First “Marine Cloud Forecast Bust” of 2016

7pm Sunday…

It may have been only the first, but there will be more of these busts between now and September!

Last night we forecast the marine clouds to thicken again, be solid in the morning, then break up in the afternoon.  That KIND OF happened, except at a FAR slower pace than expected.  Take a look at the visible satellite image this morning:

Sat11amAt 11am low clouds filled all areas west of the Cascades below about 3,000′.  To find sunshine you needed to go up into the Cascade passes, or east of Cascade Locks in the Gorge.  By the way, that’s why I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  I consider Hood River to have almost a perfect climate in our area.  Marine clouds don’t EVER get east of about Wyeth, yet the cooling west wind in summer means Hood River/White Salmon areas aren’t really any warmer than Portland.  You get constant sunshine in the warm season but without the Eastern Oregon heat (like at The Dalles).  Plus, annual snowfall is around 2 feet or so…dependable winter snowfall (most years).

Okay, by 3pm the low clouds had still only cleared WEST of I-5:


Still cool/gloomy/overcast for 1/2 of the metro area at mid-afternoon.  Finally at 5pm most of us were seeing sunshine:


but those far east metro spots were STILL socked in (Sandy/Estacada/Colton).

Even the best models have trouble dealing with marine cloud burnoff time.  Check out the 1.33 km WRF-GFS total cloud product…


clear all the way to the coastline by 2pm!  I don’t think so.  High temperatures seemed chilly today, but they were finally “Normal”.


This evening the clouds have actually thickened over the west slopes of the Cascades…this view was clear an hour ago from our Skibowl Cam:


Moving on…

Tomorrow doesn’t look much different so I lowered the forecast high into the lower 60s.

Starting Tuesday, we’ll see some upper-level troughing nearby through Thursday, or possibly Friday.  As a result we finally get some rain after a very dry week; nice since a lot of us may have just planted a few veggies.  I planted onions and potatoes and I’m too lazy to water them, so I hope we get close to an inch at least.  Models imply we’ll get less than that in the western valleys this week.

Enjoy the cool showers because models are in decent agreement that the 2nd half of April will see mainly above normal temps.  Check out the GEFS (GFS ensembles) surface temperature deviation from normal for the next 2 weeks:


Models have been trying to push up some sort of ridging over us next weekend (that first spike), then after that we are generally a bit warmer than normal.  The ECMWF is similar with the 850mb temps although the warm spike is more dramatic next weekend


So…to summarize, it appears this could end up being ANOTHER warm month.  We’ve been warm now for over 2 years with no “cold months”.  When will it change?  I don’t know of course.  Theoretically a La Nina winter coming up (may or may not happen) could end the warm streak.  For now, sea surface temperatures remain well above normal across the far Eastern Pacific.


If that doesn’t change in the next month or two, we can get used to more of those warmer than normal nights and weaker than normal marine pushes as we’ve seen the past two warm seasons.

Seem like a pretty long blog post for a weekend?  It’s because I’m working this Sunday evening as part of an adjusted work schedule.  Same evening shows, but Sunday-Thursday instead of Monday-Friday.  Better for family life (my school district does 4 day weeks, Fridays off) plus more of you watch 10pm newscasts on Sunday night vs. Friday PM anyway = more Mark exposure on bigger nights!  It’s not too unusual at FOX network stations because they have much higher ratings on Sunday nights than Friday.  I’ve heard in Seattle the “weekday” crew at KCPQ works the same Sunday-Thursday schedule.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


22 Responses to First “Marine Cloud Forecast Bust” of 2016

  1. Corvallismurph says:

    Pretty gusty the past couple hours in Corvallis. Downed power line has left a good chunk of folks without power.

  2. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    First sub-60 high for April. 57.6 degrees today.

    • Paul D says:

      About time. Wonder if their caps locks keys were stuck on and they had to buy new keyboards.

  3. DEL X V says:

    Nice post Mark…..keeps us lazy ones up to date.

  4. My mean temperature for April so far is 55.6F. That’s about normal for the first 10 days of May. So I’m ready for a cool down and return to some rainfall this week.

  5. Paul D says:

    Normal temperatures – nice! Enjoy the modified work schedule, Mark. I’ve been working Sundays for over 15 years. It’s nice having some weekdays off each week.

  6. Today the marine influence was obvious in The Dalles, which was a solid 7-10 degrees cooler than other points further east/south, away from the Gorge wind.

    But this raises the question: WHY is The Dalles normally so much warmer than Hood River in the summertime? The wind is coming from the same place, so why does that wind warm up so much in the 20 miles between the two towns? Could it have something to do with downslope warming off of Sevenmile Hill just west of us?

  7. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Yay! More Mark exposure!

    • geo says:

      Don’t want to brag too much Mark, they adjusted my work schedule from mon-fri to mon thru thur a few months ago. Love it

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Seems like the future will involve more telecommuting. More workers should be able to work from home I would think. Not me of course, but regular people yes.

    • W7ENK says:

      HAH!! I wish… Federal regulations will keep me flying a desk in the office and behind a corporate firewall. No VPN for me! 😦

  8. Boydo3 N. Albany says:

    Yup, looks warm in our future (which I have no problem with this time of year).
    I would agree Hood River is pretty much in a sweet spot but for two things:
    It’s windy
    It’s noisy (trains and freeways)
    But I do love the location.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Maybe I should have specified “Hood River Valley” instead of the city itself.

    • Boydo3 N. Albany says:

      Don’t get me wrong, I love Hood River proper. Great town and lots of fun. The upper part of the city is nice and the valley is really unique. Years ago we thought about moving there (probably should’ve). That was during the days just before the wind surfing boom. Should’ve moved back then… 🙂

  9. High Desert Mat says:

    First. And thanks for the post Mark.

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