October Snow Storm

Not that’s a snow storm!  From bare ground to nearly three feet of fresh snow to start the season at Timberline and Mt. Hood Meadows.  Even Government Camp had 8″…very impressive for the last week of October.  For you skiers and snowboarders, hopefully a sign of the season to come.

So will the ski areas open?  Yes, I know that Timberline is open year round, but that’s only the Palmer Snowfield.  I mean the first REAL ski area opening.  I’m guessing one of those two areas will attempt to open for this weekend.  Just a gut feeling. 

Now a ski area manager would probably want to know what happens next week?  The big issue would be much warmer air that moves in for at least 3 days next week…Monday-Wednesday.  The ECMWF and now the GFS are both showing ridging developing over us or just to the east during that period.  Freezing levels soar to 9,000′ plus; it means whatever falls will probably be rain at the ski areas.  If they get really lucky the main rain band shifts to the north leaving our area mostly dry, but still warm.  That seems to be the trend the last 3 model cycles (12z/18z/00z).  Many times the last few Falls the models first show heavy rain (a pineapple express) setting up over Northwest Oregon, only to shift the area of flooding rains farther north.  That’s occurring now, so we’ll see if the trend continues.  As I’ve said before; it’s not necessarily about what one model or model run shows, but what the trend is doing.

Other than that the weather should be real dead the next few days.  Well, actually the east wind freaks will enjoy a nice burst of Gorge wind later tomorrow and tomorrow night.  Probably gusts in the 45 mph range out in the usual windy spots (which would be 60 at Vista House!), and gusts 30 mph Troutdale/Gresham/Camas.  This will be the first cool easterly wind of the season.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

53 Responses to October Snow Storm

  1. Mike (Orchards 255') says:

    ESE winds are making for a warm evening…


  2. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    TWC LIVE in the midwest…60 mph winds! Kind of missed our coastal storm of course 🙂

  3. PaulB/Eugene says:

    Wrap the pipes…..lalalalala

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Oh Paul…you know how inaccurate those 2,880 hour models are. I think this 1,200 hour map is SO much more reasonable!

      1200 Hour CFS Map

      I’m actually a bit more worried about the strong onshore flow that might mess up the clear skies for fireworks on the 4th? I’ll keep an eye on it.

      6072 Hour CFS Map

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      Get out the sunscreen!

    • PaulB/Eugene says:

      I figured you were already going to add the mid-Dec arctic blast to your forecast tonight…so I thought I would just throw in the Jan cold wave to boot!

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      This seems more like an Ouija board! I bet I could do just as good with the ol’ eight ball! “the future is cloudy………”

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      Or… maybe Charlie could forecast the outcome of the 2012 presidential election!

  4. Cgavic sandy Oregon 1,100 ft says:

    I saw the wrong forecast model when I thought it was going to be cooler next weekend. I thought I was looking at sandy, when I was actually looking at timberline lodge.

    Error report.

  5. Cgavic sandy Oregon 1,100 ft says:

    The extended forecast is showing cooler, showery weather for next thrs and fri. Possibly mixed precip?

  6. Cgavic sandy Oregon 1,100 ft says:

    Our last Indian summer day was last Friday.

    Last night we had a low of 39 , with today’s hi of 41.

    My favorite central Oregon spot, sisters, got some snow mon nite into tues. Their lo last night was to be 22.

    Is this a taste of what’s to come this winter?

    It looks like mt. Hood might have some Halloween skiing.

  7. washington observer says:

    Mt Adams appeared today.
    I am going to try the HTML tag. It might not work. If not, you can see the picture of the mountain with my autumn leaves album.

    This has kind of been for my own reference so I can compare the leaves changing each year and the changes in the mountain.

  8. W7ENK says:

    Despite the lack of sun, it’s pretty nice out today! 🙂

  9. PaulB/Eugene says:

    Looks like heaviest rain will be focused from Olympics to N Cascades of WA (Skagit) per GFS…or farther N in Canada per ECMWF…am betting ECMWF will be right…with snow in Great Lakes/NE USA possible next week?

    Not much action next 3-5 days. Some rain down S in CA…should be dry for UO/USC game.

    Next week looks mild….snow certain to melt in OR Cascades, although since it won’t be raining much…may hold on to some of snow. ECMWF suggests ridging with precip rounding top of ridge next week, with mild temps lasting longer while GFS brings cooler air in sooner for a bit of upper elevation snow.

    Ensembles look like a bird’s nest…no idea what will happen. It is looking colder in AK next week. No arctic air in sight, no windstorms in sight.

  10. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    Encouraging model for folks (like me) that like cold air:


  11. 12Z GFS Quillayute, Wash

    11.38″ of rain in the next week.

  12. Punxsutawney (aka HIOPHIL) at work by Sunset High elev ~280' says:

    For model riders,

    The 12z GFS is even warmer overall than the 06z was.

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      It even managed to add a +17C for the middle of November @ 850mb. I would think that is about impossible for that time of year.

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      Actually it can get quite warm here, even in December and January. Examples follow. 1955 Late November after Arctic outbreak temp in Salem hits 66 degrees. 1980 December 30th Salem hits 66 degrees. November 1 1970 Salem hits 72 degrees. Mid November 2001 Salem hits 70 degrees. November 1st 1975 Salem hits 70 degrees. Mid December 1994 Salem hits 68 degrees. Early January 1984 after rare white Christmas Salem hits 65 degrees. Indeed 65 in Mid November is not all that impossible at all. Let us not forget that in 2008 November was quite warm, then came that snowy December.

  13. Garron near washington square says:

    Weather geeks, I need your opinion. I am going to go shopping for a home weather kit. Who do you recommend, and where is the best place to shop for that kind of stuff?

    • Garron near washington square says:

      I just want the basic; TEMP, WIND, HYDROMETER, BAROMETER.

    • Garron near washington square says:


    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      I have a Davis Instruments “Weather Wizard 2” Been great for 15 yrs!

    • W7ENK says:

      I have an Oregon Scientific WMR-100, and I think it’s great! Kyle seems to have a lot of unspecified troubles with his Oregon Scientific (Don’t know the model), but I’ve never had an issue with mine, other than needing to replace the batteries once a year. I like it because it’s wireless. Some people have complained that my temperature readings are too high, but when compared to other Wunderground stations in the area (3 now, all within 1/2 mile) my temp is almost always within +/- 2 degrees, which is not an unreasonable disparity.

      Try looking online? That’s probably where you’ll find your best deals. 🙂

    • Sandi (Wilsonville) says:

      I’ve seen folks here recommend http://www.ambientweather.com/

  14. […] And let’s not forget, this storm actually started in the Northwest too! […]

  15. A bunch of nice cam shots from Hoodoo. You can click on any of the images for a bigger picture. A pretty morning shaping up:

    • Garron near washington square says:

      Thanks Mike! Those were a couple of really nice links I will be using all winter long! It is mesmerizing to watch the Barrow ice cam from year to year. After watching a few of those, I almost felt like I grew up there. Watching the town move about, and shove the snow into neat piles as the ice comes and goes.

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      That is purdy. When I looked at it at sunrise you could see two people snowshoeing under the chair lift on the pic looking toward Maxwell butte. You can still see their tracks. It sure would be nice to be up there cutting some fresh tracks!

  16. Andrew Johnson says:

    Not to model ride too much or anything but the 06z gfs in interesting. Very warm next week, but then much cooler out in la la land.

  17. @RobWaltemate: I do not know the averages for the sea ice near Barrow, but you can look at some previous years via archived videos:

  18. Karl Bonner says:

    What were the freezing levels during the last couple days? If it’s snowing quite a bit at Govt. Camp, it can’t be much above 4,500 feet (of course, freezing level and snow level aren’t the same!) A freezing level of 9,000 feet at the very start of November is high, no doubt, but doesn’t seem drastically high – given that during a strong Pineapple Express, freezing levels can briefly pop up to 9,000′ even in January.

    Next week is fascinating me for the usual reason: potential for unseasonable warmth combined with at least partial sunshine. It all depends where the storm track goes, of course. Too far south and we get clobbered with heavy rain. Too far north and semi-fogversion conditions could set in. It’s only the first of November so I wouldn’t expect an intense Columbia Basin cool pool or freezing fog down around Eugene-Springfield. But we’d definitely end up with a big fog problem next week if the air is too stable.

    One other question deals specifically with this exact time of year. The weak sun and fog threat means we can’t warm up much anymore under a ridge. But I’m wondering if there’s a window in late October and early November where the Willamette Valley can get socked in and stay chilly all day, while the East Gorge stays sunnier due to less soil moisture. This year probably wouldn’t be a good barometer, of course – soil moisture levels are now well above seasonal averages. But if a ridge developed around Halloween in a less-wet year, I bet we could see The Dalles end up with nicer weather than Portland or Eugene.

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      I don’t know that soil moisture is the main and only catalyst to morning fog. It certainly plays into the equation but if you get enough marine influence your going to get fog with a cool and moist airmass flowing in.

      I believe what you are indicating would come into play given no marine influence. Of course off shore flow this time of year wouldn’t be too terribly cold and would keep us fog free.

  19. 10-26-2010 BG Lake Data

    High:46.9* Low:41.9 Precip: 0.64″ (It rained all day here)

    October 2010 total rain: 4.44″

    *todays high was coolest max here since April 3rd.

  20. W7ENK says:

    [Milwaukie] 10/26/2010
    51.4°F High
    42.6°F Low
    SSE 17.4 mph at 1:58p

    Dry tomorrow?

  21. pgiorgio says:

    Anyone impressed by the ‘Chiclone’, worst storm??? to hit the midwest in 70 years???

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      The funny thing about that storm was that after all the hype…I didn’t see any wind gusts above 80 mph. Sure it’s big and the pressure was very deep (lowest ever in Minnesota and Wisconsin). But our big lows can beat those any day!

    • pgiorgio says:

      They even compared it to Cat 3 hurricane. Not sure it was even a Cat 1 for the most part in the wind category. We had worse storms this summer in Michigan..lol

    • W7ENK says:

      I don’t buy that. TV Met reported wind gusts around 60 mph… that’s in the Tropical Storm range, but not even close to Hurricane strength.

    • RobWaltemate says:

      I can remember all the out of area news media talking about the December 07 storm here on the coast. They kept calling it a Huricane, but from what I saw here, while windy for sure, it wasn’t any huricane! Sometimes I think it is just hype to get Federal money, or maybe money for the local FEMA office.

    • W7ENK says:

      If that were the case, then the PNW Coast gets hit by several “Hurricanes” every winter. The Coast sees a wind event with gusts over 74 mph at least twice a year, or the Headlands at the very least, which is enough to qualify. There is, however, a difference between a “Hurricane” and our Subtropical Cyclones.

      I have to agree, It’s just sensationalist hyperbole.

    • Michael Goss says:

      The comparisons to a “Cat 3 hurricane” were for pressure, only. Obviously extratropical cyclones have much weaker pressure gradients than tropical cyclones, so the pressure-wind relationship isn’t the same.

      The highest gust I could find from this storm was 81 mph. However, to be qualified a hurricane, sustained winds of 74mph+ must occur. Gusts above 74mph don’t count.

      We occasionally get storms that would qualify, but it’s rare (December 2007 was one example). However, our storms are also much larger (in most hurricanes, even large ones, hurricane force winds are very, very localized).

    • Michael Goss says:

      I’d add that when I said “we occasionally get storms that would qualify”, I’m talking only based on wind speed. Indeed, there is a “hurricane-force wind warning” that can be issued for hurricane-force winds in non-tropical storms. Since our storms are cold-core, not warm-core, and the mechanism that strengthens our storms is completely different than the one that strengthens tropical storms, our storms are never actually labeled “hurricanes”.

    • Cherie in Vernonia says:

      for Rob Waltemate 🙂

      For those who were stuck at the coast with NO roads open to come home…no power…no gas…it seemed like a hurricane 🙂 Even now you can see the remnants of the trees that were taken off “half mast”.

      I was not there but the older couple next door were. A great attitude is what kept them going 🙂

    • washington observer says:

      Listening to a talk show on the radio yesterday based back east. The host told the caller that this storm was full of humidity which is caused by our pollution which causes global warming.
      He must not have seen the water vapor satellite picture that some of you posted here.
      The jet stream was roaring across our coast, across the Rockies and into the midwest

  22. Debbie - East Vancouver says:

    that’s a lotta snow! thanks Mark.

  23. W7ENK says:

    YAY for SNOW!!! 😀

%d bloggers like this: