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Sunday, August 1st, 4:15 A.M. 

Good morning!

It’s been tough forecasting over the past couple of days given the cloud cover and some smoke in the sky. On Saturday, the west side of the metro area reached the mid to upper 80s, while the east side was in the upper 70s and low 80s. Clouds & smoke will dictate how warm (or cool) we are over the next couple of afternoons. It doesn’t look like we’ll contend with as much cloud cover today, especially as we head into the afternoon. With increasing sunshine, temps should make a run at 90 degrees. Our atmosphere will warm up a bit between Monday and Tuesday. While we *are* anticipating some thin smoke to be in the sky, we should still manage to climb into the low to mid 90s. Tuesday should be the hottest day, unless if we get some surprise smoke from nearby wildfires. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

Between Wednesday and Thursday, high pressure will back off, opening the door to a trough of low pressure dropping out of the Gulf of Alaska. There’s high confidence that a significant cool down is coming, with highs sinking from about 90 to 80 degrees between Wednesday and Thursday. Sometime between Thursday and Friday, showers will likely make a return. This will include much of western Washington and northwest Oregon. As this trough swings through the Northwest, we’ll watch highs dip into the 70s Friday and Saturday. Most signs point to us drying out Saturday & Sunday.

How much rain is on the way? Computer model guidance suggests about a quarter of an inch or less at Portland International Airport. Given we are on a 46 day dry streak and will probably reach 50 days, any rain helps!

Have a great Sunday!

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December has been very mild and a bit drier than average. The mild weather is here to stay, likely through Christmas. Sorry kids, hard to find cold & snow in this weather pattern! But I think we'll be making up quite a bit of ground with respect to rain. A strong westerly jet and atmospheric river will arrive in the Pacific Northwest Saturday night. Expect about 48 hours of moderate to heavy rain (depending on location) across NW Oregon and SW Washington from Saturday night through Monday evening. Notice the west/southwest flow at 500mb midday Sunday

Then by Tuesday a cold trough is pushing the whole system well east and south of us

Look at the precipitable water loop from Saturday through Monday; you can see the moisture plume moving into the region

Integrated Vapor Transport (IVT) shows the situation very well. Strong wind overhead and copious moisture supply combines to create an "atmospheric river" aimed at the mouth of the Columbia River Sunday morning

How much rain? Each model is slightly different of course, but you get the idea...somewhere between 2-4" in the western valleys and 5-8" in the mountains!

This might be enough to produce minor river flooding on the usual suspect north coastal rivers: Wilson, Nehalem, Trask, & Willapa. Since we've been relatively dry with no recent flooding, my gut feeling is we won't see anything widespread in the western valleys. But we'll keep a close eye on it of course.

Beyond Monday, we're headed into a least a brief period of drier weather, chilly east wind, and even some sunshine Tuesday-Christmas Eve. You can see a bit of that precipitation gap in the ECMWF ensemble forecast

Notice temperatures cool off a bit on the ensembles too

But if you want snow? Very unlikely west of the Cascades. Possibly some sort of ice/snow transition around Christmas or beyond IN THE GORGE if that cold east wind is still blowing...maybe.

That 15 day ECMWF ensemble snow forecast now takes us to New Year's Eve. Wow, just no sign of snow/cold on any of the 51 members.

That's it for now, I'm out of time this evening. We've been busy the past few days (and this evening) implementing a graphics change. Nothing too dramatic, but changing all those fonts, banners, backgrounds, colors takes awhile...

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen