The USDA released their weekly Drought Monitor today, declaring a drought disaster across portions of 11 western states. Oregon hasn’t been included in that category…for now.
It shows drought conditions creeping farther north than a few weeks ago. Pathetic snowpack and the driest water year since 1976-77 for some parts of the Pacific Northwest mean unless we get significant rain in the next two months we’ll have serious drought issues. Now of course I’ve played this game before and remember several years where it was looking bad and suddenly it turned around. Many times it’s in late February or March. But the Drought Monitor shows conditions NOW, not what could change in the next few months.
For the next 7-10 days, no sign of change. The upper-level ridging along the West Coast stays put. Tonight’s 00z GFS showed no precipitation until the 31st (only two weeks away!).
Today we were incredibly lucky in the Portland area. Only 4 millibars easterly gradient through the Gorge was enough to clear out the area west-southwest of the Gorge all the way to McMinnville.
The east wind itself at the surface didn’t make it even to Troutdale either! Just the mixing up around 1,000′ was enough to do it. The gradient is becoming SLIGHTLY stronger this evening, and quite efficient at producing wind. It has gusted to 58 mph at Biddle Butte and 49 mph at Corbett. That’s also the warmest spot in the metro area at 47 degrees this hour. The rest of us will just sit in the fog. I’ve noticed the low-level airmass (below 1,000′) has cooled the last couple of days; more freezing fog Friday morning will be the result.
Enjoy the fog (or sun) tomorrow!
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen