Dust From Mt. St. Helens

Check out the early morning visible image…either smoke from a fire or blowing dust (more likely) is streaming off of the area around Mt. St. Helens.  Actually the more I look at the loop, it sure looks like a few just a few miles west of the crater.  Dust doesn’t blow 40 miles away…although maybe this morning it is? 

11:45am Update:  Sure enough…driving to Seattle right now and just passed under the dust cloud.  Definitely not smoke.  I see Timberline 7000′ wind has averaged close to 40 mph…plenty windy to stir up the dust.

Heating up much more quickly today…but that strong east wind will keep the max temps from getting too crazy.  I still like the 95 forecast for today.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

468 Responses to Dust From Mt. St. Helens

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

    9 AM Observations / 24hour Temperature Departure

    Portland: 70 +6
    Hillsboro: 70 +5
    Troutdale: 71 +5
    Vancouver: 70 +5
    Aurora: 71 +8
    Salem: 74 +9
    McMinnville: 67 +6
    Scappoose: 69 +5

    I think what we’re seeing here is simply we still do have a hot air mass residing over us and we lost the marine push/influence..

    AST-PDX: +1.7mb | 0.2mb Increase
    PDX-EUG: -0.0mb | 0.2mb Decrease
    PDX-DLS: +1.0mb | 0.3mb Increase
    TTD-DLS: +0.5mb | No Change

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

    Some echoes now popping north of North Bend.

  3. PaulB/Eugene says:

    Things looking very good outside….lots of midlevel instability evident with growing high based cumulus to my SW.

    T storms a good bet in S Valley, as far N perhaps as Salem.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Also looking closely at WV loop I can see what might be a vort/shortwave embedded on the northeast side of the upper level low as well as a good northward movement. It is near Cape Blanco and rotating northward…

  4. Battle Ground Brian says:

    06Z GFS @ KTTD

    Looking like we average near 70-72 for a high for most of the extended after the next 48 hours have past.

    0.33″ of rain also is shown around the end of the month. That would be climatologically normal to see some rain about then.

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

    8 AM Observations / 24hour Temperature Departure

    Portland: 67 +5
    Hillsboro: 65 +4
    Troutdale: 67 +4
    Vancouver: 68 +6
    Aurora: 66 +6
    Salem: 68 +7
    McMinnville: 63 +4
    Scappoose: 63 +3

    • PaulO says:

      Thanks Rob. Yes, noticibly warmer this morning. Almost as hot this afternoon + higher humidity = hottest feeling day of the ‘heat wave’? Seems likely to me anyways. Looks like one of our quicker ends to a hot spell coming up later this evening as well. Looking at the loops, your ob’s and the clouds building over the southern coast range I am thinking we may get a surprise rolling up from the south later 🙂

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      No problem and I like the way you think. A surprise would be great. 🙂

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

    I noticed is that the ULL has sped up now. If the forward speed trend continues timing would put it onshore I believe around 4-7 PM somewhere near SW Oregon. This would be close to peak heating, would coincide with highest instability, best LI, and probably a robust marine push into our area…. Perhaps the combination of all these ingredients sparks storms in our area, if not I assume they won’t be any further north than Eugene/Mt. Jefferson.

  7. Mark Nelsen says:

    Just spent the night sleeping outside with the family on the floor of the new chicken coop and “club house”. Barely got chilly, but a nice canyon breeze all night, maybe 5-8 mph. I’ll take pics and add to the “chicken coop” link on my website…when I actually add it to my website. Looks like it’s going to be just about as warm today as yesterday.

    • Washington Observer says:

      Ahhhh, those are memories that the children will always treasure.
      Great timing, because you will probably never sleep on that floor again!!!
      I wish all families could experience being a “family” like yours did last night.
      By the way, how’s the back?

      • Mark Nelsen says:

        Ready for an afternoon siesta on a soft bed! No plans for chickens until next spring though. So once there are insulated walls and a roof it might be fun to sleep out there when it’s colder (pre-chickens of course).

    • Ken says:

      Very nice!

    • umpire says:

      When I moved to Portland 30+ years ago, I was a Vista volunteer in the Old Town area – the Police had just received a new “paddy wagon” which was to be used primarily to pick up the inebriated from the streets and doorways. They gave some of us volunteers a ride in it before it was put into service. I suspect after a few weeks of use a chicken coop would look inviting by comparison!

  8. eflow says:

    Beeeee-uuu-tiful accas field this morning!

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

    It has begun! ….

    Lightning off of Cape Blanco/Coos Bay

    Good sign if you have this beginning over a very cool Ocean at 7:40 AM.

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

    I am running 4-5F warmer than this time yesterday morning.

  11. PaulB/Eugene says:

    Very wide field of altocumulus castellanus over Lane, Douglas counties this morning….they are moving NE at the moment….will wait and see what happens down here in Eugene. ULL looks to be in a good spot as I look at sat imagery.

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

    3z SREF for this evening shows cape values 1000-2000J/kg, LI -2 to -3, and slightly improved lift/forcing.

  13. Lots of mid level cloudiness to my south and clear skies to my north.

    Maybe some excitement later today? I hope!

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      I actually am seeing a few clouds to my south too. I’m sure someone will reply that I’m not, or don’t know what I’m talking about.

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      I’ve noticed some stray mid-level clouds this AM as well.

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

    Good morning.

    A muggy early morning at that.. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt it this humid.

    Okay so onto some goodies. As of 4 AM Kelso has yet to develop low clouds. Last night they developed shortly after midnight. They still should see low clouds near sunrise though. These will not make it into Portland/Vancouver. Due to the much later progress inland of the marine layer one can surmise not only that the onshore flow is weaker, but that the low cloud deck is likely shallower.

    AST-PDX: +1.7mb | No Change
    PDX-EUG: -0.1mb | 0.2mb Decrease
    PDX-DLS: +0.8mb | No Change
    TTD-DLS: +0.4mb | 0.2mb Increase
    *Onshore flow remains fairly flat with no noticeable increase present. 925/850mb temps profile suggest temps very similar to today perhaps 93-96max.

    6z GFS hints that the S-SSE flow aloft nudges just a touch further north getting awfully close to the Willamette Valley and north Cascades by tonight. WV Loop shows the upper level low has lifted a bit north of 40 N now centered near 40.6 N, 128 or roughly 250 miles southwest of Cape Blanco. It is moving ENE and appears as if it may be turning northeast soon. If this is the case that could slightly increase the chances for t-storms north of a line from Eugene to Mt. Jefferson and who knows maybe even into our neck of the woods. Mid-Level lapse rates have been steepening now at 7.5 – 8C/km. PWAT values .70″ increasing to near 1″ towards southwest Oregon as mid-level moisture increases in advance of the upper level low.

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      We’re not going to see thunderstorms today.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Where do you see me saying we will? I haven’t yet. Mid 90’s with pretty strong instability coupled by weak forcing and a strong marine push = You cannot rule it out completely. More than likely anything we do get lucky enough to see will be flashes towards the Cascades.

  15. Kyle says:

    How thick can the fog get in Ohio with 75F type temps?

    • W7ENK says:

      In some spots driving through the farmlands about 90 minutes South of Cleveland it was less than a 1/4 mile visibility. When I first saw fog the first night, driving down from the airport, I rolled the window down thinking it was nice and cool; to my surprise, not so much. It was just… gross! I looked over at the thermometer in the van I was in, it read 76F. Eeew!

  16. W7ENK says:

    2am, it’s 68 degrees, RH is 77%… Blech!!!

    I’m just laying here, and I’m breaking a sweat! Kinda feels a little bit like the Midwest.

    You know, one of the things I found odd about Ohio, creepy actually, was how it would get foggy at night and early in the morning, yet it was still 75+ degrees. I’m really glad that doesn’t happen here, at least not all that often, but tomorrow might feel quite muggy?

    I hope it doesn’t go to waste…

    G’night! u_u

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

    PDX 75 +4 … Definitely reflecting the lack of any marine push tonight.

    • W7ENK says:

      Yeah, but it’s WAY more humid, too. Which means there’s moisture in this airmass that is NOT connected to the marine push off the ocean. This bodes well for t-storms tomorrow!

      Hoping, anyway…

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Yep I don’t see any real marine push at the moment. Let me check surface gradients…

      AST-PDX: +1.9mb | 0.4mb Decrease – Much weaker tonight
      PDX-EUG: -0.0mb | 0.1mb Decrease – Weaker tonight
      PDX-DLS: +0.8mb | 0.3mb Decrease
      TTD-DLS: +0.5mb | No change

      Both the NW and SW marine pushes are dramatically weaker tonight. Low clouds may get into Kelso, but I doubt Portland/Vancouver sees any. Westerly flow through the Gorge has also weakened.

    • W7ENK says:

      So basically, pressure is equalizing over Portland? Does this mean anything specific? Of course, less of a marine push either up the Columbia or up the Valley means warmer lows tonight, and potential warmer highs for tomorrow?

      This limbo zone between two Lows and a High is kinda aggravating! I really hope things shift in our favor for some storms tomorrow night… It’d be a crying shame to ease out of this heat wave without any action. Equally as disappointing was easing out of last December’s deep freeze without any snow/ice. So sad!

    • Washington Observer says:

      Last night, at 11:00 pm in Washougal, the skies were clear, but it felt like a mist in the air which is the mugginess you are talking about.
      Without clouds, where does that moisture come from?

  18. W7ENK says:

    [Milwaukie] 8/16/2010
    99.5°F High
    59.0°F Low
    NE 10.1 mph at 12:31p

    That .5 degree on the high qualifies for a roll-over, so technically I reached 100° today, right??? 😆

    • W7ENK says:

      Oops! Not that it matters, but that peak gust was supposed to be at 12:13p. Damn dyslexic fingers! 😛

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      72.1 and muggy here. Surface gradients show a weaker NW Marine push between AST-PDX and NO southerly push at all. 925mb/850mb temp profile suggest only minimal cooling tomorrow. 93-95F as of right now seems likely unless there is some unforeseen marine push after 3-5 AM.

    • W7ENK says:

      If I had to venture to guess, I’d say that based on my conditions here the past couple days, my high here will likely be somewhere around 93 to 95 tomorrow? That is of course before the moisture from that ULL unexpectedly spills farther North than everyone is thinking, and a nice band of thunderstorms sweeps over the area. 🙂

      Gotta think positive!

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

    Okay I just analyzed the 4km WV Loop. Really no changes from my previous thinking. The Upper Level Low is positioned at 40 N, 130 W moving due east. The circulation around it is poking northward to about Cape Blanco to Roseburg. Unfortunately I see one major hindrance to the situation.

    What is it? The system nearing Vancouver Island. The problem is that it is moving faster than the Upper Level Low, so it along with its trailing frontal boundary are catching up to the Upper Level Low. It is moving southeastward and will probably alter the flow aloft keeping it southwesterly over the our area where as further to the south the flow becomes southerly. This system is also serving to push on the Upper Level Low keeping it on its southerly course moving it east not allowing it to turn north.

    00z GFS shows a brief window of southerly flow extending as far north as Salem to Mt. Jefferson. The only hopes we have here in the northern Willamette Valley are that a marine push into a relatively hot, unstable atmosphere triggers storms. It isn’t likely, but it has occurred before.

    This next image(As of 10:22PM. This will change at 11:22 PM) is the current Mesoscale Analysis showing present MUCAPE values. 3000-4000J/kg over the area.
    This is some of the highest elevated instability I have ever seen over western Oregon. Imagine if we had a trigger to tap into this. Oh we would be seeing unbelievable nocturnal lightning!

    • Derek Hodges says:

      MM5 shows the storms getting pretty close from the east late tomorrow night. the low has been trending north in the models too so thats something that caught my eye. Also models usually don’t see the marine push convection so it will be a wait and see. NAM puts a vortmax right over us wed am too. So we will have to watch.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      My thoughts are if we can achieve similar MUCAPE values that something could pop, at least on the Cascades.

    • W7ENK says:

      Gah!!! I’m on pins and needles here…
      seriously, I feel like such a kid!

      I’m really nic’n for some lightning. o_O

  20. Battle Ground Brian says:

    BG Lake Thermal Trend Last 4 days



    08-14_63__88__96__76 <—East wind day
    08-16_55__78__96__70 <—Dense AM Fog

  21. Battle Ground Brian says:

    08-16-2010 Clark Co Climate Summary

  22. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    The 0z GFS is the coolest run for this weekends trough. Still doesn’t show any moisture though. 850 temps get as low was 2. Chilly willy!


  23. Battle Ground Brian says:

    Coming home across north Battle Ground this evening around 7:30 I could clearly see the cloud of smoke on the south side of Larch Mtn. It looked like a small cumulus cloud around sunset hugging the mountain.

    • Derek Hodges says:

      I saw that fire yesterday and again today, its small but persistent.

      BTW went hiking in the gorge this evening, very nice out.

    • W7ENK says:

      I could smell wildfire smoke driving home down I-205 between Foster and Johnson Creek around 9pm. Not sure if it’s from that Larch Mountain fire or something else, but oddly I thought it smelled like burning sagebrush… wrong side of the mountains, however. 😕

  24. Battle Ground Brian says:

    PDX +4 warmer tonight than last night at 10pm

    Still 83 degrees there


    A much cooler 72 here at BG Lake at 10:30PM

  25. Battle Ground Brian says:

    00Z GFS @ KTTD – Starting to look September-like.

    This upcoming weekend, a dry but very cool trough drops in from the Northwest with 850mb temps of +2C.

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see 40-45 for lows in rural areas come Monday morning next week.

  26. Running a couple of degrees warmer than last night at this time..

    80 even degrees

  27. Derek Hodges says:

    I still think we have a slight chance of thunderstorms tomorrow. Airmass will have a lot of Cape and low LI’s, our low pressure will be a bit far to the south but maybe the marine push can kick something off, its happened before..

  28. High 97°
    Low 56°

    Last measurable rainfall was July 3rd.

  29. Sandi (Wilsonville) says:

    We just returned from a restful camping trip to Waldo Lake this past week/weekend. Not as warm as in the valley, but warm enough. Good excuse for lots of time in the water! A bit muggy at night… and definitely buggy still. An opportunity to test out several brands of natural bug repellent… and the sting soothes afterwards. ;P

    A nice thunderstorm yesterday late afternoon/early evening forced us out of the water. Stayed dry over us, but almost continual thunder rumbles for an hour.

  30. Battle Ground Brian says:

    Very interesting out here this morning. Dense fog with visibility 1/8 mile at 7am out here and 55 degrees. Who would’ve ever thought it was going to make it to 96 by 4:30pm with that dense cool fog at dawn. The foggy area extended from BG Lake down to Padden Pkwy near china ditch road(172nd). This AM fog is a sure signal that the nights are getting much longer right now.
    High: 95.9 Low:55.5

  31. Battle Ground Brian says:

    08-16-2010 Oregon Temperature Extremes

    High: 107 at Merlin Seed Orchard
    Low: 71 at Mt Hebo & Blalock

    High: 56 at Charleston
    Low: 35 at Crow Flat

    Largest Diurnal Change: 53 degrees
    Colgate (99/46) & Crow Flat (88/35)

  32. thank you Nelsen blog
    a long strange trip it’s been
    sure enjoy the ride

    • pappoose in scappoose says:


    • Runrain says:

      The blog is a dream come true. I didn’ (snif,snif) know that (snif, snif), there were others out there (snif), like me…..BWWWAAAAAHHHHHH

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Hahaah! I’ve been a rock-n-roller since before most of this crowd were on the planet.

    • B1900 Pilot says:

      Love the haiku and Rob’s posts (and everybody’s posts for that matter) Keep it up, what a great way to learn about weather!

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Despite disagreements and other things in the past the blog survives. The amount of posts this Summer is very impressive and shows all of our fortitude. I cannot wait for the exciting Fall and Winter ahead of us. Let’s hope we have lots and lots weather events to discuss and equally as much enthusiasm to share.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Thanks, B1900 I appreciate that.

  33. lurkyloo says:

    I am so impressed with the dedication to the blog! Rob, I just think you’re great. I thought this time of year was when everyone bailed. But 400-plus comments — in August?? Come on now! That’s awesome. Just, um, putting in my 2 cents and lurking as usual.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Well thank you very much that is kind of you to say. Yeah 400+ comments without a real event occurring. Well a heatwave, but those aren’t a lot of fun, so to speak. Imagine if we get some surprise t-storms tomorrow/tomorrow night. We could surpass 400 in just 1 day then! Feel free to post more often rather than to merely lurk.

  34. cgavic says:

    summerlike continues up here.

    what’s our northwest oregon 2010/11 winter supposed to be like?

    some people have indicated that it will be backto a strong la nina winter.

    if that’s right, we should be back to having snow again.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      If the prognosticators are correct, you will become a ice cube covered with large amounts of snow.

  35. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Maybe we can’t predict where it will go, but we can watch it and see where it goes. http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~ovens/loops/wxloop.cgi?vis_common_full+12

  36. W7ENK says:

    Ack! My temp hovered between 99.1° and 99.5° for the last hour, and is now dropping off a little… 98.7° now.

    That .5 degree qualifies for a roll-over, right? 😆

  37. J-Kelso says:

    No marine surge here in Kelso like yesterday, still 91 at my place. Hit 92 with a DP of 65 :S

  38. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:


    High of 91 today at Seattle (so far).

  39. W7ENK says:

    Okay, so TV met just said something about T-storms for the coast between Lincoln City and Astoria tomorrow in the morning? *Cocks head to side* Aaarrr?????

    • Derek Hodges says:

      There is a chance with some sort of disturbance, well to the south, and a lot of cape and low LIs. But I wouldnt get too excited still

    • W7ENK says:

      Not excited, confused! There’s virtually nothing to support a claim like that on the 5 o’clock news, especially when any discussion of storms this far North in the valley was entirely overlooked.


    • W7ENK says:

      Now it’s “Newport, Lincoln City” and clarified with a “not very likely”.

      Still not seein’ it.

  40. W7ENK says:

    99.5°, and one hour more to creep up that last 1/2 degree. 🙂

  41. 95° here currently…I see KVUO has hit 98

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

    18z is trying to give us 95F tomorrow…

  43. DEL X V says:

    Weather Service has Red Flag Warnings up for the Cascades….mainly for dry lightning Tuesday with the continued hot dry wx.

  44. W7ENK says:

    No wind, at all.
    RH 30% = Sticky icky!

    My weather station is predicting “Rain”.

    • Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

      Our weather stations don’t understand that the pressure falls almost every afternoon in the summer as the air heats up. I told my brother you can find the hottest days of a hot spell just by looking at the pressure.

      My lowest pressures in July were on the 7th and 25th, both right around our two hot spells. So far my lowest pressure for August was on Friday, the beginning of our current heat wave.

    • W7ENK says:

      Hahaha! Yeah, I figured.

      It’s interesting how the temperature and pressure profiles are almost inversely proportional on hot days like this when looked at in graphical form. Who was it that posted their graph the other day? I saw that almost immediately. 🙂

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