11:00pm…150+ Strikes in Metro Area So Far

July 19, 2012

Lightning detection estimates about 150 or so lightning strikes in a box from La Center south to Woodburn and the Coast Range over to the Cascade foothills.  Seems to be a heavy concentration along the Columbia River and then the south metro:

Still active storms at 11pm over east Vancouvre, Mt. Hood, & Central Columbia River Gorge.  These are lifting northwest.  The next closest storms (right now) are down around Eugene.

I expect more action through the night…enjoy!

9:45pm…Scattered Storms Northern Metro Area

July 19, 2012

The earlier storms in south metro died after about 1/2 hour.  Another nice cell developed near Vancouver Lake and has moved north of St. Helens (heading to Longview).  A couple fresh strikes now in the middle of Vancouver the past 5 minutes.

And a very intense cell in Wasco county south of The Dalles headed into Hood River County.  That one may have produced quarter size hail west of Dufur.  Must be a great night to stay at Five Mile Lookout!

The moisture from rain in spots is sure adding to the moist feel outside too.  More to come the rest fo the night.

8:20pm…Storms in South Metro

July 19, 2012

34 cloud to ground lightning strikes in a line from SE of Molalla through Aurora/Canby areas and heading into Wilsonville right now.  Nice start to a humid and warm night!  Enjoy the show the next half hour if you live in Tualatin, Tigard, Sherwood, and maybe even eventually Beaverton/Hillsboro.

More storms picking up farther south in the Valley NW of Eugene too.


Could Be A Fun Weather Night!

July 19, 2012


Our best chance for a nighttime lightning show so far this summer is tonight.  Everything seems to be lining up for lots of flashing, rumbling, and downpours SOMEWHERE between Eugene and Seattle; and the Portland Metro Area is right in the middle.

A cool upper-level low pressure center has been sitting off the southern Oregon coastline for two days spinning moisture and occasional showers/thunder to it’s north.  This afternoon we’ve already seen surface-based (from the heating of the day) storms fire over the Cascades.  One briefly turned severe with large hail detected just west of Timothy Lake but it’s weakened now.

The setup is very good for a widespread thunderstorm outbreak from northwest Oregon through southwest Washington.  The upper low makes it’s move to the north right over us late tonight and early Friday morning.   The combination of ample moisture, lifted index down around -4 (5pm-2am), CAPE values up above 500, and good divergence aloft (for lifting) all screams “ACTION” to me.  Plus a nice SSE upper level flow.

So when?  That’s a tough call.  Our RPM model shows storms coming down off the Cascades around 8-10pm, then another surge with the actual upper level low right around sunrise.  The WRF-GFS has more generalized storms firing at times overnight.  Both models show better conditions with the low slightly farther west than what was forecast 24 hours ago.

So now we just sit back and keep a close eye on the radar and satellite imagery…more updates later most likely.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen