April Is Here; But Lots of Rain Ahead

7pm Monday

Spring Break is finished in Oregon, but now it’s Washington’s turn.  It appears both will turn out wet…not really a surprise if you grew up in this area.

I had a great time travelling through Idaho & Utah with my son (mountain biking), then met the rest of the family in Nevada.  Lots of red rocks and sunshine!  This is Gooney Bird rock along the “Mag 7” trail system near Moab, UT


We had one last run-in with snow in the higher elevations this morning.  I woke up to a little slush left over on the deck and greenhouse at home.  I had mentioned on-air last night that some areas in Northern Clark county up through SW Washington, under heavier showers, could see sticking snow down below 1,000′.  It happened in a few spots.


Lynn Hayes sent this pic from above La Center at 900′ elevation.

There is no sign of hilltop snow in the next 10 days.  In fact temperatures move uphill to more typical upper 50s and lower 60s for highs the next week…after tomorrow.  Here’s a confusing-looking chart from the ECMWF model.  But you can glean a few tidbits from it.  The lower section shows 6 hourly maximum temperatures for the next 10 days at Portland.  Time goes from left (right now) to 10 days from now on the right.  Note the uphill trend in general, with a peak around this Friday and next Monday.  The green is the average of all 51 “ensemble members” from that model.  The black is the actual operational model.  Ensembles are often safer because they even out any one member showing some sort of extreme high or low on its own.  On the upper half of the chart each thin horizontal line is one of the 51 members.  Note the areas of yellow/orange.  When you see a whole column of yellow, there’s pretty good confidence that day is going to make it into the 60s if the model is correct.  Note again that’s Friday afternoon and again Monday PM.  It’s a nice visual way to quickly isolate warmer days in the model run.


A wet westerly or southwesterly flow will be over us Thursday through Sunday and it looks unusually wet for early April.  Check out rain accumulation at PDX from the same model:

ECMWF 12z Rain Graph Next 10 Days

You see the heaviest rain on Thursday, and again Saturday plus Sunday.  Don’t make any big outdoor plans for this coming weekend.  But at least it’ll be a “warmer rain”!

Mt. Hood just had a 7-15″ dumping from a winter storm last night, but now April warmth is going to turn much of the coming precipitation into rain.

ECMWF Snow Level From 850mb Temps LONG TERM

See the snow level going above the passes from tomorrow through Saturday?  That’s a lot of rain falling on top of the snow.  Rivers will be running high over the weekend, but there is still LOTS of storage available in the Willamette Basin due to the lower than normal snowpack.


I see most of those reservoirs are a bit lower than normal for early April, so this coming weather pattern should top things off nicely.  Typically water managers aim to have the reservoirs at full summer levels by May 1st.

To summarize:  The first half of April looks like a soaker

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

75 Responses to April Is Here; But Lots of Rain Ahead

  1. K says:

    I find this storm very interesting. For one, the wave of moisture before seems reminiscent of December 14 2006 as well as October 14 2016. We are also forecast to have high winds <38 for several hours on Saturday. With the moisture and the fact we have had few wind events this year, trees could fall a lot easier on Saturday.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      I agree with what you said. If the winds are that strong and for a long time we could see some big issues. With all the moisture too, the ground will be saturated and that could bring trees down easier.

      • K says:

        I noticed the NWS mentioned a band of, and I quote, “very heavy rain” in the valley for an hour of two. I wonder how that will pan out right before the high winds begin. This storm seems a lot less “gusty” than March/April storms in the past as well.

  2. Ashley Watson says:

    I remember that day of the severe thunderstorm warning back in 1993 to. It was like April 8 or something. It was the same time as the whole David Koresh branch davidian compound debacle. I was in 8th grade living in Oregon City. It reminded me of the average thunderstorms we had when I lived in Atlanta Georgia. Great times.

  3. W7ENK says:

    Flags goin’ up!

    HIGH WIND WATCH just posted for Willamette Valley, including Portland metro.


    ● WINDS…South 25 to 35 mph with gusts 40 to 55 mph.

    ● TIMING…Windy conditions from early Saturday through Saturday evening. The strongest gusts will occur from Saturday late morning through early evening.

  4. Ken in Wood Village says:

    The 18Z NAM is looking way more interesting. It has winds at 2498ft (925mb) over 50mph now. 😉

  5. Roland Derksen says:

    Steady light rain here since yesterday early afternoon. Have to hunker down and wait for some sun tomorrow.

  6. F40 Fan says:

    Ken in Wood Village should be renamed Ken the Village Idiot.. Due to his laughable prognostications…

    • W7ENK says:

      I think you need to go now.


      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        Thank you for what you did W7ENK. I wish people like him/her (or it) would go away and spend time with learning how to be a polite person. 😉

      • F40 Fan says:

        W7ENK… You are another village idiot with your clueless “forecasts”…

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      Wow, I think someone needs a pacifier. Just because I’m writing what is on my mind doesn’t give you the right to bash me. I try to be a very open minded person but people like you are just pathetic. The one thing about this blog is to be able to talk about what the weather will be doing in the future, not bashing other people. If you want to do that type of stuff, go to another blog. Leave people alone here.

    • …and which old troll has come back with a new name?…or are we blessed with a new generation of mental midgets?…

    • GTS1Kft says:

      Typical that you would characterize that which you don’t understand as laughable. The reflex of a true intellectual.

  7. K says:

    GFS has come back with a more southerly track. The low moves to south Vancouver Island before ducking down and making landfall near the Olympic Peninsula. The NAM has become very intense with winds, and the low landfalls on the Olympic Peninsula.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      The NAM is doing great if you like wind…lol. One thing is very interesting, it’s how long the wind will be around. It looks like it could be for hours. If the winds last for a long time, there could be a lot of issues with limbs/trees falling which could bring damage to houses and power outages. Let’s see how the next few model runs look, it will give us a better idea on what to expect.

      • K says:

        Don’t know what to make of the EURO, but it is also more south. Appears to be a trend.

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          The EURO Ensemble means wants to put the low into the Central part of Vancouver Island. If I remember, the past few runs had it a little more hitting the North part of Vancouver Island. Very interesting 😉

        • www.sеху.xxxvidiossnakomstwa.ru says:


  8. W7ENK says:

    Interesting little snippet from this morning’s AFD…

    It is premature to draw any serious conclusions from the following observation, but given the anniversary today of the Vancouver tornado of 1972, is is worth noting that there are some signifcant similarities in Saturday`s synoptic pattern to that event, from the track of the low, to the placement of the jet and strength of the wind fields, and to the mild and moist air mass in place. Model soundings for Sat afternoon do show the potential for sufficient low level instability to support a chance for thunderstorms, mainly over the interior valleys, as well as the strong wind field.

    Keep your eyes peeled and your cameras ready, but most importantly, stay safe, folks!

    • K says:

      Were there strong south winds on the day of the Vancouver-PDX tornado as well?

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        Actually, yes. I found a youtube clip that is very interesting. I’ll paste it so you are able to see it. Also, did you see the 12Z NAM. It brings the low right into the Puget Sound area now. Not as strong as 970mb but still moved it South.

        Very interesting video 😉

        • K says:

          Thank you for the link. Yes, the NAM results are certainly interesting. I think 40-55 gusts could be a good possibility.

      • W7ENK says:

        I was (−7) yeas old, so my memory of that day fails me. lol

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          There was another time were Portland had a severe thunderstorm come through the area. I don’t remember the year but I was in 5th grade (I think). I was outside playing with a few friends at school. It was grandparents day and I was waiting for my great great grandma to show up but she never showed up because a teacher came out of the school, telling all of us that we needed to go to our homeroom class. We all went in and when I was in my class I looked outside and noticed it started getting dark outside. It was so dark that the street lights came on. Then there was a lot of lightning. We were not allowed to get close to the window so I wasn’t able to see much but I did see the trees moving around a lot. That was the first time I ever experienced a severe thunderstorm. 🙂

        • W7ENK says:

          I had a similar experience in the 7th Grade — April or May 1993. I remember it being a bright, blue sky, sunny day, and quite warm. Suddenly around 2 o’clock or so, the sky turned black, with tons of lightning and really loud thunder. Then the wind came up so violently that our teacher hurried everyone out into the hall and told us to sit against the wall, duck our heads and cover our necks with our hands. It all happened so fast, none of us kids had any clue what was happening.

          I wasn’t in the hall 10 seconds and there was a massive explosion right outside our classroom that set off the fire alarms. I literally felt the floor and the air around my body shaking! Lightning hit a large Douglas Fir tree that was only 10 feet or so off the back corner of the building. It exploded into toothpicks, three of the large windows in that back corner of our classroom were blown in, and there were shards of glass all the way to the hallway door.

          Of course, chaos immediately ensued, as we were supposed to evacuate the building out into the school field for the fire alarm, but with the raging wind and lightning coming down — and now the torrential hail outside — they held us all in the front lobby, then ushered us into the gymnasium, where we sat until the fire department showed up and led us outside. I’m not sure how much time passed, but I specifically remember it being distinctly colder outside, hail was piled up all over, and we could still hear loud, booming thunder as the storm pulled away to the North over Portland proper.

          I think that particular experience is what sparked my interest in weather, particularly my love for the exciting and unusual.

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          Wow, great story 🙂 I don’t remember that one but I do remember another one. I don’t remember the year (either 2004 or 2005) but I do remember the day. It was Father’s Day. I was downtown for an event and I decided to go home (in Gresham) and when I went over the Fremont Bridge I looked towards the East and saw the sky all black with lightning coming out of the sky. I drove home and could see the huge thunderstorm coming up to were I lived. The sky darkened so much again, the street lights came on. There was so much lightning that it brightened the sky. The thunder was deafening. It made whoever had an alarm on their cars go off. I called a friend who lives further North of me to expect the thunderstorm. It lasted for probably 15 minutes and every time there was thunder people’s alarms would go off…lol. I don’t see how people in the Mid-West can live with those types of conditions. I know I would love to see it a lot but it would dictate my way of life all the time…hehe.

          Again, great story 🙂

        • K says:

          The only BIG thunderstorm I remember was June 4 2009, with the high winds. The first time I was truly interested in weather was a storm back on December 16 2012. That storm ended up weaker than expected, but I was still intrigued. The biggest storm I have ever experienced was April 7 2017 or December 11 2014. The former had winds gusting close to 80 MPH near my house, the latter being the most dramatic storm (in terms of onset) I have experienced. Hopefully I can add another memory with this upcoming one.

  9. Ken in Wood Village says:

    I was 4 1/4 years old on this date back in 1972 so I don’t remember the tornado that hit Portland then went to Vancouver and did all that damage and death. The NWS decision is very interesting reading this morning.

  10. K says:

    Wow, Cliff Mass just posted that latest models show 75 KT gusts on the Oregon coast (86 MPH). Whew!

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      Very interesting indeed. The one thing that is fueling this low is the Jet Stream. Around that time, the winds will be 175 mph or higher. I may have to take a road trip to the coast…lol

      • boydo3 says:

        The coast is probably your best bet for big winds. Valley will likely see some good gusts..
        Looks like this spring is a throw back to a few years ago when it seemed to not really warm up till July.

  11. K says:

    GFS comes back with the low even stronger, but still a bit north-central. Hopefully EURO is better. If the GFS goes lower, that would be better (for high winds).

  12. F40 Fan says:

    Looks like the blog has a new so called forecasting self proclaimed expert…. Ken in Wood Village… LOL!!!

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      And this is the type of person I said in my other post. As much as you think this is funny. To me, this is still bullying. I never said I was an expert. Like I have said to other people, BACK OFF, cuz you won’t like it when I’m mad.

    • GTS1Kft says:

      Looks like the blog has a new troll – same as the old troll…

  13. K says:

    GFS in running now.

  14. K says:

    NAM seems to trend a bit southward, spreading stronger winds to our area perhaps. Could someone more knowledgeable give their thoughts on this?

    • Dave in SW PDX (235ft) says:

      I suspect Mark will provide a blog update soon.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      The 00Z NAM is coming out. The 18Z still has the low moving into the most North part of Vancouver Island. If it moves more to the SE (closer to Puget Sound) then we will get a major wind event here. I also saw on the GFS showing another good storm next week around Wednesday with some wind too.

      Hopefully Mark will post another blog really soon. 😉

      • K says:

        Oh seriously!? I had no idea about the second storm, cannot believe it’s April. I have a gut feeling that strong winds will surface and model runs will track more south, as the NWS mentioned the GFS has difficulty with bomb cyclones. How funny that after the East Coast we get our own over here! Here’s to a fun weather week!

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          I have been looking at the GFS and the GEFS and the ensembles show the low hitting more central Vancouver Island (and some South of that location). Only a few show it going the North part of Vancouver Island. The next couple of days, the models will narrow were it will land. As always, even if the models say this and say that, the low will make it’s own mind were it goes.

      • K says:

        The NAM has arrived. A 968 MB low making landfall near Hoquiam. I’m surprised the NAM has shifted south again.

        • K says:

          My bad, it makes landfall south/central Vancouver Island. Still some 850 MB 50+ KT sustained winds and mixing will be good, I suspect.

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          It’s ok, if my memory is correct, the NAM had it a little further North the past run or two. I did notice something on the NAM. 500mb (18,000 feet) the winds are at or above 100+ mph above the Portland area.

        • K says:

          Yeah, it was definitely more north last run. If this keeps up we could see 40-60 gusts in the valley. If you look at Bufkit Warehouse (on Mark’s links) the ensemble members all have gusts ranging from 45 to 65 mph. Sorry for the overzealous typing, I’m just pretty excited about this storm.

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          It’s ok, I’ve been in your shoes. One thing about this blog is the fact that people should be able to say what they think (even tho some people have been very over critical with people) I think it’s all about learning from other people on how to read models. 😉

          I see Mark is on KPTV 12+, hopefully he will have more incite on what will be coming up.

  15. K says:

    This is exciting. Models are showing this storm to be stronger (pressure-wise) than the storm last April. I doubt the models will trend any more northward, but rather a bit southward if anything. I suspect (with my limited knowledge of meteorology) we may set some pressure records of the month of April.

  16. K says:

    New to the blog, but a long time lurker. What would be an estimations (I know models will likely change) of the winds on Saturday? If we get 45-60 mph gusts, they would do much more damage then if they occurred in December, correct?

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      Yes, because the trees are starting to get their foliage. This makes the trees like a sail which can bring limbs or trees down onto powerlines, houses or people.

      • K says:

        Thank you for your insight! Though I’m excited about this upcoming storm, I wouldn’t want any injuries. I’ve been looking at models all day, and from best I can understand the ensembles seem to be trending ever slightly south.

  17. W7ENK says:

    4/7/2017 redux?

    507 AM PDT WED APR 4 2018



  18. Jason Hougak says:

    January was mild and dull which makes for a wet and wild spring. Bring on the thunderstorms. Saturday looks windy and stormy.

  19. Ken in Wood Village says:

    NWS issued a weather statement

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      Oops, thought it would do a link. I’m doing this on my phone. The end of the week looks interesting.

  20. JohnD says:

    I went hiking in the Gorge on Mon.–Hamilton Mtn. 5 mi. W. of Cascade Locks on the WA side (just north of iconic Beacon Rock.) 36′ and heavy rain/snow mixed shower at 8:00 a.m. @ T/H. At about 1,000′ full snow cover ensued with off-on light snowfall. Around 2-3″ @’summit @’about 2,400′. Really a treat having an alpine hike so close to home in April!

  21. Boring Rain says:

    I love rain. Bring it on.

  22. K says:

    Hello everyone! Long time lurker here finally deciding to post. I have been reading the blogs for quite a while, and love the insight of the community here! I was hoping to get the insight of someone a little more knowledgeable about meteorology about a possible weather event on Saturday. There appears to be a rather strong low that moves either into northern Washington or Vancouver Island. Models seem to be trending stronger and further south after going a bit north today, but I know how tricky to predict these cyclones are. My question is, does this appear to be unusually strong (as of now) like the storm we saw last April?

  23. Roland Derksen says:

    Yuck! I don’t like to see all that rain. I guess April is going to make up for all the rain we missed in March.

    • Paul D says:

      And December, and January, and February…..

      • Roland Derksen says:

        Yes, it all gets rather tiresome. I do recall last year’s April was pretty soggy here (6.17 inches). We didn’t really turn the corner until halfway through May. Perhaps you folks further south will see the change earlier than me- as you often do.

  24. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    28.7 for a low in Battle Ground. Good enough for a daily record low. The average last freeze at my station is April 20th (drug out later by those late freezes in 2011-2013!) I had low of 29.9 on May 10th, 2012, my latest ever.

  25. GTS1Kft says:

    Rain in April !!!! What next ?????

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