Time For A Poll: Snow This Winter?

January 24, 2013

It’s been way too long since we’ve done a poll.  How about this…Will it Snow in Portland this Winter?  Yes, I know we’ve had a few close calls but no actual accumulation yet here in the city.

  • The official observing site is in Parkrose at the NWS Office.
  • They have recorded a TRACE 4 times, but nothing measurable (.1″ or more).
  • Dec 15th & 31st,   Jan 10th & 14th were the traces.

Here are the snow totals for the past 13 winters here in Portland:

Most of last winter’s total was in March.  In 3 of the past 5 winters we have seen measurable snow in March.  However, in the previous 13, it only snowed once!  Interesting eh?

By the way, to make things a bit more fair for the non-weather watcher, I don’t see a snow producing pattern in the next 7-10 days.  At least very few models are showing that.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

ECMWF Monthly Maps

January 24, 2013

For the hardcore wx geeks, this is for your eyes only. 

Here are the Week 1-4 ECMWF monthly run maps from last night’s 00z run.  I get these on Monday and Thursday afternoon.  Looks rather mild for the first half of February.  But first, the 360 hour GFS ensemble average of 500mb heights, that’s 15 days out from this morning’s 12z run:


Now the 4 weeks of ECMWF, notice the 2nd week isn’t much different than the GFS above, they are both keying in on a sort “Rex Block” pattern…kind of:





Final Freezing Rain Update This Evening

January 24, 2013

Tuesday, 9:15pm…

The highlights:

  • There will be a brief period of freezing rain (glaze ice) anywhere between the Coast Range and Cascades at the lower elevations Wednesday morning, possibly as early as 6am, but no later than 9-10am.
  • It will not last long (a few hours at most) away from the Columbia River Gorge.  No matter what happens before 10am, after that time it’ll be too warm for any new areas of freezing except in the Gorge.
  • It only takes 5-10 minutes of freezing rain to turn a dry road into an ice rink.
  • The afternoon commute should be fine with temps well above freezing away from the Gorge.
  • The Gorge won’t thaw until late afternoon or evening, that may include the far eastside metro near the Columbia River (Troutdale/Camas)

What’s New Since the Previous Posting at Noon?

  • Timing of precipitation has been sped up slightly on some models, but not on others that came out this evening, it’ll be sometime between 6am-10am.  Sorry, I can’t nail it down any more than that since our models have some disagreement.  The main theme is LIGHT at first, just sprinkles to very light rain.  Some of our models are still showing no precipitation until 9-11am.
  • Temperatures look cold enough now near/below freezing before 9am, that whatever falls should freeze just about anywhere.  There may have been some doubt about that earlier, but not now.
  • Best case scenario:  Morning commute just sees patchy icy areas with sprinkles, temps warm a few degrees, then regular steadier rain kicks in after 10-11am. with not too many road issues.
  • Worst case scenario: An area of light rain moving right over the Valley at 6am, depositing ice all over roads and the morning commute is a hellish event with cars sliding all over the place before melting after 9-10am.
  • Whatever happens should be somewhere between these two scenarios.

If ever there was a time to keep an eye on weather surveillance radar, tomorrow is it!  My preference is this one.  I don’t know why, but I usually go to that link.  Of course we’ll be tracking things here at FOX12 starting at 4:30am.

And I’ll be back online around 7-8am as well…

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

AMS Meeting Tonight!

January 24, 2013


The Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) is lining up some great weather meetings in January, February and March. After a very busy fall season, the Oregon AMS executive council decided to ease our way back into the new year with a fun and always entertaining no-host pizza social at Stark Street Pizza 9234 S.E. Stark Street Portland, tomorrow (Thursday, January 24th) at 7pm. For driving directions, see: http://starkstreetpizzaco.com/contact_info.html or Google the above address. There is no set topic at this FREE meeting. Please feel free to bring your family members, children, significant others, etc… to this laid-back gathering. Bring your favorite weather project, weather picture, book, technical paper, etc… to share with the group. We will have our laptop and LCD projector available. Bring anything you have on a USB thumb drive and we will load it up. If you are not a current Oregon AMS member, feel free to show up and see what we are all about? Maybe you will sign up? As many of you know, Stark Street Pizza is famous for some of the best pizza and libations in Portland. This is an all-ages gathering. We have the large back room reserved, so let’s fill it up. We understand this meeting is fairly short notice, but we hope you can still swing in for a great time!

We are looking forward to seeing you all this evening, January 24th at 7pm at Stark Street Pizza in Portland!

I won’t be able to make it since I’m working during that time, so have a drink and slice for me please…

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen