft. Plug Spokane into the GFS and we are considerably colder aloft and there is no cold air at the surface over there.

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

      The GFS looked a little odd in the extended. Colder than Spokane? I haven’t looked at the charts so that would seem to indicate that the center of a cold core low would be over us, but moving which direction?

  18. Mr Data says:

    Mark will you please delete my posts since everyone only sees the critic side in me no matter how much (praise) I might say in between?

    Also can you please make it a rule that you can’t make any critical statements period since that’s how everyone thinks?

  19. Mr Data says:

    Western weather. Western weather. Western Weather

    Western weather. Oh mostly cloudy here. Western weather Western weather.

    Western weather.

    (lets see everyones hate now fire up since I cause people’s evil side to appear)

  20. Mr Data says:

    Song quote:

    I like black in white, dream in black in white, You like black n white. Run Run away!

    Why is it that everytime I mention western weather everyone jumps on me? ๐Ÿ˜•

    Even if I say they make a good topic once in a while you IGNORE that and like to pick me out on anything that’s criticizing which makes me think y’all actually LIKE Western weather to the core.

    You act like I just killed someone for crying out loud! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    You guys based me just upon words and you don’t even know me on the other screen so stop assumeing stuff everytime I mention western.

    You seem to think everything is black and white in this world.

    If you really hate that word so much you all need to email Mark to make it rule number 4!

    I like black in white, dream in black in white, You like black n white. Run Run away!

    You guys prove me more and more that you are just like western just for even mentioning western.

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      Because every time you post about Western Wx you complain about how mean and rude people are over there. Nobody on this blog really cares about what goes on about Western Wx.

      I’d guess less than half the people on this blog actively post on Western Wx.

      We are here to largely discuss Pacific Northwest weather with a focus on the Portland Metro, Willamette Valley, Columbia Gorge, and Coastal regions.

      If there is pertinent information from Western Wx about these topics then go ahead and post it. But don’t post about Western Wx because the people are rude or mean. We don’t care!!!

    • lol wow… crazy kid is at it again… maybe you should just go kill someone!

  21. Mr Data says:

    What bout the second? ๐Ÿ˜•

    45F and it sounds like that may be my high this time next week?

  22. PaulO says:

    The trend continues… “NO CHANGES. PREVIOUS DISCUSSION FOLLOWS:” Now two periods of relatively cold (for March) periods coming up in GFS. The first, centered around Monday has been persisting in one way or another a couple of days now at least. Change (at least in the weather) is good!

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

    Appears the Canadian is coming to an agreement with the GFS for a possible change.

    Read tonight’s NWS AFD for even more info.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      00z is colder…. I would think snow levels 1,000′ at the lowest as there is a persistent SW-W onshore low level flow… Maybe some small hail and cold core convection though.

    • Looks like a pattern where the heavier showers could be mixed with snow in the overnight hours…

      At least something to get excited about…

      43.8F….0.08″ rain today

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Could be, but only IF the GFS/Canadian are the correct solution. Unfortunately the EURO shows nothing of the sort. You’d think sooner or later things would change in our favor, but the EURO has been really quite consistent and accurate the past month compared to the under performance of the GFS. I worry that will lead more credibility to the EURO winning out once again leaving us with more of the same.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      39.4 and falling.

      Good night.

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      I think we could get down to 500 feet with at least a mix down to the floor.

      Monday night/Tuesday am being our best shot with a small amount of moisture and temps into the upper 20’s.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Wouldn’t that be nice? ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    If the GFS comes true we are looking at a near valley snow event if everything came together just right. Wouldn’t last long but it would be fun!

    • Snow-Zone/Monmouth-Elv200' says:

      Are we talking feet like the east coast lol.

    • boydo3 N Albany says:

      He’s looking at the 7200 hr

    • dabears (Hillsboro-Tanasbourne) says:

      The real exciting thing about this is it’s inside hour 150. Hard not to get excited when you see that.

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      If we did manage to get snow to the valley floor it wouldn’t be much and it would be brief. Not even like our December snow event.

      If we could get moisture Monday night into Tuesday morning it could give us a dusting based on the most recent GFS. Winds also go calm to off shore during that period as well.

      GFS reloads the cold air starting Wednesday night as well.

      At least we have something to look forward too.

  25. AdamInAumsville says:

    This current pattern would be an excellent thunderstorm setup if it were late spring.

  26. Mr Data says:

    Thanks for the explanation. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I wasn’t sure if it was cooler weather or if there was some (super-de=duper-mega-humongous-artic-outbreak that a model showed that the bloggers wanted to keep quiet about.

    You know the kind that would do more then break records.

  27. Mr Data says:

    Why is everyone being so cryptic about the models? ๐Ÿ˜•

    • W7ENK says:

      I don’t think they want Mother Nature to know that we’re on to her plan for fear that she might take it away…

    • dabears (Hillsboro-Tanasbourne) says:

      No one is being cryptic. The GFS shows some cooler weather ahead. The others don’t.

  28. Brian in Bellingham says:

    Mark, you have been lamenting how poorly the GFS has done the last two months. I wonder how the “old” GFS would have done compared to this new and supposedly improved version of the GFS. Maybe the new GFS is like the “New Coke” debacle of the 1980’s.

    • Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

      I’ve noticed the new GFS has mislead us with numerous low pressure systems so far since its release.

  29. WEATHERDAN says:

    Salem had snowfall of at least 1 inch more than 10 times during the 92-93 winter. We had over 35 inches during that winter. Topped off by a foo of snow that fell on Valentines day. At least a trace of snow lingered on the ground until early March that year. Alas 1993 was one of the coldest and wettest summers in the last 50 years. It seems warm winters are usually followed by warm summers and cool winters are usually followed by cool summers. That’s not always the case. But it seems to usually work out that way.

  30. Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

    Guys this is something you can chew on for a while…

  31. dick says:

    i heard we have 1 more snow coming next weekend. will it be alot?

    • dabears (Hillsboro-Tanasbourne) says:

      Probably not. If it did snow, it would be very marginal. But I think any snow is unlikely.

  32. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    Ohhh how badly I want the 06Z GFS Model run to be right!

    • dabears (Hillsboro-Tanasbourne) says:

      The 12z isn’t bad either! And it’s in believable range too!

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      12Z turned it up a notch.

      Alas I would agree with Marks comments on the blog post. The GFS just isn’t handling the current regime very well. We’ll have to watch the Euro and Canadian models to see if they come round.

    • Looks to me the EURO and GEM runs don’t support the GFS…??

      52.3F…Light SW winds

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

    Actually we did have at least one thunderstorm day in April 1992. We had a morning thunderstorm out here in Washington County and lightning hit the apartment building I was living in at the time which was about a mile away from the Fox Studios. My VCR would never go above channel 6 after that. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    It seems like since they switched to the new version of the GFS itโ€™s not doing as well, especially in the long run. Of course forecasting cold and wet, just to take it away as we get closer is one of its old tricks, so there is no reason to believe the old version wouldnโ€™t have done the same.

    In any event, I wouldnโ€™t expect the wet weather to start until the end of March beginning of April. If it doesn’t it’s going to be a very warm spring I’m afraid.

    • Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

      I wonder if you remember the snowstorm Portland had in December 1992? Some locations had almost as much snow as 2008’s storm. At least thats what I heard.

    • Aleta-West Gresham says:

      The snow down in SE Oregon was unbelievable in 92-93. We didn’t see bare ground for 3 months or so. Started snowing in middle of December and saw no rain until end of Feb. or early March. It snowed and snowed. You can truly get tired of the snow!

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

      If I’m remembering correctly we had three snows that December. One of which set in mid-day during the Christmas shopping season and created a complete panic as people tried to get out of downtown and get home. It was complete gridlock downtown. Probably the worst commute I’ve seen here up until this last Dec snow.

      92-93 was an awsome snow year. I was in Bend in January -93 and they had about 2′ on the ground and very cold temps at the time.

    • Punx – that gridlock you talk of, I recall we had just moved to Oregon that Fall for my Mom to start a new job. She took Tri-Met into town from Beaverton and was stuck for hours downtown unable to get home. Being a latchkey child I’m sure I was delighted at the extra hours of independence – and snow watching. I’m pretty sure I had the weather channel on the entire evening.

  34. Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

    Honestly, it might be a while before I move out of the PNW into the Midwest. Just have some extra schooling to do and I also have to be comfortable making a living on my own.

    Its not all that bad here as far as weather goes. The fact that we get very little stormy action it really gets you amped up when they come. You know that feeling we all had at noon on June 4th, before all the storms? That was the most awesome feeling ever.

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      Just go to Bend or Sisters in the spring time for some good solid thunderstorms. The girlfriend and I are headed down Memorial day weekend to Bend for that very reason.

      I hope we get lucky and catch a couple thunder bumpers!

    • Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

      Oh remember Memorial day 2008? That was a good time for thunderstorms, hopefully same for this year!

    • …southeast oregon is a good candidate for active cell watching, and it’s only 300 miles….

  35. yevpolo1990 says:

    we need some snow like my home city in Ukraine…they received 4 feet of snow in one day 3 weeks ago!!!
    oh well onto tstorms haha

    • W7ENK says:

      Estonia has had a TON of snow and cold temps this winter. The Baltic froze over, and the government plowed roads across the ice leading out to the islands!

      They’re still getting snow, but it’s not been quite as cold. I can’t imagine lows down to -25C or -28C with highs a balmy -18C… for about six straight weeks.


  36. Mr Data says:

    ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Geez (almost) everyone is a bit ‘touchy’ today. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    Ahem. Does anyone have any scientific reasoning as to our creeping drought?

    Does anyone also know why we haven’t had (super deeeeeeeeeeeeeep) artic air execpt for mid December in the last several years?

    Last December was helluva cold one compared to 08.

    I can’t believe I made it down to 10F with sub-freezing highs for 3 days and I still feel jittery when I think about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I loved it despite no transition event.

    It’s the only thing keeping my weather geek sanity together.

  37. Mr Data says:

    48.7F outside. Boring

  38. Timmy_Supercell (Hillsboro) says:

    As far as I can tell, we didn’t have any overly-significant thunderstorms in 1992 right? Like July 1991 or May 1993?

    • Justin (Brush Prairie) says:

      Dude, you REALLY need to get out of the PNW.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      We’ll get you a ticket to Wichita around Memorial Day okay? Who’s going to contribute?

      I think the appearance of thunderstorms in the summertime west of the Cascades happens somewhat randomly from year to year. Even if you did an exhaustive study, I bet you wouldn’t find any good correlation with storms here and El Nino/La Nina etc…

      And let’s be honest, an event like the June 4th thunderstorm only occurs every 10 or 20 years in any one spot west of the mountains. That 49 mph southerly gust at PDX was the strongest wind ever recorded in June there.

    • W7ENK says:

      I know someone that works for the NWS in KC, MO. Maybe she could find an internship for you back there, somewhere??? ๐Ÿ˜†

    • Justin (Brush Prairie) says:

      Exactly, Mark.

      Of course you never know, with climate change there’s always a chance that thunderstorm numbers could start shifting in one direction or the other. I do notice a slight correlation historically to warm ENSO periods and strengthened PNW convection, and hypothetically warmer long term conditions could yield better convective opportunities.

  39. 2 Dolla Bill says:

    Holla at 2 Dollar!

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