Active Weather Ahead

Finally, some weather action is on the horizon.  It’s been a very slow Fall weatherwise.  The first 40 days were bone dry with lots of sun; of course that’s nice when it’s still warm!  Then around October 11th the rains moved in.  We had some early season snow in the Cascades before Halloween.  Remember the base totals up around 20-30 inches?  The warmer rain around Halloween washed that away.  Now the first half of November has been real dead.  We can’t even get a gusty east wind out of the Gorge!  Probably no one complaining about that one though.

Now it appears we have a change towards a stormier westerly or southwest jet stream type pattern.  One in which we get numerous storms moving in from one of those two directions.

The 12z ECMWF and the 00z GFS are both very wet from Saturday through the middle of next week.   Both have more typical (for November) deep surface lows tracking near the Pacific Northwest coast at times.  This is a pattern in which we can get strong wind at the coastline and sometimes inland as well.  Something to keep an eye on.  Right now I don’t see anything that makes me think “WINDSTORM 2012!”

Once we get to Sunday and Monday, all eyes will be on the Cascades for two reasons; skiing and travel.  Next week is a big travel week of course with Thanksgiving right around the corner.  The 00z GFS came in quite warm later Monday and Tuesday as a cold upper trough briefly amplifies well offshore.  If so, 24 hours of heavy rain could delay ski area openings beyond a week from Friday (the day after Thanksgiving).  Otherwise, all other models seem to point to plenty of snow in the Cascades Saturday through next week.

Speaking of wind and windstorms, I’m giving my usual post-winter wrapup this Saturday at the AMS meeting at OMSI.  I just finished the presentation.   One of the slides is below.  What’s been missing here in western Oregon lately?  I still think we are overdue for a windstorm.  We haven’t seen a southerly gust above 53 mph in 12 years!!!  Now from about 1995 to 2006 ASOS anemometers (the instruments at airports) were using a 5 second gust, which meant a bit lower speeds than before and after that time.  For example, in the 1995 storm the ASOS measured 62 mph, but the old, shorter gust recorder at PDX recorded 74 mph.  For the purposes of this graph though, even sub-53mph speeds for 12 years seems like a long stretch.  Will this be the winter?  We’ll see.  The good news is that most likely we’ll see it coming days ahead of time; as with the 2006, 2000, and 1995 storms.  The only windstorm that has sneaked up on us in the past 20 years is the “South Valley Surprise” of 2002.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

61 Responses to Active Weather Ahead

  1. JTAYLOR says:

    Does anyone know what the weather will be like in eugene for the 5 pm game saturday…stanford oregon game…..GO DUCKS!!!

  2. Thomyee says:

    I think with the strong east wind tonight we should see some dense fog forming. Then tomorrow, the isotherms show that the CAPE should allow for some middle evlation snowstorms. Then on Saturday we should see highs around 70. Still thinking the gas is hinting at an arctic breakout sometime mid December.

  3. bullmountain500 says:

    Very dense fog on west side of bull mountain. .10 of a mile. I haven’t seen it this thick in a long time

  4. pappoose in scappoose says:

    NWS still on board for a windy storm.

    National Weather Service Portland or
    230 PM PST Wednesday Nov 14 2012

    Behind the front…expect a brief break during the day sun with the next front pushing onshore Sun night into Monday. This front looks stronger than the previous one and model agreement is good at this point that strong winds will be a significant threat along coastal
    regions…and potentially some inland areas as well.

  5. paulbeugene says:

    18Z GFS shows significant wind event for at least the coast on Monday afternoon next week. It may smell like a Christmas tree lot outside come Monday night. —

  6. Kyle says:

    Mom just noticed the clouds are coming from the NE and it’s a lot sunnier in the last 15mins then it was all morning long.

    I helped dad rake a lot and I mean a LOT of leaves. Raking was going on before when we had the Fire Advisory October 2012.

  7. Kyle says:

    I was looking at Microfilm for January 1949 and just the 1st half of the month alone the entire US nation was having weird fits of weather.

    Hard Freezes in Los Angeles. Artic Cold In the Northwest. Heatwaves in the Dakotas in between crippling blizzards blocking trains and isolating entire towns.

    Heavy snow hitting the NE with heavy rain in the SE.

    If CNN were around in the 1940s reporting the weather they would pass out with too many stories to tell.

    • Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

      CNN is a horrible source for weather, BTW.

    • W7ENK says:

      Kyle, take a look back at historical data for Los Angeles, January 1949. There were only two nights that dropped below freezing, 28F on 1/4 and 31F on 1/10 — nowhere near “hard freeze” territory. Daytime temperatures, albeit below average, still rebounded into the mid-50s to upper-60s through that whole period.

      This should help:!dashboard;ws=30699

  8. Kyle says:

    Man I wish I was living here in the mid 40s thru the late 50s as the whole nation was having weird bouts of weather pretty often.

    Despite the fact the 40s were pretty snowless for Portland the nighttime minimums were much more colder then recent times.

    Down in Eugene there would be a weeks worth of upper teens/low at least once a month minimum during the winter months and quite a bit of cases more though usually bone dry.

  9. 12z WRF 4km cross section shows a brief bout of offshore winds
    Nothing much just 25-30kts 925-975mb.

    The real story is the abrupt change to a dominant south-southwesterly wind.
    30-40kts down to 975mb and 50-60kts 950-900mb.

    • alohabb says:

      Hmm. Not sure but this looks several days out and we can count on model shifting by then. (If i go against the idea then maybe it may happen)

  10. 6z GFS ratchets things up further in regards to a possible Wind Event/storm Monday night. It shows a strong jet core slamming into the Coast. Much stronger winds down to 925mb of 65-70+mph and over Hurricane force at 850mb.

    Extracted Data

    12z GFS begins in 3 hours 26 minutes.

    339 AM PST WED NOV 14 2012


    • paulbeugene says:

      Am not sure what to think of south valley winds with this…perhaps should issue a Blowing Wal-Mart Plastic Bag Advisory for this system. Does look stronger than recent fronts though. Long range looking a bit energetic.

  12. 00z WRF 925mb/SLP model
    Monday – 10:00 PM

    We need to look at several factors. 984mb(29.06 in) low into Tatoosh Island/NW Tip of Washington. It is still intensifying on its approach, in fact it still deepens as it moves inland peaking around 982mb in southern British Columbia, so that’s a good thing. It’s kind of baggy with a loose circulation around 130W, but it tightens up inside 127-128 W all the way to landfall, another good sign. The gradient couplet responds to this thus compacting adding a few more millibars, another benefit. The low is not stalling either maintaining its forward speed. However the track is a bit off as it intersects 130 W around 45 N. Would rather see that further south around 43 N or so. The gradient contours align themselves pretty good, but not perfectly perpendicular as I’d want to see. 300mb jet fueling the low is only seen at 70-90kts as it punches into the Coast. Would like to see that stronger. This wouldn’t be a wind storm, perhaps a High Wind Warning along the Coast and northern Interior of Washington(Bellingham) but inland just gusty winds and maybe squeaking out a Wind Advisory. Still it is a good sign for active weather, we just need a few more things to come together.

  13. Rob – Southeast Portland says:
    November 12, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    I think we’re about to see the models turn more active including fun la-la land teases by late week or this weekend. Don’t quote me on that, no wait, go ahead.
    A good opportunity for a wind storm coming.

  14. karlbonner1982 says:

    This isn’t intended to sound pushy, but I’m curious when we can expect another Northwest Weather Podcast. Last one was in mid-September and there’ve been at least a FEW interesting things since then: a 2012 dry spell wrapup; early October extreme fire danger despite freezing cold nights; and our very wet mid- to late October period. Even the early November warm spell deserves at least honorable mention status.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Good question Karl. We haven’t had time to do one. Between me working all 5 shows 4 days a week (no 1-2 hour block in there to do a podcast), and Brian reporting Monday, Tueday, and Friday, we haven’t been able to get together. Let’s just say we’re a very efficient operation here at FOX-12.

  15. bgb41 says:

    11/13/2012 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:59 at CW5925 Coos Bay( 49 ft) & SWAIN(366 ft) & North Bend Munic(16 ft)
    Low: 52 at BROOKINGS(79 ft)

    High:27 at ANTELOPE(6460 ft)
    Low: 22 at ANTELOPE (6460 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 25 degrees
    PRINEVILLE 4NW (54/29 ) (2840 ft )
    Lorella (52/27) (4160 ft)

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.64″ at BADGER CREEK(5710ft)
    0.53″ at PARKER MOUNTAIN(5280ft)

  16. paulbeugene says:

    Certainly looks more active than it has been lately but I am not sure we will see lasting accumulations at pass elevation. Wed into Thursday next week (obviously a big travel period) may be an issue but that may apply only to WA Cascade passes (not Snoqualmie). It will be borderline for US26 and US20. It is still more than a week away. It has been 10 years since the South Valley Surprise down here in Eugene…so we are overdue as well. Not as overdue however as a cold January. PDX has not had a January avg temp more than 2F below entire period of record average (not just last 30 years) since…1993.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Without looking at the data, wasn’t 2007 a chilly one? Now that I’ve made that statement I’m going to look.

    • paulbeugene says:

      A different way to look at it would be to use Gov Camp temps. 60 year mean temp for Jan is 29.90F. They were down to 26.18 in Jan 2008..otherwise you have to go back to….Jan 93 once again to find a month -2F below mean temp or colder. For perspective…Nov 1985 mean temp of 24.7F was colder than Jan 2008.
      Hey you pipes out there…don’t care if you’re copper, ABS, PVC, galvanized…’ve had it way too easy over the last couple decades.
      Same to you you douglas firs….you think 55mph is hard to stand up to…you think you got strong roots? How about 70mph? Good luck with that.

  17. Don’t see any 31 years ago today type windstorm coming up……

  18. AdamInAumsville says:

    South Valley Surprise. Yep, remember that distinctly.

  19. I sure remember the “South Valley Surprise” on Feb 7, 2002. Since the town of Sweet Home is some what sheltered from big winds it sure was a surprise indeed. I remember about a dozen bigger fir trees blowing down behind my office right before our eyes. Thankfully the patch of trees was on the north side of the office, so nothing hit our office. There is another fir tree patch behind my house (north side again) and a couple of those big trees fell onto a neighbor house behind me. It sure made a mess around town.

  20. W7ENK says:

    This isn’t another one of those “just wait 10 days!” deals again, is it?

  21. Nice to see some hints of active wx on the horizon damp drizzly 48F is no way to live

  22. bgb41 says:

    The Tropopause fold of 2002.

  23. *BoringOregon* says:

    It’s about time 🙂

  24. Ben says:

    Do you see any cold spells into early Dec?

  25. pdxgeologist says:

    Boy, I’d sure like to get one day of skiing in before moving to Panama for a year (skiing’s pretty sucky down there).

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