Greetings from the winter wonderland! At least six inches at our house which is lovely but came with two downed trees and numerous broken branches due to the snow load. Rufus at the WxCafé ® washes away these snowy views soon with lots of rain ahead. Robin
Phriday the Thirteenth
The social media images of the heavy snowfall in Portland have been absolutely stunning. One in particular was taken by Walker Berg, Portland Police Bureau, titled 'Crows on Snow' - worth a net search to view! Over the next couple of weeks, the wx trend will be towards normal, although heavy rainfall early on could spell flooding issues up and down the West Coast. Top off that mug, let's peek ahead.
This current Arctic event has ushered in temps that are the coldest this season. We did not make that call here at The WxCafe (TM). The amount of snowfall was also a 'miss' - and it is understandable for many to be a bit edged because of forecasting error. As others have pointed out, a small variation in the amount of precip of, say, 1/2" - 3/4" of rain is not big deal, unless it falls as snow, then, wham - major difference in forecast vs actual measurement of snow. 'Nuf said.
Cold air will remain in place, along with increasing fog/low cloud cover going into the weekend as warmer air aloft slowly moves in, trapping surface cold. RAIN and WIND will return with a vengeance next week. First to get hit will be NW WA Vancouver Island late Monday, then the precip will spread in across the entire West Coast as the week progresses. Rapid surface snow melt (N Willamette Valley/Portland), along with heavy rain and a relatively high freezing level, will 'flush' a huge volume of water down PNW watersheds. Patrons in flood prone locations must take note. The rain will let up a bit as next week ends, but it will cool back down notably by Fri. Snow above 1,500 ft probable heading into the weekend. (Note: snow level could drop into the 'snow-rain mix' at the surface category during the weekend of Jan 21,22 - stay tuned!)
Jan 21,22 weekend: continued wet under moderate showers; notably colder. Some model runs return heavy rain into the region Sunday, with a potential HIGH WIND PRODUCER slamming into western WA. This one warrants close attention, even though it is not presented consistently on the charts. Either way, RAINY end to the weekend and the early part of the next week. California will continue to get hammered by rain & mountain snow. Some ski resorts have closed because of TOO MUCH snow.
Charts vary too much for the week of Jan 23 to justify any sort of prognostication from this office. The range is from COLD, Arctic Shot (number, what, 5 or 6?) Or, continued periods of rain. We'll know soon enough.
Overall: warming next week, with excessive steady rain falling in many places; turning colder with continued showers & lowering snow levels. Cascades will get hammered, as will the Sierra.
"One should never forbid what one lacks the power to prevent." -Napoleon
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A hardy congratulations to Rufus at the WxCafé ® for his retirement from his "day" job at Smuckers! He was an excellent mentor for me back when I first started at OSU and working with small fruit crops. That friendship has lasted to this day. The good news . . . Rufus will still send out WxCafe alerts. On that note, potentially very impactful weather ahead. Please prepare for cold, snowy, and particularly icy conditions. Be safe, everyone! Robin
Retirement Day 2017
Not to be too selfish, but it is hard to focus on the weather today. The Mind is on Commencement Day, ending a 38 year career at Smucker's. Lots of calls coming in hence the delay. That said, a morn'n beverage is in hand, so let's see if the cold will ever let go.
Weeks ago, the wx this weekend we coined to be the "Seventeen Slam". The level of impact has been shifting back and forth in the wx crystal ball, with the current solution package presenting a true WINTER STORM situation for Oregon, SW WA and potentially north into NW WA. Snow remains possible during the transition out of the cold, but that transition could be delayed long enough to cause the intermediate phase (think freezing rain) to severely cripple movement around the region. Warm, moisture laden 'fingers' of air aloft (thousands of feet above the surface) will be moving into OR starting Saturday, then up into northern WA by overnight or early Sunday.
First, the 'finger' will be shallow enough to present as SNOW at the surface (1-4" depending on location) Saturday, then maybe a pause before the next wetter 'finger' moves in as FREEZING RAIN. The figurative 'finger' is to imply that surface winds will continue to be from the E to NE (Arctic cold) - and even get a bit stronger Sat - while the low pressure center remains far enough offshore to draw stronger E to NE wind towards its center, and not allow for southerly air at the surface to push out the cold, heavy air mass. You know the drill. Ice Misery. Heavy ice misery. Nat'l Wx Service scientists are forecasting 1/2 - 3/4 inch of freezing ice on top of the snow (OR). Power outages are probable given the heavy ice layering, esp Sunday. (Rural Patrons may consider filling the bathtub to have water for toilets, should power to your well go down - a must do for your host.
For southern OR & the Willamette Valley south of Salem/Ankeny Hill, freezing rain should transition to rain sometime late Sunday (we hope!); later for Patrons north of Ankeny Hill area because of the strong Columbia Outflow. Rather than belabor details here, your local wx source will have the latest outlook. For WA, moisture moving down from the BC Coast may tickle some SNOW over north Puget Sound area, but most of the moisture will spin itself offshore as that particular low melts south into the one moving up from OR (above). Western WA is likely to be in play with the localized impact varying greatly, so your best update source will be the TV or radio wx specialist.
Next week: models bring a WINDY, relatively warm system into the southern portion of the region, so all frozen water should melt quickly (hopefully in time for school/work mobility). The problem may be that the low remains in the south, continually drawing cold air into western WA, NW OR. This could challenge a rapid melt of the Ice Misery until a similar but stronger storm warms everything up late Mon/early EXCEPT for the Fraser Gap outflow area (north Puget Sound/Bellingham). Cool, drier mid-week before HEAVY RAIN and WIND begins to pound the entire PNW by to end the week and well into the weekend. There have been a few model runs indicating a mini-Arctic Shot possible late Tue into Wed before the dry down (snow around Bellingham, should this verify). So, be alert to more cold as the week of Jan 9 ends.
As noted, WET and stormy Jan 14, 15 and on into the middle of the following week. Feet of mountain snow will continue to accumulate. Yep, snow stacked snow pack, 2017.
National media picking up on the tremendous amount of rain & Sierra Range snow due into California over the next several days. Localized flooding issues are likely. Travelers beware.
"The worst thing about retirement is having to drink coffee on your own time." YIPPY !!
Rufus at the WxCafé ® brings us a deep freeze for the new year. A reminder that my winter schedule keeps me away from the computer on some days so I will remind you that you can usually find posts for the WxCafe at the OVS website on Mondays and Fridays and as warranted. Here, at the PNW Nursery Alerts, I hope that the new year brings health and prosperity to you, your families, and your plants. Robin
Friday December 30
Much of the west coast is about to enter a period of the coldest weather since 2013 and the coldest New Year start since 1979. Are you ready?
The transition from the mildest temps we will have until approx. Jan 10 will get under way as 2016 ends. Other forecasting agencies have come round to the Arctic Event that will unfold this weekend. Temps will drop well below freezing and remain there through next week. SNOW will be possible in places, west of the Cascades, with the accumulation being the only uncertainty. Plan on 1-4 inches between Sat night & Mon morning and how you will get around, if needed. IMPORTANT to note: the rain that many forecast just ahead of the SNOW & sub-freezing temps will form a GLAZE of ICE under the snowfall on roads, bridges. So, Patron, if you are out & about attending New Year's Eve Celebrations, please keep that in mind -- the ice will be hidden under The White.
Snow showers may linger through New Year's Day, esp over portions of the Willamette Valley and south. The cold air mass will bring on snow showers in unusual places in northern CA, so if you have family/friends down there, they will be rather excited (& hopefully, safe). Overnight lows this next week will be in the low-mid teens west side (could even hit 7-9 degrees Wed & Thu in the usual out-of-the-wind cold pockets west of the Cascades; below zero reading highly probable east side. (The cold temps will have impact on some caneberry varieties.) Very few locations will get above 32F this coming week, except the coast. Another block of cold Arctic air will move south over BC by Thu/Fri, with a slight push of air over the eastern Pacific. Snow showers may return, esp over OR from ~Salem south late week. Patrons under the influence of the Fraser Outflow will experience STRONG bitterly cold winds during the first 3 days of 2017; so too, east Portland.
Now, the storm of concern - The Seventeen Slam, as we coined earlier. Models have backed away from moisture moving into the PNW from the south (keeping this one in CA) during the Jan 6-9 period. Instead, there have been two different scenarios presented (sound familiar? We're used to it!) A) indications are for a moisture-laden system to spin down along the BC coast Saturday Jan 7 to bring on SNOW over /Vancouver Is. & NW WA first, then down into OR thereafter. Right now, the low is not progged to be deep enough to draw up warmer air from the south in order to usher in rain. We could get a short period of freezing rain, esp over areas south of Salem late Sat into Sunday. Snow elsewhere through the 8th. A stronger system following the same track will move in by Tue Jan 10 which should pull up enough warmer air to keep plain ole' RAIN at the surface for west side locations. Iffy around Bellingham north, as there will be some cold air moving in out of the Fraser Gap to keep snow in play. Turning to all rain west side Wed & Thu Jan 11,12. BUT, that last system will be drawing Arctic Air over the eastern Pacific then right back into the PNW. This will turn the RAIN to SNOW by late Jan 12 into Friday the Thirteenth as another Arctic Shot arrives heading into the weekend of Jan 14,15. The other scenario, B) similar to A except the SNOW on Sunday will be limited to NW WA and that low will track north over BC. This draws up enough warm air at the surface to keep the precip as RAIN through early Wed the 11th. Then, turning colder late Wed for a shot of snow over the Puget Sound (not OR) before heavy, seasonal rain steps in for the rest of the period, Jan 12-15. From an historical "climatology' basis, scenario B it most likely.
It should be noted that for many days, models indicated snowy weather for the Jan 8-13 period, hence the Seventeen Slam. That may return to be in the forecast as the period nears. We see this shift often in the long-range outlook. Either way, it will be cold for several days early, with that transition period out of the Arctic Event always causing trouble somewhere in the PNW. If it is not snowy, then moderate-to-heavy rain is in the picture, which will melt low elevation snow for the potential of localized flooding. Updates here & on Twitter @TheWxCafe, as warranted.
Second Cup: There have been a few 'challenges' to the accuracy & pointed approach that The WxCafe (TM) takes in prognosticating about what the potential is for upcoming wx around the PNW. The staff NEVER presumes 100% accuracy; we simply share what the extended-range wx models present as probable. As far back as Dec 12 & 19 The WxCafe (TM) mentioned the possibility for some surface snow during the Christmas Holiday, as well as the potential for Arctic cold playing a role in the start of 2017. We discuss, Nature verifies! The amazing "trend" accuracy of the current package of weather models provided by various countries & agencies around the Globe merits attention, which we reflect here a couple of times per week. Such is the case the past month. We need to be prepared for weather that has IMPACT on our lives - be that travel, property, agriculture, livestock, watersheds.
Have your mittens ready.
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Rufus at the WxCaf® has something for everyone . . . warmer and colder. Robin
Monday December 19
With 6 days to go 'til Christmas, it's nice to get out of the Freezer. Sure, it will take a few mores hours to swish away some of the bitter cold east of the Cascades. While wet, we should get a nice break this week. Mug refill time.
RAIN and a warm southerly flow will help mitigate the road travel issues of late. Funny how many patrons "child up" with joy when snow falls only to have to "adult down" to reality and in order to deal with ice, slick roads, etc after The White arrives. Anyway, plenty of wind & rain early this week. High wind issues may develop over portions of the Puget Sound. Wed is the best chance for a dry day, as will be Christmas Eve. Rain returns Thu as a cold front passes. Turning colder Fri Dec 23rd. Wet & stormy in the northern 2/3 of CA.
Christmas Weekend: the current trend (yes, this has drifted around as much as a snow drift) is for COLDER weather to seep back into the PNW from the interior of Canada as the holiday weekend gets under way. Sub-freezing temps are now probable, esp overnight. This round will NOT be as cold as the last, but we could definitely be on the edge of cold enough for SNOW west of the Cascades, should a moisture source pop into the Christmas Card. That may be possible on Christmas Day, as some models show a low pressure cell drifting south off the OR coast, spreading moisture inland, and mixing with the cold air. Sound familiar? This would be an OR winter event. We'll post a Special Statement mid-week, should this solution continue to present on the charts. For now, expect drier, chilly conditions moving in on Fri, with rain/snow or straight snow showers down to 500-1,000 ft by late Friday evening. Dry & frosty as the Big Guy makes his rounds before sunrise Christmas Morning.
The week after Christmas continues to prog WET with the potential for FEET of mountain snow. Great for winter resort activity. The wet wx could arrive late Christmas Day or by Tue, depending on which model solution chosen. The threat for valley snow/freeze issues is not present during the entire week. The trend for New Year's Weekend will be, as we see now for Christmas Weekend, for another cool down with the potential for low elevation snow as the New Year begins. Long-range projections are for a northerly flow aloft, drawing cold air down into the PNW, with a decent tap into some moisture for a snowy Twenty Seventeen start. We'll keep an eye this, of course.
Safe travel and Holiday activity time. Back here on the 23rd, or earlier, if warranted.
"On Christmas Eve Santa carries the bag. After Christmas the parents are holding it."
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Some warm thoughts from Rufus at the WxCafé ®. Robin
Friday December 16
The Holiday period is under way, with the weather playing a key role in various activities esp related to travel (road, rail, air). There have been a few adjustments since our last sip together.
The coldest couple of days in about a year are "on" - even in CA. Sample temps & dew points from the west side at 8 a.m. Fri Dec 16 are listed below. With snow on the ground in many locations, and Dew Point (DP) readings so low, overnight temps tonight and Saturday will be miserable. (Background: Dew Point - DP - is a clue to how cold it could get at night if no wind, no clouds, no fog. When temp meets DP, that's typically when fog will form. So, if you are in a zone where temp & DP are "matched" below freezing, then 'freezing fog' can form.) There is a slight chance for a few snow flurries/showers for Patrons north of Salem on Saturday, as a weak disturbance swishes by. The transition day back into a warmer period will start Sunday afternoon. Unlike last week, the center of the LOW will be far enough north (BC central coast) early on in the transition to pull in warmer air under a southerly flow aloft & at the surface. This should prevent freezing rain issues in most areas, although Cascade ridges that frame pocket valleys will get a bit of the frozen precip.
Next week will be WET and WINDY. Two storms will bring on lots of RAIN and mountain snow. Wettest periods likely to be Mon & Tue, with Tue having the strongest winds. Wed could turn out as the driest day of the week. Another leading edge of cold weather drops into the PNW sometime Thu. This one likely keep snowfall above the surface, at least to start, but the freezing level will drop rapidly Thu night/Fri morning for a close call as to snow at the surface. Right now, let's peg a 'be alert' for snow/rain mix, unless you jump up and get some snow on your head. Seriously, snow level could drop to 500 ft later Fri. Patrons traveling by car will enter a snow zone; by air - well, keep watch as any snowfall at the surface could spook the airlines. The upper level air flow will pick up a taste of Arctic Influence, hence the cold return heading into ---
Christmas Weekend: Cold air settling in again on Fri Dec 23 (NOT cold like the current, but it will be coldest of the previous few days) will effectually get push out of the PNW when WET and stormy weather returns. Models are mixed on WHEN. Could be as early as Christmas Eve afternoon; or as late as Christmas night. Either way, warmer WET systems will again hit the PNW for a few days. The air will be pulled from east-to-west early in this transition, so we'l carefully monitor what form the precip starts as Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. Not saying anything about freezing precip, just making a morning beverage ponder point as to surface cold air that could be pulled under the warm air aloft moving in from the west.
Week After: WET and windy to start the post-Christmas week. Generally WET all week, with heavy snow in the mountains (amazing start to the snowpack). Another Arctic Shot? The staff here are carefully watching for another potential round of Arctic influenced weather right at the end of 2016. Long-range model outlook hints at a large high pressure dome setting up over the Yukon (1044+ mb) just before New Year's Day. Could this be another winter blast to close the month of December? Keep that mug handy, Patron!
Dec 16 8 a.m. reading sample (degrees F):
Salem: 18, 15 DP
PDX: 28, 26 DP
SeaTac: 28, 21 DP
Bellingham: 21, 1 DP (wind gusting to 39!)
National Outlook: Stormy & windy in the Rockies this weekend, as the Arctic Blast we are on the western edge of moves east. Travel late next week should be decent in much of the lower 48 from Mon Dec 19 thru Fri Dec 23. The cold storm noted above for our area on Fri 23rd will turn into a strong winter storm as it moves north out of CA into the central U.S. by Dec 26.