A Quick Evening Post: Plus A Winter Thought or Two

Real quiet weather out there this evening.    Temperatures are running a bit cooler than 9pm last night,


although last night we were dealing with the last of the breezy northeast wind.  Assuming little or no cloud cover makes it here before sunrise (likely), temps will be just about the same as last night.  Here are a few of the morning lows:


Interesting to note that downtown Portland didn’t have a frost (not expected there anyway), but Aurora only reported a lowest hourly of 34 (ignore the 36).  It’s possible it was lower, but still a little warmer than I would have expected down there.

Just for fun this evening, I spent 30 minutes comparing current fall conditions with some previous fall weather and the ensuing winter.  Should be interesting to see what you all think.

We’re going to end up with less than 1.50″ rainfall for October here in Portland, less than half of normal. So…

I looked up all the Octobers since 1950 with less than 2″ of rain

2008, 2006, 2002, 1993, 1991, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1986, 1983, 1980, 1978, 1976, 1972, 1964, 1958, 1952

Then just those in the group that followed a wetter than average September

1986, 1978, 1976, 1972

And those (of the initial “dry Octobers” group) that were ENSO-neutral through the following winter

1993, 1989, 1980, 1978, 1952

The only year that featured a wet September, followed by a dry October, that was an ENSO-neutral winter, was 1978.

If you look at just the autumns that are wet in September, followed by a dry October, regardless of ENSO conditions, what happened the following winter?  There are only 4 of those as you see above.  2 had no snow in Portland (1976 & 1986).  One had a historic arctic blast in December and 6.5″ snow (1972), and one had several blasts of cold arctic air and 8.4″ for a seasonal total (and a crazy ice storm in January!).  That was 1978 again.


WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?  I don’t know, but it filled an entire blog posting didn’t it?

I think the possibilities are WIDE OPEN for this coming winter.  We could have some good action or it might be a shutout.  The general consensus at the OMSI meeting Saturday was that we’ll see some action this winter.  Pete Parsons went crazy forecasting the worst January in years (in a good snowy/cold way).

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


76 Responses to A Quick Evening Post: Plus A Winter Thought or Two

  1. Lurkyloo says:

    Happy Halloween, everyone! BOO!

  2. Kenny says:

    The 18z GFS shows a possible Souwester developing for next week. It starts to develop from a wave at hour 144 then moves due east, maybe slightly south and then decides to suddenly move up the coast just before it hits land, all the while it deepens. Just how strong it deepens and what path it takes up the coast will tell us who gets the strong winds.

    • gidrons says:

      When you use “18z GFS” and “next week” in the same sentence, that’s your cue not to take it seriously.

    • Kenny says:

      Nevermind, the L just seems to stall off the coast in one spot for 24+ hours. Now our biggest concern will be flooding if it just stalls out there.

  3. Kenny says:

    The new 12z EURO is a great run. Two important things it shows. The first is for next Thursday, a tightly compacted L pressure system makes its way toward the WA coastline. Depending on the track of this low and its strength will determine who gets strong winds. The isobars are very tight.

    The second is for next weekend. It shows a L pressure system dropping from the north bringing colder air in behind it. Since the EURO only goes to hour 240, we don’t know what happens after this. It could possibly bring an arctic blast to the PNW if it drops far enough south instead of east. We have to watch future model runs to find out.

    • Aloha Rainshadow says:

      Kenny, the low for Thursday is dropping in with the flow from the NW, not something we would worry about a windstorm here.

  4. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    12z EURO
    A real chilly northerly jet and FINALLY much colder air moves across the pole into Alaska and NW Canada. This is an eyelash away from delivering pretty cold air. Nice 500mb pattern potential.

    • Benjamin (West Salem) says:

      Yes, it also looks like (in my opinion) that there are 2 nice storms on the run. the 1st on Sat Nov 2nd and the other storm on Thursday Nov 7th.

  5. Kenny says:

    The new 12z GFS brings arctic air right on our doorsteps for next weekend. Just a little further south and we are in business. The 0C 850 line hits LAX by hour 240.

  6. Joshua in Lake Oswego says:

    19 degrees warmer than yesterday at this time.

  7. AdamInAumsville says:

    Well, the last frame of the 00Z Euro looks intriguing.

  8. JJ78259 says:

    Great storm last night in San Antonio lightning and thunder for about four hours watched it from 9 to 11 just amazing. At least 3 inches of rain fell clearing out this morning for a nice 80 degree clear Halloween evening! Happy Halloween!

    • runrain says:

      So sad to hear about the massive flooding down there. And supposedly more on the way early next week?

    • JJ78259 says:

      There is always a Brightside Runrain 85 and very beautiful up in the Hill Country today hey Austin needs the rain. It pays to live to on High ground! The warm sun is just inspiring and again we are coming out of a drought so this is needed rain..

  9. archangelmichael2 says:

    Sunday’s downpour netted 0.85 in the old bucket. Air temps of 33F on all mornings.

  10. schmit44 says:

    10/30/2013 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:68 at ILLINOIS VALLEY(1389 ft)
    Low: 46 at ROCKWY Rockaway(450 ft)

    High:32 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft)
    Low: 10 at DIMLKE (4726 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 44 degrees
    PRINEVILLE 4NW (60/16 ) (2840 ft )

  11. pappoose in scappoose says:

    My roof is talking to me W7!
    Says, “I’m getting wet!”

  12. If you’re being denied access to Mark’s page, here’s his backup site.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      The site is working again, but some serious permission issues occurring on various links ON the page itself. It’s a server problem with my provider.

  13. I keep seeing everyone referring to analogs. And I understand the reasoning and concept. However I am wondering is how accurate is, excuse my made up term, analoging? Every year we see the years come up and how similar it was to x year. But how often does it pan out? What I wonder is if analoging is like that roulette past numbers board where people try to find patterns that really don’t exist. Just because one event happened under X conditions does it really tend to, more likely than not, happen again under the same known conditions?

    Yes I know that it makes sense to a certain degree but I don’t think the data we look at for analoging is even 1% of what would truly be needed to truly analog the earths weather. Too many factors effect our weather 1000’s of miles away (or millions when you consider the Sun). So just because x year had similar rain, frost, dry summer, wet spring, plagues of locusts, or whatever is no real guarantee the same will happen.

    Does anyone know how similar analog years actually pan out to be? Are they more often then not 70-100% on the mark or more like 0-30% correct?

    I would assume analogs rarely pan out. they just aid in hopeful thinking and i am all for it 🙂

    • ocpaul says:

      +1. Everything you said makes sense. A lot of unknown variables too. And the possible combinations of all variables,
      is staggering. And, what about snow luck?

    • snow luck 🙂 I increased my odds by moving to near 1000ft 5 years ago. I get snow every year 🙂

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Excellent points. Has anyone actually looked to see if the analogs ever pan out? I don’t know.

    • boydo3 N Albany says:

      That’s how all those wives tales got started. The Farmer’s almanac is full of them. “The last time we had so many wooly worms with this much black, was in 1934 when we had 4 feet of snow on the ground in December. This year the wooly worm has a similar amount of black and we predict nearly 3′ of snow in December.” Uh, that’s the wooly worm analog.

    • gidrons says:

      No, recent analog forecasts haven’t panned out all. Remember all the PDO/La Nina hype the last couple of years? We’re in uncharted territory with the low solar activity, shrunken arctic ice cap, and whatever effect UH and 400 ppm of CO2 cause.

  14. WEATHERDAN says:

    Tried to get on Mark’s weather links today and was denied permission. What’s with that Mark.

  15. Kenny says:

    The new 12z EURO looks very promising in the long range. Arctic air is in British Columbia and it looks like there is nothing stopping it from coming down. Frigid -15C to -20C temps are seen in Upper BC.

  16. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    12z WRF is weaker 996-1000mb and further north with the low up near Forks. Non-issue. Would like to see 00z runs bring back a deeper scenario, but who really expects that? I don’t.

    • BoringOregon says:

      I heard on the weather channel, that it might be a couple of day’s long.. Man I did not mean to, set of “w7”. Hope he is all good!

  17. paulbeugene says:

    There may a window for an arctic outbreak mid Nov to early Dec if positive 500mb anomaly persists in G of Alaska but the lack of any really cold air on our side of the pole is a concern. Will need ridge to build up/over AK to develop a cold air mass over NW Canada to deliver here, otherwise an empty package of cool continental air is all we get.
    Inevitably hot spell in Alaska will need to come to end to balance the heat/cold budget. If the warm spell is reversed in dramatic fashion in AK then we get downstream ridging over central North America (mild and wet for us) or in gradual fashion we may have changeable but overall seasonable to mild pattern. Persistence of current pattern into heart of winter as in 76-77 or 1916-17 would be terrible for us as in dry, mild, foggy and meager snow at Government Camp littered with doggy poo

  18. Aloha Rainshadow says:

    Hey Mark…something interesting I’ve been noticing. Now, full disclosure, for those that are not familiar with the model, WE KNOW this model is long term (CFS) and not to be trusted for details, HOWEVER, it’s consistently been showing massive amounts of cold air in Western Canada beginning early to mid December (talking 474-480 thickness). Whether or not there is some signature causing this in the model, I don’t know but it is very interesting none the less. I like to look at trends and am watching this closely as it would jive with some of the mets predictions from the conference…if we get cold air to build nice and healthy up north in December, Late December and January could be interesting…I think it was Jim little that focused on this timeframe?

    If we were to believe the CFS, we’d be looking at a big arctic outbreak come Early December…but again…this model is not to be trusted for details but can lend to trends at times.


    • Aloha Rainshadow says:

      Oh…and an even larger reinforcement in Mid December…BRRRRR

    • Ron says:

      It would be great if there was a signature that the models were trying to sniff out. We all are hoping for that. But remember what Jim Little said, ” A broken clock is right twice a day”. He was running about 25% accuracy in his Precip/temp predictions for the winter months. He might be right this time who knows.
      I like you try to find even the tiniest hint of trends that might feed my hopes for cold and snow, but most of the time come up empty handed. Long range forecasting just isn’t accurate. Why do you think Mark doesn’t make winter predictions. But is there a nugget of hope out there? We’re like the squirrels frantically collecting the nuts for the winter. A blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.

    • ocpaul says:

      And…a smart squirrel hides his nuts this time of year, to keep them warm.

  19. Dave in SW PDX (235') says:

    Another frosty morning here, 30.8° overnight. And a beautiful sunrise, too.

  20. runrain says:

    The two most exciting events on this weather blog: Rob’s Hmmmm, and when Jacob BPA used to say Fab Four – NOW!

  21. MasterNate says:

    Not sure why Aurora showed 34 for a low. It was 27 that morning just east of there towards Molalla. 32 this morning.

  22. Looks like the 06Z just about eliminated the chance for any real wind for Saturday. It’s showing just a breezy day for PDX.

  23. Greg Carstens says:


    Okay now for my own post for the night. It probably wont be as long as the replies on here…

    Last season was obviously a warmish almost Nino-like winter it turned out. At the moment anyway models suggest in the shorter term (within two weeks) that it should be cooler with normal to a little above normal in precipitation. At least that is what the NOAA CPC models all the way out from 8 to 14 days have been saying.

    All ENSO cycles are not alike no matter if they are El Nino, La Nina, or neutral. The best we can do is to use analogs and pretty much speculate as to what might happen. There really is no longer term fail safe way to predict beyond two weeks even to some degree of high certainty there will be some particular pattern that comes along that is either cold or warm in a neutral episode. It is more easier I think to project that idea in either a El Nino or La Nina winter.

    I wont say it will not snow or will snow but if the ensemble models continue to be up and down and sort of all over the place then perhaps the best idea would be for everyone to stock up their emergency supplies and sit down and buckle up for a ride that might just bring anything the weather can throw at us. We should always be ready but prepare for ANYTHING with an ENSO neutral episode.

  24. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    The CFS sure has seen a complete 180 reversal over the past month now. If you remember back in September it had the forecast ensemble mean at +0.8 anomaly with almost every ensemble member positive neutral or up into weak Nino territory, but it has really backpedaled since then.

    Latest CFSv2 forecast for Nino3.4 SST Anomalies

    It’s now showing a mean around +0.2 this Winter with several members trending back to a negative neutral ENSO. Interesting….

    • Greg Carstens says:

      The PNA has been going more in the tank lately and the AO is starting to show hints at least that it wants to follow suit. The NAO yesterday on the models for Oct 29th on the CPC website was starting to almost go as flat as a pancake.

    • boydo3 N Albany says:

      Does NOAA have a warm bias? 😉

  25. Ben T says:

    I’m not getting my hopes up too much yet. But I’m all for a crazy winter!

  26. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    ….Wind Event Saturday?….
    Several runs over the past 3 days have tinkered with the idea of placing a fairly deep low around 990mb moving onshore somewhere near the central-northern Washington Coast. One run of the WRF the other day showed a max OLM-EUG of 20mb. When we get towards that criteria of 20mb we have to watch things very closely for the potential of gusts 50mph+(or much higher depending on things)

    Tonight’s 00z WRF run still suggests the potential may be there.
    A nice, compact 990mb(roughly) low moves onshore along the central Washington Coast.

    It develops rapidly inside 130 W near 47 N. Seems a bit too far north on that trajectory, but this run doesn’t show a northward swing or re-curve that we’re so familiar with seeing. Instead is heads due east.

    Whereas a W-E trajectory isn’t ideal, we have had several Wind Events(Gust 40-50mph) and a few Wind Storms(50-60mph) in the past with a low moving eastward on this track towards the Washington Coast. As it is this could produce a decent Wind Event with advisory levels possibly(Gust 40-50mph) and a max OLM-EUG gradient around 18mb. The low is more compact, less “baggy” as it moves onshore and inland, so the gradient couplet maintains pretty well.

    A few things working against this. One is the low peaks around 990mb right near the Washington Coast somewhere near or just north of Ocean Shores, then slowly weakens moving east-northeast over Shelton/east side of the Olympics. The 2nd is 00z GFS 300mb models shows the exit jet is only 90-110kts punching along the Coast. I’d want to see future runs 120kts or so. BUT it won’t take much to turn this into a legitimate Wind Event and perhaps a low end Wind Storm just a few mb deeper and if it didn’t fill as it moves inland. Also, I’d like to see initial development further south of 45 N. It’s close we need to watch this carefully.

    More info below…..

    • Rob - Southeast Portland says:

      00z GEM(Canadian) is roughly the same.
      990mb near the central/northern Washington Coast.

      BUT weakens more substantially just inland with the low not as compact.

      00z UKMET a bit further south, but a few MBs weaker too.

      00z EURO out any minute….

    • Greg Carstens says:

      Rob, I have been eyeing the same event for the last few days. Models keep it right in that time frame for next weekend around here in Tacoma although the models have showed varying strengths, there appears to be a chance of some sort of significant action. More often than not NWS Seattle hoists up a wind advisory for the whole event in this area and that is it while the Northwest Interior and the Coast gets all the real action. The last big wind event around here of real significance was the Hanukkah Eve storm which almost took out one of the back south facing windows here. That window still needs to be replaced because moisture does seep into the double panes. Not a good thing!

      Anyway I will be keeping a close look at mainly the MM5 and NAM models because of their better terrain modeling. To a less degree the GFS because as Mark knows I am never greatly confident in either short or long term of it and see it more as a recreational model than anything else. I have latched onto the idea that the NWS in Seattle always says that the GFS seems to overdue a lot of progs. I totally concur with them on their idea about that.

    • Rob - Southeast Portland says:

      6z NAM was much weaker around 1004-1008mb and further south near PDX. That’s such a stark difference from every other model, so you almost consider it an outlier unless 12z runs later this morning follow suit.

  27. schmit44 says:

    10/29/2013 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:67 at ILLINOIS VALLEY(1389 ft)
    Low: 46 at OCNSID Oceanside(22 ft) & LINCON Lincoln C(187 ft) & ROCKWY Rockaway(450 ft)

    High:32 at ANTELOPE(6460 ft) & RIDDLE MTN.(6352 ft) & SILVIES(6900 ft) & CW7477 Lostine(7002 ft) & UMATILLA PORTABL(4792 ft)
    Low: 7 at DIMLKE (4726 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 39 degrees
    ILLINOIS VALLEY (67/28 ) (1389 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.54″ at SLIDE MOUNTAIN(5589ft)
    0.45″ at BALD MTN(5592ft)
    0.41″ at HOYT CREEK(5445ft)
    0.33″ at CROW FLAT(5172ft)
    0.27″ at MOON HILL(6100ft)

  28. schmit44 says:

    Deadline to enter is Nov 2 at midnight.

  29. For the 2nd night in a row I really like where the 00z GFS is heading in the long range.

    • Greg Carstens says:


      I hope your right in your thinking. I would like to see a good snowfall even in November this year. 1978 featured 14.8 inches of snow in Olympia and lesser amounts around the Puget Sound area from Port Angeles to Olympia. Areas of Seattle got as much as 8.5 inches and about the only city that really didn’t get a whole lot was Bellingham with about an inch.

      As of late I have seen ensembles being posted on the Facebook groups and what I have noticed as of late is there is a lot of up and down being suggested. I am guessing here now, but I think if that continues we might be in for more windy weather at least then what we have had for the past few years.

      One thing I have notice over the years is that when there is a lot of quick ridging and troughing in the overall hemispheric pattern is that there tends to be more interesting weather. I think that goes for anywhere in the world pretty much. The question is, how long will the ensembles do this and will it really produce the same intense weather patterns that can be seen in the middle of the country to a degree? I am not saying more snow and cold like the Midwest and East Coast but more wind and atmospheric river events here on our coast with “maybe” a snow event or event two thrown in for good measure.

      Last season was an ENSO year and I only had 2.7 inches here in the lowlands of Puget Sound while Paradise on Mount Rainier had 700.9 inches of snowfall for the whole winter which is above the 646 season normal. These two numbers I mentioned here were very interesting to me especially after I tallied up all the snowfall for last season at Paradise because I actually thought it would have been lower.

  30. 52/26 today up here near Silver Falls. Already back down to 31.

  31. We’ve had some VERY boring weather many of the past several winters. Past two seasons were just plain awful for action. I bet there’s sooomething in the cards for this year, though who knows what.

  32. schmit44 says:

    I will never forget the snow and cold that happened New Years Eve 1979 and the ice storm that followed a few days later. Lets hope there is something to these analogs but the bottom line is we don’t know.

    • Greg Carstens says:

      Totally agree Brian, it is nothing more really than a roll of the dice in a neutral ENSO year.

  33. lilfoot123 says:

    I would so love snow on Jan 1st my birthday!

  34. Anythings possible. You never know what weather is around the corner, regardless of pdo, ENSO, etc. thats the fun of it, right? Anyone who boldly predicts winter weather around here will surely be humbled. Just strap on the chaps and hold on. Weather is a metaphor for life

  35. boydo3 N Albany says:

    Crap shoot.

  36. AdamInAumsville says:

    27 this morning here also. Heading over Santiam Pass on Sunday. Looks like it will be snowy!

  37. Jethro says:

    Five thousand two hundred and eightieth.

  38. Lurkyloo says:

    Errrikkkk, come out and playyyy …

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