Rod's Weather Headlines

FLOOD WATCH, PARTS OF SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON

By Rod Hill on 2015-11-01

FLOOD WATCH CANCELLED AT 5PM SATURDAY. 

Portland Metro seeing serious street flooding.  Up to 2" of rain could fall over the city through 7:00 pm this evening.  Lane closures and long delays have been reported on area highways. 

The National Weather Service has issued a FLOOD WATCH through Saturday evening for parts of southwest Washington, including Cowlitz county, the Willapa Hills and the Cascades including Mt. St Helens.  The Kelso, Longview metro area could see 3-4" of total rainfall, the Willapa Hills 3-6" and areas near Mt. St Helens 4-8" of total rainfall.  Landslides will be possible. 

Residents should be alert for rapidly rising streams and rivers as well as high water spots and ponding of water over roadways.  

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Portland will see a mix of steady rain and dry breaks.  In general, rain will be heavier north of Portland and more broken with dry periods to the south near Salem and Eugene.  Rainy weather is likely through Sunday.  The heaviest rain will come Saturday afternoon as a cold front brings a heavy rain band.  All total through Sunday, PDX could see 1-2" of rainfall.  Snow levels will hold near and above 8,000 feet, lowering to near 5,000' Sunday evening and near 4,000' Monday! Timberline could see 3-6" of Sunday snow, while Gov. Camp might see snow cover by Monday morning. 

Rod Hill

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Winter Outlook 2015-2016

By Rod Hill on 2015-10-19

An El Nino pattern that NOAA says could be the strongest on record will dominate the country and the Pacific Northwest this winter season.  Typically, El Ninos produce wet weather across the southern United States, including California, and deliver mild temperatures across parts of the north with varied precipitation results.  

NOAA's forecast update is now calling for warm Northwest temperatures, but an equal chance of wet & dry weather for our region.  In otherwords, NOAA is "backing off" the agencies earlier prediction of dry weather for Oregon and Washington!  I have said all along, that near normal rain and snow for our region is possible this winter.  

The past two strongest El Nino events of 1982-1983 & 1997-1998, both produced above normal rainfall for Portland.  The same two winters produced healthy snow seasons on Mt. Hood! 

1982-1983:  MT. HOOD MEADOWS TOTAL SNOWFALL 623"

1997-1998:  MT. HOOD MEADOWS TOTAL SNOWFALL 385"

Normal for Meadows is 429 inches.  Last winter brought 125 inches of snow.

To be clear, the "WILDCARD" of this up-coming winter is the snow level forecast.  There is reason to fear that a warm weather pattern overall could produce another winter of mostly rain at Government Camp instead of much needed snowfall.  We will have to wait and see. 

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MY FORECAST FOR THIS WINTER:  I expect near normal rainfall for Portland with two possible snow events dropping up to 8" of total snow for the season.  1-4 high wind events of 50-65 mph south valley wind gusts will also be possible.  Temperature averages will likely be above normal.  

MT. HOOD:  Near normal precipiation, but the snow level is uncertain.  Snow levels between 6-7,000 feet would bring another bad snow season, but a snow level near 4,000 feet on average would bring needed snow to area resorts!

Keep in mind, the strong El Nino pattern has the potential to produce a handful of strong low pressure centers that could lead to strong storm events of snow, ice, rain or high winds. 

(The above predictions are based on the past strong El Nino events of 1982-1983 and 1997-1998.)

Rod Hill

 

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Saturday storm promises needed rain!

By Rod Hill on 2015-10-09

A cold front packing rain and wind will roll across the Northwest Saturday and Saturday night, bringing a taste of cool wet days to come!  The coast will see strong southwest winds, gusting 40-50 mph and possibly higher.  High seas will be dangerous, building to 16 feet and calming to 10 feet swells or rollers Sunday.  The Portland-Salem metro will hear the wind blow to 25 mph as the cold front arrives during the early afternoon. 

Rainfall will bring a soaking to much of the region.  The coast could see an inch of Saturday rain, while Portland hopes to see .25-.50 inches.  Higher rain amounts will be near and north of the Rose City.  Salem and areas to the south will see lesser amounts. Current timing brings dry weather by daybreak Sunday.  Snow levels over Mt. Hood may dip to near 6,000 feet Saturday night. 

After Saturday's hopeful rain, our forecast looks mostly dry through Friday of next week.  

Rod Hill

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By Rod Hill on 2015-10-02

Portland's water year, (October 1st-Sept. 30th), ends with a deficit of just over 4.00 inches.  All of the deficit has come since April and piled up the months of April, May and June which led in part to the horrible fire season.  The pattern over the last 12 months did hold to my prediction last fall of total precipitation being within 4" of a normal departure.  Here are the numbers:

PDX TOTAL RAINFALL:  31.96" / Normal is 36.03" /  Deficit:  -4.07"

DRIEST WATER YEAR ON RECORD:  2000-2001"  23.00"

WETTEST WATER YEAR ON RECORD:  1996-1997:  58.68"

This year's up-coming El Nino Winter has an historic track record of producing near normal or above rainfall for Portland and near normal snowfall on Mt. Hood.  However, it is possible that Cascade snow levels will be unusually high again this up-coming season, meaning we would see rain at 6,000 feet not snow - let's hope not!  

Rod Hill

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"Super" Moon & Lunar Eclipse

By Rod Hill on 2015-09-27

I expect clear skies for Sunday evening's full, "SUPER" moon and total Lunar Eclipse.  The so-called Harvest Moon will be the closet full moon to earth of 2015, making it a "SUPER" moon.  At the satellite's closet point, the moon will be 221,753 miles from Earth.  The close proximetry will make the moon appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than a typical full moon.  Look for the moon rise in the eastern sky at 6:55 pm.  

The added bonus Sunday night will be a total Lunar Eclipse.  Between 7:11 and 8:21 pm, the moon will be completely in the dark shadow of the Earth.  The moon will likely have a reddish glow, as light from Earth's sunrise and sunsets illuminate the moon.  Lunar Eclipses are safe to view.  In fact a standard pair of binoculars will enhance viewing. 

Rod Hill, with special thanks to Jim Todd, OMSI Director of Space Science Education. 

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Perseid Meteor Shower Peak Viewing Tonight

By Rod Hill on 2015-08-12

Sunset tonight will be 8:23 and we should have a mix of partly cloudy skies or mostly clear conditions unless late day Cascade thunderstorms develop and throw cloud cover back over the metro valley. Experts say to look low in the northeast sky shortly after sunset.  Viewing increases later in the night and you are advised to simply look up to see so called shooting stars in all directions!  The meteors will be traveling at more than 1000 mph at a distance some 30-80 miles above ground.  

Tonight's shower is made possible as Earth travels through a debris path left by comet Swift-Tuttle back in 1992.  While tonight will be peak viewing, meteors will be occuring through the 25th of August. 

Rod Hill

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2nd Warmest July on Record (2015)

By Rod Hill on 2015-08-02

July continues Portland's trend of hot summer weather!  The average high, low and mean temperatures at PDX for the month were all the second warmest on record:

AVERAGE HIGH:  86.7 - 6.1 degrees above normal

AVERAGE LOW:  61.1 - 3.3 degrees above normal

AVERAGE MEAN:  73.9  - 4.7 degrees above normal

Total rainfall for the month was near normal at .57", just .08" below average. 

You may recall that June set the record at PDX for being the warmest all-time in all three temperature categories.  Depending on August, we may be experiencing the warmest summer in Portland's recorded history. 

Forecast outlooks call for above normal temperatures during the months of August & September. 

Rod Hill

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HEAT WAVE WILL COME CLOSE TO RECORD

By Rod Hill on 2015-07-29

FORECAST UPDATE JULY 29TH:  FORECAST MODELS SHOW POSSIBLE 100 DEGREE TEMPS THURSDAY & FRIDAY, FOLLOWED BY 90s THIS WEEKEND.  MONDAY - TUESDAY COOL DOWN MAY BE "FOOLS GOLD", MEANING HOT AIR MAY STICK AROUND INTO TUESDAY.  KEEP UPDATED FOR 7-DAY CHANGES. 

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A forecast for 90 degree temperatures through this weekend and possibly lasting into next Tuesday or Wednesday could break the all-time record of 90 degree days for one year, set back in 2009.  The record is 24 days and Portland will hit 90 for the 19th time this year Wednesday, July 29th.  If the hot forecast holds, PDX would reach 90 for a record breaking 25th day next Tuesday, August 4th.  

While cooler days are in the forecast the back half of next week, 90 degree heat is common through the 1st 10-14 days of September and possible into early October!  All of this means, Portland has the potential to smash the all time record.  Current forecast outlooks call for above normal temperatures through October.  

The July record for 90 degree days is 14, set back in the hot summer of 2009.  PDX will hit 90 or better, each of the last 3 days of this month, making it 12 days total. 

A HEAT ADVISORY WILL BE IN EFFECT during the up-coming stretch of hot weather.  Please stay hydrated and protect your body with clothing, hats and sunscreen.  Fire danger continues to be very high. 

Rod Hill

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June 2015 sets all-time temperature records

By Rod Hill on 2015-07-01

It comes as little surprise that JUNE 2015 was the warmest on record at PDX in nearly every category!  

Here is the list of records:

1.  Highest average maxium temperature:  82.7 degrees, 9 degrees above normal.

2.  Highest average low temperature:  57.9 degrees, 4 degrees above normal. 

3.  Highest mean temperature:  70.3 degrees, nearly 7 degrees above normal. 

4.  The low temp of 71 degrees, June 27th was the warmest low temp for June - all time.

5.  The number of 90 degree days was the most on record:  9 - the old record was six 90 degree days.

(Total rainfall of .40" was the 6th driest on record at PDX)

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Let's hope for a cooler July.

Rod Hill

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Dry Spring, Early Heat Wave Sets Records

By Rod Hill on 2015-06-10

Portland and Salem are grabbing a spot in weather history for what some may say are all the wrong reasons. A combination of dry weather and near record hot temperatures so early in what is called meteorological summer may have bad consequences down the road as fire season looms.  

Let's begin with Portland's lack of spring rainfall. Dating back to April 1st, PDX has seen 2.74" of moisture, a total less than 50% of normal. With forecast charts showing little chance of significant rainfall through the end of June, Portland may go into summer with the least amount of April-June rainfall in more than 30 years! It is a well known climate fact, that metro valley precipitation in July and August comes primarily in scattered showers and thunderstorms and can total next to zero for each month. In other words, as fire season begins, Portland may be looking at a 5-month period of limited rainfall and increasingly dry conditions through August. The driest April - June on record at PDX occurred back in 1987, when only 3.71" of rain fell. I project this year's total will be 2.94" or less.

As for our 4-day heat wave, last Saturday through Tuesday, the National Weather Service reports it is one of the earliest stretches of 90 degree heat on record! The graphic shows Salem's run of four 90 degree days, including a high of 96 is the longest, early run of heat in 120 years! Portland hit 90 or higher three days in a row, becoming just the 4th such early heat wave in the last 75 years.

As to what it all means as we look forward, the answer is uncertain. Portland's summer rainfall is very sporadic and extremely dry weather is typical. Several temperature outlooks call for the Northwest to see well above normal summer temperatures. However, I believe it is unlikely that Portland will approach last year's total of 21 days reaching 90 or hotter.

Meteorologist Rod Hill

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