November Halfway Point: Record Warm, But Cooler Ahead

November 16, 2016

9pm Wednesday

Quite a bit different today eh?  Today’s high of 51 was the coolest day so far this fall:


The funny thing is…we were only 2 degrees below an average November 16th here in Portland!  By the way, I have no idea why that first 69 is so low on the chart, please don’t email me and whine about it…

Today felt chilly because the first half of November 2016 has totally blew away any other previous warm Novembers.  Check out the stats for the 1st-15th


Note that the other top 9 warmest were within two degrees of each other.  Then this month came in a good 2.5 degrees above that…that would explain why it seemed so strange to have it so warm these past two weeks.  I have to say that 10-15 day model forecasts did quite well with the general pattern, showing very warm weather the first half of the month.

This all came to a quick end yesterday as a cold front came through the region.  The first snow of the season fell at Government Camp and of course higher up in the Cascades.  This is the latest “first snow” at that location in 14 years.


Snow totals were anywhere from 3″ at Govy to about a foot on the higher parts of Timberline and Meadows ski area



Models are in very good agreement that we turned a pretty sharp corner yesterday/today.  Temperatures will likely be quite close to normal for the next 7-14 days.  That means highs between 45-55 degrees in the lowlands west of the Cascades.  Take a look at the ECMWF ensemble chart from this morning’s model run:


Looks like a bunch of lines I know…well, actually it is.  It shows forecast temperatures around the 4,000′ elevation for the next 15 days (through the end of November).  Temps are in Celsius of course.  Each line is one run of the 21 ensemble members.  The red line is the average of all those runs.  The thick green line is average for this time of year.  Notice that except for a brief warm period Saturday-Monday, snow levels should remain near pass elevation through the 2nd half of the month.  Think of the zero line as pass elevation snow.  It’s also interesting to note that there are no ensemble members showing any sort of early season arctic air moving down into Oregon.  That IS possible in November.

To sum it up, I think the snow on the ground in the Cascades will mainly stay there and we’ll add more to it during the upcoming week.  I’m pretty confident ski areas will open at least a run or two sometime next week, and if we get another 1-2′ through the Thanksgiving Weekend then things will definitely look good for more general openings.


It would be VERY nice to see some good snow the 2nd half of the month.  The last 4 Novembers have been below normal snowfall-wise at Gov’t Camp.


Those 2008 & 2009 numbers seem like an old dream don’t they?  Hopefully things turn around at least somewhat this winter.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen