Fire Danger Lowers Western Gorge, Showers For Some Thursday

10pm Wednesday

Good news continued for a 2nd day in the Columbia River Gorge as fire growth was minimal in rural/populated areas today.  After some IR mapping, officials tell us the fire is over 30,000 acres now. Wind has reversed as expected and now we have the usual warm season westerly wind blowing in the central/eastern Gorge.  West wind is always light west of Multnomah Falls.  This will be the wind direction through at least Sunday, possibly even into early next week.

Fire Gorge East Wind

On top of that, scattered showers will develop tomorrow afternoon/evening.  There’s even a small chance of a downpour over some part of the fire.  Then Friday we’ll see strong onshore flow, clouds, high humidity, and temperatures in the 60s up in the hills around the fire. This will bring it to a crawl as well.

To summarize:

  1. Fire growth should be minimal or non-existent in the areas around homes in eastern Multnomah County (Corbett to Bridal Veil) from now through the weekend.
  2. Westerly wind could spread the fire to the east in Hood River County, possibly gobbling up a significant amount of acreage in the uninhabited forest south and southeast of Cascade Locks.
  3. There is no sign of a strong east wind event in the next 7 days.  A few models show a typical light easterly wind late next Monday or Tuesday.  But others do not.


So let’s talk about weather.  A deep layer of moist air will be moving overhead these next two days.

Satellite Surface

It’s coming from the southeast between an upper-level low and the hot high pressure to the east.  This is one of our favored “thunderstorm patterns”.  In fact models show plenty of CAPE, low Lifted Index, & high Precipitable Water.  The combo of these three tells me we are going to see some sort of thunder action in the next 24 hours.  As a result I think there will be a few flashes in Western Oregon tonight, and likely quite a few more tomorrow afternoon & evening.  One more thing to point out.  There will be a ton of moisture in the atmosphere overhead which means those thunderstorms could be quite wet.  It’s possibly a few of us could get our first real dumping of rain since mid June.  But in this pattern the placement of those downpours can’t be forecast.  One neighborhood will get a soaking while 5 miles away it may be all dry.

Beyond tomorrow we’ll have strong onshore flow Friday for cloud cover that may linger much of the day west of the Cascades.  A weak system moves through Western Washington Saturday which should keep us at least partly cloudy down here.  That will keep temperatures well down in the 70s for another day.  Then it’s back to high pressure and warmer temperatures Sunday and beyond.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


35 Responses to Fire Danger Lowers Western Gorge, Showers For Some Thursday

  1. Anthony JENSEN says:

    I have to disagree. 10° difference is a massive difference. For example, Max trains can run perfectly fine at 80°, but bump it up 10° then they can’t run at peak spread without serious damage. So yeah 10° is a big difference, and a pretty big forecast blunder.

  2. Joshua Downtown PDX says:

    Forecast bust today. 10 degrees warmer than the forecasted high (general consensus. Not specifically Mark). Yet another low above 60 too.

  3. Anthony JENSEN says:

    I love Fox 12, but yet again another forecast Bust by Fox12.. it’s nearly 10° warmer than forecasted… that’s a HUGE miscalculation!!

  4. Boring 550' says:

    I think it’s almost safe to just add 3 degrees to every high temperature projection. Already 74 here, wouldn’t be surprised if it nears 80.

  5. Jason Hougak says:

    Sky 8 showed a barren Angels Rest in the Gorge. That location was burned badly in the 90’s Gorge fire. Time to start the process of regrowth all over again.

    • Jake-(Gresham near Nadaka Nature Park) says:

      Rinsed all the family cars but there’s still ash all over the city here in Gresham. I hate this and the loss of the hiking trails is something that will upset me for the next few months whenever brought up. What an unbelievably tragic occurrence. My backyard of outings is essentially gone.

      The kids responsible should have public service put to restore the trails just how inmates clean the side of freeways. No lives were lost so that is where my logic stands. Let them see the devastation because they honestly burned half the gorge if one considers the trails lost by percentage.

    • Paul D says:

      The guilty parties should also have to meet anyone who lost a house to the fire and help them clean up.

  6. Roland Derksen says:

    Showers began here this morning after 8am. Nothing heavy, though.

  7. W7ENK says:

    Welp, that was the second lamest thunderstorm threat turned non-event I think I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t even see threatening looking clouds, at first because of the lingering smoke, and then the marine stratus that moved in overhead. Not a single drop of rain, either.

    I think the only one worse was that 9/5/2013 storm that literally blasted the ENTIRE PNW with lightning strikes from Southern Oregon to the Canadian border — except for the hole that ripped open over Portland Metro.

    Remember that? Storm of the century, and ‘The Dome’ did its thing. I’m still heartbroken over that, and forever will be. 😥

  8. Joshua Downtown PDX says:

    Today will be our 7th straight day with a low temp of 60 or above. In September. I am running out of adjectives to describe this summer.

  9. Longview 400 ft says:

    I can’t believe I would ever say this, but it would be nice to have a heavy shower or two. They fizzle out way before they get to us here.

  10. Boring 550' says:

    Rain total of 0.00″ so far.

  11. JERAT416 says:

    Looks like it’s heading straight for the Western gorge!

  12. Jason Hougak says:

    Rain and thunder here in Cascade foothills!!!

  13. DallasBob@500ft says:

    Lightning visible to the west of Dallas

  14. JERAT416 says:

    No strays over here on Bull MTN yet but anything could happen

  15. Jason Hougak says:

    Radar showing some heavy thunderstorms moving north especially in Lane County Cascades

  16. Jason Hougak says:

    Historic Oneanta Tunnel becomes another burned casualty of the Eagle Creek Fire.

    • Jason Hougak says:

      🤔maybe using wood for the tunnel wasn’t the best choice

    • Nahtalkin says:

      Geez, maybe the landscape could just be built back out plaster and cement… fake like Disneyland……put a lot of folks to work…maybe all the ‘fire bugs’ in jail could do the work…..never have to worry about it burning again….just have to paint it every several years.

  17. oldwxwatcher says:

    Here’s a weather site that’s new to me. It has a ton of information. The map showing the wind field around Irma, at different heights, is pretty interesting.

  18. Wendy - Silverlake, WA says:

    I just had a cute little dust devil in my driveway. It was pretty neat looking. I’ve never seen one here before and it was just pure coincidence that I happen to walk around the corner of the house and saw it in the driveway.

  19. Roland Derksen says:

    Expecting showers in my location tonight and tomorrow. It doesn’t look like we’ll get all that much, though. Still, at least we’ll see an improvement in air quality.

  20. Jason Hougak says:

    Oregons wildfires have burned over 800 square mikes and have cost $238.5 million to fight so far!!!

  21. Jason Hougak says:

    Hurricane season going strong in the Atlantic.
    Hurricane Irma looks impressive.

  22. Mike says:

    Thank You Mark Nelson for the nice update.

  23. daveirving says:

    Reblogged this on Dirv's Blog.

  24. Boydo3 N. Albany says:

    Whooshing wind! and a few drops of rain!

  25. sds says:

    Nice report Mark–kind of reassuring–Thanks.

  26. Thank you again, Mark, for the update. I hope you and your family can go home soon.

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