Warmest September on Record In Portland

September 30, 2014


September 2014 is going to be our warmest ever recorded in Portland.  The high temperature of 67 is in this afternoon and it sealed the deal as they say since we won’t have any more highs/lows to calculate before midnight.  This September just barely beats 1994 temperature-wise.  Add August, which was our warmest ever recorded too, and it’s been a heck of an ending to summer and early fall!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Brand New Podcast

September 29, 2014

It’s been awhile, but Brian and I are back on track.  We just recorded a podcast on Friday and it’s available for your listening pleasure.  You can find it here.



Finally, a Really Strange Email!

September 29, 2014


It’s been 9 months since I’ve added a new letter/email to my FUN, WEIRD, & MEAN EMAILS link above.  But I got a real gem today.  Here you go…

Email Address: XXXX@aol.com
First Name: XXXX
Last Name: XXXX

Message:: Hi Folks, I’m a regular watcher of KPTV news, and have noticed a media trend of using the word “haboob” in place of “dust storm”, I personally find this political correctness absolutely DISGUSTING and take offense at the use of this word in America. Either broadcast your entire program in Arabic or in English, but don’t mix it up in an attempt to be cute and clever and politically correct, because you offend many people with that tactic. America has lost enough to that 3rd world, let’s not lose our dignity of being proud Americans. Speak ENGLISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

I don’t really have any comments on this except that we probably use this word because it sounds kind of naughty, not because it’s an Arabic word.  And it sure doesn’t have anything to do with political correctness; I would probably be one of the last people to adopt it then.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Monthly ECMWF Run

September 29, 2014

Just looked at the monthly ECMWF run.  That’s the ECMWF model run out to 32 days.  General pattern is ridging the first two weeks:



The the upper-high retrogrades farther west with cool troughing over us…


Then fall rains begin as the ridge disappears?


We’ll see…

Barn Swallows’ Morning Takeoff

September 29, 2014

This is pretty neat…


Check out the barn swallows leaving their overnight roost this morning just north of Salem on radar. You can see the ring of objects spread north, east, and south from the spot somewhere west of Woodburn. Observers say at least 25,000 of them spend the night in fields and then take off each morning to feed. I assume they will be heading south soon? US National Weather Service Portland Oregon mentioned this in a FB posting a few days ago.

Watch Where You Get Your Forecast!

September 26, 2014

The proliferation of weather information across the internet has been remarkable the past 15+ years.  The first 5 years I spent in meteorology (the early-mid 1990s) you couldn’t find any weather models/maps online and little/no weather information except for a few satellite pictures via subscriber services.  For that matter almost nobody had email either.  And to add to the “horror” for those of you under 25?  Cell phones were rare to nonexistent and Facebook, Twitter, and the term social media didn’t exist either.  You just watched a TV weather forecast, read it in the paper, or listened to radio and/or NOAA weather radio.

Of course nowadays you can find a forecast just about anywhere, including through online apps and weather pages from reputable forecasting companies, media companies, or the National Weather Service official pages.  This is great of course!

But there is a dark side to the explosion of weather information.  Just about all the weather information we use to make a forecast is now available to anyone with an internet connection.  That means ANYONE can take screen grabs of models, make a forecast (whether it includes reality or not), dress it up a little and put it onto social media (usually Facebook or Twitter).  There has been an explosion of this stuff the past couple of years.  Many of the people doing it are young kids just like I was…fascinated by weather and ready to share that with family and friends.  That’s just a bit of youthful exuberance!

But others have found ways to make money off weather hype, even if it involves purposely deceiving the public.  I saw a good example this week.  Did you see this graphic?


It comes from a person that is well-known to the meteorological community.  Take a closer look…to any normal person who sees this on Facebook it appears that A HURRICANE IS HEADED FOR THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST!.  Heck, I’d click on a link showing this too!  Only somewhere down in the 2nd paragraph did the forecast mention that the strong wind wouldn’t make it to the coastline.  A reputable news/weather organization with never put a headline like this onto a graphic, especially since it was a regular ol’ Pacific storm for late September.  There weren’t even high/damaging winds expected ON the coast!

There were several incidents last winter when posters/groups would grab one run of one computer model then proclaim a big snow storm was on the way (along the East Coast).  The Capital Weather Gang had a nice posting about one of these earlier in the year.  Here’s another blog from Dan Satterfield about THE GREAT FACEBOOK BLIZZARD last winter.

How do you avoid misleading/false info?

1. Only use forecasts from the National Weather Service, media sites that employ forecasters, or private weather companies that forecast for clients.

2. Don’t get forecast information off of Facebook.  That is especially important with breaking weather info (severe storms & tornadoes).  The first issue is that there’s a decent chance a person is just making up a forecast.  The 2nd issue, even for all the sources listed on #1 (including FOX12), is the filtering of news feeds.  Facebook decides what is important to you, not me or you.  So if I put out a forecast there, it’s possible you won’t even see it on your feed!   Twitter doesn’t filter so that’s a bit better.

3.  Ignore any weather sites that are not in one of those 3 categories above.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Friday Evening A Big Night For Bird Migration

September 26, 2014

Take a look at the radar loop this evening.

At the beginning you see a few leftover showers over Southwest Washington, then right after sunset (7pm), the screen fills with north to south moving objects.  It’s migrating birds…thousands of them in the skies overhead.  I first noticed it again about a month ago (as fall approached), but it is quite impressive tonight.

You can read more about it in last spring’s post about the spring migration here:  https://fox12weather.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/the-migration-has-begun-thousands-of-birds-overhead-tonight/

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen