Blustery January Day, But Beautiful Weekend Ahead

January 11, 2018

8pm Thursday

Today we had a nice little Pacific Northwest wet & windy day.  Neither the rain or the wind was too much.  Note the rain totals generally under one inch:

Rain Metro Today Databound

Peak wind gusts didn’t cause much damage either at the Coast (generally under 60 mph) or in the Valley (gusts 30-40 mph) as expected:

Wind Metro Peak Gusts Today

One thing that really stuck out though…the warm temps!

Today was the warmest since Thanksgiving Day in Portland.  We tied a record high of 58 degrees.  That meant mainly rain in the Cascades, except at the highest parts of the ski areas.  A cold front is moving through Oregon right now, but the air behind it isn’t very cold.  Snow levels will only come down to around 4,000′ tonight and Friday.  That’s the lowest we’ll see snow, since a much warmer airmass surges into the Pacific Northwest beginning Friday night.

A strong upper-level ridge of high pressure develops Saturday through Monday along the West Coast.  Note the ECMWF model showing heights WAY above normal


That gives temperatures between 50-55 degrees up around 5,000′.  Now if it was late March or April, we’d be forecasting high temperatures in the 70s for the weekend.  But of course it’s not, and the warm air doesn’t mix all the way down to the surface due to winter inversions+weak sunshine.

So how warm could it get?  Models keep pushing temperatures into the upper 50s or even 60.  That won’t happen in January.  But if we get the perfect setup of cloud cover all  Friday night (keeping temperatures warm overnight), then they lift north quickly and we turn sunny?  I could see highs in the mid 50s as a light easterly wind develops out of the Gorge.  I’ve gone for a high of 54.  Clear skies Saturday night mean a tougher break through the inversion Sunday, plus east wind looks stronger.  The result should be high temps close to 50, but it’ll feel like 40 on the east side of town in the wind zone.

Regardless of the exact temperature details for this weekend, keep in mind we have a MOSTLY SUNNY WEEKEND WITH COMFORTABLE TEMPERATURES IN JANUARY!  That’s almost unheard of, usually it’s sunny and cold (last year at this time) or sunny & windy/cool.

We have a period of wet weather coming up again next week, with rain arriving on Monday (MLK DAY) afternoon.   You can see that on the ECMWF meteogram (blue bars from left to right) for the next 10 days

By the way, there is no sign of stormy weather (a windstorm), flooding, or lowland snow/ice in the next 7-10 days.  We MIGHT get by with a snow-less January.  That is not unusual, check out the last 11 January’s.  Only 4 of 11 had measurable snow.  Apparently we may have had a little “overdraft” with those 8″ last year.

January Snow PDX

Enjoy!  Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen