Winter Weather Meeting Saturday

Good times ahead for the weather enthusiast.  It’s time for the 18th annual What Will the Winter Be Like meeting at OMSI.  Hard to believe we’ve been doing this since the early 1990s!  It used to be held in a small conference room and maybe 15-20 people would show up.  Now we regularly see more than 100.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we approach 300 this year.

You are invited…as the event is open to the public.  The meeting basically consists of 3­-4 forecasters getting up and giving their thoughts about what might happen during the upcoming winter.  A lot of times they are wrong, sometimes they are right, but there is always lots of good discussion.  Last year one person forecast 6 snow events in Portland; you are welcome to ask him about it this year!  Also lots of discussion about La Nina, MJO, QBO, and other big phrases.  The event is held in the auditorium and lasts about 2 hours.  I will be there, but I just give a review of the previous year’s weather.  You’ve seen my thoughts about the upcoming winter in previous posts about La Nina.  You can click on the tab above labelled LA NINA 2010.  Another member or two of the FOX12 weather team may show up too.

Other meeting details are here at the…Oregon AMS website.

We have an incredible stretch of late October sunny weather on the way tomorrow through at least the middle of the week.  Enjoy the sunshine!…I will be off tomorrow, but back at work Monday.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

254 Responses to Winter Weather Meeting Saturday

  1. Mike (Orchards 255') says:

    The UKMET and JMA models like teasing us for late Saturday/Sunday…They bring the low closest to us while the “others” keep it offshore and further north.

    Nice to see a ~960mb low on our doorstep….

    49°

  2. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    2011 Calendars now available! As Mark mentioned at the meeting :)! $15 each 🙂

    Let me know if you’re interested!

  3. Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

    Well, seems like this has been a classic October. Dry start with gradually cooling days and a couple frosty nites. Looking at the models, it looks like it will end up as an average month with rain coming in. Fall colors are really kicking in now and soon the leaves will be blasting off the trees. Won’t be long before we’re debating the likelihood of the first snow. And the TV reporters will be “live on Sunset Hwy.” saying something like “if you don’t have to go out tonite, don’t, the roads are slushy and getting worse” with “no end in sight” !

  4. PDX Weather Nut says:

    Interesting article about the year to date climate wise: http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20101018/sc_livescience/2010tiedforwarmestonrecordsofar

  5. Karl Bonner says:

    With Mark gone for 4 days now, has anyone been keeping up on the 10-14 day models? I’m curious what things are going to be like past this weekend.

  6. W7ENK says:

    Never miss an opportunity to photograph a spectacular PNW sunset!

    18 October, 2010 – Oregon City, OR

  7. washington observer says:

    In Feb of 96 here in Klickitat County, our ground was frozen, we had over three feet of solid packed snow and then it started to rain. And rain. And rain.
    The news reported that helicopters were evacuating the residents of Glenwood from the top of the school.
    In the meantime, the town of Klickitat where all of the flood waters were headed, was battling major flooding and washed out roads.
    November of 96 wasn’t all that great either. My son was playing football for White Salmon. It was snowing when we left for practice and I commented that it was a strange snow.
    It snowed a heavy wet snow that knocked down power lines. The football team was practicing for playoffs. The field had a foot of snow on it and everyone was without power.

  8. W7ENK says:

    The following is a response to an e-mail I received inquiring about something I’d posted that someone read (probably) here on the blog. I know I’ve discussed this several times already, but this subject really fascinates me, and I can’t emphasize my points enough! 🙂

    hey i read your comment on a website about the la-nina prediction for the pacific northwest this year and was curious about what you had said about the “solar minimum”. Do solar minimums really create a dramatic enough temperature decreases that you think along with the la nina and the solar minimum that we should expect a COLD winter blast? Also i read that there was volcanic activity that has occurred will also make for and even colder winter for this year. What do you have to say about that?

    So, I am by no means any sort of an expert at this, just your typical weather nut, so take that for what it’s worth. As far as the solar minimum goes, the sun is roughly on an 11 year cycle, wherein the number of sunspots and flares fluctuates greatly between maximum and minimum. The last solar minimum, or “quiet” period of the sun, a period of time when sunspots and flares are at their lowest in number, frequency and intensity, or even sometimes altogether non-existent, began (on schedule, or perhaps even a little early) back in 2006. This means that right now, the end of 2010 / beginning of 2011, we should be approaching the next solar maximum, or the period when sunspots and flares are at their greatest intensity. Oddly, over the last 4+ years, the sun has been experiencing a long series of “false starts”, where solar activity looks like it’s about to pick up, but then drops back to Zero, repeatedly. It just dropped to Zero again about two weeks ago after showing an increasing number of spots for about a month or two.

    This has been happening for the last 4 years. It has happened in the past, too. The Maunder Minimum was a period of roughly 70 years spanning from 1645 to 1715 when sunspots virtually disappeared and the sun went totally quiet. This happened again, but to a much lesser degree during the Dalton Minimum, which lasted about 40 years from 1790 to 1830, and again during the Spörer Minimum, another (earlier, longer) period that lasted about 90 years from 1460 until 1550. The Maunder Minimum was probably the most dramatic of these nulls.

    Maunder Minimum (1645 – 1715): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maunder_Minimum
    Dalton Minimum (1790 – 1830): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalton_Minimum
    Spörer Minimum (1460 – 1550): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spörer_Minimum

    So, it appears that these extended “quiet” periods of low solar activity perhaps occur every 75 to 150 years, which puts us right now in the window for going into another extended minimum. I’m not saying that we will, but we could be. We do, after all, orbit around a variable star!

    Now, how is this going to affect our weather? Who knows? There are many different theories, several of which are contradictory to others. Some believe that the lack of solar energy will lead to an overall cooling of the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans, others think that the decreased energy will lead to less cloud production and an overall increase of solar energy reaching the surface, thus heating. Personally, I tend to agree with the first example (cooling), but I also believe that the processes involved are so complex and great in number, we may not know everything that is happening until well after it’s over with.

    I will say, however, that never before in our history have we seen an alignment of conditions quite like what is currently developing. There are several cycles that take place at regular intervals concerning sea surface temperatures in the Pacific (and Atlantic) Ocean. These cycles oscillate between warm and cool periods, but they all do so at slightly different rates.

    The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is on about a 20 to 30 year interval, and is currently entering it’s Negative (cooler) phase.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_decadal_oscillation

    The North Pacific Index (NPI), which switches about every 25 years or so, appears to be slipping back into a Positive (cool) phase over the last couple years.
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/jhurrell/indices.info.html#np

    The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which is on an interval of about 2 to 7 years, has been heading into a moderate to strong cool phase (La Niña) since last spring.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ENSO

    There are several other factors at play, but these cycles all falling to the cool side at roughly the same time, combined with an already longer than normal solar minimum? Like I said, this is an alignment we’ve never observed before. Things might get very interesting in the years to come.

    As far as this winter goes, I don’t think we’ll see any significant changes, at least not this quickly. There is a lot of “heat inertia”, meaning the amount of heat built up in the oceans, that would have to be expelled first. You see, it’s like turning down the thermostat in your room. If it gets too warm, you turn the heat down, but the temperature in the room doesn’t instantly drop the second you flip the switch. It takes some time for the temperature to drop that few degrees to a more “comfortable” level. Now, imagine that on a global scale! It could take the better part of a decade or more for global ocean and atmospheric temperatures to drop to a level low enough to make any significant difference. I think what we could see is a series of winters that get progressively cooler and more snowy, but it will be a gradual decline.

    Volcanic activity can also have a dramatic effect on global weather, but there haven’t been any volcanic eruptions lately that would be large enough to noticeably impact global temperatures. The eruptions in Iceland and the Aleutians (Alaska) in the last year have all been relatively minor. I really don’t believe they’ll play any sort of a role in the weather.

    I hope this all makes sense, and I didn’t bore you to death. I find this stuff fascinating, and I think it will be very interesting to watch how all this unfolds! There will certainly be a LOT of knowledge to be gained from observing something like another extended solar minimum, especially with what knowledge we’ve already learned over the last few hundred years coupled with today’s technology at our disposal.

  9. PaulB/Eugene says:

    10/24 still needs to be watched on models….GFS and ECMWF insist on storm winding up well offshore, headed to Queen Charlottes. The UKMET, consistent with 00Z run yesterday evening, on the 12Z has a 966mb low tracking toward S Vanc Is or Tatoosh…while JMA has 974mb low headed in the same direction….wait and see. This is more likely to be a Bellingham/Seattle problem than a Eugene/Salem/PDX problem. Even more likely is no problem at all. Of course a 954mb low 80 miles off of Newport would be no problem with me 🙂

    Beyond that…looks seasonably cool. Arctic air seems to be building more on the Asian side of the pole in the next few weeks.

  10. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    GFS seems to be keeping some sort of wind event in the 10/30-11/1 time frame. The 12Z run really ramps it up to a pretty major storm with strong south winds and heavy rain. It will be interesting to see if any of these notions survive into the 7-10 day window.

  11. Andrew Johnson says:

    12z looks a lot cooler/wetter than the 06z did. Beautiful day shaping up once again.

  12. W7ENK says:

    I just stumbled into this…

    This is where the winter of 1995/96 all started. It just got crazier from there, with lots of low(er) elevation snow and a big Arctic outbreak in January, then the Pineapple Express with urban mudslides and major flooding in February! I remember hearing something about 13 inches of rain in 5 days… Could this year be a repeat?

    • Gidrons says:

      I’m hoping there’s no repeat of that winter. I lost 4 trees in the windstorm. The mudslides blocked highway 30 in multiple places along with most roads through the West Hills…it took me hours to get home. Many people lost their homes and Vernonia was almost completely submerged.

      I’d rather have 4 ft of snow.

    • umpire says:

      Don’t forget – there was a quick ice storm about 4 or 5 days before the windstorm – I was still trying to pull broken branches out of the open so they wouldn’t blow around on the morning of the windstorm.

    • Emily Waldman says:

      I remember this! We lived in Olympia. We had the windstorm event December 1995. My parents were in Depoe Bay. They were on vacation there, they pulled into town as the Coast Guard was putting up the hurricane flags up. Sealion Caves 120mph gusts. I worked in West Olympia & the winds were a howling. Then the January 1996 snowstorm 12 inches of snow. My husband was in Portland & said it was really bad. Well all is this our Winter 2010-11 lot we have drawn time will tell.

    • laurie(sylvan) says:

      Thank you for posting that video. It was really interesting to watch. I remember it but couldn’t watch a lot of the coverage because I had no power.

    • I’m pretty sure it was this event that really triggered a lot of my current interest in weather. I was in 9th grade and we had a half day of school due to the impending storm, which was a remarkable enough occurrence. I lived in H’boro, and was out of power for maybe 10 hours or so, but had classmates out in the sticks that didn’t have power for days on end. Of course, the wild snow/ice/floods later that winter simply sent that season over the top.

  13. eugene in vancouver says:

    I know it’s a few days out, but what are the chances of a significant wind event this weekend? Not that I’m getting my hopes up or anything, just curious.

  14. PaulB/Eugene says:

    This reliable model above has our first arctic blast not until Feb 22 2011. No need to debate about what is going to happen this winter….La Nina, neg PDO, NAO, AO, QBO, sunspots, contrails, chemtrails, climate disruption, and so on. This model has told us what will happen.

    • W7ENK says:

      Whew! So glad to know that we can stop the debate now. All this forecasting and model interpretation and stuff was getting really boring… It’s nice to see that the clairvoyant weather computers have finally decided to start telling us the truth about our REAL weather future! 😆

  15. RobWaltemate says:

    No wind, so the temp is still dropping here North of Long Beach. Down to 37.2, but I don’t think it will hit 36 before the sun hit the ground here. DP 34.9.

  16. Yevpolo1990 says:

    the 00z nam seems to be in a major disagreement with gfs…hour 84 it shows the low off of OR coast but GFS place it about 200 miles north (off of Wa coast), i don’t know why that fascinates me especially when I hardly ever look at the NAM

  17. PaulB/Eugene says:

    UKMET 00Z shows approx 980mb low close to OR coast at 144h. Other models have low farther out, headed somewhere between Vanc Is and Queen Charlottes. If UKMET verified would be concerning for high winds at coast but also inland. At this point, am going with model majority vote…no windstorm.

  18. W7ENK says:

    [Milwaukie] 10/17/2010
    63.1°F High
    34.9°F Low
    W 8.3 mph at 3:03p

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