Days Off and A Bike Ride

May 19, 2010

I’m taking the next two days off for a little time camping with the family.  Yuck…cold and wet…luckily not tent camping this time around.  Even eastside, where we are headed, looks chilly and occasionally wet, just not as wet as westside.  I’m also participating in an annual bicycle ride in the Maupin area Saturday morning.  It’s a fundraiser for the Juniper Flat Fire Department in southern Wasco County.  I really enjoy going out there in the spring before it gets too hot.  Fresh sights and sounds to ride too.

A nice storm today; I’d argue that models and forecasts just nailed the storm.  Timing was just about perfect as well.  It seems like just about all official stations at least hit 35, and some were as high as 45.  I saw two 47 mph gusts at Forest Grove and the I-205 Glen Jackson Bridge.  We hit 45 mph at PDX, almost breaking the 48 mph record for the month of May.  You don’t see many 40 mph wind days here in Portland during the month of May!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


Wind Peaking Out Now

May 19, 2010

We’ve seen a wide variety of peak wind gusts here in the Valley so far…41 here on our roof on the westside about 10 minutes ago, 43 mph in Forest Grove, and a piddly 28 so far at PDX.  About 8,000 PGE customers out of power as of 4:30pm, a lot from the squally wind with the cold front that passed through about 3pm. 

So now pressures are jumping behind the front and it’s on to just up and down wind gusts.  Occasional stronger wind up above (notice the clouds flying by?) will be reaching the surface at times.  So almost calm at times followed by gusts of 35-45 mph.  Then the wind just gradually tapers off after 6-7pm.

Peak gusts so far at the Coast have been in the 45-65 mph range.  We’ll see if they get much stronger on the North Coast.  Sure looks like the Long Beach Peninsula is under the gun with that tail of that occlusion moving onshore this evening.

Good times for late May!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


Look at That Storm!

May 19, 2010

Now THAT’S a nice looking storm showing up offshore on the first visible image of the day.   Classic “cinnamon roll” look with a tightly wound area of low pressure and clouds spiraling inward.  Sure doesn’t look like late May.  If you want to do something outside get it done before noon.  We have a nice easterly wind blowing through the Gorge this morning as pressures are falling rapidly along the coastline; it’s going to get warm quickly!  I can’t remember the last time we had east wind witha deep low approaching in the 2nd half of May.  Enjoy the early sun, then the rain comes through, then the wind later…a wide variety of weather conditions on the way today.  The low appears to be crossing the into the “danger zone” east of 130W this morning at about 44 deg. latitude.

Not a single one of NOAA’s outer buoys are working right now, the inner buoys are in better shape…so where does all that (our) money go?  Oh well, they are doing a great job tracking the oil down south.  So I sure can’t complain about that, but we haven’t had most of those buoys for at least 6 months and it’s really annoying when we have deep low pressure areas moving through our outer waters.

I don’t have any other new thoughts…it’s a “wait to see how it plays out” situation now.  Peak gusts maybe 60-70 mph on the North Coast and 40mph from Salem north in the Valleys still seems like a good forecast.  If we get perfect mixing and some gusts to 50 mph in the Valleys that’s going to cause some trouble, but we’ll see.

10:30am…an even better pic here:

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


Major May Coastal Storm

May 18, 2010

Still no change in models this evening, forecasting a highly unusual late May windstorm on the Coast.  15 to maybe as many as 20 millibars from the NW tip of Washington to North Bend, OR.  That’s a decent windstorm even in mid-winter!  Low level winds averaging 40-45 kts. hit the far north Oregon Coast and Washingotn Coast too.  That could even give gusts to 70 mph up in that area.  Isn’t summer around the corner?  Now the gradient up the Valleys from EUG to OLM gets up to around 10 millibars.  For the reasons noted below, I still feel it’s going to be a good late-May “wind advisory” event here in the Valleys.  South wind gusts of 30-40 mph should pop up for at least an hour or two sometime between 4-7pm.  Those speeds with all our decidous trees in full-leaf mode should give us at least a few power outages.  Not a big storm, but a talker as we say in the business by May standards!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


Stormy May Weather Approaching

May 18, 2010

Quite a deep area of low pressure (for May) expected to develop and race northeast just off the Washington Coast tomorrow afternoon.  Models shows a 990-995 low with a nice bent-back occlusion bringing us gusty wind late tomorrow afternoon or early evening.  I’m really impressed by the wind forecast.  Our RPM model shows average windspeeds of 35-40 kts. running into the north Oregon Coast.   Definitely high-wind warning worthy with gusts 60+ mph likely.  That’s unusual for so late in the season.  I’ve included a graphic from our model at 6pm.  Along with the strong wind on the Coast you can see what effect land has on the windspeed too.  Much lighter here in the Valleys with average speeds 15-20 mph.  But then check out the next image.  Click for a larger view.   It’s the “forecast satellite image” for the same time.  The main band of rain/clouds has moved on by with plenty of sunbreaks in the late afternoon.  This is what has me thinking we could get strong gusty wind here in the Valley as well.  It’ll be a warm day…well-mixed airmass, we get sunbreaks behind the front, then the strongest south-north gradient up the valley develops (maybe 8 millibars EUG-OLM) at the same time the bent-back occlusion runs into Northwest Oregon.  That item shows up on the model product pretty well.  This leads me to believe we’ll get maximum mixing of strong wind up above down here to the surface.  So I think 20 mph wind with gusts 35-40 mph is quite possible right around the evening commute (4-7pm).  That’s real windy for May.  Our all-time highest wind gust in May is SW 48 mph at PDX.

Of course this leads us into a long period of cool and wet weather.  Thursday through Saturday should be very chilly and wet.  Possibly a break Sunday or Monday, then it’s on to more troughiness next week.  The ECMWF shows no hope for nice warm weather for all of next week either!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


Thunderstorms Arrive in Metro Area

May 17, 2010

7 cloud to ground strikes from the new cells in east Vancouver and Camas area within the last 15 minutes…heavy rain extends from there back to Scappoose, Sauvie Island, and down into central Portland.  Enjoy the show up in Clark County!


A Busy & Stormy Day!

May 17, 2010

The Portland and Pendleton radars are working overtime right now…a ton of storms popping up over the Cascades and eastside.  One is a severe thunderstorm in Morrow/Gilliam county right now.  In general they are all  looking much better than 1 hour ago.  A good place to watch (but you are at our mercy on the view) is our live streaming radar mentioned on the last post.  At 3:45pm I see three nice looking cells between Salem and Albany firing up.  This may be along the edge of a marine push coming in from the west.  Sometimes that initial push helps lift the warmer/moist air ahead of it.  Something to keep an eye on as it heads northeast into the metro area this evening.    Good times!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen