A 12 Day Outlook: Is That Ridiculous?

Yesterday I first used this graphic during the 10pm show; of course this is today’s version:


It’s a 12 day OUTLOOK (not a detailed forecast).  It contains an abbreviated 7 Day forecast, then a more general outlook for the following 5 days.  I’ll use this in the 2nd half of the 10pm show and sometimes in other shows as well.  There may be some days in which I don’t use it at all, you can see the reasoning below.

In Portland all long-range TV forecasts were just 5 days until around 1996.  That year a new news director showed up at KOIN (I was there from 1993-2000) and suggested we do a 6 Day Forecast.  How clever…it was Channel 6!  Forecast accuracy was gradually improving in the models so the extension seemed reasonable and we implemented that change.  Within the next 5 years the other 3 stations went to 7 day forecasts and we did at KOIN as well.  When I came over here to Meredith Corp. as KPDX Chief Meteorologist in 2000, management was listening to some weird consultant that only wanted a 4 day forecast (what????).  I compromised and we went back to a 5 day forecast for two years.  When KPTV/KPDX merged in 2002 (new bosses!) the KPDX newscasts ended and I was back in the 7 Day forecast game via KPTV from there on out.

I know of at just two other times longer range forecasts have been used on-air here in Portland.  Sometime in the late 1980s I remember Miles Muzio at KOIN doing “The Long Ranger”; a 14 day forecast.  Wow, that was pretty bad considering the state of forecasting in the 1980s.  Yet, I clearly remember getting all wound up when he showed freezing rain possible 12-14 days away!  It didn’t happen of course.  Then here at KPTV around 2009 on Good Day Oregon our meteorologist Drew Jackson would occasionally do a 12 day forecast.  He did that when the pattern appeared stable enough or clear enough that far out to give some confidence.  That was my inspiration to bring it back.

So why bring it back?

I think it’s time for several reasons:

  1. Numerical Forecast Modeling (THE MODELS) is gradually getting better and better, and more important…
  2. …Model Ensemble forecasts are now available to us here at FOX12.  Those are collections of many different runs of each model.  When they are all similar, confidence goes up.  When very different? Low confidence!
  3. We are all seeing 10-14 day forecasts all over the place now on apps.  Even our own FOX12 Weather App goes out to 10 days!  That’s all computer driven of course; no human interaction with that forecast.  Those numbers come straight from long range models, regardless of the accuracy.  Since all that information is out there, at least I can give you some perspective on what you’re seeing.  That’s where the 12 day forecast helps out a bit.  For example, if just one model is showing snow in 9 days and your app says so, I can throw a little reality into that forecast based on what others are showing.
  4. People ask me all the time about the “big picture” beyond the 7 Day Forecast.  Examples:  Do you see a dry period coming up to stain my deck? Any chance at all for extreme heat in the next 2 weeks? Are we clear of a “snow threat” for the next 12 days?  Those questions will often be answered by a 12 day outlook.

There will be times when long range models are all over the place; I likely won’t even bother to guess on those days.

So is a 12 day forecast RIDICULOUS in 2016?  In this format I sure don’t think so!

By the way, the big thing I’m noticing in maps for the first 10-14 days of July is a total lack of extreme heat.  This summer is sure looking different than last year…a good thing.  Take a look at the 16 day temperature anomaly from the 12z GEFS ensembles:


Below normal for this coming weekend then 10 degrees or less of above normal temps through the 13th.  That means highs would be somewhere between 70-88 over the next 2 weeks.  The monthly ECMWF run came out this afternoon…very interesting.  About as normal as it gets.  Check out four weeks of surface temperature anomaly across N. America.  Near or slightly above normal through July:

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

54 Responses to A 12 Day Outlook: Is That Ridiculous?

  1. WEATHERDAN says:

    75 at 2:00 PM. Should get to 82 today. The same as yesterday. With less AM clouds than PDX the next few days we should have some brief morning clouds with highs from 78-83. Not as warm as it looked a few days ago but still at or above average. With the clouds not clearing in PDX until noon or so you guys should be more like 75-80. Not hot weather in sight but no cool wet weather either. Just good old normal Summertime weather. Peace.

  2. WEATHERDAN says:

    OK one last time why this year wasn’t Juneuary. In 2010 I heard that phrase for the first time. Here are the records for 2010 and 2011. Then we have 2015 and 2016. Now the average high for June is 74.5. The average rainfall is 1.36 inches. By June 30th we should have had 11 days over 80 and 42 over 70. In 2010 by contrast June maximum average was 69.9 with 3.54 inches of rainfall. Cool and wet. We had 5 days over 80 by the end of June and 27 days over 70. In 2011 it was 71.1 and1.67. We had only 3 days over 80 and 25 over 70 by June 30th. 2 cool and wet June’s. Now we come to the last two years. In 2015 our avg for June was a record setting 84.7. This year though cooler was still a very warm 78.0. Rainfall last June was only .67 and .96 this year. Last year we had a record 33 days over 80 by June 30th and this year 29. Last year we had 59 days over 70 by June 30th and this year 55. So this June was some what cooler and wetter than 2015, but warmer and drier than normal. And far warmer and drier than our two Juneuary years of 2010 and 2011. We escaped the heavy downpours that you seemed to have farther up north. So to me anyway it didn’t seem like Juneuary this June. But that is my opinion. Yours might be different. Peace.

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Uh, does someone have blinders on and see only what they want to see? Or maybe they have such an exciting life that they are looking for anomolies, for which they are really nitpicking. Either way, this is nothing close to the last few years and it wont be. Tides have turned anonymous, get used to it for its only going to get worse, (in your world), and back to near the 30 year norm. Peace the f$2k out.

    • Chris s says:

      Alter Dan isn’t smart enough to figure out that the 4 day heat wave at the beginning of the month accounts for June being above avg, as when you run the numbers taking out those 4 days, mean temp falls to slightly below avg for the month. But never fear, he has us covered with his amazing copy paste gfs forecasts, which for some reason keep failing him, yet he still keeps pushing it as the gospel. Guess I need to look at the “charts”!! Lol 😂😂

    • MJ says:

      You know instead of continuing to bash Dan’s opinions and outlooks why don’t the both of you post one of your own outlooks. Or are you too scared to put yourselves out on that limb?

    • W7ENK says:

      Worse than that, he’s speaking about June, but then including data for the entirety of the year leading up to. My first clue? June has far fewer than 42 days. Because we did indeed have an unusually warm Spring, he’s using this technique to skew the numbers in favor of his argument, which is highly disingenuous, if not downright dishonest.

      Dan, if you’re going to speak of June, then include data for only June. Anything that happened prior to June 1 is completely irrelevant to the point, and by including it (i.e: “By June 30th … 11 days over 80 and 42 over 70.”) you’re severely damaging any little shred of credibility you may have had. We’re not idiots here, I’m sure everyone can see right through what you’re attempting to do. Additionally, you can’t run PDX historical data against your own personal Salem obs. 60+ miles apart, that’s a totally unfair comparison, which is again, nothing more than a sad attempt at skewing the numbers in favor of your point. Disingenuous and dishonest.

      Reality being, the bulk of this June was cooler and wetter than normal up here, in Portland. Salem sucks. Juneuary.

      I’m done arguing with you over this silly crap.
      Consider it dropped.
      Good day, sir!

    • Chris s says:

      Mj, if you were paying even the slightest bit of attention, you would see we do give outlooks that this will be a near normal summer temp wise. We also refute Dan because of his opinions in which he thinks are facts, then when they totally bust, he comes back and doesn’t say anything except cry like a whiny baby and call names. Just because he copies and pastes his forecast based off of 1 unreliable model and changes it every day doesnt mean we are going to do the same. This past June was a below avg month if you take away that unprecedented mini heat wave we had, yet a avg person listening to alter Dan would think this past month was a blowtorch, therefore we refute him on it. Just like when he states certain days will be close to 90 degrees, and they end up being 75, he just brushes it off as being a bad forecast instead of it being his own personal warm bias.😊

  3. July 2010 was pretty good in my area, at least. Just cloudy through the first 4 days, then straight sunshine. And only 0.04 inches of precipitation.

  4. W7ENK says:

    What the hell is this crap??

    What, did we swap places with San Diego or something?? Clouds and sun, clouds and sun, clouds and sun, clouds and sun, clouds and sun, clouds and sun, clouds and sun… high and low temperatures both flatline.

    :YAWN: Boooooooriiiiiiiing!! :/

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Uh-oh, back to normal July weather. Just for you Erik we’re gonna need to order up a July 2010 soon.

    • runrain says:


    • W7ENK says:

      I was completely happy with last Summer. A 2010 redux would be my worst nightmare, actually…

    • MasterNate says:

      That forecast is heaven on earth! Couldn’t be more perfect for July.

    • Paul D gets his wish, W7ENK starts griping. Can’t please everyone all the time.

      Looks to be mostly cloudy with highs in the 60s for my area, which actually means 70s and sunny for me since I’m going to be camping someplace with less marine influence this weekend.

    • W7ENK says:

      I’m not necessarily griping, I just think the above forecast lacks variety, which I find boring. What good is the weather if there’s literally nothing to look forward to? A forecast like that belongs in San Diego. Here in Cascadia, we’re better than this! lol

    • “I’m not necessarily griping”

      Yeah, right. Whatever:

      “… :YAWN: Boooooooriiiiiiiing!! …”

      “… the above forecast lacks variety, which I find boring …”

      “… A forecast like that belongs in San Diego…. “

    • W7ENK says:

      All valid points, are they not?

  5. runrain says:

    2 thoughts, Mark. First the absence of heat. Last year most 90+ days happened before July 15th. About 19 of 30. In 2014 the majority happened after July 10th. Maybe like 30 out of 35. So maybe we get our furnace blast later this year. In 1967 23 of 31 90+ days occurred post-August 1st. There is a chance maybe we don’t see many really blistering days. But we still have a somewhat more than 3 months from today when 90’s could happen – time will tell. As for the one week and 5 day outlook I say groovy, man. Finally. It’s just an overview not a detailed prognostication but as computer models are getting more advanced I think now is the time to bring it to the forefront. Peace

    (OK. Sorry. Couldn’t resist)

  6. WEATHERDAN says:

    2 comments Mark. First the lack of heat. Last year the majority of 90+ days happened before July 15th. Something like 19 of 30. In 2014 most happened after July 10th. Something like 30 out of 35. So maybe we get our heat later this year. In 1967 23 of 31 90+ days happened after August 1st. Of course maybe we don’t see many really hot days. But we still have a little over 3 months from today when 90,s are possible so we shall see. As for the 12 day outlook I say right on. It’s about time. It’s just a general outlook not a detailed forecast but as models are getting better I think now is the time to bring it on. Peace.

    • JJ78259 says:

      In the 10 day outlook 7 out of 10 days over 100 degrees finally! The La Niña shift is on much warmer than last year, Super weather dan weather is here!

  7. Anonymous says:

    2 points Mark. First about the heat. Last year the majority of our 90+ days happened by mid July. In 2014 it was the reverse where most happened after July 10th. Of course it may be that we don’t have a lot less heat but I still feel we will have our share. All that has kept us from getting super hot so far has been the placement of the ridge. Looking at the charts today it looks like it is moving slightly farther West come mid July. We shall see. As for the 12 day outlook I say right on. We understand it is an outlook, not a forecast. But CPC has a 16 day outlook. So does COLA. So 12 days seems reasonable. NWS switched to a 7 day forecast in 1985 if I recall. So bravo Mark. Peace.

  8. Paul D says:

    So if it were Fox 45, you’d do a 45 day forecast?

  9. oldwxwatcher says:

    How about (in)Accuweather’s 90-day forecasts? It shows that September 25 will be mostly sunny with a high of 76° and a low of 51°. Wonder what models they are using. What gets me is that forecastadvisor.com shows that during the past month and the past year Accuweather’s general forecasting accuracy for Portland was second best, either beating or being equal to that of the Weather Channel and beating the NWS digital forecasts by quite a bit.

    • Paul D says:

      They use models? I thought they used a dartboard. Or do they have models throwing the darts at the board? 🙂

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

    Ok, I have to admit, I love watching the WGN Chicago weather news. Instead of snapshots of your daily weather, they use maps in motion. The whole country is shown also. By doing that, you’ll see thunderstorms rolling through around a certain time, weather systems as they move through your state, and the general trend across the country. The graphics are flowing, and can break down a 3 or 4 day interval into segments that you can plan your day around. Beyond that, if your forecast breaks it down using the modeling forecasts, that would be AMAZING! Show what the trending model maps are showing, even if it’s a big swing. Say, by day 7, the temps look to be between…77 to 84 for highs, and 55-58 for lows. This model shows rain, these show no rain…

  11. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    I like the trend thought. The only problem there is, is that some consumers will latch onto a forecast7-12 days out. For example, oh, next Thursday is going to be dry. Then they don’t bother looking again only to see that the forecast has changed.

    This happens already.

  12. Might as well start doing a 30-day outlook. Really, the expectations would be so low you could literally put anything you want on there. We are conditioned to take everything beyond tomorrow’s forecast with a grain of salt.

  13. Paul D says:

    I don’t like it because it’s more of what I don’t want to see: above normal temperatures. Can we please have below 75 for more than a day or two?!?

  14. W7ENK says:

    It’s Summer now, it’s not ridiculous at all.


    That’s not what the EURO says. But what do they know, they can’t even keep their own $#!+ together right now, so…

    • W7ENK says:

      What I see in this is NW flow aloft with 850 temps +3 to +5C over the PNW, which translates to cool and showery, with snow levels down to around 6,000, to 6,500 feet, so just above pass levels — on the 4th of July. It’s been a long minute since we’ve had a cool and wet 4th of July, so I’d say we’re long overdue.

      Would anyone like to continue arguing with me over my cool/wet summer point? After the last three weeks (3/4 Juneuary) I’d say you have little leg to stand on at this point.

      Just sayin’

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      That 12z ECMWF operational was at the very bottom of the ensembles temperature-wise.

    • buffedman says:

      Julyuary hits PNW with a vengeance, ( ¬‿¬) he he he …

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      What cool wet Summer? Temp avg June 1-28 inclusive 77.7. After June 30 likely 78.0. Normal 74.5. Precip for June .96. Normal 1,56. So much warmer and drier than normal. Current NWS forecast for holiday weekend. Mostly sunny and 78-81. No mountain snow and no lowland rain. Just normal early July weather. Wanting it to be cool and wet doesn’t make it so. If I added in the the minimums it would be even more above average. Anyway Eric enjoy the sunny warm late June weather. Grab a brewski bro and chill. Peace.

    • Chris s says:

      Lol Dan, give it rest. Just because your copy paste forecasts keep being wrong doesn’t mean it’s going to be a hot summer. Seems again you aren’t admitting you screwed up, as I believe a few days ago you told us how it would be upper 80’s during holiday weekend and the holiday itself. Just like a few weeks ago when you predicted a week of mid to upper 80’s only to see that miserably fail. And yes Dan, while this June was above avg, if you take out the ridiculous 3-4 day stretch around the end of the first week, and I’d say this month was a good to below avg. also, what chart are you looking at that shows the high moving farther west?? Seems as though I haven’t seen such chart. The only thing I hear is the opposite, that come mid July, troughiness and cooler weather will be dominate again for another 10+ day stretch. Man your warm bias really blinds you from the actual weather outside.

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      Wow Crisstine guess what. The forecast changed from a few days ago. It was right then not now. But then you never change your mind. Hope you change your underwear more often than your mind or you would stink even worse than your attitude. Get real dude.

    • Chris s says:

      No Dan, some of us don’t need to hang on every gfs run, we can actually see trends. Sorry your copy paste doesn’t work out to well and you were wrong 2 times now!! lol I love how you act like a 5 year old when called out.😂

  15. JosephC says:

    So in the winter, the last 5 days will just say: “Who the heck knows?”

  16. Anonymous says:

    I love this look out 12 days.

  17. I like this concept. Not ridiculous at all!

    • Leeateea says:

      Like the 12 day for the summer,then I think it should be a 5 day at best for fall/winter!

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