Winter is Back!

February 14, 2011

Not only does it feel more wintry outside and in the Cascades, but we see a bunch more coming up over the next 7-10 days.  February is going to go out with a snowy “bang”.  Check out our 00z 72 hour RPM snowfall forecast…over 2-3′ in the Cascades by Thursday, and almost all areas should get at least a dusting at some point before Thursday evening.  That includes the lowlands as well.  Notice our model shows at least a trace in most spots.

Strong cold front seems to be right over the middle of Oregon right now, maybe Pendleton to Roseburg.  It won’t move much farther east until late tomorrow when another developing low pressure system moves up along the Washington coastline.  You can see it starting to get organized in the cold batch of showers to our southwest.

I still feel the same about snow possibilities in the lowlands later this week.  Snow seems very likely in the hills (1,000’+ Wednesday through Friday).  850mb temps and 500-1000mb thickness support that easily.  It looks to me that Thursday is the best chance for snow sticking even lower, possibly briefly down into the city with heavy showers either in the morning or evening.  Then we dry out Friday and Saturday, even though it’ll stay cool.

Sunday through Tuesday are still all over the place.  GFS gives us a great snowstorm in the Valley Sunday night and President’s Day, but ECMWF (the 00z) is just more of the cold rain/snow mix stuff.  Both models are holding of precipitation until later Sunday now anyway.  Still too far away to nail down details.  We might have a widespread snow event on the way, but still a very good chance nothing too exciting happens in the lowlands.

On a side note, about one week ago I had decided today was the day.  I was going to go on-air and proclaim “winter is over” today.  I even had a great graphic in mind with some tombstones.  Now that seems like a really bad idea, even though I still believe the chance of a significant ice/snow storm in the metro area is quite low this late in the season.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


Permanent Vista House Wind Gauge

February 14, 2011

Just want to let you all know that the wind gauge has been replaced at Vista House.  The original post about it is here.  

It’ll now be a “permanent” sensor (year-round).  The Oregon State Parks folks purchased a new Davis Vantage Vue base unit with a much stronger signal that can penetrate the concrete building well.  The anemometer is mounted on the NE side of the building near the top of the masonry, just below the fancy tile roof.  So it won’t see southerly or southwest-west wind well, but it needed to be that way to avoid, let’s say,  “photographic issues”.   It is fully exposed from North to SE.  There is also a temperature sensor.  No rain or humidity.  Don’t want all the junk hanging out there exposed to the elements.  We THINK we’ve got it working well now, but still some computer issues.

So we should have a year-round wind speed from Crown Point now…it exports to MADIS as DW6193.  You can see the data here.

Notice I didn’t lay on the word “permanent” too heavily.  I highly suspect that extreme wind (120+) or a severe ice storm (2″+) will destroy it.  BUT, it only costs about $120 to replace the outdoor portion of the unit.  Heck, I bet even the toilet seats probably cost more than that at Vista House, so a pretty good deal.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen