Wettest October in 15 Years! Snow Gone In Mountains Too

The heavy rain over the weekend pushed our October rain total at PDX to 5.21″, double the average October.  And we still have one more very wet weather system moving through the next 48 hours.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we are up in the 6.50″ range by the time kids are busy candy-collecting Wednesday evening.

We had two back to back wet Octobers in 1996 and 1997, and the wettest of all was 1994 with over 8″ of rain.  The weekend rain totals were a little less than I expected here in the Valley.  The driest parts of the Valley had 1.50″ or so.  There were some locations over 2″.  But wait, there’s more.  Check out the weekend rain totals in the mountains…4.60″ up near the crest of the Coast Range at “South Fork” near Lees Camp.  7.20″ at “North Fork” just SE of Larch Mountain (Oregon).  And Timberline, with 9.62″ (all rain) from Saturday morning to this morning.  I saw the Sandy River yesterday afternoon; it was running very high and not just the usual “flood-muddy-brown” color, but a milky brown.  Must be lots of glacial silt coming down from exposed mountain slopes.

As you can guess 2-3 days of 40s and rain have devastated the snowpack…there isn’t anything left below 6,000′ and very little above that spot.  Here are the current pics from Timberline:



What a difference from a few days ago when it was a beautiful winter wonderland up there.  But don’t worry, there will be more snow, at some point.  What I don’t expect is a return of the snow to lower elevations in the next week.  We’ll stay either mild and wet or mild and dry through the next 7 Days.  I’ve added all these images now to my Pass Cam Page off my main weather page.

Of course the Pacific Northwest weather patterns take back seat to the big weather action along the East Coast today.  Hurricane Sandy should make landfall along the New Jersey coast around our evening commute time.  Lots of great live shots coming up on our evening shows I’m sure!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


74 Responses to Wettest October in 15 Years! Snow Gone In Mountains Too

  1. Today’s 12z ECMWF sure is a nice change.
    I really am liking this and this is the 3rd or 4th model run showing this deep, cold trough moving down over us.

  2. paulbeugene says:

    MM5 TTM (Trick or Treat Model)…both NAM and GFS in agreement that the frontal boundary should have cleared the Willamette Valley by 17:00 tomorrow (previously NAM had precip continue well into the night)…so it should be mostly dry tomorrow evening. As for the next two weeks…

    Looks to me once again that we may be in for a period of mild, variably wet weather for the next 7-10 days…with transition to a cooler weather pattern that could bring back a bit of snow to pass elevations by about November 8. It appears there will be some sort of atmospheric river setup as we head into next week, with the fire hose pointed toward Vancouver Island, Queen Charlottes, etc and will have relatively little precip in Oregon. That could change.

    CFSv2 weekly model has us cooler for mid November. Not seeing much model ensemble “chatter” for arctic outbreaks in November (at least in the PacNW).

    Not seeing any superstorms, windstorms, whatever impacting NW USA in the next week or two.

    Seeing flooding footage from NYC brought back memories of 1996 in Portland…PDX got off lucky.

  3. runrain says:

    What a mess on the East Coast! First the summer of incredible heat and now this awful storm. Other than economic reasons, I’m amazed that more people don’t up and move out here to the PNW. We really are fortunate, and all we really have to complain about is some rain.

    • JJ97222 says:

      I would put “some” in bold letters!

    • W7ENK says:

      …and catastrophic earthquakes.
      …and devastating tsunamis.
      …and serious flooding in our coastal cities every 2-3 years.
      …and massive windstorms about every 20 years or so.
      …and raging wildfires.

    • According to a few folks on a FB weather group Sandy was over-hyped and not as bad as past Hurricanes to hit the SE coast…lol

    • Ron says:

      I’ve been watching those comments. Yea, 30 souls lost just in the U.S. and counting, 10-20 billion in losses so far, over 7 million without power, and the unmeasurable amount of suffering and discomfort. . . . . .yea, over-hyped. There have been some misreporting but there will be in a disaster like this. It really takes time to document all the actual events and stories but over-hyped? Wow. This was a major/monster storm. A storm like this, this time of the year, and that far north, and the behavior of it will be talked about and discussed for many many years by weather folk.

    • Ron says:

      Actually I saw comments like that on another weather forum. Didn’t see the FB ones.

    • David B. says:

      Sandy had a storm surge of nearly 14 feet in NY Harbor, by far the highest surge measured there. It’s probably going to be many weeks before the flooded areas are completely back to normal.

      (It’s not just a matter of pumping the salt water out of the subway, after that’s done *all* of the electrical and electronic control circuitry for signals and switches in flooded areas will have to either be discarded and replaced, or removed, washed several times with distilled water, then baked clean in drying ovens before being replaced. NYC is dependent on mass transit, in particular the subway system, until that’s restored, nothing will be normal there.)

      Calling it a major disaster is not “hype”.

  4. JJ97222 says:

    Maybe this will be the first weather related election delay or does anyone know if weather has delayed this before in our history? Then again this storm is providing a welcome relief of Presidential TV Advertisements to 8.1 million people, some power experts are saying the outagages could last through the election.

  5. 8km WV Loop
    As I kind of mentioned yesterday I am watching an area of development offshore which is clearly strengthening. Appears to be a decent jet feeding it and cold air pulling into it also. No models currently show any wind threats and I am not expecting anything, but perhaps something to keep an eye on.

  6. bgb41 says:

    10/29/2012 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:76 at PROVOLT SEED ORC(1180 ft)
    Low: 60 at CW2426 Warmsprin(1572 ft) & DW9524 Lebanon(354 ft) & DW6006 Troutdale(262 ft) & CW5925 Coos Bay(49 ft)

    High:41 at Timberline Lodge(7001 ft) & Mount Hood Meado(6601 ft)
    Low: 26 at Beatty (4320 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 37 degrees
    Lorella (66/29 ) (4160 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    1.95″ at SOUTH FORK(2257ft)
    1.93″ at DW0237 Lees Camp(699ft)
    1.90″ at SADDLE MOUNTAIN(3250ft)

  7. bgb41 says:

    Portland Airport had back to back record warm low temperatures for Oct 28 and 29th. The old record for both days was 52 degrees.

  8. W7ENK says:

    Apparently, this is what happens when you pour sea water into a power plant…

  9. The forecast of this Superstorm was nothing short of amazing. Many models had predicted the precise path it took nearly a week ago.

    Reminds me of the accurate prediction of the Dec ’95 event here.

  10. David B. says:

    This is not the NYC subway:

    (It’s a PATH station across the river in Hoboken, NJ.) But I expect the same thing is happening at lots of subway stations in Lower Manhattan tonight. The surge peaked at 13.88 feet, a new record. You can also find pictures of seawater rushing into the portals of the highway tunnels in Manhattan:

    Big, big mess. Definitely looks like shutting everything down in advance was NOT an overreaction this time.

    • lurkyloo says:

      Oh, sheesh. I’m glad they shut all that down and people were not in the path of THAT river (hopefully, anyway). You’re right David, “Big, big mess.”

  11. SeaChange - Garden Home / SW Portland says:

    The National Weather Service just reported there is 3 feet of water on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. This is insane…

    It’s going to take weeks for NYC to recover from this.

    • Ron says:

      I just read that no water is on the floor of the NYSE and they are trying to open on Wednesday. As the last day of the month is important trading day for portfolios. Check Finance.Yahoo.com. That’s what they are reporting anyway.. Things are so chaotic that there will be reports that will be contradictory on a lot of things. Bottom line is that its an awful awful mess back there. There is loss of life, property, and the personal suffering will go on for a long time with this storm.

    • W7ENK says:

      It was also reported by Kitco, which is a leading public interface for the metals and commodities markets. 😦

    • W7ENK says:

      …and CNN, and TWC…

    • Ron says:

      All false reports. No water in the NYSE. They plan to open tomorrow.

    • Kyle says:

      CNN? I am not surprised.

  12. bullmountain500 says:

    What would you say is the likely hood of getting our first snow fall in November? It seems like we usually get a dusting or so every November.

  13. paulbeugene says:

    New record coastal flood level at NYC/The Battery…now at 10.88 feet (previous record 10.6 feet from Donna/1960) and still rising…is already at or above threshold for subway problems

  14. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Scott Sistek is on board. How about a Jet Ski ride through Manasquan New Jersey! Hahaah!


  15. paulbeugene says:

    Water level at The Battery/ NYC is 9.03′ and rising, only 18 inches below threshold of turning subways into submarines

  16. alohabb says:

    With the sunbreaks today it felt like early Spring! I mowed the yard and washed the car. Not bad for late October.

  17. gidrons says:

    The latest forecast is Sandy will make landfall in southern NJ at 940 mb

  18. Lowest minimum pressure found by Hurricane Hunters was 937mb awhile ago. Yep… HWRF was correct and I was smart to go with it in my analysis.

    Oh and we might, might have a wind threat of our own Tuesday Night-Wednesday. It seems a low may spin up quickly inside 130 W with models suggesting depth 989-993mb. Uncertain on where exactly this goes if it happens. 12z WRF shows this, but it spins up just a bit too far west of us. Shows a small, yet tight gradient couplet though. We’ll have to see what 00z shows tonight….

  19. Wasn’t there a movie a few years ago about a super storm that sucked the ionosphere down to the ground a froze everything. A reaction to global warming or something. 😉

    • WhiteEagle - Garden Home / SW Portland says:

      I found that hilarious. So scientifically inaccurate. Compressing air from 100,000 feet down to the surface would warm it up by 500 degrees F, using the dry adiabatic lapse rate. So to do that and have temperatures still -150 F, the air would have start at -650 F, right around Absolute Zero.

  20. Dave in Sherwood says:

    I’m sitting at 69.1 degrees, very warm!

  21. JJ97222 says:

    It did not take long for that big dump on the Mountian to go bye bye. I wonder if we will be skiing by Turkey Day! Boy it was warm this morning 63 degrees and wet leaves all over the place, mega cleanup coming next dry day July 5th 2013????? That is according to someone in Lake Oswego.

    • Joshua in Lake Oswego says:

      I didn’t say that it was the next dry day. I said that I would like it to be the next dry day. Clearly, we will have quite a few dry days in the next 240 days or so.

      I like rain- what can I say?

    • chris s says:

      I like rain too Joshua, just wish it wasnt the tropical 65 degree kind. There is no snow for the foreseable future for the mountains, Thanksgiving skiing not looking like a possibility at this point, but lets hope that changes. 🙂 If i didnt look at the calendar, I swear it was darn near May outside today, very warm out to say the least.

    • Joshua in Lake Oswego says:

      Agreed Chris. I’m ready for some cold rain, snow, sleet, hail, ice- whatever.

  22. DEL X V says:

    Pressures are falling at about 9-10mb/3hours in the New York area…Sandy is on the way!

    • umpire says:

      Have been following MSNBC and The Weather channel – pictures are already incredible, and the scope of this storm is amazing. As much as I love reading/seeing pictures about this historic event, that’s balanced with the sadness that this storm will likely cause billions of dollars in damage, result in some loss of life, and cause misery for millions for days and even weeks. To see pictures in NY City of flooding already occuring in places I’ve visited is amazing.

  23. W7ENK says:

    6.26″ for October at my place as of midnight last night. Another 0.15″ overnight. I seemed to be right in the bullseye for precip over the weekend! 1.18″ yesterday, around a half an inch on Saturday (I don’t recall precisely how much off the top of my head), but well over 2″ for the weekend.

    At least my grass is turning green again. I’ll have to mow it if this keeps up…

  24. alohabb says:

    To put this im our perspective, could you imagine hurricane force winds from Portland to Seattle? Thats scary!

  25. I am currently at 7″ of rain for the month.

  26. Ron says:

    Hey Mark, the TWC came out with their winter forecast a couple of days ago (wishcast, roll the dice, tara cards, woolly caterpillars? ). They essentially have the PNW cold Nov.-Feb give or take. They agree El Nino has died. That puts us somewhere close to La Nada. Care to prognosticate or at least comment? Come on, maybe just a little, Mark? Ah, come on, just do it!

    • Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

      Good luck getting Mark to prognosticate… There’s a reason he only recaps at the “What Will Winter Be Like?” meeting @ OMSI every year!

      Personally… With the ENSO Neutral (El Nino slated to re-appear in the Spring) and PDO- I think we’ll get 1 good snow event this winter. Overall December/January will be drier and cooler than normal. So far it would appear November will end up being average on rain and warmer that average.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Ryan is right. I don’t really make a winter forecast; uninspired by the forecasts I’ve seen over the past 10 years. The closest I’ve come is here: https://fox12weather.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/marks-thoughts-on-winter-2012-2013/

      Since I did that almost a month ago, the warming in the Pacific had just about died, but now in the past 2 weeks seems to be making a comeback. Check out the Nino 3.4 region and subsurface warming; El Nino doesn’t want to give up quite yet. So I think weak El Nino or the warm side of neutral is what we have for this winter (still). Most of those years seem to have SOME sort of snow/ice event.

  27. brian says:

    Reset the mountain!

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