A Dry October…So Far

10pm Sunday…

I just noticed we’ve still only had .43″ rain at PDX since the beginning of the month


Of course it’s only the 18th and anyone that has lived here very long knows the wet season can kick in quickly in the last week or so of October.  As a result it would be premature to say it’s going to be a real dry October.  That said, I don’t see much rain between now and next Sunday.  That means less than 1″ in the bucket with just the last week of the month to go.  It could end up being like 2011 or 2013.

This shouldn’t be a real surprise in a strong El Nino fall.  I used the great NCDC anomaly plot tool to make a map showing precipitation anomaly during strong El Nino Octobers. That would include 1957, 1965, 1972, 1982, 1987, 1991, 1997 and 2009.


Look at the drier than normal Pacific Northwest west of the Cascades.  Novembers are similar with an even more pronounced dry anomaly.  Many of those years we saw ridging and/or split flow…like what we have been seeing in the maps for the next 10 days.  I remember 1997 was right after I got married…lots of east wind and sunshine with mild temps.


What about December?  Different story.  In many of those years wetter weather showed up during the month


There you go…pretty strong signal for drier than normal weather through Thanksgiving.  That doesn’t mean DRY in late fall,  but drier than normal.  We’ll see how it turns out.

Today was a crazy weather day at the extreme northern edge of the metro area.  Okay, not really metro area but pretty close.  A band of rain set up just to our north and sat over the same area for many hours.  While we saw little or no rain today down here in town, it was dumping buckets of rain in St. Helens and Woodland.  Take a look at the totals:


Good for you folks, a soaking is much-needed for our trees and shrubs.  I don’t see that anytime in the next 6 days though.  We have a weak and splitting system both Monday and late Wednesday.  Other than that most likely dry through Saturday.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

78 Responses to A Dry October…So Far

  1. Mark bergal says:

    We haven’t yet had a daytime high under 60 this month. Most of the charts show this continuing the balance of the month. If this indeed occurs, it will be the first time in my eleven years here, that 50s werent a regular occurance at the end of October. Very bizarre.

    • Josh "the snowman" Gladstone says:

      Cry me a river. I think this winter will surprise a lot of us. Be our turn soon mark.

      Split flow will be gone in a week or so.

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Where does it say that in the models josh?

    • leer` Geddy says:

      Yeah josh, El nino’s are just like La nina with heavy Mt snow, Major windstorms, massive flooding and historic artic outbreaks like 1950, lol time to come back too reality man.

    • Boring Oregon says:

      Where does it say that the models are always right?

    • Dave in South Salem (500') says:

      It was only a couple years ago that October produced zero days above 60.

  2. Garron (1/3 of a mile from the Hillsboro airport) says:

    Lee Wilson,
    This is in reply to your comment below about rivers running dry. I just took the Hoover dam tour last week. According to the gal that gave the tour, they are in a little bit of trouble. They are in a 16 + year drought. Even if they get 100% snow in the Rockies (that are a main feed for the dam), they’ve only got enough water to produce power for the next 23 years! If the drought persists, then you can do the math. They are not at the record lowest, but things need to pick up soon. Great tour, only $15.00, and money well spent.

  3. () says:

    I doubt November will be much better. This is pretty pathetic. Will this be the driest October in history?

  4. Paul D says:

    Since there is no rain in the forecast today, that must be heavy fog that’s getting me wet this morning.

    • W7ENK says:

      So. Much. Photoshop!

      I really like the one where someone photoshopped Arizona’s Meteor Crater in front of those mountains, filled with crap.

      That looks pretty cool, but it’s a really shiddy photoshop job if they’re trying to pass it off as a real photo…

      Let me tell you what HAARP really is.
      Yes, it does actually exist.

      HAARP is an acronym that stands for High-frequency Active Auroral Research Project. It is an antenna array, built in 1993 and completed in 2007 at a cost of around $250 million. Its purpose is to study the effects on our planet’s ionosphere by transmitting focused RF energy out into space, through the ionosphere and magnetosphere, and then observing the reaction — much in the same way solar energy interacts and causes the Auroras. Many of the frequencies that this array operates at are linear, meaning they don’t bend or bounce off the ionosphere, they instead carry out past the ionosphere and magnetosphere, and continue off into space away from the Earth in a straight line.

      ● It does not create storms.
      ● It does not intensify hurricanes.
      ● It does not cause or steer tornadoes.
      ● It does not punch holes in clouds.
      ● It does not turn rain red, yellow, purple, green or any other color.
      ● It does not “program the sky.”
      ● It does not destroy the ozone layer.
      ● It does not “modify” weather patterns, at all.
      ● It does not cause sunspots.
      ● It does not cause solar flares.
      ● It does not create, attract or deflect CMEs.
      ● It does not influence the Sun’s behavior, at all.
      ● It does not cause “Gaia” to “scream in pain.”
      ● It does not create a rift in the space-time continuum.
      ● It does not open a wormhole to another galaxy.
      ● It does not make time travel a possibility.
      ● It does not shoot out visible beams of light.
      ● It does not turn the upper atmosphere into a giant lens.
      ● It does not make “the sky literally appear to burn.”
      ● It does not reflect energy back down toward the Earth.
      ● It does not cause “Global Warming.”
      ● It does not cause “Climate Change.”
      ● It does not trigger earthquakes.
      ● It does not “neutralize satellites.”
      ● It does not cloak ships on the oceans.
      ● It does not cloak UFOs in Earth’s orbit.
      ● It does not communicate with aliens hiding behind our moon.
      ● It does not monitor, influence or control your brain activity.
      ● It does not block signals from electronic devices.
      ● It does not monitor your internet activity.
      ● It does not scan your computer’s hard drive.
      ● It does not read your personal emails.
      ● It does not listen in on your private phone conversations.
      ● It does not cause, nor is it connected to airplane contrails.
      ● It does not ignite wildfires.
      ● It does not cause chronic fatigue syndrome.
      ● It does not cause Autism.
      ● It did not cause Gulf War syndrome.
      ● It did not bring down TWA flight 800.
      ● It did not collapse the WTC towers in New York on 9/11.
      ● It did not blast a hole in the side of the Pentagon on 9/11.
      ● It will not bring about global flooding.
      ● It will not cause major power outages.
      ● It will not create ultrasonic voices inside your head.
      ● It will not create a big booming “God” voice in the sky.
      ● It is not causing “low frequency hums” in the Earth’s crust.
      ● It is not going to cause the Earth’s magnetic poles to flip.
      ● It is not causing the drought in the American West.
      ● It is not some secret or sinister military weapon.
      ● It is in no way related to the Large Hadron Collider in Sweden.

      These are many, but not all of the things that the idiot wacko nutjobs out there believe HAARP to be doing. If you yourself believe any of these things to be true, then you’re also an idiot wacko nutjob, and you need to GTFO, now.
      Just go… away.

    • The one about earthquakes is the one that always gets me. HAARP emits RADIO WAVES, fer crissakes, radio waves! (What happens to a car’s radio when you drive through a long tunnel?)

      And some folks expect HAARP’s radio waves will somehow magically penetrate multiple miles (yes MILES) of rock to get to the lower parts of faults where seismographs indicate quakes occur. The mind boggles….

    • Just like a meteorologist can explain to a T “chemtrails”. The general public is borderline “retarded” not in a derogatory sense, but a clinical one.

    • gidrons says:

      Nice one Erik, although the Hadron collider is under the Swiss – French border, not Sweden.

    • W7ENK says:

      Yes, Switzerland, that… I knew it started with an S, Sweden just came out my fingers first.

  5. schmit44 says:

    10/19/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:75 at UMATILLA RIVER N( 362 ft)
    Low: 61 at John Day River B(305 ft) & ROWENA(116 ft)

    High:39 at Rim(7050 ft)
    Low: 28 at KIRK (4519 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 31 degrees
    EW5089 Bend (65/34 ) (3750 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    2.41″ at OWYHEE RIDGE(4400ft)
    1.62″ at RED BUTTE(4460ft)
    1.60″ at LAKE OWHEE AND O(2400ft)
    1.53″ at MCDERMITT 26N(4464ft)
    1.48″ at EW6045 Prinevill(2884ft)
    1.40″ at MT. HOWARD(7910ft)
    1.38″ at Rome(4049ft)
    1.25″ at BALTZOR RANCH NE(4620ft)
    1.13″ at DANNER(4225ft)
    1.12″ at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150ft)

  6. WEATHERDAN says:

    I was looking out the window this morning at work and noticed that not only were almost all the leaves still on the trees but that most of them were green. Back in the 60,s and even in the 70,s almost all of the leaves would have been off the trees by now. Real spooky the way our climate seems to be changing so fast. Today Salem was 64 which seemed cool. Then I found out that 63 is normal for this date. So it was above average today even with the .16 we had. Peace.

    • Paul D says:

      The leaves are dropping like mad in Hillsboro. Looks typical for this time of year here.

    • David B. says:

      Back in the 70s, I was a kid living in far colder climates than the Willamette Valley (Chicago, then northern New Mexico). The trees were never bare in mid-October. More like late October. Heavy snow in mid-October (which sometimes happened) would do a lot of damage for this very reason.

      I question the accuracy of your memory on this one.

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Most leaves are gone over here in this neck of the woods. And as I drove through PDX yesterday I noticed most trees have changed colors. Hmmmmm

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      My leaves are ahead of last year, I assume that’s because the cooler September got things going. Last year most of the apple leaves froze on the trees around the 11th, but this year they look like they are going to drop at the appropriate time?

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      I have an elm and a apple tree in my backyard that are almost all still green and a pin oak that is still mostly green hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Peace/

    • Prairiedog says:

      I live along Clear Creek near McIver Park. All the large leave maples turned color quit suddenly a couple weeks ago, definitely ahead of schedule for most “normal” years by about two weeks. They have already maxed out color-wise and are starting to drop. I am thinking that the drop is ahead of schedule too. The dry hot summer has had a clear impact on deciduous trees this year and some conifers. Some of my vine maple leaves are 40% down already. My cedar trees have a large number of browned out needles that are making a mess out of my gutters. Never had a needle drop like this magnitude from the cedars. Cedars are messy anyway but nothing like this season.
      As far as the conspiracy theories of our government causing GW? Now that is some funny stuff. Really funny stuff! Oh my goodness. Our government couldn’t cover up a cat turd in a sandbox let alone covering up government caused GW.

    • Prairiedog says:

      Pin Oaks are the last to loose their leaves. They leaf out late, loose their leaves late. I’ve seen Pin Oak trees with their leaves well into winter.

    • High Desert Mat says:


  7. sds says:


    I never hear anyone mention the possible weather aberrations that could be caused by the governments’ H.A.A.R.P. experiments based on Tesla’s theorys.

    • Boring Oregon says:

      I don’t want to sound like a completely paranoid conspiracy theorist but I really do think something was fishy about that whole situation. I’m not saying “the government is causing global warming” but is the possibility there? Yes it is.

    • David B. says:

      “I don’t want to sound like a completely paranoid conspiracy theorist”

      Too bad, because that’s precisely with both of you do sound like.

    • W7ENK says:


    • Garron (1/3 of a mile from the Hillsboro airport) says:

      HAARP is MAARK’s middle name! He’ll be explaining all of that in his presentation at OMSI this weekend…Hey, it will be fun to ask (corner) all the pros about sunspots, volcanoes, and other weather related phenomena this Saturday at OMSI, 10 AM! Totally worth the price of admi$$ion, FREE!

    • Boring Oregon says:

      I never said the government was doing all of those things all I said is there’s a possibility. And why do I think there’s a possibility? Because I’m not naive like you David.

  8. Jason Hougak says:

    Funny how all of us want to know the future weather. Everybody else has no care other than what’s currently happening. Most of the time those crystal balls are wrong or miss seeing something suddenly develope. I wish I could just learn to enjoy the weather one day at a time!😆

  9. leer` Geddy says:

    This is why my lawn is growing like hell, enough already.

  10. “Well… this mornings [sic] front was certainly a fizzle.” — Seattle NWS office.

  11. I recall October 1987 and 1991 being dry, but the driest October in my books was in 2002. (0.79 inches). Anyone down in Southern WA or Oregon have a similar story?

    • Justin says:

      1988 was the driest October at PDX, there was a big pineapple express midmonth that hit northern WA and southern B.C. but Portland missed out.

      1987 was the 2nd driest October on record at PDX, that was a very ridgy month regionwide. 2002 was the last October to have less than an inch of precip at PDX.

      As of now, Portland is trending towards its warmest October on record (close to last year’s record shattering pace).

    • I had just moved to the Pacific NW in October 1987, and was on the east side of the Cascades (Tri-Cities area). I was astounded how warm that October was; it didn’t seem like October at all to me. I do remember seeing some snow by the end of December (but on the east side of the mountains that’s typical).

    • Thanks for the reply, Justin. You’re right; we did get hammered with a “Pineapple Express” here in october 1988. I nearly forgot about that one. 3.5 inches in 3 days. 🙂

  12. I drove through that band twice, at 8 and 11:30AM – and it was moderate rain both times. Longview barely got a few drops, and PDX showed 0.02″.. quite the deformation.

  13. Hal in Aims says:

    not even a sprinkle after another forecast of a rainy day here so far today (again)……clouds are thinning…..sky is getting brighter……..where is Bob Lynott when you need him?

  14. Joshua says:

    The coast range is so greedy. Gobbling up our moisture.

    • Joshua says:

      Per the usual, PDX is left mostly high and dry. Rod Hill was calling for a few hours of steady rain as recently as an hour ago. I don’t know what he was looking at.

    • W7ENK says:

      He was looking at the radar, but The Dome had other ideas, I guess…

    • Aleta- West Gresham says:

      Around 9 the radar was looking pretty good then, as Joshua said, the coast range just gobbled it all up. 😦

    • Dave in South Salem (500') says:

      We had 2 hours of decent rain for about 0.15″ Not a world beater but enough to soak the dry ground and right in the forecasted range.

  15. Mark bergal says:

    It was announced by NOAA are no longer in the bullseye for a dry winter. This is a mofificatoon on their forecast. Normal precip is expected

  16. Lee Wilson says:

    I have a curiosity question.
    could the Cowlitz Rvier Run Dry with in 1- 2 years if we do not get some serious snow that lasts?

    In other words has there ever been a Historical even as to when if any the River all but stopped flowing.

    I am asking this because I had a dream that It did in fact all but dry up ..

    Currently we have sand bar islands that now have grass on them. I even seen some one mowing them at one time. Wish I had cam for that one.

    I can also see areas where the river does drop off rather significantly .

    And it seems to be getting lower.

    So, In your view, Could the Cowlitz River truly Run Dry with in 1 to 2 years of things don’t change?

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      No, because most rivers have some springs that contribute to them as well and those wouldn’t dry up. Of course if it literally didn’t rain for two years, yes, a river could dry up.

    • The Cowlitz is also glacier fed (Cowlitz glacier on Mt Rainier) so it has a few dozen years of life in any case..

    • Sapo says:

      Ya it would not go dry..pretty much impossible for a river. Pretty much all rivers are critically low right now besides ones are mainly spring-fed like the Metolius and Fall river. But once we get some rain the rivers will be fine.

  17. Yesterday it was a drizzly, misty, low overcast day in my area. I don’t mind that in October, but in January… sure hope we get something that I can talk about this winter.

  18. Weedeater says:

    Rain is plain, yet nice and twice.

  19. Joshua says:

    13 degrees above normal this morning. 5.5 degrees above normal for the month. Above average temps all week. This has to be yet another warmest month on record. I would like to think that everything evens out in the end, but it’s hard to imagine we could ever have the cold equivalent to this year.

  20. Paul D says:

    Comfortable temperatures all week – nice!

  21. sds says:

    I was in the middle of the deformation band yesterday–6 miles up the Lewis River from Woodland–2.07 inches in 8 hours.

  22. leer` Geddy says:

    This looks similar to 91/92 we haven’t had a dry fall/winter season like that since then so I think were due, last year was very wet here in Western WA so I don’t mind raking dry leaves for once this season.

  23. schmit44 says:

    10/18/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:76 at CW3932 Central P(1290 ft) & UMATILLA RIVER N(362 ft)
    Low: 64 at JUNIPR(359 ft) & ROWEWS(104 ft)

    High:43 at Rim(7050 ft)
    Low: 32 at KIRK (4519 ft ) & CRAZYMAN FLAT (6180 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 35 degrees
    MERLIN SEED ORCH (75/40 ) (1144 ft )
    PROVOLT SEED ORC (72/37) (1180 ft)

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    1.04″ at WH6KO St Helens(79ft)
    0.70″ at WX5RP Scappoose(65ft)
    0.57″ at Scappoose Indust(52ft)

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      YA, fill that pond up!
      And start the seasonal creek flowing!

      Oh well, maybe in November.

  24. WEATHERDAN says:

    Dry. partly sunny. and 72 in Salem today. 162 days over 70 this year. Previous record was 154. Wouldn’t surprise me if we had another 2 or 3 before the end of the month. Peace.


    we need more rain in washington state keeps things green and the air is crisp and smells good

  26. Wouldn’t surprise me if this pattern last well into November. On the southern fringe of the deformation band today. 0.12″ rain.

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