Warm In the Hills, Chilly Below

Head to the hills for a taste of Spring tomorrow!

The next 7 days (or longer) we will be in an inversion.  That’s because much warmer air has moved in overhead.  Temperatures were in the 50s  at the ski areas on Mt. Hood under sunshine.  Meanwhile we sat in the mid-upper 30s all day down here in the lower elevations in the cool air that’s trapped in the valleys. 


The cold air layer is still around 3500′ deep, but overnight warmer air should come down to around 1500-2000′.  That means the low cloud deck over us MAY dissipate some during the night.  If that occurs, that will just allow surface-based fog to develop and temperatures will drop to freezing.  That’s a big question mark though.  If the low clouds don’t dissipate, temperatures won’t even make it down to freezing overnight.

Through Friday, the lowest elevations between the Coast Range and Cascades (below 1500′) will stay mainly foggy or cloudy.  This includes the 85% of our viewers that live between Longview and Salem near I-5.

At/above 1,500′ and at the Coastline?  Sunny and warm!  Today it made it into the 50s in some spots, and tomorrow I think we’ll see a bunch of locations in the Cascades and Coast Range that break 60 degrees.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

114 Responses to Warm In the Hills, Chilly Below

  1. Lurkyloo says:

    Didn’t know the Blog would die so quickly only a couple days after Flurrypalooza. Anybody out there? Hellooo? Oh well. Guess what? It’s cold, gray, and funky here! I guess you’re all in therapy for your winter blah disorder (I know there’s a real word for that). My appt. is later on … 😉

    • Mark says:

      The activity should pick up in the next few days. The long range finally has this high pressure getting kicked out and breaking down early next week. More zonal flow, but at least something new… After that, who knows…

    • W7ENK says:

      So, we’re replacing the current boredom with a continuation of our normal winter doldrums, and still no real winter in sight? Lovely, I can hardly wait.

      Tik-toc, tik-tok, time’s runnin’ out!

  2. Hal in Aims says:

    pea soup fog ……..32.5 deg. for the last 24+ hours……yech…

  3. Nice view of fog in the low level inversion below, looking SW towards seatac renton (click for webcam)

  4. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Uh oh. Most Recent Observation: Wed, 15 Jan 6:16 pm PST

  5. Marcus says:

    Looks like next week we will be getting cooler to colder with a series of systems dropping down from the gulf of Alaska with low snow levels. Don’t see any arctic air yet!

  6. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    I’m headed hiking up Hamilton Mountain. It starts at river level and tops out around 2,400′. I can’t wait to see if I can hop above the inversion 🙂

  7. David B. says:

    Clear and frosty most of the night in Seattle, but morning dawned with dense fog in my neighborhood. But it’s a patchy fog; Downtown has blue sky and hazy sunshine. Looks safe to say it will burn off and we’ll make it into the 40s again this afternoon.

  8. ocpaul says:

    Happier times. Heading east, the tunnel before Cascade Locks.
    Dec. 25,2008

  9. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:


    Temp has varied between 32 and 34 since 5 PM yesterday.

  10. Marcus says:

    06z GFS shows pattern change as well:) around hr172

  11. pappoose in scappoose says:

    “Now could we use ship tracks to combat global warming?”


  12. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Hasn’t dropped to 1800′ yet!

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      National Weather Service Portland or
      816 am PST Wednesday Jan 16 2013

      Short term…the 12z ksle sounding pretty much sums up the overall weather pattern. A low-level inversion up to around 2000 to 2500 feet then extremely dry air above that…with humidity less than 10 percent. The subsidence inversion has lowered about 1000 to 1500 feet since yesterday. As of 16z several Cascade RAWS sites were already in the 40s with humidity values under 20 percent. Model forecast soundings
      indicate the inversion may lower a bit more today… potentially
      reaching down to near 1000 feet. Valley stratus decks have also lowered and thinned. Due to the impressive strength of the inversion…the fog and stratus will likely hang around for a while
      today. But the deck is thin enough that some clearing may occur this afternoon…especially in northern Willamette Valley locations.

    • David B. says:

      Yeah, I was noticing that last night. Not only is the inversion above 1800 feet, the upper sensor switched yesterday from an inversion reading of being warmest to the normal state of being coldest. It’s as if the inversion level went *up* yesterday, not down.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Upper sensor jumped at 9:00!

  13. W7ENK says:

    My temperature has hovered between 35.2 and 35.6 since 8:00 last night. Talk about stable!!

  14. bgb41 says:

    1/15/2013 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:68 at BALD KNOB(3630 ft) & SUGARLOAF(4328 ft)
    Low: 41 at Timberline Lodge(7001 ft)

    High:14 at NYSSA(2172 ft) & NPOWDR(3212 ft)
    Low: -9 at Lakeview, Lake C (4734 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 49 degrees
    CRAZYMAN FLAT (53/4 ) (6100 ft )
    Crescent (51/2) (4462 ft)

  15. Marcus says:

    Pattern shift hr 192 on 00z ECMWF yay looks like its trending cooler as well something to look forward to I guess:)http://weathercrazy.smugmug.com/Weather/Photos-From-Around-The-NW/26751308_wMrBTP

  16. chris says:

    been clear up here in the Puget sound South hill 600ft high of 41 now down to 25 with clear sky’s

  17. Sifton says:

    I’m borrowing a truck & headin to Larch man!! But Mark if you ‘say’ we’re in an inversion for the next 7+ days what’s up with the sunny 7 day graphics……(Stephanie playin with the computer again)? Very miss leading, maybe put “@ 1500′ & up”.

  18. Marcus says:

    00z GFS blah, ugly cold air is stuck in the east part of Canada and us:( http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/list_files_area.php?model=gfs&cycle=00&area=namer&param=500_vort_ht

  19. Lurkyloo says:

    Mimsy and tulgey is what this weather is.

  20. Marcus says:

    Well if accucrack is predicting mild I’d say we are in for an arctic blast!http://m.accuweather.com/en/us/portland-or/97204/extended-weather-forecast/350473

    • Benjamin (West Salem) says:

      There used to be posts during that time, but it had to do with a change in word press or something similar that caused those posts as well as others to totally disappear.

    • Benjamin (West Salem) says:

      oops, I just now am seeing that this post I did was meant for a different comment. :p fail…..

  21. Ryan says:

    Hey Mark,
    I was checking the blog archives to read all of the December 2008 snowstorm posts. I noticed there are no posts between December 2nd and 23rd? That would surprise me given what was going on during that timeframe. Any idea where I can get access to those posts?

    • Marcus says:

      I think the blog was down but not sure mark said a while back but can’t remember.

      • Ryan says:

        Man, that period of the 13th thru the 23rd was epic. The blog was really down then? Bad timing if so.

    • Marcus says:

      The weather I think was the culprit!

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      It was a Typepad blog back then. Sometime around 2010 we changed to WordPress and lots posts here and there. Believe it or not, that period (December 2008) was one of those periods that didn’t make it into the new blog! Boy, was I annoyed!

      • Ryan says:

        Do you have any kind of saved links from those posts or that event itself? I had just moved to Portland back then so I’d be very interested in reliving it. Doubt ill ever see something like that again unless I move.

    • Marcus says:

      Ya, I was way sorry Ryan thanks mark:)

    • Marcus says:

      Way off that is

    • Marcus says:

      Ryan here are some pics from 2008 I got them from Tyler mode from bg http://weathercrazy.smugmug.com/Weather/Photos-From-Around-The-NW/26751308_wMrBTP

    • Richard Hodges (SE 160TH & Burnside) says:

      There was actually about 2,000 + entries a day for at least four days at the height of the event. I remember many weather junkies very quickly started to complain by the inconvenience of being traped by the snow?

    • gratefulduck says:

      Probably would have required 20 TB storage just for those.. there blog entries that had 600, 700, even more psots that included pics and all sorts of stuff.. Didnt we almost meltdown typepad??
      Would love to have another event like that roll in here…

      At least I am getting snow and cold today.. I would share but you all probably dont want to fly out to Minneapolis.. actually going to see the warmest temp of the week today and it still wont hit 30.. was zero when I got in Sunday night.. gettin outta dodge just in time to miss the single digit highs and below zero lows that are headed this way.. get to spend a full week at home finally before coming back out

  22. flurball says:

    Not a math major. Approaching 120 feet!

  23. Muxpux (Castle Rock 175') says:

    I’ve got stars above me and ice on the deck

  24. David B. says:

    What’s up with the KPTV tower temperatures? The upper sensor is back to being the coldest one this evening. I thought the inversion was supposed to be pushing down to 1500 feet.

    • Punxsutawney aka HIOPHIL in Hillsboro says:

      Yes, and it has actually warmed up here in Hillsboro since 7pm. Not much, but certainly isn’t cooling.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      On the Salem sounding it appeared to be around 2500′ at that time. We’ll see how low it is by morning. I guess we’ll now when it drops to 1800′ eh? Should be fun to see if the temp jumps up there.

  25. flurball says:

    Surprised Rob didn’t mention this but maybe he did and I missed it. If it is a repeat I’m sorry.


    • W7ENK says:


      …waves 12-18 meters (39-59 feet)…

      Holy shipwreck, Captain!! 😯

    • flurball says:

      Keep in mind that the wave heights here are the significant wave height which is defined as the average of the 1/3 highest waves. This means that some individual waves could be up to twice the significant wave height!


    • dothgrin says:

      Interesting question…what might this do to disrupt the current pattern, if at all. This is a pretty strong system.

    • Oh, yeah I posted about that yesterday…. It was a real beast and was forecast to deepen 50mb in 24 hours. It did so even a bit more went from 989-935mb in 20 hours!

  26. JJ97222 says:

    Looks like a great sunny weekend coming a little east wind does wonders, when do the cliff jumpers come out?

    • Kinda hurt too much last time. Jumping is too hard on my old bones.
      I’m thinking of using ropes and rappelling down slowly this time. Just starting to gather up the gear. Made a few calls to reserve some good micro-brews to have lowered down as well. The time is drawing near……
      Spring is just around the corner. 😉

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Probably won’t help out anywhere south of Wilsonville though, that would be my guess right now. Sorry Boydo!

    • That’s why the micro brew. Fog and funk depression is a real ailment only cured by strong beer. Why do you think the Brits are so into it!

  27. Marcus says:

    I was just reminiscing about the December 2008 snow found some crazy pics I wish I could find the weather models and ensemble runs from 08? Anyone have some? We need to have another 08.

  28. karlbonner1982 says:

    Hmmm…Wonder if Sevenmile Summit will be warmer than downtown The Dalles tomorrow, even if only by a few degrees?

  29. David B. says:

    A surprisingly sunny day and mild today in Seattle; made it up to the mid-40s. Dropping fast under clear skies now that the sun’s gone. The question is will it gunk in tonight or won’t it? That will no doubt make a big difference as to how much it warms up tomorrow

  30. DCZ (Hillsboro) says:

    Dew points are mentioned here often and I hope someone will answer a question for me on the topic.

    If it were a warm day in July, say 80 degrees, and average humidity, in what range would you normally expect the dew point to be?

    • David B. says:

      Around 50 would be typical for summer in Portland.

    • W7ENK says:

      That all depends where you are. “Here” being the Willamette Valley, average DP on an 80 degree day in July would be around 56 or 58 degrees. Central Oregon, more like 20-30 degrees, possibly less a long as there’s no monsoonal moisture pushing up from the desert SW. Anywhere East of the Rockies — Midwest, the Say-outh, East Coast, etc… — 80 degree day, DP in the mid-upper 70s, which is miserable. I saw fog, 100% humidity, saturated atmosphere, at 72 degrees in Central Ohio. That was just plain gross!

    • DCZ (Hillsboro) says:

      Great, thanks!

      So the more humid the air, the higher the dew point. Eastern Oregon is drier so lower dew point.

      At 58 degree dew point, condensation forms on any material at or below that temperature.

      Got it, thanks for the replies!

    • W7ENK says:

      Yup, you got it! 🙂

    • Punxsutawney aka HIOPHIL in Hillsboro says:

      I was in Kentucky some years ago and a small thunder shower had passed. Temp was 88 degrees and the roads were steaming. Unbelievable. Was a totally miserable day, excepting the thundershowers, and it was only late May.

      That kind of humidity and dp’s is really something everyone here should experience, but you don’t want to live in it day in and day out if you ask me.

      The Portland area can see dp’s up around 70 on rare occasions, usually associated with a major heat wave.

    • David B. says:

      If the DP gets above 60 in Portland, you hear complaints about the humidity. If it gets *down* to 60 in the eastern half of the country in the summer, you hear people talking about how refreshingly non-muggy it is.

  31. kdi says:

    Looks like the high pressure ridge of death to me. What a bummer. I refuse to ski when the high schoolers are up there so i wait until january. Another wasted season pass for me. There has to be some hope on the horizon. Has to be.

  32. W7ENK says:

    Commence boredom.

  33. Kent Estep says:

    48 degrees atop Mt Hebo, but a nice 28mph north breeze…


    Salt Lake City has the worst inversions I have ever experienced—bad enough that the weather would include PM10 counts and possible wood burning restrictions.

    But no inversion is ever fun when you’re on the bottom of it…

    • David B. says:

      I went to school at Utah State in Logan. We always laughed at what SLC residents thought was cold. Yesterday’s “high” in Logan was 3, after a morning low of -20.

    • WX Ninja says:

      Welcome to the blog Kent! Is your weather station online by chance?

  34. Nice view of inversion on my webcam

  35. Ben T says:

    Bring on fog-effect snow!

  36. fishinpox02 says:


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