A Long Dry Spell Ahead

6pm Thursday…

Last night’s forecast was tough, but it all worked out really well this morning.  We forecast NOTHING to a TRACE at the lowest elevations and up to 1″ up around 1,000′ (previous posting).  Most folks at least saw snow in the air, and everyone here at work I’ve talked to had at least some dusting.  That would include east Portland, Happy Valley, Lake Oswego, Beaverton, Tigard, Cedar Mill, West Hills, SW Portland, Oregon City etc…

It looks like inner E/SE Portland, Milwaukie, and North Portland may have seen no sticking?  At least that’s what I could see at 8:30am on the ODOT Cams.  Vancouver may have been hosed too.  I didn’t see much on those traffic cams either.

What a cold day!  The freezing level only went a little bit above the top of the West Hills and appears to be around 1,500′ this evening.  It’ll drop just a little overnight; but with any clearing any spot could drop to or below freezing.  Watch for icy spots if you are on wet roads later.    There are still flurries out there and anyone could see a brief dusting overnight, although I think we’ll be all dry after midnight.

Tomorrow we see drier and cold air coming down from the north, so still a chilly day but much brighter in the afternoon.

Saturday’s Possible Snow:

The verdict is in, models have all gone dry, at least all of today’s models.  Energy and surface low pressure stays well offshore instead of coming down right over us.  So we’ve removed any precipitation wording on our forecast.  Of course there’s a small chance that could change, but everything is screaming DRY for now.

The Long Range:

Wow, either mainly or totally dry for the next 10-14 days!  A strong upper level ridge builds just offshore from Sunday through about the 20th.  Here’s the WRF-GFS for Sunday evening:


With the ridge quite close and high upper-level heights, temps in the higher elevations will be the warmest we have seen in quite a while.  Both the ECMWF and GFS show 50+ degree temperatures up around 5,000′ next Wednesday and Thursday!  We’ll start chilly in the lower elevations of course and we won’t see those temperatures even later next week down here; it’ll be a classic inversion setup. 

Last time we had dry weather with upper level ridging nearby (just to our east) we saw strong east wind; this time will be different.  With an upper level ridge just to our west, surface high pressure will be strong over us and to the west as well.  This means weak ONSHORE flow for at least early next week.  As a result, if we get low-level moisture in here after a cold and dry weekend, we’ll have a tough time getting it out of here.  Yes, this means if we get fog or low clouds they won’t go anywhere.  Our 7 Day forecast looks quite sunny next week but that may or may not happen.  It may be a cool and gray week, we’ll see.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

156 Responses to A Long Dry Spell Ahead

  1. SNOW! says:

    What would you predict the chance of getting any more snow this winter, that would give us at least 3 inches or so?

  2. alohabb says:

    And the temps begin to drop…down to 35 !

  3. gidrons says:

    As to the approaching front, I can see some shear on the infrared satellite but not so much on the water vapor. Models are usually right but not always. At times like this, I wouldn’t want Mark’s job. Time to start watching the Langley radar.

  4. Jordan (Raleigh Hills, 420') says:

    So… about 3 or 4 until this front moves into the Seattle area. I wonder if there is any precip falling under all those clouds — I sure hope. Nothing on radar yet. It’s times like these I wish BC had more coastal radars… I don’t see there being party cloudy or clear skies tonight, especially along the WA coast.

    Trees still have drops of water, and the ground is still not completely dry. Think it maybe be icy again tonight. Coldest day so far this winter for me too, high of only 35. Think things are just now sort of thawing.

  5. W7ENK says:

    O_O! http://images.smh.com.au/2013/01/10/3943933/art-702377962-620×349.jpg

    Anyone see this? A red storm front as it moved along off shore from Australia yesterday!


    Weird HOT weather they’re having… Temperatures in the middle of Australia up into the 130s. They had to add colors to their temperature map scale.

  6. Hal in Aims says:

    Bright and sunny, but chilly……up to 36 deg. and the dusting we got overnight is melting off the trees. Sure beats 41 deg. and rain.

  7. rick-salmon creek says:

    so is there like 0 chance that there will be snow this weekend in the area?

  8. Wait…. this is the new post/thread…. never mind lol

  9. Ben T says:


  10. paulbeugene says:

    Way more cumulus clouds out there than I’m used to in a cold air mass.
    Still going for lows 20-28 tonight and 16-24 tomorrow unless high clouds cause problem.
    On the 12z GFS I saw more members showing true arctic blast for our region towards the end of the run…the best I have seen all winter. The Canadian ensembles have been cold trigger happy at times this winter but so far GFS has been more accurate. I am not saying it will be cold two weeks from now…but rather that it will cold next few days….and potential for cold outbreak last week of Jan is there.

  11. WEATHERDAN says:

    The way I see it we win either way. We have the cold over us and that isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. So if we get a storm sliding over us from the North we have snow. If we get a strong ridge pushing over us we get sunny and mild weather in January, what a deal. Even dry but foggy is preferable to me over the rainy weather we had from October through December. I say enjoy it while it lasts.

    • Ron says:

      Except temps from about 3,000ft and up will be in the 40’s and 50’s next week. That won’t support snow. It would today but not next week. Just cold rain, IMHO. That’s why we call the upcoming inversion fake cold.

    • Ron says:

      Maybe not even as high as 3,000ft. Warm air layer might be all the way down to 1,500ft

  12. Marcus says:

    Yes,we are the weather clones!:)

  13. W7ENK says:

    Abandon the GFS!
    Abandon the ECMWF!
    Abandon the NAM!
    Abandon the WRFs’s’s’!
    Abandon Mark’s RPM!

    It’s GOLU time!!

    Sunny and 32 right now in the heart of Downtown, looks like the fog is being held at bay just to the south by the Ross Is Brr…

  14. Marcus says:

    It sure looks like that system to the north is going to slide right over us hmmmm!

    • runrain says:

      Double hmmmmmmmmm! How about it, Rob?

    • Yep, I agree so far the front and moisture appears to be holding together well. We’ll just have to see. Models are useless right now as it is all happening in real-time.

    • You know that will happen 95% of our snow storms come from those never predicted or very short notice I.E The windstorm about a month or so ago that was suppose to hit seattle area then went south and was suppose to hit portland MAJOR failure on the weather men. Not really buying into we will get snow tomorrow But i wouldnt be shocked if we did get snow saturday either

  15. gidrons says:

    OK, I have a decent understanding of the models and I see that their dry. But when I look at the water vapor satellite loop, I have a hard time believing that none of that moisture is going to make it this far east.

    • I’m right there with you on this.

    • Jordan (Raleigh Hills, 420') says:

      me too… we can hope… looks like maybe some light snow showers / flurries tonight… but maybe it will just be some clouds… still going to go with the models are really confused right now. not even going to look anymore, just going to watch the skies and satellite images.

    • Mark says:

      This is were we say: Do we trust the models or do we not?

      I “try” to be consistent and objective. So while I want it to dearly snow in the metro-area, (as in a few inches around for a bit), if I cherry pick a model that looks good, or don’t follow consensus of the models due to something I want vs what looks to be, then that can make for very erratic expectations (and forecasting for the pro’s).

      On this blog I believe I’ve seen this called “wish-casting” yes?

      The models say shear and dry. I go with that and look out beyond 10 days for renewed hope. That’s my “take”.

      PS: Thanks Jim Rome for turning the word “opinion” into “take”…. or not!

    • runrain says:

      Does this mean us weather geeks are also Jim Rome clones??

    • dothgrin says:

      I think Mark should institute a “have a take and don’t suck” policy! Ha-ha!

  16. reggie says:

    WOW ! tower temps. are dropping like a rock !!!

  17. SnowedIn - North Plains says:

    You know what? I’m actually going to enjoy the upcoming dry spell. Nice blue skies in the dead of winter are a sight for sore model-riding eyes. I’m probably going to get flack for saying this……. but here goes……. I even enjoy some occasional fog (of the freezing variety!). I know, I know… But it can turn ordinary spider webs into works of art.

    • momof2kiddos says:

      I think my neighbors thought I had lost my mind as I was taking pictures of the undersides of the mail box this morning. I hate spiders but the webs were so beautiful. 🙂

    • runrain says:

      The Fog was one of my favorite books/movies!

    • Lurkyloo says:

      My dog jumped into Jamie Lee Curtis’ limo when she was filming “The Fog” in Inverness, Ca. I like fog. But I like moving fog like in SF, not stagnate fog like Fresno. Okay, that’s it for the Friday Random Share. 🙂

  18. Jordan (Raleigh Hills, 420') says:

    As of 18z Friday, the 12z GFS and NAM runs do not have systems in the correct spot. Parts of coastal BC are getting rain/snow right now that I don’t think were modeled to get any/much

  19. runrain says:

    Big news! I was hired to do the NWS long term discussion for the next two weeks. Here is my first entry:


    Stay tuned. My next entry will be around 3pm. I’ll give you a hint as to its content (see above!)

  20. Benjamin (West Salem) says:

    This morning was a very icy commute here in Salem. Perhaps the worst morning commute (concerning ice) since last March.

%d bloggers like this: