The Big Picture: Warm, Cool, Warm Next 16 Days

3pm Tuesday…

Time for a look at the general weather pattern.  During the past 30 days the West Coast has slipped into a much more typical El Nino pattern with a bit drier than normal weather north of Oregon and wetter than normal down in northern/central California with most jet stream energy directed to our south.  Sytems have been quite weak (splitting jet stream), but still coming inland with enough frequency to boost our rainfall to average or a bit above in western Oregon.  Cool colors are wetter than normal.  Parts of central California have seen almost double the typical January rain/snow.


We haven’t seen much rain in far southern California…they would probably like some more down there.

Temperatures have been a bit cooler than average across large parts of the West.  We started very cool here in Oregon but now are moving above average the last few days of the month.

anomimage (1)

We’ll end up a little above normal, but not like the 3 degree warm anomaly last month.

Looking ahead to the next 2 weeks…

  1. No sign of an arctic blast for the Pacific Northwest on any model.
  2. Rain should be near normal.
  3. There is no obvious “snow pattern” in the lowlands the next 14 days.  Except for one 24 hour period;  snow levels will be quite low from Sunday night through Monday .night.  But it looks like just dry to me.  That’ll be something to keep a close eye on.
  4. Mild temps continue before that time and return about 10 days from now.


Models have been doing very well (forecasting big picture) lately and are in excellent agreement on pattern changes over the next two weeks.  Warm ridging over us now (it rained at the ski resorts today), then a cold trough over/east of us from Sunday through sometime later next week.   Note the ECMWF 500mb height anomaly Sunday; some overdue chilly air.  It’ll feel like January again:


This is not a very wet pattern and sure enough the ECMWF is basically dry from Sunday through late next week:


The latest GFS (18z) isn’t nearly as dry, but not exactly a soaker either for next week:


The first week of February will be cool though…note those high temperatures drop about 10 degrees from what we’re seeing now.

Then ridging or at least flatter westerly flow returns for the 2nd week of February.  The 500mb height anomaly from ensembles from the ECMWF/GEM/GFS models today for February 10th.  Actually the GEFS is a 5 day average ending on the 10th:

Since I haven’t shown enough maps, here are the 4 weekly ensemble charts from Sunday night’s ECMWF run.  They look “ridgier” in the last two weeks and could be quite warm (fork time).  That said, the actual operational run showed a very chilly airmass over us around Valentine’s Day and beyond with northerly flow.  It showed the ridging farther west.   We’ll see.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

35 Responses to The Big Picture: Warm, Cool, Warm Next 16 Days

  1. GTS1K' says:

    Pass – I’ve been to Barton – Carver is where it’s at.

  2. schmit44 says:

    1/27/2016 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:69 at CW5302 Roseburg( 410 ft)
    Low: 56 at LINCON Lincoln C(187 ft) & W7KKE-3 Road’s E(89 ft)

    High:28 at WOLF CREEK(5630 ft)
    Low: 13 at CRANE PRAIRIE (5500 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 31 degrees
    Lorella (55/24 ) (4160 ft )
    COFFEE POT FLAT (55/24) (5206 ft)
    CRAZYMAN FLAT (52/21) (6180 ft)
    CROW FLAT (49/18) (5172 ft)

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.60″ at Astoria Regional(10ft)
    0.51″ at K7FU Warrenton(33ft)
    0.39″ at TIDEWATER(2035ft)
    0.25″ at SLIDE MOUNTAIN(5589ft)
    0.24″ at N7HAE Knappa(105ft)
    0.24″ at OCNSID Oceanside(22ft)
    0.22″ at MEARES Cape Mear(1421ft)
    0.19″ at WX7EM Tillamook(104ft)

  3. chiefWright (Marquam 350') says:

    Yes, Mark.
    When the weather is boring, please give us more maps.
    With lots of pretty gradient colors and isolines. Political boundaries optional.
    And circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us!!

  4. Marinersfan85 says:

    So what you’re saying is. It’s gonna be warm then cool, then warm?

  5. Weatherdan, you have a memory like a steel trap: I was recently looking at an old black&white photograph that shows my grandmother standing in her backyard on March 4, 1960 with several inches of snow on the ground. I was around back then but too young to walk, let alone remember that event. it must have been a major one if we had snow the same time as you. Also, did you have any snow in March 1962 or 1966? In Vancouver BC there was a huge snowstorm in 1962 (but again, I was too young!) but the March 1966 storm (I believe it was on the 1st) had at least 6 in.and I was old enough to recall that one.

  6. 54F and the rain has just started here in the past half hour. It’s going to be raining up in the ski areas today… But at least in the next few days temperatures will be going back to near normal (or slightly below) values.

  7. JohnD says:

    My wife just excitedly emailed from her work office that there is a rumor going around that we are going to have thunderstorms on Saturday and snow on Sunday! I told her someone must have been promoting the images from Mark’s Fox 12 weather scroll. Neither events a certainty much less likely to be impacting.

    Now the “potential” for Valentine’s Day–that’s something to hang our hat”s on! (Or at least hope to!)

  8. schmit44 says:

    1/26/2016 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:65 at KB7QWZ Garibaldi( 10 ft)
    Low: 55 at LINCON Lincoln C(187 ft)

    High:27 at CW1038 Sumpter(4321 ft) & CW0732 Seneca(4665 ft)
    Low: -2 at PATTON MEADOWS A (6780 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 44 degrees
    CRANE PRAIRIE (45/1 ) (5500 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.90″ at FOURMILE LAKE(5970ft)
    0.60″ at NORTH FORK(3060ft)
    0.50″ at SELDOM CREEK(4875ft)
    0.46″ at Timberline Lodge(5880ft)

  9. JohnD says:

    Let’s see what we can do with that “Valentine’s Day” forecast! That’s a full day before “fork time”–right?! (Actually on years when there is action during mid-February, “fork time” is delayed until early March!)

    • Some of the biggest snowfalls I’ve measured came on or around Valentine’s Day (1986,1990, 1995). but I doubt I’ll see anything then this year.

    • Paul D says:

      Delay that fork until March!

    • Longview 400 ft says:

      Yes, lets make it official, the Valentines forecast (model) allows us, for the time being, to put the fork back in the drawer. Only to bring the fork back out in the middle of March.

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      Since 1960 we have had sticking snow only 5 times on or after February 14th. That’s 5 out of 56 years or 9%. In 1960 we had several inches and the snow stayed for a few days. In 1971 we had a low of 12 degrees on March 1 and snow so heavy it collapsed the roof of the local K Mart store and the KOIN tv 6 broadcast tower. The snow stayed for several days. In 1993 we had a foot of snow on Valentines day which lasted until late February. In 1995 we had a snow event around the middle of the month with a few inches for 3 days. And in 2012 we had 6 inches of snow on March 22nd which melted the next day. So yes it can happen but it is very uncommon. The reality is that if we have no snow by Groundhog day Winter is essentially over. I believe that is the case this year. Peace.

    • I’ve been saying all along that it’s way too early to stick a fork in winter until and unless it’s clear that nothing big is going to happen by President’s Day weekend.

    • Benjamin (West Salem) says:

      We have had many minor snow events you could add to that list like in Feb 2011 when at my house the temp was 31 with snow on all surfaces and a light drift out of the south. Not sure, but I believe March 89 had some low level snows the first 4 days of the month. However, major snow events I think you covered them all.

  10. Jesse-SW Portland Suburbs says:

    I always think it’s fun trying to imagine a “bizzarro world” where pro-mets are looking at troughing in the 11-15 day range at the end of July with hopes of sticking a fork in summer by mid-August.

  11. Jesse-SW Portland Suburbs says:

    Would you have envisioned temps averaging below normal between late-December and late-January looking ahead to this winter last Fall, Mark?

  12. Peter says:

    Vous etes fous!

  13. GTS1K' says:

    Je crois que la fourchette est tout près.

    Quelle dommage….

  14. GTS1K' says:


    quelle horreur! – premiere encore

  15. GTS1K' says:

    premiere aussi?

    • Farmer Ted says:

      Language translators are a wonderful tool…….fool

    • GTS1K' says:

      How poetic…

      Parlant d’outils, pas mal pour un fermier, mais un peu enfantin.

      Things must be slow at the farm.

    • Farmer Ted says:

      Yes, things are always slow at the farm, don’t you wish you could even get a glimpse of my life, you jealous soul.

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