What a crazy weekend…heavy rain, thunderstorms, heavy mountain snow, and now massive waves moving onto the coastline. A deep area of low pressure moved offshore as expected Saturday evening, and over the next 24 hours will continue “filling” (weakening) as it moves east across southern British Columbia. Having such a strong storm relatively close to us for 48 hours is unusual (especially in October!). As we’ve seen, the effects are varied depending on where you are:
Models had been forecasting 2″ of rain in the lowlands and they did very well. PDX had a record 1.06″ for the day yesterday, and now we have surpassed the average 2.88″ we normally see this month. More showers today with another chance of thunderstorms, just not as wild as yesterday. I see 3-5″ rain/snow has fallen in the west slopes of the Cascades. Rainy season has begun!
2. Mountain Snow:
Whew! More than I expected and slightly lower than I expected yesterday. Snow levels have risen slightly since yesterday evening (they’ll drop again tonight), but it appears at least 15-20″ have already fallen above 5,000′ in the Cascades. As you can see from the picture above, traveling through the passes should be okay during the daylight hours today until colder air moves in this evening. By the way, keep in mind the temperature shown at Government Camp has always been 3-4 degrees too warm too cold. When it shows 30 degrees or lower is generally when you see snow start sticking on the road. It’s been that way for about 3 winters. I wish ODOT would fix it. More snow is on the way the next 24 hours, maybe another 6-8″ above the passes and a good 4-6″ in the passes. If we get another cold system or two early next week maybe a ski area could open the first week of November??? Definitely possible.
3. High Winds:
These were strong as expected with the cold front Saturday night…highest gust I saw was 70 mph at Yaquina Bay Bridge. Most peak gusts were in the 45-60 mph range. I said 55-65 mph gusts, so I think that was reasonably close.
4. Huge Swell:
Such a strong low sitting over the offshore waters for 48 hours, bringing a long period of gale/storm force westerly wind over the same area, you get a massive swell. I checked all the buoys and 20-30′ is common at all of them right now. I see Buoy #46005 had a 43 ft. wave a few hours ago! That’s a four story building. So the NWS has a High Surf Warning up for the Coast today. Expect 30-35′ swell…we’re starting the season off just like last year when we had the largest swell of the season in early November.
Much quieter the rest of the week. Thursday’s system dives down towards California…a non-wind producer and that pattern tends to not give us significant rain. Durign the upcoming weekend we should see the weather action pick up again.
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen