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November 13, 2010

What a terrible story in the Oregonian today.  I’ve received emails from viewers asking about it like this one:

Hello there. I absolutely trust you and your team during weather episodes.

Is there any truth to the rumour that we will have an arctic blast this weekend with cold temps and the possibility of a valley-level snow/ice event? I’ve heard also that there will be high winds flooding through the Gorge with gusts up to 50 mph. I live in Fairview.

I’ve also heard that whatever happens will affect Thanksgiving travel. So, what’s up?

Thanks for getting back with me.

How about that?  50mph wind gusts blowing through the Gorge Friday???  It looks like light onshore flow that day.  Maybe they should stick with talking to local forecasters instead of dialing up a forecasting service from Pennsylvania?  There are no models predicting snow to the Valley floor Friday or Friday night (not too far off though on the GFS today).  This stuff drives me nuts when we are so far away and model runs change daily.  And how do we know that travel will be affected around Thanksgiving…10-13 days from now?  Ughh…let me add that I’m totally aware that television newscasts do this as well, but we USUALLY wait until things are more firmed up within the 5-7 day period.  The last two big cold events (December 2009 and December 2008) are good examples.  Models were in generally good agreement that very cold air was on the way (much colder than what we have seen on maps lately) 7-8 days before, and it was pretty much “settled on” by 5-7 days, depending on the year.  The reason is because people see a snowy picture, read a headline, and assume forecasters are going for snow.  Right now (and for the past 2 days) no broadcast media or NWS outlet has any snow in any forecast.

I’ll give my updated thoughts after the 00z runs come in again later; other than that it’s pretty quiet in the weather center.  The big crisis was the non-functional KPTV kitchen can opener.  That meant I almost didn’t get my lentil soup.  But luckily I eventually pried the can open without any blood loss.  That really could have set me off…

9:30pm Update:

I’ve calmed down now…the lentil soup was tasty and now I’ve stolen Wayne’s Peppermint Mocha creamer out of the company fridge for the Saturday evening coffee.   Life is much better.

I’ll keep it brief…my thoughts are pretty much the same as last night:  I don’t see any good chance for lowland snow or an arctic blast through at least the next 7 days.  It may get close Friday night, depending on which model and run you look at, but onshore flow with a low pressure system to our northwest and 850mb temps in the -2 to -4 range sure aren’t “snow-worthy”.  The GFS again tonight (00z run) doesn’t go for either a cold blast or snow through at least Sunday.  It is modified arctic air it shoves in here by Monday the 22nd (9 days away!), but then it’s dry anyway.

Let’s look at the big picture.  The weather pattern will be much more active later next week and beyond with our coldest weather so far this season.  The maps sure look “La-Nina-ish” to me!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen