Bright Sunshine, But a Chilly East Wind

7pm Sunday…

What a fantastic January day with a blue sky and bright sunshine.  If we aren’t going to get much-needed rain and mountain snow I’d prefer this over gray skies.  The coastline was quite warm today along with most of us in the western valleys of Oregon and SW Washington

todays observed highs orwa 2017

Strong high pressure is in control over the Pacific Northwest both in the higher atmosphere and down here near sea level as well.  We are still in “inversion season” for about 4 more weeks; meaning the sun angle (although rising) is still too low to allow that sunshine to warm the ground much.  The long winter nights mean cool air pools at the lower elevations.  In fact quite an extensive pool of cool (not cold) air has developed east of the Cascades below about 4,000′.  A late-morning GOES-17 image shows the large area of stratus (low clouds/fog) east of the mountains and mainly clear sky westside


This weather pattern continues through Tuesday/Wednesday, except we’ll add lots more clouds and even a few showers overhead Wednesday.  This is our classic east wind pattern in the western Gorge and Portland metro area too.  Right now it’s blowing 26 mph at PDX gusting to 35.  It was a windy day across a good chunk of our area; the area in orange shows who was feeling the wind today and continues to get nailed this evening.

warnings gorge and metro east wind

As I mentioned in the post last week, we’re headed into at least a few days of wet weather from Wednesday through this coming weekend.  Overnight temperatures rise up closer to 40 and highs stick to within a few degrees of 50 as we’ll get leftovers of California weather systems.  Take a look at the 6 day rain forecast down there!

ecmwf precipitation accumulation

We should see only around 1″ or so in the next week here in Portland.

Models also appear to be latching on to a pattern change for the 2nd half of January; what was coined the “North American Winter Temperature Dipole” in a recent published study.  We know it as the “Western Ridge/Eastern Trough” pattern.  Warm & drier than normal in the west and cold/snowy in the east.  It begins to show up on all models about a week from now.  Here’s the ECMWF/GEM/GFS for Monday the 21st, showing some sort of strong upper-level ridging developing over or just west of the West Coast

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Then there is surprising agreement it’s still there a week later, on Monday the 28th

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Generally this means a slowdown in weather along the West Coast and lots of high pressure overhead.  If ridging is weak, we end up with weak systems bringing onshore flow, light rain at times,  and mild temperatures over the top of the ridge.

It’s interesting to note both the GFS and ECMWF ensembles have a hint of the ridge backing a little farther offshore.  That would open up the possibility of at least some cold air making it west of the Rockies.  That would be at least 10 days out from now.  So if you’re a weather weenie and concerned there is no sign of winter ahead; there’s still a chance…


What does this mean for our day-to-day weather the next 10-14 days?

  • East wind and sunshine continues through Tuesday
  • Wednesday through at least next Sunday we’ll see lots of clouds, rain at times, and mild temperatures
  • NEXT week (starting Monday the 21st), could be much drier but mild temps will continue.
  • There is no sign of lowland snow/ice or real stormy weather in the next 10 days.  Unless something pops up in the last week of the month, this January is going to end up a very mild January!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

22 Responses to Bright Sunshine, But a Chilly East Wind

  1. Bear says:

    Wow, awesome weather blog so glad to find all you weather geeks. So many knowledgeable and some imaginable wish-casters and now even a sci-fi element in regards to movent of the third rock. Very entertaining.

  2. Kyle says: the site requires subscription to go past 3 articles. :\

    The solution to all this so far is dumping tons of ice from the Artic every day by the truck loads. Wonder where all our ice is going so fast try dumping it in the reactor! The other solution they had was to let half of Japan blow up and evacuate people.

    They were going to have people with degrees in various fields including my dad take training courses if they signed the letters to those who received them to be radiation authorities and have/learn how to use the appropriate equipment but later decided not to.

    They would have authority to come to your door and order you to leave if it was too dangerous too long or forecasted to be in the ‘likely’ range. There were meetings on how to evacuate west coast cities if it went that far.

  3. Kyle says:

    The earth has been tilted slightly unfortunately to the hotter side. Last month articles came out that astronomers have had to reset their telescopes to get the regular constellations again but it was blamed on ‘global warming’ upsetting the magnetic balance or something like that. When in reality since Fukashima (which is still pouring TONS of radiation and robots have been fried before going very far in) and large volcanoes have had effects deep inside the earth.

    The magnetic pole is shifting faster to Siberia too the last year or so.
    We are overdue for a pole flip of the major kind that brought much changes to species and ended others for good.

    The question remains what will be affected by it. Our human body has a weak magnetic field that gives us thought and motor control.

    Some airports have had to realign their runways again because of this to match.

  4. Jason Hougak says:

    Come on Feb. 1989
    I remember very mild January and then everything including our pool froze solid during the Feb. 89’ arctic blast. The pool was destroyed and slowly melted lasting months as a block of ice.

  5. Roland Derksen says:

    30F and clear skies here this morning. Yes, I know people want a “real” winter, but at least I’m getting frost in the mornings now. 🙂

  6. Josh "The Snowman" from Gladstone says:

    Remember guys. The death ridge is showing up in the extended, not tomorrow. First step is to shut down the Pacific which looks like will happen. Lets stay optimistic.

  7. Ken in Wood Village says:

    I’m going to just say what I think everyone who is looking at the expended forecast on both the Euro and GFS. I HATE THE EXTENDED FORECAST!!! What is with the massive High pressure system? We may as well go right into Summer and forget winter and spring. The way the High is setting up is exactly what would happen during summer time.

    I am sick of this winter. Just shot me know.

    • Scott Reeves says:

      I’m loving it!

    • Kyle says:

      Sorry but the earth is tilted (slightly) but unfortunately to the warmer side of things. Since Fukushima and several large volcano eruptions which one stopped the world for less then a second astronomers have had to reset their telescopes.

      Some of the media got wind of it and spun the story to say global warming tilted the earth.

      The sun angle is higher then it was for most of my life just a few degrees but it’s noticeable and several people who have high degrees also agree that it’s not right. They noticed it before I did.

    • Kyle says:

      The blame on global warming was in fact a month ago where it was admitted that many professional astronomers have had to reset their telescopes as the sky constellations are no longer in the spot. A degree or two may not seem like much in human terms but in astronomy terms it’s a big headache.

  8. MasterNate says:

    Fake cold low of 22 this morning with beautiful sunrise. Ill take it. Better than 33 and fog.

  9. W7ENK says:

    At my place in Upper Milwaukie, NE winds were gusting into the low to mid 30s Friday night and most of Saturday, backed off into the mid 20s Saturday afternoon/night, but then ramped back up Sunday morning and continued to intensify throughout the day, topping 40mph around sunset. Had a tree come down on my property sometime during the 5 o’clock hour last evening, thankfully is was small and didn’t hit anything, but it’s just one more thing for me to deal with. Winds kept on pretty steady, gusting in the 30+ range all night, finally slacked a bit again this morning.

  10. Geesh, it more windstorms…i just put a new rectifier in my wind turbine…Could some one olease call harp and order up a storm..i really need to test my wind turbine..and my drill batteries are my drill charged ceased to function.

    • W7ENK says:

      Bring it to my neighborhood, the wind has been blowing down trees and bumping the power for the last 3 days.

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        LOL, the wind has been intense in my area. I woke up a couple of times because of it. It will be blowing the next couple of days 😦

    • Kyle says:

      You spelled it wrong. It’s HARRP. Look up the book Angels don’t play this HARRP in the 90s back when it was more experimental.’

      The idea in short is to heat certain parts of the ionsphere to create droughts with artificial high pressures and divert low pressures in other areas so they are more ‘stuck’.

      Pretty much what we have been seeing with the east coast under a semi-permanent low which natural forces cannot uncouple unless something bigger then HARRP hijacks things.

  11. It would be nice to get rid of this fog lol. Also we could use the wind, as we have air stagnation issues .

  12. Mark, what causes the east winds? They seem to last for so long. I’m already tired of it this winter. 😦
    When do they typically stop for the season?

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      They disappear in early March. Its a seasonal wind caused by colder continent vs. warmer ocean. It’s mainly a November-February thing in our area.

  13. JohnD says:

    …You say there’s a chance?…😐

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