Snowy Weather Update: Thursday Morning

February 17, 2011

What a pain, we have 2 months of almost dead weather, I’m strong and healthy, then some exciting weather comes along and I get sick.  Can’t it happen during split flow periods?  Oh wait, that’s about to happen so I’m probably not going to miss much.  I made a sick call today, don’t think I’ve done that for over a year.  I sound weird and now even feel crappy.  Headed back to bed after looking at models/maps.

Overnight we had lots of cloud cover, but very few showers, so we had very little sticking snow OR freezing temps.  I had almost 2″ here at home, but more than half of that was before 11pm last night.  Big deal…

Precipitation really tapers off this evening as a new surface low and pool of cold air slides north to south offshore.  That gives the Oregon Coast the best chance for sticking snow tomorrow morning.  It could be all white on the beaches at daybreak Friday.  Other than that we should see lots of sun and temps just a little below average tomorrow, Saturday, and probably Sunday here in the Western Valleys. 

It appears the ECMWF is the winner with the “President’s Day Snow Storm ’11”.  All models now show major splitting as a strong shortwave dives down the east side of a strong upper-level ridge Sunday and Monday.  Most of the energy goes to our west, wasted over the Pacific, and then to our east.  That leaves us mostly dry both Sunday and Monday.  Light offshore flow and an airmass that isn’t all that cold means highs probably still up near 50 degrees.  Sorry I couldn’t find a late February snowstorm, but that’s how it goes…everything has to work out perfectly to get snow in our climate (like no south wind and a cluster of showers at daybreak???).

There is some disagreement out around 5-6 days on the models (surprise!).  They seem to show another batch of cold air diving south with another round of low elevation snow possibilities.  However I see the new 12z ECMWF is playing the same game, digging an upper level trough more deeply over and offshore instead of swinging it by to the east.  I just compared the 12z ECMWF 500mb map for next Wednesday  vs. the 00z run…it’s pretty obvious.   There was a winter around 2003 to 2005 where this happened quite a bit, I’ll have to look that one up when I get back to work.  Anyway, the cool pattern continues for the last week of February, but the always-elusive lowland snow is still the carrot dangling on the stick…about to get pulled into March.

Maintenance Note:  I can see bickering/arguing getting going already since us model-riders have been let down again.  If it turns into a zoo like a few days ago, I’ll just shut off the comments for a couple days.  Yes, there are going to be some really bad forecasts, but be willing to learn from them instead of getting defensive about it.  Please don’t turn on each other like a “meteorological Donner Party”.  If you don’t know what that is, you can Google Donner Party.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen