Happy 10th Birthday FOX12 Weather Blog!

November 30, 2015

I realized this weekend that as of TODAY, I’ve been doing this for 10 years now.   I was only 36 when I started…just a kid.


Of course the weather blog wasn’t born or hatched…as I recall it was an idea from our web guy.  Blogging was a new idea back then…a combo of WEB & LOG = BLOG.  There was no Facebook or Twitter, or at least most of us hadn’t heard of either one if they did.  No iPhone yet and mostly flip phones at that time I think.

I know some of you that read this were just in middle school and are now out in the adult world already.  All along you had the drama and trauma of the weather blog to feed your late night weather geekness!

It’s been truly a labor of love when I look back at all the hundreds, or thousands, of postings over the past 10 years.  If I didn’t enjoy it I sure wouldn’t take the time to post.

It’s funny that it all began on a day when the entire metro area was prepping for a big snowstorm, except here at FOX12 I couldn’t figure out how there was going to be a snowstorm when it was in the 40s in the Gorge?   https://fox12weather.wordpress.com/2005/11/30/snow-or-no-snow/

That was also the ONLY time we’ve put snippets of 3 other forecasts on our station…just before my weathercast at 10pm.  Do any of you remember that?  You actually saw Jeff Baskin, Rod Hill, & Matt Zaffino for about 10 seconds each!  Seems bizarre but Wayne Garcia suggested it as a “one-stop shopping” thing.  Here were the results the next day.



In the end it didn’t snow and I heard about that success for several years afterwards.  In fact a few times a similar thing has happened…Mark downplaying some winter storm event while others were hyping it.

Yet, that’s balanced out by my worst forecasting disaster…December 29, 2009.  That was the worst metro area evening commute I’ve seen in my 24 years forecasting here.  We forecast only rain and instead it was all snow.  Read all about it on the wrapup post the next day:  https://fox12weather.wordpress.com/2009/12/30/snow-storm-09-wrapup-what-happened/




There have been lots of ups and downs.  To be honest what sticks out most is the neverending drama, especially the first 8 years or so.   Things seems to have settled down (a bit) in the past year or two.  I think a large part of that is a move to discussing weather on Facebook instead of here; commenting is definitely down the past couple of years but visits are not.  There are currently two groups in the Portland area that discuss weather on FB 24/7 and I’m part of both those groups.  I admit it’s more “immediate” and convenient than commenting here.  On this blog you have to hit refresh to see if anyone has added a comment…that’s a bit annoying.  But thanks to those of you still sticking around!

The thing I find most useful here is the 10 years worth of forecast reasoning during many different types of weather events.  Whenever we have any sort of extreme weather, I’m going back in the past to see what I was thinking before a similar event occurred.

Here’s to at least a few more years of blogging!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


Noon: Frozen Stuff Done

November 30, 2015

Well that was kind of exciting.  No effects traffic-wise on metro area except maybe someone’s deck could have been briefly icy.  PDX officially had a trace.  It only got partly cloudy here at home on the far eastside and now radar returns have really dried up.

When I get to work I’ll be looking at the chance for freezing drizzle/showers in the western Gorge overnight, and more widespread freezing rain in the Gorge TOMORROW night.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Spots of Freezing Rain/Ice Pellets

November 30, 2015


Well…I guess I shouldn’t have said NO precipitation, maybe a little?

Looks like the band of precip is still holding together this morning! Precipitation reported as far as the southwest side of the metro area at this hour.  It’s not much, but you can see a healthier band still holding together coming up through Marion County.  Not sure if it’ll survive the dry outflow of the Gorge…we’ll see.


So far a mix of ice pellets and freezing rain reports off to the southwest around Eugene/Corvallis…that part was expected.

Temperatures are cold enough for anything that falls to “stick” for another hour or so, except where the easterly wind has temperatures above freezing.  I see the ODOT road temperatures at Sunset Transit Center, 99E at Oregon City, & I205/Division are a bit too warm for stickage/freezing, in the mid 30s.

What a perfect setup with a crystal clear/cold night, then precip arrives immediately with the cloud cover right after sunrise.  It’s still sunny on the eastside of the metro area!


If you’re new to the blog, remember you have to post once and have it approved before you are able to “roam free” in the comments.  Your first comment is always held up until I allow it through.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


9pm Update: No Frozen Precip Metro Area Monday

November 29, 2015

9:00pm Sunday

Most evening models are in now in.  Nothing has changed.  Possible arrival of any precipitation is midday or beyond within the FOX12 viewing area west of the Cascades.  Another big question is whether ANYTHING falls tomorrow.   Our RPM model is dry over the PDX metro area all day and the WRF-GFS has a trace to .04″ by late afternoon.

There is one spot that COULD see freezing rain in the morning; that would be if the precipitation arrives right away 7-9am in the coast range valleys.  Especially south of Grande Ronde.  Even just west of Corvallis could be a place that sees some spotty glaze early in the day

Of course I’m being a bit dramatic with the 1% chance in Portland, but you get the idea.

One other spot where we may see a glazing is tomorrow evening in the Columbia River Gorge.  Both the WRF-GFS and our RPM imply some upslope precipitation running into the west/central part of the Gorge from Crown Point to Cascade Locks.  That would most likely be freezing rain, possibly ice pellets closer to Cascade Locks.  I’ll be keeping a close eye on that tomorrow afternoon/evening for you.


Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Freezing Rain Monday? Unlikely For Most of Us

November 29, 2015

You may be hearing rumors of something frozen appearing in the western valleys of Oregon/SW Washington Monday morning?  I think it’s pretty unlikely (as of 1:30pm Sunday) because I don’t think ANYTHING will be falling out of the sky…weatherwise at least.  I can’t account for dogs/cats/frogs etc…

I also don’t think the Monday morning commute will look like this…but it’s a cool pic I found online while relaxing with a warm drink:



  • It’s a cold day!  Airmass streaming out of the Gorge is the coldest this season.  Only 40 at 1pm in Portland.  Highs only around freezing in the western Gorge.  Lots of ice likely forming on waterfalls! (hint…please send pics to photos@kptv.com)
  • Another clear and cold night tonight.  A few upper teens again in coldest outlying areas
  • Clouds thicken up right after sunrise, it’ll be briefly sunny Monday AM
  • A shower is POSSIBLE after 10am or so.  Most likely it’ll stay dry
  • At that point it’ll be too warm (that’s IF a shower develops) for liquid raindrops to freeze to objects
  • It’s too warm overhead for give us sleet/snow, anything falling would be liquid

So the point here is that most likely Monday will be dry, but maybe a shower shows up midday or beyond.  Too “warm” at that time for freezing rain.  It will be a very chilly day with the cloud cover…highs the same or even a notch cooler than today!  Note several model forecasts of precipitation placement at 10am…looks pretty dry doesn’t it?  Click on each for a better view.


Now Tuesday night, when a more typical wet system arrives, could be a much bigger issue in the Columbia River Gorge.  It’ll be near/below freezing at that time so we could be looking at some freezing rain/ice storm action at that point out there.  More on that later

By the way, so we’re all on the same page, freezing rain is liquid rain that falls into a below-freezing airmass near the surface.  It freezes on contact, forming an icy glaze.


Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


Nice Midday Satellite Image

November 25, 2015

Beautiful pic from the AQUA satellite at midday.  Snow covered terrain east of the Cascades.  If you look closely you can identify a bunch of features, some man-made.  The Roosevelt Fire burn area is still there east of The Dalles, plus the cleared forests underneath the cross-Cascade power line corridors.  Lots of urban concrete/homes/pavement too.


Those snow-covered areas will be REALLY cold the next few nights.  Lots of below zero readings likely in Central Oregon.  West of the Cascades we should settle down into the low-mid 20s tonight and then some upper teens in the colder outlying areas (Hillsboro/Battle Ground) the following 2 nights.  But that afternoon sunshine is sure glorious!


Central Oregon Snowstorm

November 24, 2015

10pm Tuesday…

As the weather system offshore has spun down the coastline, northerly wind is filling in behind it.  For Central Oregon, a north wind is moving uphill or  “upslope”.  That’s lifting the moisture  and producing the best snowstorm in quite awhile.  Take a look at the totals as of a couple hours ago:


And a couple pictures from Jonathan Noel Simonsen’s dad and John Rinier’s son:


Looks like December 2008 in Portland doesn’t it?  There is still more snow to come before sunrise so it’ll be interesting how far above 12″ Bend goes.

Yet at the same time the snow totals have disappointed on Mt. Hood.  Only 5″, leaving the base areas of Timberline and Meadows with less than 18″ on the ground:


Now Timberline, Meadows, & Mt. Bachelor will have some minimal operations coming up Friday-Sunday.  2 lifts at each ski area is a start!  The big benefit is tons of sunshine each day.


Watch out for a few spots of ice on lowland roads tomorrow morning, some areas didn’t get a chance to dry out.  With clearing skies it’ll drop below freezing for most of us.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen