Neon Tornado Track Map

May 31, 2012

Neat image of all the 1950-2006 tornado tracks across the USA in NEON!

John Nelson (no relation) put it together.  Note the big tornadoes in Vancouver (F3 – Apr 1972) and the F2 near Newberg (Dec 1993) show up nicely.

Rainy Start, Brighter and Warm End Today

May 31, 2012

Yuck!  That was my thought around 10am as showers started falling this morning at my home.  In fact the first half of today was sure gloomy; that part was expected.  We also expected some showers, mainly on the eastside, and that occurred too.  But I wouldn’t have expected drips all morning and through midday.  Models did quite well showing most or all of the rain from Portland north and then into the Cascade Foothills (you can see the loop on last night’s posting).  I had .09″ at my home in the Cascade Foothills.  Doesn’t THAT sound exclusive?  It isn’t.  Anyway, note there was no rain south of a Newberg to Oregon City line:

With some afternoon sun and moisture in the air, it warmed up, or at least felt quite warm.  I volunteered for a field trip with my kids; jet boating the Willamette!  How much fun is that?  And on the 2nd to last day of school to boot.

It was great fun (spin it again!) and you could sure feel the sun each time it poked out.  By the way, the boat operator kept mentioning the “Floods of ’65 & ’96”.  I think he was annoyed when I let him know (after the trip was over) it was December 1964, not ’65.  But I just couldn’t let the “weather information tragedy” continue any longer…

We made it to at least 70 here in Portland, more likely 718:10pm: PDX made it up to 72 degrees.   We find out on days like this around 7:20pm when the final climate report comes out.

Mid-upper 70s were the rule to our south and mid 60s to our north.  We really were right on the line between clouds/rain and sunny summer sun to our south.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Cool Spell Begins Saturday

May 30, 2012

We have two more warm days on tap, then it’s on to cool and occasionally showery weather for most of Rose Festival Week (what a way to fulfill a stereotype!).

What a nice day today with thin high clouds shielding the sun at times, but it was bright and warm.  We hit 73 here in Portland; at least up through 6pm.

Tomorrow the stationary front to our north slips a bit closer, and you can see a wave of moisture close enough to possibly bring sprinkles from Portland north.  Best chance will be in the morning and up against the Cascade and Coast Range.  You can see that on our RPM model:

A cold upper-level trough drops in over the West Coast Saturday.  This is the beginning of a cool spell as several troughs rotate into the Pacific Northwest during the following week.  It’s quite obvious on the 850mb ensemble charts.  First, the 12z GFS shows the quick drop Friday night, then below average until right after the Grand Floral Parade (Sat, the 9th):

The 12z ECMWF is similar, although it’s hinting at possible ridging around the end of next week.  The operational model (blue) is much warmer than the ensemble average (red).   It’s interesting that there ARE plenty of quite warm runs, but lots of chilly ones too holding the ensemble mean down below average:

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

2nd Wettest Spring In Portland…So Far

May 29, 2012

Last weekend’s thunderstorm pushed us extremely close to the wettest ever Spring here in Portland.  Meteorologists like to neatly fit the seasons into whole months, so Spring is March-April-May.  Plus in most of the Northern Hemisphere June feels quite “summery”.

Here are the stats…the 3 wettest Springs listed below:

1997: 14.50″
2012: 14.48″
2011: 14.39″

Of course “Spring” continues through Thursday at midnight (May 31st), so if we get .03″ between now and then, we could break the record…but that appears unlikely right now.

Your next thought might be similar to mine.  This Spring seems pretty darn normal doesn’t it?  We’ve had no long periods of rain (after March), and plenty of sun, plus lots of nice weekends. 

Here’s why it may not seem so bad this spring:

1.  Last Spring was far colder, with no warm spells inbetween the rainy periods.  Temps have been very close to average for both April and May this year.  Sure March was chilly, but, well, March was just cold and wet (or white) the whole month.

2. These numbers are from the Portland Airport, which happened to be at the center of the big downpour Saturday night; compare that to Salem which has seen just about average rainfall this month…or just slightly above.

3. Weekends have been real nice (up until Memorial Day’s clouds and rain)

Speaking of Saturday night’s downpour, here is a map I made plotting the ASOS observations and Portland’s Hydra network rain gauges.  You can sure see how localized the really heavy rain was.  A band from south Vancouver straight south through the middle & inner east side of Portland.  Really only a square maybe 10 miles across each way, centered on North Portland.


Here’s a radar loop showing how the cells really blew up right over the Columbia River, then died down quickly by the time they moved into the southern metro area:


Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Video Test

May 29, 2012

Just testing out a video upgrade to the blog…

Video courtesy IRIS and Jenda Johnson.

Let me know if you can’t see/play the video above.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Looking Back At Vanport Flood

May 28, 2012

No need to rewrite history…here’s the link to last year’s blog post on the Vanport Flood.  It happened 64 years ago on Memorial Day:

Or you can go to the right and find May 2011 and go to the 27th.

Another Mean Email This Weekend

May 28, 2012

Just for fun, I’ve added a new tab to the bar above labelled FUN, WEIRD, & MEAN EMAILS.  Enjoy the reading…

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen