Signs of Wetter Pattern Ahead

11pm Sunday…

January has sure been different than December.  Only .80″ rain in the past two weeks here in Portland but 6 times that much in the previous 2 weeks!


Now models are looking significantly wetter over the next 10+ days.    The general pattern is a strong upper-level trough to our west over the Gulf of Alaska and weak ridging over the Intermountain region. The 10 day ensemble average 500mb maps show the lower than normal heights on both the GFS and ECMWF models:

It’s a bit farther south than in a typical winter (Thank you El Nino?), so California will continue to get rain and mountain snow out of these systems.  The GFS seems to be the wettest model.  15 day rain forecast shows 15-20″ precip in the Siskiyous and Coastal Ranges of northern California.  That’s TOO much:


The latest ECMWF shows up around 10-15″ in the same area.  Wow.

15 day snowfall forecast:


That’s excellent news for water-starved California.   And after a 2-3 week lull in the Pacific Northwest we’ll see snow return to the Cascades too.  Just in time because we’ve come down to right around average snowpack for this time of year around Mt. Hood.

Systems appear to still be splitting a bit; so as of now I don’t see a real stormy pattern for us here in Oregon/Washington.  Just frequent wet systems.

Tired of the East Wind?

It’s been blowing almost constantly over the past two weeks.  Good news, it’s going dead for at least a day or two this week.  Wednesday’s system includes low pressure sliding by to our north and the pressure gradient actually turning WESTERLY through the Gorge.  Nice…those of you in the Gorge can enjoy the after two more days of wind Monday/Tuesday.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


57 Responses to Signs of Wetter Pattern Ahead

  1. Is there a warm front associated with this rain? Its been getting warmer and warmer this evening down in Monmouth. It’s currently sitting at 51 degrees outside.

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

    Gusty east wind has picked up here during the last few hours, 15-25 mph or so. Satellite & radar seem to show a weak circulation near the mouth of the Columbia, which has probably increased the offshore flow. To my untrained eye, the trailing cold frontal passage should occur around midnight at PDX? Currently 43°, 0.94″ of precip so far today.

  3. JohnD says:

    If an “outsider” inquired about what a “typical” mid-winter day was like in Portland, Oregon, you could use this one as exemplary. All day drizzly rain, dark, grey and low 40’s temps. Yep, this would be about the epitome!

    • JJ78259 says:

      Things are back to normal after a real nice year. You definitely won’t feel guilty about water or snow pack with a hot dry summer!

  4. Boring Oregon says:

    It’s raining today.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sorry Mark! In anticipation of the winds dying off tomorrow, I wrongly assumed they would be backing off this evening….instead they are the strongest of this entire run of windy days! 50-67 at the high school!! Not quite what I had in mind!! 🙂

  6. runrain says:

    Lot of rain falling out there. Wonder if there are going to be any issues with the local rivers. I see there is a flood watch up west of Olympia.

  7. Anonymous says:

    78mph winds at Vista House – 63 mph here in Corbett! So much for the winds dying down!!!!!!!!!

  8. Why is there a rain/snow mix in the eastern Gorge today???

    • GTS1K' says:

      Because Trump.

    • W7ENK says:

      You see Karl, there’s this process by which cooler air up above gets pulled down toward the surface by heavier precipitation into warmer temperatures at the surface, causing the snowflakes falling from that cooler air above to melt before they reach the ground. Sometimes not all the snowflakes have a chance to melt before making it all the way down, which is why we see a mix of both rain and snow together. I’d imagine this is what’s happening right now in the Eastern Gorge, which would explain why you’re seeing this phenomenon.

      I hope that helps clear things up a bit for you?

    • GTS1K' says:

      OK – because W7…..

  9. GTS1K' says:

    Could this be the December – when it often rains. Absolutely dumping up here with more to come. No snow on the horizon, so this Winter is mostly a waste (whatever that means). I’d categorize today as damp, dull, dreary, depressing, dank, disappointing, dark, dismal, drab, dispiriting and downright doleful. DST is still 8+ weeks away and we’ll probably get lots more rain before (and after) then. Summer will be warmer and drier than Winter this year, but it probably won’t snow this Spring or Summer. I feel sort of down this time of year – it’s probably SAD – and bored, as well. That’s why I’m posting this comment. In 8+ weeks, when DST kicks in, I’ll probably be less bored but still boring. Temps might even reach 70 or so by then, as they sometimes do in Spring, Summer and Autumn. That won’t stop me from posting blather like this oh, every day or so. The sun is hot, they say, but, since it”s not in the mid-80’s I wouldn’t know. I also don’t do paragraph breaks since it wouldn’t help. Did I forget anything? Peas.

    • runrain says:


      How about deluge, drone, depositing, detestable, demonistic, devoid

    • Boring Oregon says:

      Don’t you mean January?

    • GTS1K' says:

      .Whirled peas, yes.

      Moreover, I feel deluged with drops, disheartened, downcast, deeply desolate, disconsolate, dejected, despondent and distressed.

      Oh, DST, please hurry to assuage my dilemma.

    • GTS1K' says:

      Seems like it’s still December to me – I just can’t keep track until DST arrives. Also, this week has had 2 Mondays so far for me.

      Oh woe….

    • Dave in SW PDX (235') says:

      What a clever way to channel your inner Dan, GTS1K’.

      “Avoid being rude or taunting others too.”

    • GTS1K' says:

      Awwww… thanks.

      Parody is legit – I’m sure no one here needs a “safe space” from triggering or microaggressions. I’m sure Dan thanks you, though.

      That said, it’s really raining -“dumping” seems an appropriate term. I’m astonished since Dan told us (among other things) that wasn’t going to happen

      Go figure.

    • Farmer Ted says:

      Oh you are the clever little trunk monkey

    • GTS1K' says:

      Thanks Ted. Your insults are refreshingly original, direct and yet subtle. Hope your drainage system is performing well during this deluge.

    • GTS1K' says:

      So, hey, Dave in SW PDX (235′); see there what Ted said below? If you were unsure about ‘rude’, there’s an example.

    • Dave in SW PDX (235') says:

      Well, I obviously struck a nerve there, eh GTS1K’? Your original comment was not necessarily rude, but it’s clear that you were taunting another frequent commenter here. You call it parody, I call it taunting. There’s actually a fine line between the two. But what really puzzles me is why you and others are so quick to pounce on someone who shares our fascination with weather, but happens to prefer warm anomalies to cold ones. Why does that make them subject to ridicule on this blog? I know it’s a slow weather day, but c’mon. You wouldn’t say that to someone in person, would you? Of course not – that would be rude.

  10. schmit44 says:

    1/11/2016 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:62 at LITTLE BUTTE CRE(1702 ft)
    Low: 51 at Gold Beach (US 1(60 ft) & Port Orford(0 ft)

    High:21 at CW3808 Enterpris(3927 ft) & KB7DZR Joseph(3984 ft)
    Low: -6 at CW9027 Ukiah (3415 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 39 degrees
    CRANE PRAIRIE (34/-5 ) (5500 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.84″ at CANNIBAL MOUNTAI(1939ft)
    0.80″ at SADDLE MOUNTAIN(3110ft)
    0.70″ at NORTH FORK(3060ft)
    0.67″ at HEBOWX Mt. Hebo(3160ft)
    0.62″ at YACHTS Yachats(72ft)
    0.60″ at SOUTH FORK BULL(2690ft)
    0.56″ at QUAIL PRAIRIE LO(3183ft)
    0.52″ at CEDAR(2220ft)

  11. JJ78259 says:

    Heading in to Grand Prairie Alberta 10 degrees so I must have brought some Texas warmth, last week it showed -20. I am happy rest of the week warmer also in Calgary! Lots of snow all around and the Rockies look great.

  12. W7ENK says:


  13. WEATHERDAN says:

    Could this be the first month since December of 2013 without a maximum of at least 60? Possibly. 16 day outlook shows highs stuck in the 40,s. Fair amount of rain but no big dumps. Also no cold weather in sight. If this verifies this will be another wasted Winter. The following is my list of the top 10 worst Winters. 1-2014/2015, 2-1966/1967, 3-1982/1983, 4-1957/1958, 5-1991/1992, 6-1969/1970, 7-2002/2003, 8-1986/1987, 9-1963/1964, 10-2005/2006. All of these Winters with the exceptions of 3 and 9 had hot Summers that year. I didn’t include this Winter because we still have some time for a cold event. But the clock is ticking. Peace.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well at least the mountains have a lot of snow this winter. I think that’s a huge plus.

    • With the exception of 4 (I wasn’t born yet) I agree with that list and I could add perhaps add a couple other winters from where I live. However, I don’t count winter over here in my Vancouver until the first week of March passes.

    • I should have said No.4 instead of 4! 😉 Anyway, if someone is intrested, I’d include 1976-77 and 1991-92 as wasted winters. I saw no snow in those two from November to March.

  14. Boring Oregon says:

    Radar failures today?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the update on the winds Mark! It’s our cross to bear out here, but it makes it easier to handle if we get a little heads up from you on it’s coming and going! Is it just me or does this winter seem windier so far than the last 4-5?

  16. Hmmm… that snowfall forecast map can’t be enlarged so it’s hard to see at a super-fine detail, but it does seem to show a trace to 2″ of snow in the North Puget Sound to Hood Canal areas (with the latter getting the 2″). So it looks like there’s a fair chance of more interesting winter weather for me this season.

    Speaking of which, today’s rain storm moved in during the waning hours of a cold and frosty night on the island. Result was a few spotty areas of freezing rain this morning, including the street pavement on my block. Probably all washed-away by now, but it made the ride to the ferry a little interesting.

  17. JackFrost says:

    GFS = Garbage Forecasting System but hey it’s free and Americans love free even if it’s BS. 🙂

    Euro sadly is behind a firewall but is superior and wasright many times this winter when the GFS over performed on pattern changes while the Euro was a lot closer to reality.

    Euro is the non fun model.

  18. Skies have become cloudy(almost overcast) here within the past 60 minutes. Temperature is still below freezing (31F). We had a great red sunrise scene around 8am. That probably will be the highlight of the week!

    • We got some ZR down this way out of those cold surface conditions earlier this morning.

    • runrain says:

      Really glad to have you guys reporting from up north. Just wondering if they have a weather blog up there or not. Tough to beat Mark’s product, but just wondering if there is anything similar in other parts of the country.

    • @runrain – Cliff Mass’ blog is pretty good, though he doesn’t update it as much as Mark does this one. In fact, I found this blog after moving to Portland in the mid-2000s when I was looking for local analogue to Cliff’s blog in Seattle

      Not sure if there’s any equivalent blog for Vancouver, BC. Maybe Roland can chime in.

    • sds says:


      What island are you on?

  19. Washougal 1100ft says:

    And yes thank you east wind for giving is a couple days off! Now I can retreat all the things that have been blowing around the last few weeks!

  20. Washougal 1100ft says:

    So much for that dry pattern it showed just a few days ago? Looking good for MT. Snow! Hope something slides down from the north or a back door setup?

    • No signs of either short or long term… Just plain cold rain unfortunately. I generally love winter but with the early storms I’m ready for abnormal sun and warmth (for Winter at least).

  21. muxpux (Longview) says:

    Nice glaze up here in Castle Rock. Was 27, 30 now. Roads a little slick, everything else is iced

    • lilfoot123 says:

      We had freezing rain on Columbia Heights area before 6:15am as possibly predicted! My house steps, driveway& road icy! Late start for Winlock, Toledo, Toutle & Castle Rock! No one else! Scary! But just wet by 7:15!

  22. Probably going to get pretty balmy in the Gorge and Columbia Basin under this pattern, with troughing offshore and weak ridging interior. As we get the last of the cold pool flushed out temps will rise well into the 40s, possibly even 50s at some point over the next week or two.

  23. WEATHERDAN says:

    For me Winter is a down time. We rarely get what I would call good weather. That is snow or at least a chance of it. Or a crisp but sunny day. What we get too much of is day after day of dreary rainy foggy 50 ish temperatures. Summer on the other hand almost always hits at least 65 and usually at least 70. And it is usually dry with a fair amount of sun. If today’s Winters were like what they were when I was 10 I would be more of a fan of Winter. That said Winter isn’t over yet but long range charts don’t look promising. Oh well only 9 weeks until DST. Now more rain oh joy. Peace.

  24. Jack says:

    When do these winds come to an end? I’m in Camas, on a ridge. Even though are winds are weaker than folks living to the east, I’m sick of these 30-40 mph gusts. When does this end? February?

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      East wind season is November to February. Depending on the pattern it can linger into the first week or so of March but warming east if the Cascades by mid-March (a little) means inversion season (and endless wind) ends by that time. That said, I HAVE seen Februarys with stagnant high pressure with lots of east wind.

  25. schmit44 says:

    1/10/2016 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:61 at North Bend Munic( 16 ft)
    Low: 45 at EW1135 Yachats1(32 ft)

    High:20 at KB7DZR Joseph(3984 ft)
    Low: -2 at MASON DAM & PHIL (3899 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 39 degrees
    CRANE PRAIRIE (38/-1 ) (5500 ft )

  26. John Fairplay says:

    Where is everyone? There’s something wrong if I’m first! 🙂

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