Sloppy Blogging

March 4, 2010

You may notice in yesterday’s post that I mentioned the latest measurable snowfall at PDX is in early March.  Well, that’s what you call “shooting from the hip” and the information was not correct.  Thanks to Justin-Brush Prairie for pointing that out.  The right answer is one of the graphics sitting on my weather computer that I’ve used lots of times (up above).   Probably like lots of you; I keep a big pile of meteorological numbers in my head that can be spouted off at a moments notice, you know, like at a wild party to impress the women.  Ladies love all that meteorological talk.  Actually I doubt they do, but my wife patiently listens most of the time.  And I’m practically a recluse that hates to leave my little domain in the trees.

That weather info is fine for normal weather conversation, but if you’re a member of the media you need to be extra careful what you say on TV, or in this case on a weather blog.  Jim Little and I used to laugh at another person on TV who seemed to shoot from the hip quite a bit with the weather forecasting.  That was maybe 10 years ago.  Real professional eh?

So apparently the fact in my head was the latest 1″ of snowfall at PDX is March 8th, 1951.  I consider that a “significant” snow for the city.  But the downtown location recorded .3″ on April 9th, 1933.  Airport records only go back to right around 1940.  You do have to watch out for one thing.  In the past hail was sometimes included in the snow accumulation.  I

So could we see snow next week?  A few changes in the last 24 hours.

1.  Arrival of the initial cold front is much delayed (some splitting).  00z models now say it’ll be tough to get anything before Sunday evening, then the cold air is slow to move in behind it.  For example the 12z GFS had a -7 deg. @ 850mb over us Monday morning, but now the 00z only has a -4.  The ECWMF continues to be a bit milder, and it’s been doing better in general.  They BOTH have -6 to -7 deg. temps at 850mb over us by Monday night, but then the precipitation is tapering off.

2. The next system Tuesday PM and Wednesday AM is farther north, or at least the surface pressure pattern quickly goes southerly, so the snow level jumps a bit.

The best chance for seeing snow to the hills would be Monday evening (if there is moisture left).  That’s pretty iffy for now.   It’s all still up in the air, but I wouldn’t get too excited about seeing sticking snow below 1,500′ next Monday/Tuesday.

Saturday still looks like the warmest day so far this late winter/early Spring.  I bumped the high up to 62 degrees at PDX.  Easterly flow (not too strong), totally sunny skies, and 850mb temps support a warm day.  March is the beginning of the Mark Magic Chart season (March-September), and it says a high between 59 and 65 degrees.

I sure notice quite a change next week on the models.  They all have some good westerly flow, frequent low pressure systems and wetter weather in general.  The beginning of a wet El Nino spring?  We’ll see…

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen