Rod's Weather Headlines

Outlook calls for warm temperatures

By Rod Hill on 2016-02-17

Below is a letter I shared wth Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort, regarding my outlook through the end of April:
 Although the mountain should pick up decent snow Wednesday night, Thursday and Friday, hopefully well over a foot, there are signs that February may struggle to reach normal precipitation totals.  With that said, the previous two strong El Nino seasons both had above normal moisture January, February and March!  Interesting enough, both years also had a dry April. 
My thought remains that the mountain is transitioning into 50% rainy days and 50% snowy days as the overall temperature pattern is now rising.  Consider that Mt. Hood Meadows at base elevation has picked up 54” of total snow fall over the past 10 days, but the base amount on the ground has declined from 108” to 93 inches.  In other words, lots of new snow, but even more melting.  
As long as March continues to see a good snow event with snow levels down to 4,000 feet, each week to 10 days, the overall base and skiing will likely be in good shape.  But I do believe the temperature table is turning to the warm side. 
As for Portland, warm temps are an easy forecast outlook to predict.  I also believe a wet March is a good bet, but will stick with a below normal rain total in April.
(My latest forecast for the Mt. Hood)
Rod Hill

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January rainfall adds to the Water Year surplus

By Rod Hill on 2016-02-01

Rainfall at PDX is 7.10" for the month of January.  Normal for the month is 4.88 inches.  The wet month gives Portland 30.52" of rainfall since the Water Year began back on October 1st.  The surplus of water is 11.56 inches!  

The Rose City needs only 5.51" of moisture through September to reach the normal annual precip total of 36.03 inches.  (The Water Year runs Oct. 1st - Sept. 30th.) Another way to describe our rain surplus is to say, if PDX did not see a drop of rain until mid-May, we would still be on track for the year!  With a wet outlook through March, we may very well reach 36.03" of water for the season this February or March at the latest.  

The snowpack continues to be in good shape. Roughly one year ago, Timberline had 175" for the year. Today, the resort reports a season total of 343 inches. 

Rod Hill

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January 2016 rainfall on track for 7.00"

By Rod Hill on 2016-01-20

Tuesday's rainfall of more than .50 inches put PDX over 5.00" for the month as of January 19th. The average for the entire month is 4.88 inches.  Forecast for steady rain this Thursday and the mid-part of next week could boost the January rain total to 7.00", giving Portland more than 22.00" of rain the last two months!

Assuming this season's strong El Nino replicates past events, we will see above normal rainfall continue through the month of March.  If so, Portland would reach the annual water year average of 36.03 inches with a full 6 months to go until the water year ends Sept. 30th. 

This above normal rainfall pattern continues the high risk of mudslides.  There is some question as to if Mt. Hood snow levels will remain low enough for a good snowpack or slowly rise in the coming weeks.  

The El Nino is expected to weaken this spring.  April may kick-off a return to more normal rainfall amounts, meaning a drier weather pattern. 

Rod Hill

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Winter - Spring Months Outlook

By Rod Hill on 2016-01-14

STRONG EL NINO YEARS:  1982-1983 & 1997-1998
Both seasons produced below normal rainfall in November, than well above normal rainfall in January, February and March, followed by a dry April.  
1.  Portland, above normal rainfall through the end of January.
2.  Above normal rainfall likely through March. 
3.  A dry April?
After a record setting wet December that saw 15.24” of rainfall at PDX, January began rather dry, but it now appears a run of wet weather has returned.  The last 30 hours have produced nearly 2.00” of rain across parts of the metro valley and PDX now reports 2.33” of January rain to date.  Rain projections show another 1.50” coming to Portland through this weekend and an outlook of 5.00” of rain or more for January, which would be above the normal total of 4.88 inches 
The above EL NINO PRECIPITATION REPORT & OUTLOOK shows the two previous strong El Nino seasons both produced above normal rainfall for the months of January, February and March.   It is interesting to note, that both of those wet years went on to see below normal rainfall for the month of April.  So far, dating back to a dry November, this strong El Nino season has for the most part, mirrored the odds left behind by 1982-1983 and 1997-1998.  It will be interesting to see if we continue a similar trend.  
The wildcard in my Winter Spring Prediction continues to be the snow level.  So far, the snowpack is the best at 4,000 feet since the winter of 2012-2013.  Confidence is high that above normal precipitation will continue through March, but any week now, the snow levels could rise and stay above pass level.  I hope not and this forecaster will be watching and praying for a deep snowpack come May 1st. 
Meteorologist Rod Hill

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Battle Ground Tornado Confirmed

By Rod Hill on 2015-12-11

1115 AM     TORNADO          1 SSE BATTLE GROUND     45.77N 122.54W
 12/10/2015                   CLARK              WA   NWS STORM SURVEY
             EF1...86 TO 110 MPH. THERE WERE AT LEAST 2 TOUCHDOWN 

Report from the NWS office Portland

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Record Rain Event Sets December Record

By Rod Hill on 2015-12-09

What began Sunday overnight, ended this morning, (Wednesday), with a cold front passage around 3:30 a.m.  Left behind are countless areas of flooding, mudslides, power outages and closures.  Here is the record list of rainfall at PDX:

1.  Monday Dec. 7th:  2.67" of rain.  The most all-time at PDX for a calendar day in December.

2.  Tuesday Dec. 8th:  1.66" of rain.  A record for the day.

3.  24-Hour Period of Rainfall:  3.22" - the most all-time for December.

4.  Total Event Rainfall:  4.75"  PDX


Total December rainfall to date is 7.50 inches.  The December average for the entire month is 5.49".  The all-time record for December at PDX is 13.35" back in 1996.  There is an old downtown location record of 20.14" dating back to 1882. 

With more heavy rain to come, it is likely that Portland will see more than 10.00" of total rainfall this month.  Portland has not see a month with 10.00" of rainfall since November of 2006 when 11.92" fell.  In other words, getting dumped on by 10.00" of rain in one month has not happened in 9 years!

Rod Hill

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Strong Winds, Heavy Rain Through Wednesday & Thursday

By Rod Hill on 2015-12-07

Hours of steady, heavy rain likely today, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  All total, the metro valley could see 5.00" of rain over the four days.  The coast will average 2-3.00" of rain per day or more, while the mountains will likely see over a foot of rainfall.  Snow levels will rise to 8,000' Monday afternoon.  All Cascade passes show wet conditions with clean pavement.

South winds will also blow today, Tuesday and Tuesday night.  The metro valley will see consistent winds of 15-35 mph with gusts to 45 mph.  The coast will see 40-50 mph gusts along the beach, while the headlands could see gusts top 65 mph.  High elevations of the mountains will also see 50-65 mph wind gusts through Tuesday night. 

 A Wednesday morning cold front will end the strong winds and drop the snow level below 4,000 feet. 

All total, alerts for wind and possible flooding will be common through the days of Wednesday and Thursday.  Mudslides will also be possible.  Please be alert for changing weather conditions, high winds and high water. 

Rod Hill

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Flood Watches Over Washington

By Rod Hill on 2015-11-13

My updated forecast holds heavy rain well north of Portland.  The one heavy rain band on track for the metro will arrive late Saturday afternoon or evening.  Steady rainfall for 1-2 hours will drop .50" of rain or less.  

A threat of heavy rain continues Friday and Saturday for much of Washington, including Long Beach, the Willapa Hills and parts of Cowlitz county. A FLOOD WATCH is in effect for rivers running out the Willapa Hills through Saturday evening.  As of early Friday morning, 1-2
of rain as fallen in the region and additional amounts of 4-6" will be possible through the day Saturday.  Residents should be alert for rapidly rising river levels. 

Inches of rain over the Olympic Mountains could reach near 10" through the weekend. 

Rod Hill

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Cold Start, 1st Fall Freeze for Some Out-lying Areas

By Rod Hill on 2015-11-04

PDX dips to 37 degrees this morning, the coldest fall temperature so far.  The normal low is 43 and the record low for Nov. 4th is 27 degrees back in 1957.  The average first fall freeze at the airport is November 8th, but out-lying areas often see frosty mornings begin around Halloween.  Current forecast models show no freezing threat for the metro valley through the mid-part of next week.  Here are a few low temperature reports from today:

Battle Ground 29 degrees

Sherwood  & Estacada 31 degrees

Oregon City & Hillsboro 32 degrees

Salem 34 degrees

Vancouver 35 degrees

McMinnville & Scappoose 33 degrees

Downtown Portland 38 degrees.

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October 2015 finishes warm & wet

By Rod Hill on 2015-11-02

Saturday's six hours of heavy rainfall, dropping 1.97" at PDX, put Portland over the top for the month of October with total rainfall of 3.69 inches.  Normal for the month is 3.00 inches.  The wet finish to the month snaps a dry stretch of below normal precipitation for consectutive months that began back in April. (If you are wondering, the wettest Halloween on record was back in 1994 when 2.44" fell at PDX and downtown Portland got drenched with 2.68 inches of rain!)

October also made news for warm temperatures.  The monthly mean of 60.1 degrees, ties October 2014 for the warmest all-time!  The average high, average low and mean temperatures were all 5 degrees above normal!  All but three months this year; January, April and September have finished as top five warm months in either low temp, high temp or the mean.  September stands alone as the only month of 2015 to average below normal temperatures. 

Outlooks give November a chance of seeing normal rainfall, which would be 5.63 inches.  November is typically Portland's wettest month of the year!  Temperature outlooks call for warmer than normal days to continue. 

Rod Hill


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