00z GFS Ensemble Chart

A few interesting things on the 00z GFS. 

– This weekends trough looks cool, but maybe slightly warmer than what we just saw the other day, it’s going to be tough to get sticking snow below 1,500′ except in a very heavy shower; nothing new there.

– The actual maps and model run now looks quite similar to the earlier 12z ECMWF with a sharp and cold trough dropping over us the end of NEXT week.  Confidence is growing that snow levels will be quite low at the end of next week, although precipitation is pretty much gone next weekend on both models so far.

– The operational run (blue) is a bit slower on the trough; a lot of the ensemble members are 12-24 hours earlier on the coldest air.

– As earlier, still no sign of an “arctic blast” or cold easterly flow like we saw last year at the same time.

25 Responses to 00z GFS Ensemble Chart

  1. Winter ain’t done yet, I bet a few flakes will fall here yet. Not fork-ready yet (although I hear crow tastes pretty good while still pink in the middle)

  2. PDX Weather Nut says:

    Very “blah” weather. This “winter” (if you can call it that) has really been a joke.

  3. Derek Hodges says:

    I wonder what Mark is thinking after seeing the 12z ECMWF? That definitely would be cold enough for some snow for you guys. But as for significant lowland snow, you just dont know.

  4. Andrew (Portland....Sylvan Highlands ~800 feet) says:

    If we end up anywhere near what the models are showing today then winter is for sure not over. The 12z has 850mb temps dropping to -7 over PDX this weekend and staying cold throughout the long term.

    • W7ENK says:

      –7C at 850mb doesn’t quite cut it, not even in January, unless it’s coupled with a deep cold pool in the Columbia Basin and a moderate to strong pull through the Gorge. Neither of those two conditions exists.

      –7C at 850mb with W-SSW flow will only bring snow down to about 1,000 ft, solid sticking snow to 1,500 ft with brief accumulations down to 500 ft under heavier precip, a la Sunday, January 15th, 2012. Add 500 feet to that event for mid-February.

      This being the case, Mark’s original statement still stands true.

      Remember, if it doesn’t stick, it doesn’t count! 😉

    • Andrew (Portland....Sylvan Highlands ~800 feet) says:

      I agree with you to a point, but i also believe if we were able to achieve steady/moderate precipitation that it would drag down the cooler air as well, helping give lower elevation some wet snow. However, the timing of the year is certainly not on our side with these upcoming events. Its a stretch, but one can still hope! At the very least the mountains will be seeing some nice snow over the course of the next couple weeks most likely.

    • W7ENK says:

      Definitely, timing is against us. As for prolonged steady/moderate precip dragging down the cooler air, that’s true, but would be more effective if our current airmass weren’t already saturated. Evaporative cooling, regardless of flow direction, can do some amazing things! Unfortunately, we’re bringing one cool/wet airmass over top of another cool/wet airmass. I just don’t see enough of a difference aloft to benefit the lowest elevations.

      Again, if only it were a month earlier! :sigh:

      Then again, I’m always open to surprises! 🙂

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Really need to make up your mind W7.

      In your first statement, you say it won’t cut it, even in January.
      Your next comment says “if only it were a month earlier”. Can’t have it both ways! Hahaah!

    • W7ENK says:

      😳 Caught me!

      No, what I meant (but didn’t say for risk of sounding like a whiner) was “If only it were a month earlier… I might actually see a few sloppy, non-stick snowflakes under the dome again!”

      But alas, it’s mid-February. The sun is much stronger now, (Karl could tell you by exactly how much), and as I said before — along that line — Add 500 feet to the 1/15/2012 event for being a month later.

      What surprised me last month was: I always thought the magic 850mb number for PDX was –8, but on 1/18/2012 our 850mb temp was –9, almost pushing –10, and yet we only saw 4 sad hours of virtually didn’t-count snowfall. How frustrating that was!

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Thanks for the laugh W7!

      My guess is that you/we have a good chance of spotting some flakes (snow) in the near future. I never expect a multi-day snow event. But I do derive lots of enjoyment, counting/naming snowflakes even if they don’t count/stick!

    • If the -10 850mb temps in January weren’t good enough to get real snow, the -7 temps in Feb could get some snow for the same reason – storm specific factors. There are always variables that the models can’t predict that vary by storm and specific conditions – like convective precip intensity inside a storm cell.

      Of course this wouldn’t be a prolonged snow event, but with enough intensity and cold air downdraft, its possible to get snow that sticks fora short period of time. I’m talking Thunder snow, yo!

    • Mark says:

      The best we get is a typical “to little, to late” tease. Oh how so typical around these parts. Unfortunately, the winter we had about thee years ago is just about once in a lifetime in the metro area.

      BTW – Had to head up to Seattle last week, and the I-5 corridor is amazing. Downed trees and limbs everywhere from the heavy wet snow.

  5. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Think it’s time to start a close watch for Stray Albino Donkeys, and maybe some wind?

    Statement as of 4:17 AM PST on February 17, 2012

    There will likely be small hail with the showers on Saturday… and
    possibly thunderstorms. Thunderstorms would be favored at the
    coast… but there is a chance for a few inland as well. Cold core
    funnels are also possible.

    Windy conditions will be found at times along the coast… not only
    with the initial front this afternoon… but again late Friday
    night and on Saturday. Some of these stronger winds may get into
    the Coast Range and inland.

  6. Cloudy, drizzly, wet. Feels like the coast out there.

    48 degrees right now.

  7. W7ENK says:

    Precipitation will be running out as the cold air arrives? Why’s that sound familiar?!?

    The curse of the PNW… one of many.

  8. bgb41 says:

    2/16/2012 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:54 at Brookings (US 10( 150 ft) & CW2710 Maupin(1040 ft)
    Low: 42 at DW2789 Milton Fr(1358 ft) & QUAIL PRAIRIE LO(3183 ft) & DW9392 Bay City(84 ft)

    High:25 at HARL BUTTE(6071 ft)
    Low: 0 at CRANE PRAIRIE (5500 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 45 degrees
    CRAZYMAN FLAT (47/2 ) (6100 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.77″ at CEDAR(2220ft)

  9. SnowedIn - North Plains says:

    Hah! Check out the Descriptive Forecast section of North Plains’ Wunderground site. The Friday night forecast looks just a BIT too windy.


    • SnowedIn - North Plains says:

      Wow check out the hourly section and extended forecast tab too! Something is obviously screwed up.

  10. This weekends trough could be slightly warmer then the trough the other day (or about the same), but the one thing it does have going for it is that there should be more moisture. Up here at 1600′ I think I have the potential to do better than the 1″ I got the other day. However, I don’t see much accumulation below 1500′. Living up in the hills now it is interesting to notice the differences in snow amounts on my drive to and from work in the valley. The 1000′ level is a significant dividing line, but the 1500′ line is even more so. In November places below 1000′ got nothing, between 1000′-1500′ got T-1″ and then above 1500′ it was a fairly significant event. In January places between 1000-1500′ here got about a foot, but above 1500′ it was a major snow storm with 2’+ of snow. This past Tuesday there was absolutely nothing below 1500′ here.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      I’ve noticed that too. I live at 1,000′, but have a friend at 1,800′. He had 2′ in January as well. I figure once you get close to 2,000′, you’re really talking the Cascade snow forecast and not “hills around town”.
      There aren’t many people who live above 1,500′, but I felt badly (after the January event) that I didn’t pay much attention to people like you who were that high up. I had 12″ at 1,000′ out of that and should have pointed out how much more there would be at 1,500’+

    • sds123 says:


      I have friends who live up the Lewis R. valley out of Woodland at about 1200 ft. in a gap we call ‘Little Alaska’,and they had over 32 inches of snow on the ground from that January storm.

    • …as another who lives at 1500 or higher i second those observations….and while my January total never got higher than around a foot due to the extremely dry powder on the ground that absorbed the heavier wetter stuff, i had around a 2 foot total snowfall also…

  11. David in Otis says:


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