No Sign of Dry Weather

Check out the recent runs of the GFS…I notice both the 18z and 00z have measurable precipitation forecast for EVERY SINGLE DAY of the 16 day run!  Ughh…if that doesn’t say “La Nina in March” I don’t know what does.  I’m sure some other break (at least 12 hours) will emerge at some point, but in general we will stay quite wet through the next 7-10 days at least.  At least skies are a bit brighter now compared to January/February, and today’s forecast screwup was a rare treat.

We hit 58 degrees at PDX today, the warmest since that rainy/mild stretch with the flooding back in mid January.  That was due to far more sunshine and very few showers.

We have a pretty active weather pattern the next few days…an upper-level trough well offshore spins developing lows towards the West Coast.  One moves by tonight and tomorrow morning, then a second low gets closer on Thursday.  Neither appear to be a big windstorm, but both have a nice surge of south wind on the Coast AND in the Valleys.  For Thursday the isobars are oriented perfectly east-west across the Valley, producing a wind that runs right across the gradient lines south to north across our region.  Combine the forecast 10-14 millibar gradient with good mid-March mixing during the day and gusts up around 40 mph are likely.  I’m headed down to Aumsville to give a school weather talk, including tornadoes.  Hope it doesn’t get too wild while I’m down there.

Check this out:

It’s the average February temp across the USA.  Interesting how after early February the USA made a complete switch with the West turning cold and the east turning warm.  Totally opposite of the first part of winter.  I’ll talk more about this at our AMS meeting next week during the winter review.  It sure doesn’t negate the extreme cold in the SE USA the first half of winter, but it’s always fascinating how things balance out (most of the time).

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

73 Responses to No Sign of Dry Weather

  1. Steve Pierce says:

    AMS “Winter Weather Recap” Meeting Next Week!

    Get ready for some weather fun! The Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) will host its popular “Winter Weather Recap” meeting next Wednesday evening, March 16th at 7pm, at the KPTV Ch 12 studios in Beaverton. Fox 12 Chief Meteorologist & Oregon AMS Councilor Mark Nelsen along with Oregon AMS Vice President Steve Pierce will present an “always entertaining” winter weather recap, along with lots of interesting stats! Records were set all across NW Oregon and SW Washington this winter, from record cold in November and February to record flooding and a few snow events in between. Did La Nina live up to the hype? Will this spring be wet and cold like last year? How is the current mountain snowpack? Come hear all the details. AMS members please note — we will also be nominating next years candidates for Oregon AMS Executive Council at this meeting. If you are a current AMS member, we encourage your attendance.

    We also want to remind you of next month’s exciting meeting on Thursday, April 21st at 7pm, at Stark Street Pizza in Portland. Come hear respected Bonneville Power Administration Meteorologist Chris Karafotias explain the inner workings of the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) and how it influenced our weather this past winter. Great pizza and a great guest speaker! A combination that you don’t want to miss!

    Directions to KPTV next Wednesday (3/16/11) —

    The KPTV studios are located right off of Hwy 26 in Beaverton, exit 65 / Cornell Road. The studio address is 14975 NW Greenbrier Parkway Beaverton, OR 97006. Use your favorite online map website for directions.

    Hope to see you all next Wednesday evening! It will be a great time!

    Steve Pierce
    Vice President
    Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS)

    • Andrew Johnson says:

      Darn, I probably won’t be able to make the meeting next week because of work. But I should be able to make the April one, Stark Street Pizza is a nice place.

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

    Wind Advisory just issued for Puget Sound, Western Washington southward to almost Castle Rock. We’ll be next I believe.

    • Garron near washington square says:

      Happy Windsday everybody…This morning was refreshing to hear winds roaring through the trees. Actually pretty shocked how powerful it sounded around 10-11 AM, so still out now, and balmy compared to a week or so ago.

      Ok, flashlights, (check) Beer, (check) BBQ supplies in case the lights go out or my need to BBQ in bad weather because I’ve found out that being a seasoned Oregonian/north-westerner, you don’t wait for the nice weather BBQ or it will never happen! (check) Ready for the next round…

      BTW, I love a bad weather BBQ, it separates the real north westerners from the ones who moved here from Cali, and try to fake it. They think that liquid falling from the sky is poison I guess, so they are afraid to BBQ in the rain/snow… Just kidding, we don’t still hate on Californians anymore here. Or do we?!!?!?!?!! 😮

    • W7ENK says:

      Yes, yes we do. 😉

    • …windy days sure help keep the smoke rolling inside a weber…I’m thats a suprise!…

  3. Andrew Johnson says:

    Looks like I hit 60 again today (59.6). Currently down to 54 with moderate rain falling.

  4. Gust to 35 mph on my rooftop unit this A.M.; will see if tomorrow’s “gust to 50 mph” NWS forecast verifies…

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

    Watching the low offshore closely.

    IR Loop
    Center is near 41.9 N, 138 W moving east northeast. Viewing the loop closely shows this low is taking on a pretty good easterly track as it jogs northeast, then east, and in my opinion appears to be closely following the NAM/EURO. Wind Advisory is likely and depending on how warm we get ahead of the cold front gusts could locally exceed 50mph.

    • Jethro (Canby ~187') says:

      Sitting at 994mb as of 1:00 PST.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Yup deeper than modeled. I suggested last night it would be, but that is fairly common.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      I don’t see it deepening a great deal further, perhaps 987-991mb as it nears shore.

    • Garron near washington square says:

      I agree Rob, the mm 5 gfs shows no further strengthening and the track MUCH further SE of this mornings storm track. Question??? When looking at the mm5, how does one take the pressure gradient differential on this map,

      and make an estimate on wind speed? Or put more simply, how can one compute pressure differences on the map into wind speed estimates? Thanks.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Each line is 1 isobar of pressure. Measure the difference between roughly Portland and Eugene to figure out the projected gradient for tomorrow. What you’re using with this image though is the wide view 36km model. I would recommend to always use the 4KM or 12KM as it is better resolution and picks up on the finer important details. The wind gust model is a good way to depict wind speeds or gusts. However some elements can enhance the winds such as mixing, if there were any convection along the cold front, etc.

    • Garron near washington square says:

      Rob, many thanks. That helps me a great deal. Sometimes looking for the info on the web is like using the yellow pages. Not knowing the proper wording while searching = too many web links that don’t answer my question = HTTP//www.confusion/frustration/.com.

      The simpler the explanation the quicker I catch on. Thanks also for adding the resolution map to use and the wind gust model. You answered questions I didn’t think or know to ask yet. That will make reading those maps way easier and fun.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Garron, no problem I like to be helpful.

  6. bgb41 says:

    Oh how jealous I am !!

    Currently 90 degrees at Mt Washington (920ft) just north of downtown Los Angeles at 1pm

    Also , 89 in Glendale & West Hollywood

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      A bit too hot for me, well for right now. Perhaps end of April I’d be okay with that.

    • Air CONDITIONING 🙂 it can get 100 if it wants

    • Andrew Johnson says:

      You do have a warm weather bias! 🙂

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      If you’re ready for 90 degree weather by early March you need to head South, dude. 😉

    • Garron near washington square says:

      I think I’ll turn my heat up to 90, put up the table umbrella in the living room, get the margeurita mixer going, and have a nice “Whiskey Tango” style Oregon summer day. Sometimes when you live here and don’t get more than 2 weeks of real summer, you gotta improvise to get your fix.

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      Lol, true Mark.

      I’ve always thought we should change the name of The Dalles to “Dallywood” (not to be confused with Dollywood). I can picture the big white sign on the Columbia Hills now, framed by a silhouette of drooping palms.

      Basically, the PNW NEEDS to lose our local identity and become more like California, stat! If not for anyone else then for Karl Bonner.

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      And of course Hood River would be “Hoodywood”.

  7. bgb41 says:

    Some areas may hit 70 today in the lower Columbia basin

    Currently 66 at Barnhart

  8. Runrain says:

    Heading to Phoenix Sunday so hoping for windstorm tomorrow followed by an 80 deg week in the desert. The only precip should be spilled beer at Spring Training.

  9. bgb41 says:

    Strongest wind gust in Oregon reported this morning:

    Mt Hebo: 77mph around 10am

  10. Kyle From Silverton says:

    How high does anybody think these wind gusts are?

    Too me they seem to be isolated gusts of 35-38mph with only light sustained winds. A few times I heard the wind gusts with the windows closed while I was laying down.

    • Jethro (Canby ~187') says:

      Peak gusts in the area seem to be right around 30 mph, with a few around 35 (McMinnville registered 36 mph around 9AM).

  11. Mike (Orchards 255') says:

    Gotta like this warm, southerly flow…..


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

    Astoria just gusted to an impressive 59mph.

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

    MM5-NAM gives the Willamette Valley 40-45kt gusts very close to high winds when mixing potential is factored into the equation.

    WRF-GFS continues to be less aggressive only 30-35kt gusts. A safe figure to go with would be gusts to 40mph, but the potential for gusts 50-60mph seem to be reasonable if the MM5/NAM/EURO solution is correct.

  14. Yevpolo1990 says:

    Looks like this system is around 996 mb already…
    One thing I am fearing right now is this system can really pick up steam and stir to the north (Northern Vancouver island/QCI). I would like it to slow down the strengthening process and move more ENE…still some time remaining, but we will see where this system moves.
    Interesting how NAM keeps that second wave behind the low, it looks almost like a double barrel low?
    In this case PDX to MED gradient is 10mb, which is better than WRF, but then after all it is NAM :/
    Better to watch the sat right now and see what develops.

  15. yevpolo1990 says:

    Looks to be around 6/7mb PDX to EUG, according to WRF
    Not enough….but slightly better from 00z

  16. Tyler in Fairbanks says:

    Back in Fairbanks briefly after being well up the Dalton the last couple of days. Saw some very impressive aurora and meteors as well.

    Currently -11 with clear skies…

  17. Yevpolo1990 says:

    Looks like 12z gfs has the low bottoming out at 988mb before hitting south vancouver island…

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

    From reading both the Seattle NWS and PDX AFD’s it sounds like the NAM/GEM camps are quite windy with Thursday’s system and GFS/WRF not so much.

    The very low res NCEP 6Z NAM has PDX-EUG gradient of 8-10mb… O that would mean strong winds. Although the storm may become deeper than models show, so that would steer it further away. I’m eager to see 12Z runs later today.

    Good night.

  19. bgb41 says:

    3/8/2011 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:63 at W7BDB Salem( 174 ft)
    Low: 47 at Carus/Spangler R(2680 ft) & CW3485 Port Orfo( 400 ft) & DW6842 Gold Beac( 449 ft) & Port Orford (US( 90 ft)

    High:26 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft)
    Low: 5 at ANEROID LAKE #2 (7300 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 33 degrees
    Hermiston Munici ( 58/25 ) ( 636 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    5.77″ at RED MOUND(1753ft)
    3.05″ at FLYNN PRAIRIE(1543ft)
    2.93″ at Brookings Airpor( 459ft)
    2.73″ at QUAIL PRAIRIE LO(3183ft)
    2.44″ at GOODWIN PEAK(1800ft)

  20. Karl Bonner says:

    One more thing. Why do so many people buy into the notion that it is “still winter” right up to the official first day of spring, but don’t consistently apply the same standards to the other three seasonal marking points and instead aim about 3-4 weeks earlier (with Memorial/Labor/Thanksgiving being the most common standard)?

    Several problems with this logic, at least in the Northwest. First of all, the double standard with respect to temperature:

    Early March = average highs in the mid 50s = late winter = winter.

    Third week of November = average highs barely in the low 50s = late fall = not winter.

    Second, inconsistent reckoning gives you a spring that’s just barely over two months long – from Equinox to the Friday before Memorial Day. Then you get a bit less than three months for fall – Labor Day to Thanksgiving. But anyone who pays attention knows that for all practical purposes, spring is the longer of the two seasons.

    Third, you get nearly four months of winter, making winter the longest season of all. This seems to imply that midlatitude climates are more polar than tropical. This last one might be legit if you put it in the context of human history and prehistory. And it might be acceptable for the Lower 48 United States (but not Canada or Alaska), given that our average latitude is in the upper 30s.

  21. Karl Bonner says:

    “It’s always fascinating how things balance out (most of the time).”

    Is Mark implying that for a given 30- or 60-day calendar period, there isn’t all that much temperature variance from one year to the next because patterns balance out? It would be fun to go back through the records, pick a given calendar month, and crunch the historical statistics to see what kind of standard deviation you get!

  22. Anyone know what the freezing level will be through the weekend? I was considering going up to the mountain, but don’t want it to be slushy.

    Usually, temperatures drop 3-4 degrees per thousand feet, which would put the passes around 35 degrees at the lowest.

    Just curious when it will be close enough to tell!

    Can’t wait for sunny and 70!

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      Looks marginal at this point. I too am thinking of going up on Sunday, but will wait a few more days to decide. Gas and lift tickets are killing me right now.

  23. Yevpolo1990 says:

    Thursday’s system is really getting its act together, already at 1004mb

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Probably close to 1000mb now. Has a classic signature with a nice feed of cold air feeding into it. A smaller, compact low compared to its much larger predecessor which is wrapping up south-southwest of the Queen Charlotte Islands.

    • Yevpolo1990 says:

      It is a lot more smaller, but it could get a lot bigger. I think at this point it really could be a sub 990 before it makes landfall.

  24. Yevpolo1990 says:

    Sorry to Mike and Erik that I couldn’t reply back
    Yea Mike those are averages, I should have labelled that…
    I think you can tell how quick El Nino has weakened and turned into a La Nina by looking at the temps from Mid March to early July. Mid to late November you can see the same (our arctic outbreak).
    I should do one for Moscow as well, but it could be hard finding reliable sources, but I do know they had 30 consecutive days above 90 degrees. Moscow’s average high is 76 in July (maximum average high throughout all summer). But yea if any of you guys still want to look at my graph that I made, here it is:

    • W7ENK says:

      Yev, it’s interesting how there appears to be a shift or lag in cooler than normal highs leading into the warmest period of the year, mirrored by a similar lag in warmer than normal low temperatures on the way out. I’d be curious to see if this occurs again, or if this could be modeled in any other years and then compared as analog?

    • Yevpolo1990 says:

      It really shows a great evidence of when some sort of a equatorial shift has happened imo. That is my explanation to why there are such changes in temps. I guess it is just something earth goes through, after all there are only La Nina, El Nino and neutral years. So I do think it is modelled in other years as well, in fact I should do a 2009 one and compare it….hmmmm

  25. Jethro says:

    Ahhh… listen to the sound of the rain outside. 51 degrees and coming down pretty good… makes me want to go out for a run. Hopefully tomorrow afternoon will end up nice and balmy!

    [/warm bias post]

  26. W7ENK says:

    That’s quite the impressive reversal!

  27. Michael Ivie says:


  28. bgb41 says:

    00Z gfs @ TROUTDALE

    All 16 days with 40’s and rain. Mother nature being cruel to us once again.

  29. alohabb says:

    Ok…this is what I tried to do:

  30. It was nice today but of course rained on me on the walk home from the Max station – go figure.

  31. alohabb says:



  32. Jesse-Orchards says:


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