A Crazy and Wet Weekend

January 17, 2011

What incredible rainfall totals up on Mt. Hood this weekend!  It appears that a good chunk of the foothills up through the crest of the Cascades in the Mt. Hood National Forest received 5-10″ of rainfall over the weekend.  Timberline Lodge is the winner with a bit over 9″ of rainfall.  In one 24 hour period from late Saturday to late Sunday Timberline received over 8.60″ of that!    For 12 hours, EACH hour recorded at least .37″.  For 4 of those ours the total was over .50″ each.  I’ve never seen that much rain in my whole career here on Mt. Hood.  Of course that has happened in the Coast Range.  I have a feeling there will be tremendous damage to trails, roads, and bridges for next summer up in the forest.  Too bad…it took so long to recover from the 2006 event in spots up there.  This also shows why the Sandy River appears to be the only river with record flooding.  It reached it’s third highest crest after 1964 & 1996 just yesterday at the gauge near Bull Run.

I was up in Puget Sound for part of the weekend, then had no internet for most of Sunday at home.  Otherwise I was watching the weather closely Sunday as the rainfall added up.  Interesting how orographic the precipitation was…only 1.57″ at PDX from early Saturday morning to Sunday evening.  We are only a bit above average for this month here in the city.

I’ve been preoccupied at times the last 6 weeks by a big graphics upgrade in the weather center.  The boss paid for a brand new weather system with several new capabilities.  It’s all visual and operational improvements.  No rendering of graphics means a crisper look, automatically updated weather info, ability to work with 3D objects etc…  That’s the upside.  The downside is that we have to start over graphics-wise.  Want to make a flood graphic?  Start from zero!  Lots of time involved in a graphics change of course, but it’s a necessary evil in the television world.  Plus I asked for it, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain.  I am excited to make lots of new visualizations in the future; one of the favorite parts of my job!

Looking ahead…well, if you wanted a cold and snowy January, it’s not going to happen (unless it’s in the last week).  7-10 day maps are mild and not very wet.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen