March Ends Cool & Wet; Plus Forecasting Weather During a Pandemic

8:00pm Sunday…

I haven’t posted much the past two weeks for two reasons.  One is that the weather has been relatively slow so it’s tough to get inspired.  Second, because our society has been consumed by the COVID-19 pandemic; weather seems like a minor concern during this unprecedented time in American history.  Of course weather can be a big deal, but during these past two weeks it has been relatively quiet in the Pacific Northwest anyway.

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You might be wondering what has changed in the FOX12 weather center these past two weeks?

Well, we have a supply of Purell, Lysol, & other disinfectants just like all the rest of you.  Many of you are now working from home to avoid interacting with others.  “Social-distancing” is THE big thing right now, although “physical-distancing” is probably a better description.   Should we really be “socially-distant” from each other?  I don’t think so.

So why aren’t WE working from home?

It’s because we’ve been able distance ourselves at work quite well due to nature of our work space.   IF there are two of us in the weather center (much of the time we are alone), we already sit six feet or so apart.  And we are far removed from other coworkers.  I know at least one other TV station in Portland has the weather anchors working right in the middle of the newsroom (during normal times).  I’m now glad that is not the case here.  We are fortunate that all our work is done on computers in the main broadcast studio.  That’s “Studio A”…what you see on television IS our office.  We sit back there below those three big monitors.

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So unless a newscast is on, we sit alone in a massive warehouse-like room.  I didn’t see another person for about two hours today.  During our shows, we stand maybe 10-12 feet away from the anchor(s) at that large monitor, and while sitting about 21 feet away.  Yes, I actually measured today.

FOX12 management has also done a great job turning a regular “office cubicle newsroom” into a more appropriate work space during this pandemic.  Most reporters/photographers remain out and away from the station while gathering/producing news content.  Producers that put together the shows are either widely spaced in the newsroom OR working from home.   News anchors are sitting widely spaced in our other studio, “Studio B”.  This is the studio you see in November/December; a Christmas tree with toys piled many feet deep around it.  A pic this evening shows only Bonnie Silkman in that enormous room.

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Editors and a few other folks are scattered about our two-level office building.  But just about all other workers (sales/promotions, engineers, etc…) are working from home like many of you.  It’s a very quiet place right now…

What else has changed?

  • I now bring my own food, some of us used to cook.  No more going out to grab a sandwich from a restaurant at lunch either.  I used to do that all the time.  But I figure each time I leave the station and come back I could be introducing a virus to the office.
  • I avoid door handles at work
  • Less wandering around the station catching up on the latest from coworkers during breaks.
  • I’ve stopped doing “errands” on the way to work each afternoon.  I used to stop at a coffee shop, home improvement store, auto store, grocery store, etc…  Now I pretty much just go from home to work.  Again, safer to just go back and forth.

I’m totally comfortable with this work setup, we’ll see how it goes over the next few weeks.

Alright, so what about weather?

Quite a change this past week.  Sure, March has been cooler than average, but we were seeing so much sun this month, until the past six days.  What would have been Oregon’s spring break was cool and showery…surprise!  Friday and Saturday were especially gray/drippy.

We have a second cool/wet work week on the way.    A cool upper-level trough will settle in over western Canada and the Pacific Northwest through at least the next week.  You can see the cool trough over the Gulf of Alaska today

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Almost right over us by Wednesday

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Then the ECMWF ensemble forecast for next Saturday.  This is a cool western North America setup with very warm weather east of the Mississippi River.

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Tonight the leading edge of the colder airmass moves inland after midnight.  That’s a cold front and you can expect to hear rain coming down in the wee hours of the morning.  A gusty southerly wind accompanies that cold front too.  A few gusts 30-40 mph are likely between midnight and 6am.  Behind the front we’ll see cold showers and sunbreaks mix; a classic spring hail/thunder setup for both Monday and Tuesday.  The atmosphere appears more unstable Tuesday; that’s our better chance for thunderstorms.

To summarize

  1. Cool and wet weather continues for at least the next 7 days.  Not a soaker every day, but it’s tough to find a totally dry day.
  2. There will be some “decent outdoor weather” for a few hours at a time later this week.  Keep a close eye on the radar if you want to take a run or bike ride.  I’d skip tomorrow and Tuesday.
  3. There’s no sign of a significant warm/dry spell as we head into the first week of April.
  4. Lots of snow is on the way in the Cascades.  Typically early April is the beginning of melt season in the Cascades, but we’ll be adding to the snow pack instead this year.  That will be excellent for our summer water supply.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

34 Responses to March Ends Cool & Wet; Plus Forecasting Weather During a Pandemic

  1. […] The rest of us are still working here.  I have to admit I don’t mind working alone in this environment at all.  I go most of the work day without getting physically close to coworkers as mentioned in a previous post. […]

  2. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    Brown grass cometh.

  3. Pat says:

    We are getting to that time of year for thunderstorm’s, with a southerly flow and heating. I am just glad to be done with the unusual chilly weather for awhile.

  4. Andy says:

    We have some weather action near Eugene currently. Hoping this moves north toward Albany where I live. I will keep an eye on the radar for now.

  5. runrain says:

    Looking forward to some warmer sunnier days next week. Just getting out on the deck will brighten a mood. My recommendation (until we get really warm weather): irish creme on ice!

  6. Jason Hougak says:

    12Z ECMWF looks interesting for Sunday

  7. lurkingsince’14 says:

    I see a progression of hope on the 7 day horizon…
    ⛅️ 🌤 ☀️

  8. Springtime in Whatcom County: flurries and Fraser outflow. No fooling!

  9. Jason Hougak says:

    It will be very curious to see if the rapid shutdown of across the globe will cause a change in temperatures and weather patterns. The longer the shutdowns last the more time there will be to see.

  10. Jason Hougak says:

    Snowing up here in the foothills. Some flakes are size of silver dollars. No it’s not an April Fool’s Day joke.

  11. TIME TO FULFILL A DREAM says:

    there were power outages the day before yesterday. this is one thing we do not need. Pandemic and power outages..Those would spell disaster..I think we dodged a bullet..for those asking when will this end? It will end once the virus has ran its course no sooner no later.

    Nature is in control, we are not. and in case some here may not Know, ChrisI who works at CNN…is positive to Corona Virus. Look I may not like the guy, but I would never hate someone enough to wish possible death on them.

    I only wonder how much more of cnn is contaminated
    oh and our energy is wavering.
    Good luck and dont get stupid.

    • Grizzly Bear says:

      Chris Como and his brother Andrew Como governor of New York State are this countries hero’s. Why in the world would you even say such stupid, thoughtless and ignorant words and make a underhanded statement like that. Why throw out your “zingers” during a time like this when we should all be pulling together. You really need to realize the severity of this World crisis and refrain from stupidity, maybe just next time just bite your tongue.

  12. MasterNate says:

    Not that it matters for skiers but Timberline has more than there yearly average of base snow sitting at 167″. Looking at the models I don’t see why they cant surpass 200″. Great news for summer recreation (if there is any allowed) and for farmers depending on full reservoirs.

  13. lurkingsince’14 says:

    Dry morning at least with some sunshine – take what I can get!!

  14. Andrew says:

    Weather Channel app shows Portland with a rain/snow mix on Thursday, April 8th. Not likely to happen but underscores what kind of pattern we’re in.

  15. W7ENK says:

    Ughhhh…

    I thought I read somewhere that “April Fool’s” was canceled this year. Can’t this crap be over now? Why can’t we have a long run of nice warm sunshine?? 🤦🏼‍♂️

    FFS, just staaaaahp!!

  16. Jason Hougak says:

    March is going out like a Lion

  17. W7ENK says:

    Holy crap, it suddenly became VERY windy!! Been sitting in my “home-office” all day with the window open, listening to the birds and the off/on rain while I work, and about 5 minutes ago the wind ramped up out of nowhere, just now had two successive gusts over 30mph… 🤔

  18. Winter Enthusiast says:

    Enough about the virus.
    It’s a weather blog Mark… hello!!!
    Back to the weather action.

  19. lurkingsince’14 says:

    First week of isolation was so much easier to handle with all that sunshine. Was hoping for at least a late week mini-reprieve as we kick off a new month, but alas, looks like that disappeared and we’ll be slogging through the next 10 days at least. Ugh.

    Summer can’t come soon enough!

  20. TIME TO FULFILL A DREAM says:

    with COVID-19, I truly enjoyed the wind even yesterday, It was nice to see that weather was not doing the physiciall distancing. You have no Idea what this is like for a sensory seeing Autistic Boy of 8 years old…Oh we try boy do we try…But he has a lot of anger over this virus and I can’t say that I don’t blame him. Not only is he Autistic He also has PKU a rare disease, in short he can not eat a tuna fish or egg salad sandwich, nor even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because it would drive his Phenylalanine levels to high and would cause damage.

    Needless to say the COVID-19 has created a storm of sorts in its self..Another thing to think about, we just found out weaknesses and how ill prepared we were as a nation for a disaster of this magnitude imagine had this been that big quake they always been talking about, We pretty much toasted our data plans on all three phones. just by using telehealth and were ordering up a comcast Modem…

    oh and that was a night mare..5 hour wait time. because someone from over 5 years ago didn’t mind disconnecting their services, and the apartment supposedly already had services and all three numbers we tried to use were already associated with accounts. and we have had these numbers for and two of which were 5 years old. and then my number was just given to me by cricket wireless.

    Needless to say this has created a storm of sorts in its own.

  21. Grizzly Bear says:

    Cold snowy weather coming to North Central Idaho this week with snow down to 1200′ at times during the nighttime. After this I’ll be ready for some warmer weather and outside time with my dog.
    We are in stay at home mode here too. Most businesses closed and hoping for the best and prepared for the worst. Stay well.

  22. Kyle Hill says:

    An amazing top tier pattern coming up and a beast of a system coming in yet no comments except news.. Me thinks Mark should axe this blog and make it Mark’s News Blog since nobody cares anymore about the weather.

    Otherwise 1 2 3 MARK CENSOR TIME!!!! 🙂

    The commenting of the future is here!

  23. Jack says:

    This area needs sun. And lots of it, so people can stay healthy by exercising outside, as well as Vitamin D.

  24. Ken in Wood Village says:

    I’m glad to see you back with posting the upcoming weather. These are trying times for everyone. My brothers wife has been very sick for awhile now. She went and had the COVID-19 test. The doctor’s believe she has it. My brother and his family live in Astoria. This morning I heard my sister-in-law was having issues with breathing. She described breathing like her lungs were on fire. I’m praying for her quick recovery.

    I hope everyone stays healthy and safe.

    First

    • J Patrick Moore says:

      Will keep her in my prayers.

      Mark’s posts help me to obsess about the weather, rather than the virus. Will end up killing my phone battery.

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

        The next couple of days will be a nice geeky weather for most of us. Hopefully we can get some good action with thunderstorms on Tuesday.

        You have a good night. Stay safe and healthy. If you can, stay at home.

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