Weather is a bit slow this evening...
We've seen some weather action the past few days with three Pacific frontal systems moving across the region. That first one Friday night and Saturday morning was sure a soaker; up to an inch in parts of the metro area. Our October rain total is slowly starting to add up
Western slopes of the Cascades have picked up 7-9" of rain the past month...that has pretty much finished off the fires up there!
Last October was very dry, but we're tracking a bit wetter this year so far
After a very warm start (and warm September!), we've cooled back to normal
What's ahead? Typical October weather...lots of clouds and some showers at times.
A large upper-level ridge is building just west of us. It'll be the main factor in our weather over the next week. It looks about like this right now
The forecast is very tricky Saturday through the middle of next week. That's due to the ridge wanting to move just slightly farther west and "flatten" a bit. That leaves the door open to weak systems moving by to the north. Basically we may get clipped by several waves of clouds and light rain showers. You can see one moving by Sunday
The morning ECMWF model (pictured here) really flattened the ridge and carved out a cool upper-level trough. This would be a setup to bring light snow down below 5,000' in the Cascades. But other models and even some ensemble members of this model keep a stronger ridge closer to us. We'll see. I think the main point is that we're probably not headed into a warm and sunny 7-10 days, but also no sign of stormy weather either. Just a typical mix of clouds, showers, and occasional sunny days. The ECMWF ensembles show temps cooling a bit more the next 10+ days; that would be normal for late October
Speaking of cooler temps, La Nina is now into the MODERATE category in the equatorial Pacific. Forecasters are confident this will be the case for upcoming Winter 2020-21. I'm working on the general winter outlook and should have it finished up next week. I'm feeling very confident we should see quite a bit more action than last winter. Remember how boring it was? Almost no storms and no lowland snow until mid-March! To whet your appetite a bit...take a look at the past 20 winters in Portland.
And farther back in time...seems like we have leveled off the past three decades a bit. Last winter finished off the 2010s decade; a new weather decade starts this winter. Snow measurements were taken at the NW corner of PDX up until 1996, then moved to Parkrose (near Sandy Blvd) for the past 24 years.
Last winter was very mild, some of my annuals from the previous summer made it through.
My banana bushes/tree, which most winters die down to the ground, made it to the 2nd story roofline by late August!
In fact last winter EVERY SINGLE DAY made it to at least 40 degrees for a high. It's been 18 years since we've seen a winter without a 30-something degree day.