Approaching Storm

Nice curl of low pressure moving north well off the Oregon Coast this evening.  This is the storm that at one point was forecast to come right up along the Washington Coastline, giving a windstorm to even the inland Valleys.  Instead it’s tracking right along 130W Longitude.  High Wind Warning is up for the Coast.  Peak gusts maybe 60-70 mph…about what we saw yesterday morning out at the beaches.

Last night was real interesting.  At the end of a low elevation snow event (down to 1,000′ or so), we then had what I call the “Forest Grove Effect”.  We totally lost the southerly flow and easterly wind began blowing out of the Gorge in the 10pm-2am period.  I was surprised at the snow/rain mix downtown (around midnight) as I passed through, then it changed to all snow at Troutdale and into the west end of the Gorge.  Most interesting was that the temp of 32-33 didn’t change from sea level (Columbia River) all the way up to 1,200′ near my home.  A very isothermal atmosphere in the lowest couple thousand feet.  You could see the KPTV Tower temps were right around freezing at 1,800′ as well.  That easterly flow was getting shoved up against the east slopes of the Coast Range and the east side of the West Hills/Tualation Mountains.  That gave near sea level snow to Scappoose/St. Helens too.  By the way, the drive home last night was one of the most slippery I’ve done.  Up around 1,200′ there was a good 3-4″ of heavy, wet, unplowed snow on the road, plus trees hanging way down into the road with branches falling too.  Looked neat, but even studded tires slide real easily on that layer of “snow on slush”.  Anyway, I’ve babbled enough.   That easterly gradient has ramped up suddenly this evening.  A peak gust of 54 mph just about 5 minutes up in Corbett and 48 mph at Crown Point.  Makes me think having that sensor right up against Vista House on the “upstream side”  might give a weaker speed than on the side?  Anyway, I thought we were probably done with the strong east wind for the season; but at least this won’t stick around more than 6 hours.

A series of cold fronts move through the next 7-10 days.  Temps stay a bit below average.  A typical high temperature this time of the year is in the lower 50s, and we should see temps in that range or a little below.   Yuck…I think most people will be ready for SOME sort of Spring weather by mid March.  Maybe just a couple 60 degree days???  Will that be too much to ask?   Most likely.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

115 Responses to Approaching Storm

  1. bgb41 says:

    18Z GFS @ Troutdale

    Would really like to see some 50’s & 60’s on there since its getting to late to snow now.

  2. Cgavic sandy Oregon 1,100 ft says:

    34 degs, overcast, sporadic snow showers in the area.

  3. muxpux says:

    what are the snow levels looking like tomorrow and friday? im going up to skibowl friday and after the epic snow monday id hate to go up and it all be slush. not that last night helped any. ughhh

  4. Karl Bonner says:

    Today it hit 53.2F at the downtown The Dalles station, though the airport was out of order for most of the day.

    Friday appears to have some juicy potential for real spring-like warmth. Surface wind gradient is supposed to go easterly for a day or so after tomorrow, and right now the forecast is for partly sunny skies Friday. If we do get a healthy dose of sunshine, we should have no trouble breaking 55 and could approach 60. Given that the upwind end of the Gorge is usually relatively calm, I expect winds will be light. So we get light wind, strong March sun, and temps near 60 less than a week after an arctic blast and four days after a 500-foot snow event. Think I’ll endorse that plan!

  5. Josh "The Snowman" From Everett, WA says:

    Heavy hail/graupel shower just moved through. Now it’s sunny.

    March in the PNW, gotta love it.

    • Dave_in_Troutdale says:

      You mean brown graupel in the back of your shorts?!?!

    • Mat the Salmon Killer says:

      Josh has no neck.

    • Mat the Salmon Killer says:

      Josh, the Graupeler and Nord the Barbarian were the breakfast club. Your neither. Get it right and pull out the lotion next time it graupels there.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      I think Josh has a red neck???

    • Mat the Salmon Killer says:

      Mark, out of all of our family, his is the reddest. Did I spell that right? lol

    • Mat the Salmon Killer says:

      Don’t sweat the petty things. Pet the sweaty things.

    • Dave_in_Troutdale says:

      If it’s graupeling, he’s pettin’ the sweaty thing, no doubt. Er ee, er ee, er ee, lol…

    • muxpux says:

      matt hasselbeck just tweeted a bit ago:

      “holy hail shower!”

      so thats confirmed, haha. and salmon killer, im stealing that quote, hope ya dont mind!

    • Derek Hodges says:

      What the heck is going on in here? Are people a little too bored?

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      They ARE bored, and are all related (at least 3 of them). I’ve been pulled in since I’m related to them (at least Josh and Mat) via marriage…in a Molalla sort of way I think. You’d need a flow chart to follow it.

    • W7ENK says:

      Where the hell is that banjo music coming from?
      Who’s doing that???

  6. Cgavic sandy Oregon 1,100 ft says:

    Correction. We now have snow falling.

  7. Cgavic sandy Oregon 1,100 ft says:

    NOAA is indicating a snow level tonight and tommorrow of 1 k ft before it clears a bit.

    I have 36 rain. Just a few more and should see snow. If…it comes down this far again.

  8. some light hail in Tigard.

  9. Andrew Johnson says:

    Had a high of 51 sometime this morning. Now down to 46 with light rain. 0.18″ since midnight.

  10. W7ENK says:

    Sharp drop in tower temps the last hour…

  11. W7ENK says:

    What baffles me about the Dec. 1995 storm, or the Columbus day storm for that matter, is how San Francisco was able to get 70+ mph winds, and yet at the time the low was at it’s closest point, it was at a range of about 600 miles, and the central low pressure was 958mb. At it’s closest point to Portland, the low was roughly 150 miles away, and had bombed all the way down to 952mb, and yet Portland saw similar winds? Granted, SFO is closer to the ocean, but the terrain surrounding the city is a bit higher, and there’s no “straight-shot” from the South, i.e: the Willamette Valley.

    Even today, we were less than 1/3 the distance to the low vs. San Francisco, yet the winds in Portland have been calm?

    I don’t get it…

  12. william johnson says:

    Ok looks like they dropped all High Wind Warnings for the Oregon coast theres nothing posted on the National Weather Service Warnings page. Ahhhh a sigh of relife.

    Ok here goes what would the senario have been if the low would have swept up the the Oregon and Washington coast like it was sposed to? what would have the wind speeds have been up to as well as the gusts? for like the Astoria area. and inland into the valleys. Was just wondering if someone with a lil more qualified exp could tell me.

  13. eric says:

    I’ve never posted here, but I wanted to share my moment of weather fame.

    This is a series of e-mails I exchanged with the NWS about the point location forcast at my house in the gorge.

    The forecast for my location:

    Point Forecast: 5 Miles W Bridal Veil OR
    45.54°N 122.27°W (Elev. 403 ft)

    has been about 10 degrees off from the location next to it for a few days
    now. It has snowed with a forecast high of 59!

    The location just to the west:

    Point Forecast: 6 Miles W Bridal Veil OR
    45.54°N 122.3°W (Elev. 348 ft)

    has been accurate.



    Do you have the eacrt url’s for both of these sites?



    The first one is the inaccurate one.


    Hi Eric,

    You are absolutely correct. I looked into it and there was/is one grid
    cell that is a little out of whack compared to the surrounding grids.
    I narrowed down the problem to a Bias correction option that
    forecasters apply to the grid based on previous observations and the
    closest ob site had a bad ob that caused this correction to not work
    properly. Hopefully in the future you won’t see this non-conformity.

    Thanks for letting us know!



  14. saweetone says:

    I miss Rob…

  15. william johnson says:

    hey tyler in battle ground what do you mean by this? the huge pressure rise at Astoria, 7 mb in 3 hours!!!
    what does that mean to you im just asking ? and as for 66 mph gust in astoria i didnt think so far this morning that we even got near a 40 mph wind gust ive been awake since 6:30 am watching this storm very clearly but i guess if we did we did but didnt see anything that i thought was that huge. right now we are eigther in a lull is the storm or it has completly past wind is barely blowing at all come on give me something exciteing lol.

    • Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

      Usually when there is a sharp pressure rise, wind speeds can be pretty high. Then again the pressure rise here was about the same, but the gradient isn’t lined up with the valley.

    • Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

      Btw…the front moved through Astoria just before 6.

    • william johnson says:

      guess that really means i was asleep and missed out on all the fun and excitement grrrrr this sux.

  16. Cgavic sandy Oregon 1,100 ft says:

    The unique weather climates in the portland area show themselves again.

    In sandy it has been just rain and in the mid 30s

    Thats why it’s important for the respective meteorologists in the Portland area to point out the climates when something like this happens.

    They establish a rule that whatever Is happening in the west hills/forest grove/ or lower east county is happening every place else.

    Last night NOAA was saying the snow level would be around 1,000 and above. Now it’s up near 2k ft.

    How northwestern Oregon weather changes.

    One other historical example is the gorge effect snow. At 1,200 ft in the gorge it was snowing 4 in. Over at sandy at the same elevation was 37 and rain.

    The technical differences are critical this time of year. Otherwise you’ll have more people laughing at the uneducated weather people. I trust three of them on two channels along with NOAA.

  17. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    66 mph at Astoria…not bad!

    8 degree warm up in 18 minutes in Bellingham.

    • Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

      Also, notice the huge pressure rise at Astoria, 7 mb in 3 hours!!!

    • william johnson ( Astoria) says:

      so what does that mean for you tyler in battle ground the huge preasure rise 7 mb in 3 hrs whats that mean to you? and as for 66 mph wind gust in astoria where i didnt see any gust that big so far here and i live in astoria. hmmmm crazy.

  18. W7ENK says:

    Careful out there folks, I’m hearing rumors that a Bent Back Occlusion might be coming in from the South… hopefully this one doesn’t breathe fire like the last one did!

    Actually, that’s something I’m mostly unfamiliar with, but supposedly Eugene is seeing winds gusting to 60 mph? I’m not in a position to verify that right now, my blogging is going to be more hit-and-run style today, unfortunately.

  19. Mike (Orchards 255') says:

    High winds along the coast this am…such as gusts to 88 at Hebo..

    Currently here 46°….Max gust 23…..0.11″ rain.

  20. JohnD says:

    Just a couple of commments about the winter season this year:

    I think I can speak for many of us who live in the lowlands when I say that I consider the winter “disappointing” when we do not receive one or more significant widespread accumulating snow events–which was not the case this year.

    Which is not to say that this winter did not have a number of intriguing moments and events–and that is for sure.

    Without a doubt there have been historical periods where lowland snowstorms have been more a matter of “when” than “if”. But lately it does seem the opposite has been true.

    We’ll try it again next year though. And no doubt with the same level of passion.

    And our summers here are almost always absolutely wonderful. THAT we CAN be pretty certain about!

    • Yevpolo1990 says:

      I’d the winter a 5/10 in terms of exiting weather, and a 5.5/10 in terms if low land snow, sometimes when la nina index looks too good to be true it can make your winter pretty damn miserable.

    • Andrew Johnson says:

      I would give the winter a C+ probably. It was a failure for lowland snow. It will probably end up around average for mountain snow, and slightly above average for rainfall. On the other hand it delivered two record setting cold snaps, one early, one late in the season. There was also a nice little cold snap at the beginning of January that gave lows in the teens to outlying areas. December however was disappointingly warm as was the latter half of January. I think if those periods had been a little closer to average the winter’s grade could have been bumped up to a B or B-. In closing though I will point out that I had three separate cold snaps that delivered lows in the teens. Just off the top of my head I can’t think of any other winter in which that has occurred since I’ve lived here (1990). Its amazing with 3 separate cold snaps we didn’t have an overrunning event. Also if I lived above 1000′ I would probably think much more highly of this winter as it seems like those locations received at least average snowfall.

  21. william johnson says:

    looks like things could start getting intereasting here on the north coast in Astoria fairly soon . will try to get video if things get windy enough . hopefully it will wanna get footage of something.

    Earlier around 6:30 to 7:30 had some good gusts come through since then things have died down now seems to be picking back up a bit.

  22. Temp roller coaster so far today:
    39° during the midnight hour
    54° at 6:20 this morning
    46° at 8:50 this morning

    0.02″ of rain since midnight
    21.5 mph peak gust so far

  23. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Colder air aloft is coming in, maybe we can rustle up some Stray Albino Donkeys/graupel today:

    827 AM PST WED MAR 2 2011

  24. Wind SW 45 G 51 right now at my house!

  25. Jethro (Canby ~187') says:

    Had a peak gust of 32 mph with the front moving through… I think that’s going to be about it for the valley.

    • Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

      Just 23 mph here, at 2:16 AM.

      It’s nice to have it dry and mild with a light breeze this morning. I’m really ready for the first 60 degree sunny day!

  26. W7ENK says:

    Well, it looks like the little curl that almost looked like a secondary Low forming to the SE of the parent Low turned out to be nothing. Wishful thinking, I guess?

    With the Low well North of Astoria by now, we’re not getting much in the wind department inland, but I guess the coast is getting hit pretty good this morning. I’d venture to guess the winds in the valley will remain relatively light as the Low moves away up into BC.

  27. Yevpolo1990 says:

    I guess I was right!

    • W7ENK says:

      How so??? I must’a missed something…

    • Yevpolo1990 says:

      Yevpolo1990 says:
      March 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm
      We are probably going to see some really sharp temp rises throughout the day tomorrow. May mid to upper 50′s?
      Not a very impressive cross section either…
      50 knot winds only down to 900mb, so 30-40mph in the valley sounds reasonable.


    • Jethro (Canby ~187') says:

      Did you want a cookie for that? Or maybe a cinnamon roll? 😉

    • W7ENK says:

      Ah, ok…

      43 degrees and holding steady all morning so far Downtown. I’ll let you know if I notice anything sharp. 😉

    • W7ENK says:

      Well, I said I’d let you know if I saw anything sharp…

      I just found some scissors and a razor blade in the back of my drawer here at work that I didn’t know were there!

      Oh, and the temperature has gone up 5 degrees in the last 40 minutes. Downtown is now 48 degrees. 😛

    • Yevpolo1990 says:

      I’ll take that camp48 roll please.

    • Yevpolo1990 says:

      Camp 18′

  28. chiefWright says:

    Wind has picked up quite a bit in the last hour as the cold front passes, maybe gusting to 25 or more. I hope the forecasting is right and this isn’t going to be a strong wind event. The ground is really unstable right now with freeze-swelling follwed by soaking rain. Does not bode well for trees near power lines…

  29. 39F when I went to bed last night, now 53F this morning.

  30. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    Left work in Orchards and the south wind is blowing about 20-25 mph…and it was very warm.

    Up here in BG, the wind is very light easterly, but the temp is starting to rise. was 38 at midnight, now 41.

  31. Mike near Clackamas Town Center says:

    I believe in the same year as the wind storm of 95 the Portland area had really bad landslides from the snow melt and heavy rain too. Youtube footage of the damage.

  32. Muxpux says:

    Drove up to the hills outside Longview, well Kelso. Mt. Brynion road, at the top, around 1400′, knee deep snow.

    NWS shows good conditions at govvy this week. Goin snowboarding Friday, 8 cans to sunshine division = free lift ticket. Snow levels should stay below pass level all week right?

  33. W7ENK says:

    High Wind Warning is up for the Coast. Peak gusts maybe 60-70 mph… about what we saw yesterday morning out at the beaches.

    Does this mean that we should expect the winds through the valley and in the metro area to be “about what we saw yesterday morning”, too? I had several heavy gusts in the 35 to 40 mph range, peaking at 43 mph, though it sounded much stronger!

  34. bgb41 says:

    3/1/2011 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High: 66 at PROVOLT SEED ORC(1180 ft)
    Low: 48 at CW3485 Port Orfo( 400 ft)

    High:27 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft)
    Low: 12 at CRANE PRAIRIE (5500 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 31 degrees
    CRANE PRAIRIE ( 43/12 ) (5500 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    1.90″ at SOUTH FORK BULL(2630ft)
    1.88″ at DW6659 Colton( 825ft)
    1.60″ at SADDLE MOUNTAIN(3250ft)

  35. William johnson says:

    Mike you are dead wrong about about what u said above.we do tend to get big windstorms on moderate to strong la ninias. Look at the december 2nd 3rd and 4th 2007 windstorm that devistated the northern oregon coast. Knocking out power to people for weeks. It was a moderate to strong la ninia season then. I should know I lived through it.

    • Mike (Orchards 255') says:

      I’ll clarify what I meant. I’m was talking about damaging windstorms in the VALLEY, not on the coast….Storms along the caliber like the “Big 3”..i.e..Oct ’62, Nov ’81, and Dec’95…..Usually we get intense windstorms such as those in a more “Neutral” year….You coastal residents get damaging winds frequently…We do not here…….Hope this clears up what I meant.

    • Jane - Forest Grove says:

      How does the Dec-06 storm compare? I had some property damage that night.

  36. So the storm in the picture at the top of this article, is definitely tracking far enough west that the Valley isn’t going to have a great windstorm?

  37. Josh "The Snowman" From Everett, WA says:

    Good night to drink and blog and watch the “trees Johnny, just the trees”.

  38. GeekyMominCamas says:

    Not that I’m not enjoying this last little crazy bit of winter but we went shopping for some building supplies this weekend and seeing all those beautiful new grills made me a little desperate for spring and summer and a big juicy steak on the patio… maybe we’ll get a few of those days in a couple of weeks? 🙂

    • Josh "The Snowman" From Everett, WA says:

      Not quite yet. I don’t have my spring body yet.

      Maybe I need to work out and fake n bake like Mark?

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Right Josh. Have you seen me this winter? Pasty, deathly white. As for working out, can’t find that six pack under the Christmas cookies and candy yet.

  39. Yevpolo1990 says:

    Bring on spring with graupel and tstorms 😀

  40. Austin-Felida says:

    darn u mike!!!!! out in orchards lol

  41. Austin-Felida says:


  42. We don’t tend to get big windstorms in a mod/strong La Nina…

    Got no snow at my location… 😦

    I’m ready for Spring….

  43. slgreene says:


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