A February “Scorcher”

9pm Monday…

What a day!  As expected the inversion partially broke in spots today, mainly along the Coast and Cascade Foothills.  Numerous high temperature records were likely broken, but most of those we won’t find out about for a few weeks or months since they don’t report daily.  Take a look at the coastal highs:

One would think the 82 degree temperature at North Bend was an Oregon record for the month of February, but no, it hit 89 degrees in the Applegate Valley in SW Oregon back in 1907.


Here in Portland we missed the high temperature record by 2 degrees, but quite a bit warmer than the 31 degree high 2 years ago on this date!

The biggest news was overhead…the Salem sounding temperature at 850mb (around 5,000′) was 18.6 degrees!  That’s FAR warmer than any other February/March/early April day on record.  The airmass overhead is historically warm.  I saw this tweet from Stu Ostro showing the extremely high 500mb heights overhead…588dm this morning:


So basically this ridge of high pressure is the strongest (measured this way) of any other in February/March/April.  Hard to believe eh?  But true.

With the strong inversion, the 8 millibars of easterly Gorge flow was contained to a very shallow layer, bringing us the strongest east wind of the “winter” for the high wind areas in the western Gorge.  Corbett had a peak gust of 76 mph, the highest this season.  The Vista House gust of 96 mph is the highest measured on that sensor, which only sticks out from the wall about a foot or so.  That comes with a big caveat; during several big wind/ice events the sensor has been offline due to power outages and/or ice locking up the gauge.  So it’s the highest observed.

That wind will decrease dramatically tomorrow afternoon and now there are even hints of a weak “marine push” of low clouds Wednesday morning as the flow turns onshore.  We’ll see about that.  I didn’t totally buy it, thus the still sunny Wednesday in the 7 Day forecast.

Looking ahead, the general pattern is quite mild through the middle of the month.  Notice not much new snow at the ski areas for the next week with high freezing levels.


It’s not unusual for the best ski conditions to show up in the 1st half of the ski season in El Nino years and this year that’s the case.  Not that we don’t have plenty of snow and great weather (me and my son Sunday enjoying the bright sunshine),


but the regular doses of powder were mainly before the New Year this year.  Yes, I told him to wear sunglasses but of course he didn’t listen to the old man.

Moving along, the ECMWF ensemble maps from last night’s run show the same thing they have been for a couple weeks:

Still looks like a mild pattern through the early part of March.  We’ll see how that goes.

Enjoy the sunshine again Tuesday!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen




25 Responses to A February “Scorcher”

  1. CorbettTez says:

    “…That wind will decrease dramatically tomorrow afternoon..”
    whoops!!! Winds still clocking in at 32g52 at 10:00pm here in Corbett!!!!! I assume it will die off completely tomorrow at some point?

  2. Boring Oregon says:

    Did your son get snow blindness?

  3. Garron 1/3 of a mile from Hillsboro Airport says:

    Mark, what would this give us for high temps in say, July? It sure was a welcome change from the (much needed), but wet weather.

    • Jackfrost says:

      Probably about 91-95F depending on strength of east wind and timing as this would be a marine layer burns off at 11am as winds switch easterly type setup.

      It just seems warm because it’s winter time but in the summer this would be a rather run of the mill pattern for a bit of warmth but nothing too dramatic?

  4. Hmmm, I think we have a big time forecast bust in progress up this way.

    Gunk is taking far longer to burn off than I thought it would. It’s still in the low forties at noon. Looks like the inversion is going to win today and it’s going to be nowhere near as warm as forecast.

    • W7ENK says:

      Lots of high clouds streaming in overhead, perhaps holding down the temps here in PDX today just a tad? We’ll see…

    • Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

      Where is here?

    • Well, color me surprised. It’s become surprisingly warm out there for as hazy as things are. It’s warmed up considerably in the past few hours.

      Interestingly, what bouys there are in the Sound are reporting temperatures in the forties. So still a strong surface inversion over the water. Given that, I’m not expecting the temperature to break the 60-degree mark at my place.

    • Rubus, I had similar thoughts this morning(around 9am) as I was heading out: I saw a big bank of fog just off to the southwest of the city of Vancouver. However, once the sun got higher up, things really warmed up here; I saw a maximum of 61.7F, the warmest temperature I’d seen in a Febriary day since Feb.24, 2005. The elevation of my place is 267 ft. above sea level, so in inversion situations that sometimes makes a difference.

  5. Sis Childs says:

    Oh my goodness. The east wind in Corbett spoils the awesome weather. It’s very hard to be a teacher and drag kids through 70 mph winds. I’ll be glad when it’s over. Thanks so much for all of your updates Mark. I love your blog!

  6. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    I’ll clutter up the blog again with some more sunrise photos. These were from yesterday, out in Clark County where the wind was calm. There weren’t high clouds to color the sunrise, but the golden hour with the ground fog was amazing 🙂

  7. Those temperatures in Oregon yesterday were pretty impressive: 82F in North Bend, wow! We have a North Bend in BC as well, but they wouldn’t be anywhere near that level at this time of year. My high was 58.6F yesterday, and perhaps about 61F if we’re lucky today. We started off cool this morning at 35F with ground fog.

  8. Boydo3 N. Albany says:

    Ten day euro does show a return to mtn snow in about 8 or nine days.

  9. Looks like time to stick a fork in it.

    Super-foggy over the Sound this morning. Expect it not to last.

    36 for a low after a high of 54 yesterday; nearby cold salt water is holding the high temps down for me. Not a surprise.

  10. Farmer Ted says:

    Couldn’t believe my eyes and ears last night watching channel 12 weather last evening, had to do a double take and watch the whole thing with awe, another new weather gal, and Ooh La La!!!!!! Had a little trouble with her presentation but hey who cares.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Plus she’s smarter than me! She’s brand new to the TV thing, so you have to give her some latitude the first few weeks. Liana has worked the past 6 years at Portland NWS and has a degree in Atmospheric Sciences. I’ll do a posting about her soon. That was just her 2nd night.

  11. Paul D says:

    I want the rest of my winter right now!!!

  12. Jack says:

    What is the possibility this will be our new normal.

  13. schmit44 says:

    2/8/2016 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:83 at SEVEN MILE CREEK( 438 ft)
    Low: 65 at FLYNN PRAIRIE(1543 ft) & RED MOUND(1753 ft)

    High:38 at Baker Valley(3420 ft)
    Low: 13 at CRANE PRAIRIE (5500 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 43 degrees
    EW1735 Central P (78/35 ) (1285 ft )
    Lorella (64/21) (4160 ft)
    COLD SPRINGS (60/17) (4640 ft)

  14. GTS1K' says:

    Mighty nice, but not unexpected. Always been a period, however brief, of “false spring” in Feb. as long as I can remember.


  15. Anonymous says:

    Mighty nice, but not unexpected. Always been a period, however brief, of “false spring” in Feb. as long as I can remember.


    • Jackfrost says:

      Other then a small handful of exceptions it is one thing about Feb I can always count on but this takes the cake.

      Imagine this being our new norm as our climate continues to warm in most areas.

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