December Starts Mild; Still No Stormy Weather Pattern In Sight

10pm Sunday…

That storm of flurries in the metro area was fun last night around midnight to 1am.  Lots of us saw a dusting, although no one saw more than 1/2″.  I see some totals up around 2-3″ max in the Gorge.  Not exactly a big snow storm…or even any sort of snow storm.  But a nice little start to the cold season weather fun.  Officially no measurable snow fell in Portland so we haven’t seen our “first snow” yet this season

Snow Official PDX Today

East wind is still screaming through the western Gorge this evening, gusting 70-80 mph at times at Crown Point.  But tomorrow the high pressure east of the Cascades weakens quite a bit; so the wind dies down too.  That means a bit warmer in the metro area and Gorge too.  Otherwise we should see a fantastic first Monday of December; abundant sunshine and high temperatures near normal.  That’s 45-50 this time of year.

November was very dry, in fact the driest in 26 years in Portland!

Driest November Ever Graph

Remember October was dry as well.  Just for fun I checked all the October/Novembers with less than 5″ rain in Portland (only 3.03″)  All 5 since 1976 ended up with little/no winter snow in Portland.  The winters following were all generally quite boring in our area. That’s 76-77, 87-88, 93-94, 02-03, 13-14.  That’s not a forecast; I’m just noting that it’s interesting.

What’s ahead?  A mild start to December.  There’s no sign of arctic air or lowland snow.  Check out the ECMWF ensemble forecast of 24 hour snowfall at PDX.  That’s 51 runs of the ECMWF model and not even a hint of snow in the valley through mid-month.


There are hints that we MAY have a wetter pattern arriving, but it’s still 10 days out on the ECMWF…hmmm


The GFS ensembles show the mild weather first half of December


I think the most striking feature is the lack of storminess continuing into early December.  Sure, we had one “bomb cyclone” move into the southern Oregon coastline.  But otherwise it’s been quiet most of the past two months.  There’s quite a bit of a “splitty” look to the upper-level pattern right now and into Tuesday.  See the upper-level low west of California?  It’s “cut off “from the main flow up to our north on Tuesday’s map.  This can tear weather systems apart


An approaching cold trough on Friday appears to be splitting a bit as well


At 10 days out (Wednesday the 11th), the flow is more consolidated, but heights are higher (warmer) than normal.  This would be a wet & warm December pattern.


To summarize:

I don’t see any big weather “events” in the next week that will have any big impact on your life.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

39 Responses to December Starts Mild; Still No Stormy Weather Pattern In Sight

  1. Roland Derksen says:

    Another foggy, misty morning here- i’ve noticed the fog being present for the last few days. Not much wind probably is the main reason.

  2. Ashley Schlitz says:

    Little light snow here in SE Milwaukee, near king ave

  3. W7ENK says:

    Gusty East wind, all of a sudden.

    Was that supposed to happen? I must’ve missed that part in the forecast… 🤔

  4. Jason Hougak says:

    Really hoping for an action packed January. We are really over due. I can’t remember the last active cold/ snowy/ icy or rainy for that matter January.

  5. Larry says:

    Anyone else remember early December 2017? We had a similar pattern to right now with little rain and inversion (air stagnation).

    Does this mean a repeat of Dec 2017? Absolutely not, but with a dead blog rn I think its good to find something to talk about.

  6. runrain says:

    Wow. I picked a good year NOT to go to Phoenix in December. Sitting out on the deck and I’m actually HOT! Except for the bad air, spectacular!!

  7. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    GFS, WRF GFS, and GEM looking pretty juicy for this Saturday. NAM isn’t bad. Potentially pretty wet late next week too. There is hope!

    • Mr Realist says:

      Oh boy, rain👎👎👎👎

    • W7ENK says:

      So, what was all that whining about “less than a half an inch” we heard, just a couple of days ago?

      • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

        No ensemble support. I was trying to be positive. I will put $20 on it that PDX makes it through the weekend with less than .50’’. You in? NAM-WRF and WRF-GFS still bullish. Easy money for you.

  8. Mr Realist says:

    Great early fall weather heading our way for winter 😎😎👍👍🤣🤣😉😉

    It doesn’t get better than this, well unless it stays dry as a bone!!!

  9. Tom Duncan says:

    Cloudy, 24 degrees here in Kelso, Oregon

  10. OLIVER WATSON says:

    Looking at the models for the next 2 weeks it’s going to be poopy weather indeed. After 84 inches of snow in Sunriver though last season I guess you can’t always have a stellar winter

  11. tim says:

    La nina were art tho? Mabe next winter until then it’s cruzs control into spring i guess.

  12. Roland Derksen says:

    I don’t mind a”boring” weather forecast at this time- it’s in January when I find boring weather really bothers me!

  13. Mr Realist says:

    Dry December coming????? Probably, I hate to say I told you so 🤓🤓🤓

  14. WEATHERDAN says:

    Mark I must take exception to your list of boring Winters big time. In 13-14 We had a full on Arctic outbreak the first week of December. It dropped to -10 in Eugene and Corvallis had a foot of snow. Then in early February we had more cold and snow. Parts of Salem had up to 18 inches of snow. And in 87-88 we had multiple snow events over a 4 week stretch between 12/10/87 and 1/10/88. Even in 93-94 we had 2 4 inch snow events. One of which was in November. The other year on your list was boring. So if this Winter looks like the Winters on your list then 19-20 probably won’t be so boring. Peace.

  15. Tanis Leach says:

    I’ve noticed another thing. Whenever my health is good, it seems to rain (2016-17 I was healthy, 51 inches of rain, same with 15-16 but with 45 inches), however with my 5 injuries in the last 2 years, it’s been more dry. Last April was kind of wet, and was the month I came back from injury 3. Watch the day I get back to running, we switch to a wet pattern.

    • Larry says:

      Get well soon Tanis!

    • JohnD says:

      I know we don’t get personal on the blog. But we gather that you are an OSU athlete and meteorology student to boot(?)
      In any event best wishes! Your blog comments are great!

    • Kyle says:

      🙂 We need a new weather index. The Tanis Health to Rain ratio.

      • Tanis Leach says:

        I do have an evaluation on Tuesday, judging by the surge of rain immediately after on Wednesday and Thursday, my health condition is looking to improve but not to running health due to the flatline afterwards. This is assuming the new model is true.

        Not posting this in the most recent post until I know my health for sure.

  16. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    Shockingly, models have backed off big time on the rain this weekend. Another 10 days out, another .50” or so of rain.

    • W7ENK says:

      WRF-GFS Extended and MM5-NAM both say that’s a lie.

      Unless you were looking for multiple inches of precip through the weekend, in which case, that was never in the forecast models to begin with.

  17. MasterNate says:

    So no snow or cold in those top 5 dry starts to winter. That’s very interesting. My question is, did it stay unusually dry the rest of the remaining winter and spring? Or, did we finally start getting some storms and average rain totals? Also, how was mountain snow pack?

  18. Paul Sorensen says:

    I guess I missed the non-event.

  19. Lynn says:

    Darn. Disappointing about the possible dry winter (even though I know it wasn’t a prediction). I really want a WET, SNOWY Winter!!!! I LOVE rain and snow (especially snow) and I’m so tired of having low precipitation.

    I’m still hoping for a nice snowy winter!

  20. Mr Realist says:

    Perfection, thanks Mark!!!

%d bloggers like this: