Does Your App Show Snow For Next Week? Here’s Why

January 18, 2018

7:30pm Thursday

Did you notice a snowflake or flakes on your app for about a week from now?  This is what our FOX12 OREGON app shows this evening:


All extended forecasts on apps are automated, so keep in mind it’s just computer modeling without human input.  Here at FOX12 we also put our regular 7 Day Forecast on the right side, you should always look there first.  But wait!  OUR forecast also has snowflakes in next Thursday.

What’s going on?

Thursday & Friday of next week we get a cool and showery weather pattern, just like today but maybe 5-8 degrees colder.   Today we were in the mid-upper 40s during the afternoon hours.

Jet Stream Forecast 2017

This isn’t an “arctic blast” sort of pattern; there will be no east wind pouring cold air out of the Gorge like we see in our real snow/ice events.  No this is the “wet snow” setup that frustrates so many of us.

AT THIS POINT it appears these showers will be accompanied by “onshore flow” or air flowing from the ocean inland.  That modifies the lowest part of the atmosphere enough that it’s really tough to get sticking snow (more than a dusting) down to sea level where most of us live.  But it is very easy to get sticking snow up around 1,000′ and above in this pattern.   In this upcoming pattern that app forecast is just right.  We’d typically see highs 40-46 in the lowlands and lows in the 30s in this setup and that’s our forecast too.

It’s hard to believe, but THIS IS THE FIRST TIME WE’VE HAD THIS PATTERN THE ENTIRE WINTER!  The only other time we’ve been close to snow in the lowlands was for about 4 hours on Christmas Eve…that’s it!  It’s been a mild winter so far.

So we’ll keep an eye on it, but it’s probably safe to say a lot of us will at least SEE snow in the air later next week, it’s just a matter of whether it sticks at your location.  If you live at/above 1,000′ it looks like possibly next Thursday or Friday you might see some snow on the ground.  But a lot can change in 7 days…

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

Big Waves On the Beaches Today

January 18, 2018

6pm Thursday

30-35 foot waves arrived on the Oregon Coast late last night as expected.  They continued to pound the coastline through the day.  There doesn’t appear to be much widespread damage, but the pictures and video have been amazing!  At midday a large wave smashed into the Sea Gypsy motel/condos.   The wave in action (courtesy of Joel Hernandez)



A few pics of the damage from David Willis:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Take a look at a buoy about 30 miles west of Astoria

Wave Height One Buoy 24 Hrs

An important point is that this is SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT, not the highest waves.  These numbers show the average height of the highest 1/3 of waves.  So assuming we’re talking a 32-33′ sig. wave height, that means maybe 1 in 1000 waves passing a location could be as high as double that height!  In fact the NWS noted this buoy measured a 60′ tall wave around 1am this morning!

Where did the action come from?  FAR offshore.  A deep area of low pressure maybe 1,000 miles to our southwest generated a large field of southwest wind.  This is 48 hours ago:

OceanWaveHeight Observed

Then 24 hours ago the field of large swell was about to arrive on the coastline:

OceanWaveHeight Observed2

This isn’t quite as rare as you think.  It seems that at least once a winter we talk about 30′ waves, and the folks over at Portland NWS think we last saw conditions like this a little over two years ago, during that stormy December 2015.  That was about the same time as the Battle Ground tornado.

The wave/swell height is dropping now and should be down to around 20 feet by tomorrow midday & afternoon.

It’s amazing nowadays with social media how quickly great pics and video spread from the coastline to…the rest of the world.   20 years ago we would have just received an email with maybe a still pic…maybe.  Quite a change!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen