A slow night…

Not a whole lot going on weatherwise for a 3rd calendar week.  Hard to believe February is only 1 hour away.  As I mentioned at some point during the last two weeks; our “real” winter here in the lowlands of the Pacific Northwest is late November through about mid-February.  Hmmm…that only gives us 2 weeks or so to get some sort of big frozen storm.    Not time to call off “winter” yet, but I’m getting closer.

That’s (blast of winter) clearly not going to happen in the next 7 days.  A strong ridge of high pressure is going to remain over the West Coast through at least next Monday or Tuesday (the 7th or 8th).  Beyond that…who knows.  Most models either put us into some sort of colder westerly flow or something somewhat more exciting.  But even that is beyond 8 days out and each run is different.    So enjoy the crisp sunshine.  Hopefully that Vista House sensor will get rebooted in the morning; since tomorrow should see the strongest easterly Gorge gradient of this episode. 

The airmass over us has cooled dramatically in the last 24 hours.  Check out the KPTV Tower sensor…42 at this time last night and now around 30 up there at 1,800′.  We might not get much above 40 degrees in a good chunk of the Metro area tomorrow.  Spots near the Gorge will hover in the 30s all or most of the day tomorrow.  Combine that with the wind and it’ll be our coldest weather in a month.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

66 Responses to A slow night…

  1. bgb41 says:

    In regards to the blizzard in the Southern Plains States….

    San Angelo, Texas has seen the most severe change of any station.

    4:00pm yesterday —> 80 degrees and Sunny
    8:00pm yesterday —> 70 degrees and PC
    12 mid ————-> 35 degrees, Thunderstorm with Snow
    4:00am today——–> 26 degrees, Lt Snow
    9:00am today——–> 19 degrees, Snow & Windy


    • W7ENK says:

      I went through almost exactly that in October 2003 down in K Falls, minus the thundersnow… that came the following April. 80 degrees and I went water skiing on the lower lake (Lake Ewauna) right by Downtown KF one afternoon/evening, woke up the next morning to 20 degrees and an inch of snow!

  2. Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

    Hoodoo Butte on Santiam Pass.
    It’s half price on lift tickets today! LOL

  3. stevied (North Portland) says:


    In exactly 2 weeks cold and snow! 12z GFS says so! 🙂

    • w7enkmobile says:

      Isn’t that the 12z from Christmas Day? 😀

    • W7ENK says:

      Isn’t that the 12z run from Christmas Day? 😀

      [Mark, disregard that previous post – awaiting moderation. I’m dinkin’ around and didn’t realize I was logged in under my phone’s account.]

  4. Tyler in Battle Ground says:

    Amarillo’s forecast high today: 8

    Normal: 51

    Departure: -43 degrees

    Even at it’s coldest daytime high, PDX has never had that much of a departure.

    • Andrew Johnson says:

      Thats incredible. Many places that are getting so cold right now in Texas and Oklahoma were well into the 70s as recently as Saturday as well.

  5. Jethro (Canby ~187') says:

    More discombobulation from the 12z GFS in la-la-land. Definitely a trend towards “more active” the last few runs, but no consensus on whether the activity will be cool or cold.

  6. W7ENK says:

    I think it’s comical, reading some of the posts here that have been repeating virtually the same thing over and over again for the better part of a month now:

    6 weeks ago it was:
    “Epic cold and snow coming, just wait two weeks!”

    Two weeks later:
    “Epic cold and snow coming, just wait two weeks!”

    Two weeks later:
    “Epic cold and snow coming, just wait two weeks!”

    Two weeks later, and here we are again today:
    “Epic cold and snow coming, just wait two weeks!”

    And I’ll bet on Valentines Day, it will again be:
    “Epic cold and snow coming, just wait two weeks!”

    Andrew said it best yesterday, it’s like the old carrot on a stick routine. “Epic cold and snow” at the end of the run-stick, and every run-step we take toward that “Epic cold and snow” carrot, it gets pushed back another 6 hours, and another 6 hours, and another 6 hours. Eventually, when we do finally get our chompers on that “Epic cold and snow” carrot, it will have long turned rotten, which will translate into a cool, wet, grey and crappy spring right through the 4th of July, just like last year.

    Prove me wrong, please.

    • stevied (North Portland) says:

      It’s true…
      for the midwest and NE

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      You might as well jump W7…no point in prolonging the agony any longer.

    • W7ENK says:

      Hahaha! 😆 Nah, I’m having too much fun watching everyone else climb their way up to the highest point. After last month’s Epic Snowfail, I’m sitting out for this ride. But, I sure hope the rest of you are having fun. 😀

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      If this last chance for epic cold/snow fails, you can be sure the body count at the bottom of the cliff is going to be frightening.

  7. Tyler in Battle Ground says:

    Wow…watching something very strange.., well, quite common really.

    It was 31.5 at 8:25, and the wind just went dead stop and it has dropped to 29.4…

  8. stevied (North Portland) says:

    looking for fun weather forecasts today. How about St. Louis? (blizzard warning, foot of snow, sleet, etc.)


    • W7ENK says:

      AccessDeniedRequest has expired
      E14C9AEB021836E02011-02-01T 16:32:48ZfWYcQ23j94Viw1jY42XfQmPU38wbmdBEMbffXtc+bs0/o/cIa3RQguQ+6aGympN92011-02-01T16:43:32Z

  9. To borrow Jethro’s quote: Beautiful, clear, frosty morning… no wind tucked up against the foothills in Sweet Home either, temp at 30.1°

  10. Ken says:

    I would say that in a winter of non normal events worldwide we too shall have our turn. Give it a couple weeks.

    • W7ENK says:

      That’s what I (and several others) have been saying for a few weeks now. The only problem is, by the time the pattern finally does shift, it will be too late for significant snow accumulation in the lowest elevations. The mountains may very well get dumped on through April, but down here in the Western Valleys, it may very well be that we see a repeat of last spring/early summer in that we’ll get unseasonably cool and extraordinarily wet.

      I’d imagine it’s damn near impossible to get 3+ inches of snow to stick around overnight in Portland come April…

    • Ken says:

      Thinking of a 93 repeat. Also known as wishcasting 🙂

  11. PDX Weather Nut says:

    If only our times with hot weather (85 degrees or warmer) could be as brief as this “winter”!

  12. Andrew Johnson says:

    A much chillier morning that expected. 24 degrees currently here in Silverton. It appears I am the cold spot for the area.

    • bgb41 says:

      I see its mid 30’s along the Columbia river and windy but its 24 in Orchard’s 5 miles to the north of the river right now.

    • Andrew Johnson says:

      I find my temps are very similar to Orchards on cold winter nights. Salem looks like they kept a NE breeze overnight and didn’t get to cold.

  13. Andrew Johnson says:

    Wow this is what I’m missing in NE Oklahoma.

    epic winter storm grinds on. Just sent a quick update
    to get a handle on potential storm totals for this
    event…and to increase freezing rain/icing accumulations
    across western Arkansas. While the heaviest precipitation has shifted
    east to the eastern OK/western Arkansas border…area of wrap-around
    snow will swing across eastern OK the remainder of the
    morning and into the afternoon.

    14-20 inches of snow expected across NE OK before it all
    ends…locally higher amounts likely.

  14. Jethro (Canby ~187') says:

    12z GFS running… looks great out to hour 6! 😆

  15. PaulO says:

    Euro still shows new Siberian blast much further west as it drops but again moves it to last frame or 2. If only…

  16. k5mitch says:

    no frost just E.-> wind…

  17. Jethro (Molalla ~320') says:

    Beautiful, clear, frosty morning… no wind tucked up against the foothills in Molalla, temp at 30F.

  18. pappoose in scappoose says:

    27.4F Had to get the heat on in the pumphouse. Mark made me curious about the tower temps.


    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      I’ve got some new steel toed boots Mark. I’m headed out to boot the Vista House sensor. Hahaah!

  19. Karl Bonner says:

    I’ve got a burning question that’s been on my mind for a long time now.

    You know how during December and January fogversions, temps up at mountain pass levels are often well into the 50s, with 60s down in the foothills? Suppose we take the exact same 850mb heights and apply them to a mid- to late February ridge instead. If the vertical temperature gradient even remotely resembles a normal lapse rate, then high temps in the valley ought to be 65 at the very least, and a good chance of going above 70. Trouble is, this looks too good to be true in February. Usually a high of 62-65 is classified as a heat wave.

    These are the only ways I can see such a pattern resolving without breaking 65 in Portland or The Dalles:

    1. Any super-warm heights in February would still result in some kind of inversion layer, but slightly cooler heights allow for vertical mixing more easily. (In other words, as the heights get warmer they cause the lowlands to get colder.)

    2. Upper-level heights in February cannot get as warm as they can in December or January, but by March they become capable of warming up again. (During late winter, some phenomenon prevents the air aloft from heating up.)

    3. Even if there’s no valley fog and temps are relatively warm at the surface, there will still be some kind of cloudless inversion over our heads, or at least a flat or very minimal positive lapse rate.

    If none of the above conditions are met, then as soon as fogversion season ends, valley temps in a very strong ridge pattern should skyrocket to near insanity.

    Why doesn’t it get that warm, then? Or is it the case that this outcome is very capable of happening in February, and we’ve just had bad luck in recent years?

  20. Andrew Johnson says:

    Down to 31 here in Silverton. Skies have cleared and a low at least in the upper 20s seems likely. Down to 16 with moderate snow in my former residence of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Kinda wish I was there right now.

  21. pgiorgio says:

    Well its looking more likely that the entire country will be in winter by mid-February. Possible below normal temps for the entire lower 48? Hard to do but seem possible.

  22. Christiana says:

    I don’t want a blast of winter but the valley needs rain and the mountain needs some snow. Can I order some warm valley rain with temps just cold enough that we get snow in the mountains?

  23. Karl Bonner says:


    Anyway I always get excited about the arrival of February, because the next 2 months or so is capable of tremendous variations – variations that can mean the difference between magnolias starting to open around Valentine’s (at least last year in the Willamette Valley) and brief snow showers into late March or early April.

    Even though the fall side of the year has a more abrupt change of seasons, the early spring side offers some of the most diversity from one day to the next.

    • Karl Bonner says:

      First things first – let’s get to work on a nice retrogression for Sun-Tue next week. Not too much retrogression mind you…just enough to put Portland highs down into the mid 30s, with lows of 18-25 depending on wind and rurality. The Dalles highs around 26-30 with lows of 12-18. Ending with a nice snowstorm Wed/Thu that leaves much of the cold air in place while dumping 5-8″ on Portland, over a foot in Cascade Locks, 8-12″ in Hood River and 6-8″ in The Dalles. Then finally late Fri. into Sat. a second storm comes in and quickly blasts the cold air out with a brief transitional ice phase.

      By Mon. evening everything is thawed and temps are mild for the V-Day dinners, followed by sunshine and near-60 temps Wed. 2/16 through Mon. 2/21. Then a brief return to cool and showery before another burst of spring just before we enter the month of March!

    • Andrew Johnson says:

      I’m working 70 hours this week 60 next and God know how much the week after that. Once this is all over I’m going to need a few days to decompress. I’m thinking that I’m going to drive out the The Dalles for a few days get a hotel room and just chill for a few days.

    • Karl Bonner says:

      Andrew, it won’t be too much longer before the normal seasonal temperature gradient between Portland and The Dalles goes flat. You seem to indicate that this “vacation” is going to happen some time during the 2nd half of February. If we do get a nice false spring later this month, there’s a chance the spring-like temps could be enjoyed on both sides of the mountains, at least for lower elevations.

      However it doesn’t always turn out that way, and the most likely scenario would probably still be that DLS is a few degrees cooler than Portland. Especially if there’s a strong easterly push near the surface. In February that almost always guarantees that (relatively) cool air will arrive from places deeper in the interior. East winds don’t just bring air into Portland from The Dalles, they bring air into The Dalles from southeast Washington and northeast Oregon. And this scenario can also happen in early March, though the east wind probably won’t be very strong.

      What we are waiting for east of the mountains is for the increasing late-winter sun angle to reach the point where it can cut through the nighttime chill and heat us from below. Low humidity and cold air drainage mean that our nights will continue to be cold if skies are clear, at least for a while longer

  24. bgb41 says:

    1/31/2011 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High: 60 at CW3485 Port Orfo( 400 ft)
    Low: 47 at LINCON Lincoln C( 187 ft)

    High: 14 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft)
    Low: -2 at HOWARD Mt Howard (8150 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 27 degrees
    ILLINOIS VALLEY ( 57/30 ) (1389 ft )
    Lorella ( 47/20 ) (4160 ft )
    CRAZYMAN FLAT ( 40/13 ) (6100 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.17″ at N7HAE Knappa( 105ft)
    0.17″ at AA7OA Astoria( 240ft)

    • Andrew Johnson says:

      I rode the tram up Mt. Howard once. It was Memorial Day weekend 1993. It was pretty cool, raining down at Wallowa Lake, snow falling up at the top of Mt. Howard. I fished all day at Wallowa Lake and didn’t catch anything until late in the afternoon when I fell asleep and woke up with a fish on! I was eight years old.

  25. EmzinTigard says:

    Yes, thanks Mark.

  26. gmania69 says:

    I don’t mind cold and sunny. Wished the wish-casting would’ve been true but it looks like our winter is null and void. I just hope we don’t have a never ending spring rain. Ready for sunny and warm at this point.

  27. yevpolo1990 says:

    Well let the count down begin, snow-your time is limited.

  28. Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

    Thanks for the update, Mark.

  29. blowmedown says:

    What do I win? lol! A cold and snowy surprise mid February?

    • Christiana says:

      Nope: the satisfaction of knowing that you where first is going to have to do. Sorry, I can be a smart aleck sometimes.

  30. blowmedown says:


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