It’s Getting Rough Out There!

June 3, 2010

A foot of rain or more has fallen in the Bull Run Watershed the last 3 weeks.

Around  4:40pm a man approached me, holding an axe, and muttered something about “this rain is about 20 minutes early”.  Then of course I remembered last night at 10pm I had mentioned the rain would start at the earliest around 5pm, latest by sunset.  He was actually very friendly as we then proceeded to talk about the rain, surprise snowstorms, and an overdue windstorm.  All that over potting soil and a handtruck wheel replacement while in line at a large orange home improvement store.  He never raised the axe over my head (good); I think he had something to cut down (hopefully good).  Then the lady checking me out was “shocked” that “the WEATHERMAN has had a chance to get out in the garden???”.  As if somehow I found a few dry hours and she didn’t.  Ouch…add the bike shop people looking for dry weather, Shauna Parsons looking  at me like a disappointed mother looks at her kids, and it’s getting rough out there!  I might start wearing a blonde wig, or some other disguise out there until we get some solid sunshine.  Maybe some large sunglasses?  Maybe just hunker down at home and work only.

The final proof that the rainy/cool weather has gone on too long came in an email from our own regular commenter here on the blog…Jesse Krause “EVEN I am ready for some warmer temps and sunshine at this point.” Whew, and I thought 2012 was still two years away…things are really falling apart now.

A very wet system is moving in right now; the stretched out and weak surface low moves almost directly overhead later in the night.  Plenty of gusty west wind right behind the low pressure center, but no strong wind and no flooding rainfall.  I’m guessing maybe .50″ here in Portland, about 1/2 of what we saw with the last system.  Since it’s coming in a bit more from the southwest the rain shadow may not be as strong as with Wednesday’s system.  So maybe .40″ westside to .80″ east metro this time around.  Tough to get more than 2″ in the Cascades with this one due to the fast movement.  It’s interesting to note the only flood warnings in our region are out in the Blue and Wallowa Mountains (Grande Ronde and Imnaha rivers).   The John Day river also has a flood warning out.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


Coastal Radar Just A Year Away!

June 3, 2010

Very good news from Senator Maria Cantwell’s office today up in Washington.  The much-needed coastal radar installation timing has been moved up!  So now we only have to go 1 more winter with the status quo.  The plan is for it to be operational 1 year from this Fall (2011).  Here’s the press release.  Basically a brand new weather survelliance radar will be put up on the Southwest Washington coast…the first coastal radar on the Pacific Northwest Coastline.  A 2nd on the central Oregon coast is surely needed since we see very little below 10,000′.  I posted about this last December here.  Cliff Mass, my professor from the UW (20 years ago!) has been a big proponent of this, ever since a series of devastating windstorms and floods the last 5+ years up there.  But this will give us some big help, especially since buoys recently have not been maintained well;  most of the outer buoys were not operational this winter.  By the time a low pressure system or area of strong wind hits the inner buoys it’s quite close to the coastline.  If you want to see how bad the low-level radar coverage is…here’s my “tv weather graphics” version of what we currently see vs. what we should see below 10,000′ in the future.  Most of the “main action” happens in the lowest part of the atmosphere, so you can see what a different it’ll make.  Click on these for a better view.    Note that we’ll finally see into the “Astoria Hole” and that huge gap over the Willapa Hills.  It’s always been annoying when a wall of rain suddenly appears just west of Longview as it moves inland to the north of the Metro Area.  Also, with those cold wintertime fronts that come in from the northwest, we’ll have a much better idea when the rain is about to hit the north Oregon Coast.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen