It’s Snowing on the Blog

I’m not working today (a delayed weekend since I worked Saturday), but I see it’s “snowing” on the FOX12 Weather Blog.  That’s a WordPress thing, it’s supposed to put you in the Christmas mood.  It is NOT meant to be a secret message forecasting snow in the next few days.

I’m taking care of some outside duties since it’s mostly dry today, like fixing a gate and putting a good support up in my flimsy greenhouse so it can withstand much heavier snow this year (not a hidden forecast there either).  Last January, I came home at 2am to 9″ of heavy, wet snow.  The poor thing had a bow in the middle and appeared to be ready to snap.  I yanked the snow off (again at 2am) and it was fine.  I want to make sure that doesn’t happen again.  Better to do it now then in the middle of a snowstorm or deep freeze.  Seems like as I get older I get a little smarter at taking care of things ahead of time.  By the time I get to 80 I’ll have it all figured out right?

After checking the maps, I find two things:

1.  Tonight’s storm isn’t going to be TOO big of a deal; strong wind at the coast, gusty wind here in the Valleys, and lots of rain.  But no extremes of any of those.

2.  Interesting long range maps.  If one were following just text output, one might be led to believe “models are terrible and have no idea what’s going to happen beyond about Sunday”.  That’s partially true, but the trend appears to be for an upper level ridge to become established somewhere in the Eastern Pacific beyond that time.   In that position, a slight difference in location creates a big difference in day to day weather along the West Coast.  If the ridge is quite close to us, we stay mainly or all dry and near normal temp-wise.  If the ridge develops slightly farther west, one system after another (inside sliders?) dives down the back side of the ridge, giving us occasional rain and about average temps.  This 2nd setup sends real cold arctic air well to the east.  If the ridge is even farther west, cold troughs with low elevation snow and possibly arctic air could dive down into the Pacific Northwest on the back side of the ridge.  Right now, #2 appears most likely.  That’s what the ECWMF shows at 12z today.  Taking a look at its ensemble 850mb chart:


you see the wide variation in temps over us.  Specifically look at the afternoon of the 12th; that’s Wednesday 9 days out where the 13DEC line is.  Out of the 51 ensemble members, some have 850mb temps up around +15 and the lowest is around -9.  That says to me some have the ridge directly over us and some have it much farther west (allowing cold air to come down from the north).  Some of the ensemble members imply a full on arctic blast late next week; look at the -17!  The GFS charts are similar, although none of them move the ridge as far to the west so no arctic blast on any of those.

What do I get from this?

1.  I don’t see a setup for snow to the lowest elevations in the next 7 days, but we don’t know beyond that.  850mb temps (-5 to -6) and thicknesses (522-526) sure support snow somewhere below 2,000′ late Friday and/or Saturday with a cool trough quickly moving through.  I’m not real confident that even I will see any at 1,000′ at home, but it WILL be the lowest we’ve seen snow so far this season for sure.

2. We could be heading into a real boring weather pattern in the 6-15 day period, or there could be a sudden shift to much colder during the period.  We don’t know that yet either.  Stay tuned!

3.  We are probably done with the storm lows coming in from the west and southwest for awhile once we get beyond tomorrow.  A shift toward cooler and at least slightly drier weather is on the way.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


169 Responses to It’s Snowing on the Blog

  1. pappoose in scappoose says:

    I really like the CYA statement on the end of this, “though we’ll see” Hahaah!

    National Weather Service Portland or
    900 am PST Tuesday Dec 4 2012

    Our lull between waves is going to be ending soon. Flashier rivers
    like the Grays responded to the first round of rain…though we are
    seeing some leveling off. More rain will move through as the
    front along the coast moves onshore and stalls over the inland areas today. Satellite imagery offshore would suggest we will see an uptick in rain again even late this morning and carrying into early this afternoon…beginning to taper late this evening and then the front clears by early Wednesday. While several models are not as impressive with the quantitative precipitation forecast for the second round of precipitation expected later today and this evening…the GFS still has a pretty good slug of rain and is the farthest north with the heavier quantitative precipitation forecast…mainly from about Corvallis south. There will be a sharp
    gradient in precipitation…with the focus being on areas in the
    southern tier…though the best moisture will be pointed toward SW
    Oregon and northwest California. We will continue to watch several of the central Oregon coastal rivers…including the Alsea and Siuslaw. Alot hinges on how much moisture gets wrung out before the front clears. Model soundings are not super deep with the
    moisture…especially after 00-03 UTC. Feel that quantitative precipitation forecast is already plenty high…I.E. Near the GFS forecast…which is on the higher end of guidance…so expect higher river levels than currently forecast are not likely..though we’ll see.

  2. 12z ECMWF
    After the chilly weekend ahead….
    Just plain ugly if you ask me. Wipes all of the bitterly cold air out of AK/YK/BC/AB. 500mb progression looks weird to me….

  3. Wait…. What?
    There was a Wind Advisory issued? I was sound asleep had no idea. The wind woke me up once(Kind of), but I only peaked around 32mph. So, obviously the Wind Advisory busted?
    Yes or No? I’d say yes for most of us.

  4. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Just got through cutting the tops offa two cedar trees that fell across the driveway. Glad only the very top of the trees made it to the driveway. I don’t mind cutting up trees, but I prefer to do it when I want to, not when I have to!
    Can’t see the base of the trees, so I’m not sure why they came down. Didn’t notice any wind at all last PM. I’ll check it out when the rain lets up…March? Hahaah!

  5. B/C Fred says:

    0210 hrs, Scotts Mills, 51mph gust. Hourly gusts above 30 mph continuing through 0830.

    Rain gauge says .42 since midnight..

  6. Jeff Raetz says:

    parents in happy valley – 29mph
    my place in se pdx – 27mph

  7. Winds picking up a little the low must be north now also really warm this am 50 and only 8 am

  8. W7ENK says:

    Yesterday, I closed out the third day of December 2012 with 1.61″ of rain so far on the month. That’s slightly more than half of my entire month of December 2011 total rainfall of 3.17″

    It poured overnight, another 0.46″ between Midnight and 6am. My December 2012 monthly total now stands at 2.07″, roughly 2/3 of last December’s final monthly total, accumulated in just the first 78 hours of this month.

    Thank Goodness it’s not going to be a dry repeat of last year!

    One gust of wind 4:15am at 11 mph out of the NW, so it must have been post-FROPA? Other than that, it’s been quiet. Even the rain tapered off and right now it’s dry, not even a sprinkle… and it feels warm-ish, 55 degrees.

  9. Model trends seem favorable for cold wx in the 10-15 day range, with ridge strengthening E pacific and trough axis lining nicely over W NA. Weather porno at 384 hr on the 6z gfs with Vostok Antarctica like airmass over SW BC. Gust 37 this morning with incoming storm system.

    • Pippin says:

      Lol, just saw hour 384 on the GFS 850MB temps just above Washington around -34C… Haven’t seen that on models in a long time, too bad its hour 384 what a tease.

  10. alohabb says:

    Uh Advisory cancelled?

  11. Rob – Southeast Portland says:
    December 3, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Windstorm in PDX? No… I’m just analyzing what I see, but nah just 30-40mph Willamette Valley more than likely. The Coast and north interior of Washington most likely for high winds…

  12. runrain says:

    Rob got this one!

  13. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Gusty to windy this AM!

    National Weather Service Portland or
    314 am PST Tuesday Dec 4 2012

    Short term…a strong Pacific cold front was moving onshore early
    this morning…and producing stronger winds than previously forecast. Have upped to a Storm Warning over the coastal waters and a more strongly worded High Wind Warning on the coast for gusts to 75 miles per hour at headlands and 65 miles per hour in coastal communities. Have also issued a Wind Advisory for the Willamette Valley and Clark County this morning. We will likely see tree damage in combination with the wet soils.

  14. EY (Oak Grove) says:

    Here’s one to drive people crazy…

    The NWS issued a Wind Advisory for the Portland area finally. 😛

  15. This now concludes my over abundance of analysis for probably no reason LOLs, but if we get surprise winds (40mph+) and they wake me up, I’ll be back. Good night.

  16. 1:00 AM
    Pressure gradients
    PDX-EUG: -1.6mb | 12 AM: -0.7mb | Hourly Change: 0.9mb Increase
    EUG-MFR: -7.9mb | 12 AM: -6.7mb | Hourly Change: 1.2mb Increase
    Gradient sharpening between Eugene and Medford. This could give potential gusts of 40-50mph to Eugene in my opinion. We’ll see if this translates north soon with sharp increases for the central/northern Willamette Valley in 2-3 hours.

  17. Tina * Ridgefield Wa. * says:

    Can someone please tell me what the weather will be like from Kelso to Vancouver Wa. tomorrow? I use weather bug but it is always wrong.. No offense to Mark but, the weather seems to change after the forecast on the 10 o’clock news. My husband works for the rail road and I would just like to figure out if I should stay on close to the phone.

    Thanks in advance.. I hope I am not bothering any of you with stupid quests.. 🙂

  18. bgb41 says:

    12/3/2012 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:62 at ECHO( 683 ft)
    Low: 51 at BANDON(79 ft) & BROOKS(187 ft)

    High:25 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft)
    Low: 18 at ANTELOPE (6460 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 21 degrees
    DW9301 Klamath F (46/25 ) (4121 ft )
    Worden (46/25) (4080 ft)

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    2.15″ at HEBOWX Mt. Hebo(3160ft)
    1.83″ at DW0237 Lees Camp(699ft)
    1.30″ at SADDLE MOUNTAIN(3250ft)
    1.23″ at DW8761 Gleneden(72ft)

  19. As of 11:50 PM
    *Buoy 46089 – 85 NM WNW of Tillamook
    Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.31 in
    Pressure Tendency (PTDY): -0.27 in ( Falling Rapidly )
    *Buoy 46029 – 20NM West of Columbia River Mouth
    Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.45 in
    Pressure Tendency (PTDY): -0.21 in ( Falling Rapidly )
    *Buoy 46050 – 20NM West of Newport, OR
    Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.49 in
    Pressure Tendency (PTDY): -0.23 in ( Falling Rapidly )

    Although there are sharp pressure falls off Vancouver Island, off the Washington Coast, I am kind of surprised to see the greatest pressure falls are just off the central and northern Oregon Coast.

  20. Buoy 46089 – 85 NM WNW of Tillamook
    Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.37 in
    Pressure Tendency (PTDY): -0.26 in ( Falling Rapidly )
    I checked all the buoys off Vancouver Island and along the Washington Coast. Greatest pressure falls by far occurring off the northern Oregon Coast. This should shift north next hour or 2. Bombing low as it heads for central Vancouver Island

  21. alohabb says:

    Well im headed to the coast soon for work, should be rockin over there in the morning

  22. Back now …. What I was seeing 2 hours ago about to unfold was the stronger jet punching into the low, baroclinic leaf growing exponentially, and IR tops exploding… that’s exactly what has happened. The low is moving northeast towards Central Vancouver Island(by my estimate)
    Very impressive looking now. Appears we’ll see a new occlusion/wrapping up soon on WV Loop.

  23. Buoy data as of 1 hour ago…
    -46006 (600NM West of Eureka, CA): Pressure at 29.65 and rising rapidly after bottoming out at 29.48 at 3:50. Low has passed there as the pressure is rising post front
    -46002 (275NM West of Coos Bay, OR): Pressure at 29.42 and slowly rising after bottoming out at 29.37 at 6:50pm after rapid pressure drop. Expecting this one to rise somewhat significantly within next hour or 2 signaling frontal passage
    -46089 (W of Tillamook): Sea level pressure at 1001.7, but considering its dropped roughly 9 mb since noon, that shows incoming system. Wind also picking up ahead of the low there

    We’ll see what the 9:50 numbers show…

  24. alohabb says:

    With a Flood Warning starting in 2.5 hrs an it hasnt rained in hours, a firehose must be headed right for us.

  25. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Pressure is rising @ 46002, Rob.
    Pressure Tendency (PTDY): +0.04 in ( Rising )

  26. Benjamin (West Salem) says:

    Anyone see the 00z GFS? It shows some arctic air towards the end of the run, I know it’s the end, but it my be on to something. Go back into the archives of the GFS and you can see that the 18z run from November 27th showed the brief cool spell coming this weekend. Check it out here for Salem, OR

  27. 00z GFS(NCEP) very poor initialization again

    WV Loop shows circulation/spin tightening a bit.
    Also, the stronger jet(120-140kt) immediately west of the low is starting to punch into it. We MIGHT see a new dry slot emerge soon, or at least more evident features.

  28. TygrrLilley says:

    Yay for snow!! I’ve had it on my Blogspot for a year. LOL! And speaking of snow…I know Mark said there might be some boring weather for the next couple weeks, but how are things looking for a White Christmas in the ‘Couve? This will be my first Christmas away from my family in L.A. (and my first Christmas with my husband!), and I’ve never had a WC, so I’m praying REALLY hard for some snow on the 25th. Any chance of that happening? Anyone wanna throw some prayers/positive thoughts/good wishes my way? Pretty please? =D

    • You would have loved it here in 2008! Piles and PILES of snow 2′ feet(or more)

    • TygrrLilley says:

      2 feet?!?! Ohhh, I would have been in absolute Heaven!!

    • Yep. Here is me shoveling a path to try to clear the snow drifts out of the basement window wells. I had something like 28″ total.

      I don’t live in the mountains either, just east side of Portland around 250′ elevation.

    • TygrrLilley says:

      WOW!!! That is awesome!!! I’d gladly shovel snow on Christmas if it looked like that!! Being a SoCal native, and only living in the PNW for a year and a half, I haven’t had enough snow to NOT want it. *lol*

    • Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

      Maybe 1% chance. There was brief snow in 2009 too I believe but 2008 was insane!

    • flurball says:

      Rob, no offense but I don’t think I’m hiring you as my snow removal man:)

    • TygrrLilley says:

      Ooh, 1% doesn’t make me very happy…but I’ll continue to be optimistic anyhow. =)

    • alohabb says:

      Best bet is to go to the mountain. For sure a white christmas there. Go stay at the lodge. 08 was an epic year. Kids home for an extra week at christmas break. Playing out in snow all day. Rescuing stranded drivers. Good times 08 was.

    • Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

      Again, here are my pics from 2008 with the big Christmas time snows.

    • TygrrLilley says:

      Tyler, your pics are incredible!!! I’m drooling over here!! *lol*
      alohabb, yeah, the mountains might be something to look into…thanks for the suggestion! =)

  29. 00z NCEP/NWS Pacific Surface Analysis

    Much better handling with the offshore feature. Initialized at 997mb near 42 N, 135.5 W. Based on current WV Loop analysis it is actually near 132 W now at least 994mb now based on Buoy 46002 west of Coos Bay showing a pressure measurement of 29.37 in(995mb) with pressure falls -0.17 ( Falling Rapidly ) The low will pass very near this location. Depending on whether or not the energy splits don’t rule out a wind event just yet….

  30. ashley watson says:

    not to be a debbie downer but we all know on here what will more than likely happen weather wise as far as what the models show. we very weel could get stuck under a death ridge like so many times before. no reason to get our hopes up. this model riding isn’t fun anymore.

  31. 00z MM5-NAM also initialization is very poor.

    • The way it looks now the low going to track in over oragon someplace. Now that being said it won’t happen all modals showing it will turn north come ashore around north b.c.

  32. Tracking pressure falls….
    As of 5:50 PM
    Buoy 46002 – 275NM West of Coos Bay, OR
    Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.39 in
    Pressure Tendency (PTDY): -0.24 in ( Falling Rapidly )

    • Tina. * Ridgefield Wa. * says:

      Does the pressure falling indicate good weather or bad? Sorry new to this!

      Thanks in advance.

    • SnowedIn - North Plains says:

      Falling pressure indicates that some sort of low pressure area is approaching. Normally this means some form of precipitation and/or wind is on it’s way.

    • Tina * Ridgefield Wa. * says:

      Thank you Snow. That helped. 🙂

  33. 00z NAM(NCEP) initialized very poorly hardly showing even an open wave.

    I’d throw it out considering we already have at least a 996mb low(if not slightly deeper) based on Buoy 46002 pressure reading/falls.

  34. 3 HR Pressure Change

    -8.5mb or greater now! This thing is really getting its act together

  35. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    November 2012 in Battle Ground and (Minnehaha)
    Highest High: 65.8, 4th (68, 4th)
    Lowest Low: 29.4, 27th (30.6, 27th)
    Highest Wind: SE 30, 19th (S 28, 19th)
    Most Precip: 1.69″, 19th (1.63″, 19th)

    Total Precip: 7.58″ (6.85″)

    Avg High: 53.2 (53.2)
    Avg Low: 40.6 (41.5)
    Mean: 46.9 (47.4)

  36. Tracking pressure falls….
    Buoy 46002 – 275NM West of Coos Bay, OR
    Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.45 in
    Pressure Tendency (PTDY): -0.24 in ( Falling Rapidly )
    Storm may really be deepening it seems….

  37. I know I have said this before, but I’m just not seeing a northward turn with the low or tracking as modeled.

  38. B/C Fred says:

    Mark, I’m glad you say we’re going to figure it out by the time we’re 80. I still have almost 13 years to get it right. Haven’t made it yet, but I’m working on it.

    Today, the genset got fixed, the gen shed got reinforced, the backpack blower got filters & a plug (tuned up), the JD425 picked up all the yard debris, the JD345 hauled all the limbs to the burn pile, the JD2240 loader bucket cylinder got new seals, etc.

    The FD vehicle is checked & ready for the usual, down trees, limbs, roads blocked, local flooding events, vehicles in the ditch, etc. Both chainsaws are fueled and sharp, flares restocked, helmet lights have new batteries, etc.

    I’m glad I don’t have much to do, now that I’m retired…;-) Just wait, you’ll be in the same boat before you know it….!

  39. Mark, thanks for the update…. Could be turning really exciting next week with cold air chances.

    Gusty winds(25-35mph) or a Wind Event(G30-45+mph) for later tonight – Tuesday? I think that’s still up in the air a bit. 18z models did initialize the system quite well around 1001-1002mb and track is well away from us between Northern Vancouver Island and Queen Charlottes.

    18z NCEP/NWS Pacific Surface Display shows this quite well too.

    Initializes the low at 40 N, 130 W with a projected forecast track towards the southern Queen Charlottes deepening to 982mb.

    8km WV Loop and IR Loop
    Enhanced IR
    Center is near 40 N, 138 W moving northeast. Now on this course if it continues it would makes things really interesting, but in all likelihood it will take the familiar northward turn soon. It seems to be if it’s going to track as modeled it pretty much has to turn due north real soon, so a landfall somewhere on Vancouver Island seems reasonable. It is moving along very quickly too. No models show any real concern, not the 12z MM5/WRF nor 18z NAM/GFS, and I don’t yet have a reason to think otherwise, but until this system makes a more pronounced northward turn this need to be watched.

    Based on pressure readings from Buoy 46006 600NM West of Eureka, CA I would place the low around 998mb currently as it passes by close to this location. Pressure falls west of Coos Bay are starting to look impressive at -0.17 now, so the low is strengthening.

    Right now I’d go with gusts 30-40mph, a few localized stronger gusts possible, but as I said above, if this tracks more into central Vancouver Island, that could change things.

  40. LongtimeLurker says:

    This is why I love your blog. You know we all want exciting weather and you spell out your thoughts so nicely. Hoping for snow sometime this winter!

    • PDX Weather Nut says:

      I’m hoping for snow too. Seems like it’s been four years or so since we had a decent snow in town.

  41. Both the GFS and the ECMWF show some kind of ridge next week. We just need that baby to set up further west, please. My thinking is it keeps moving to the east and we get that nasty inversion for a few days.

  42. alohabb says:

    Rod Hill thinks 50mph gust potential in Valley tomorrow? What are your thoughts

  43. Roman~Snow-Zone-Monmouth, Elv. 223' says:


  44. SnowedIn - North Plains says:

    First ?

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