Drier Weather Ahead After Widespread Flooding in Northeast Oregon

February 7, 2020

9am Friday…

Good news folks…we finally have some dry weather ahead!  After a very wet January, things have slowed down a bit weather-wise in most of Oregon.   The past 30 days have seen almost double the typical rainfall in Washington, and well above normal here in Oregon.  Yet drier than normal to our south.


An upper-level ridge has been sitting just offshore the 2nd half of this week with lots of subtropical moisture streaming overhead.  This has brought flooding north of us in western Washington but kept most of the heavy rain out of Oregon.  Strong northwest flow coming down the backside of the ridge dumped a huge amount of snow on NE Oregon Wednesday night & Thursday, which then turned to rain.  The result has been widespread flooding in one of the drier parts of Oregon.  The Umatilla River near Pendleton has crested and dropped 2 feet after going into the MAJOR flooding category yesterday, 7 feet above flood stage!


Here’s a pic from a viewer.


The Grande Ronde river at Perry (upstream from La Grande) is at one of its highest levels on record.  That wave of water will be slowly passing through the Grande Ronde Valley the next few days, it’s a very flat valley so the water will be lingering.  Lots of roads/highways closed due to either flooding or slides over there.


The good news is that we’re drying out in general, with just one more weather system to go tonight and Saturday.  3 day precipitation forecast from our RPM model


But check out the next five days…Monday through Friday next week from ECMWF model…very little!


The drier weather is due to that upper-level ridge offshore nudging up against the West Coast.  It won’t be cutting off all the precipitation for the whole week, but systems passing overhead should be much weaker = less rain.

This also means mild temps ahead.  A couple days ago it was looking chilly with colder weather systems digging an upper-level trough over the West Coast.  Now models are keeping the ridge closer (no snow!) for next week, although expect some cooling still around Valentine’s Day.  Here’s the latest ensemble forecast of high temps around PDX.  A dip around late next week, but near normal through much of the next two weeks


And strong hints that next week’s drier weather may not last.  See the resumption of rains beginning around Valentine’s Day.  The solid blue line is the operational model, the green bars are the average of all 51 members.  They both show mainly dry next work week, but then wet again as we head toward late February.


I’m taking a long weekend; will be back on the air Monday afternoon.  Enjoy the dry weather Sunday!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen