Rod's Weather Headlines

Tuesday sets record high temperatures; August 27, 2019

By Rod Hill on 2019-08-28

0425 PM PDT TUE AUG 27 2019





Read More ...

EF-O Tornado Confirmed in Portland

By Rod Hill on 2019-07-03

Monday July 1, 2019

National Weather Service confirms EF0 tornado, Sunday at 5:24 pm, lasting 6 minutes, 3 miles N/NE of downtown Portland. Winds estimated at 80 mph, a 1 mile storm path width max width of 40 yards. No injuries, storm survey below:

Survey Summary: Tree damage observed, with several large branches down. A few large trees with shallow roots were uprooted along Going St. between 16th Ave. and 21st Ave. Power pole was leaning over on Going St. and 21st Ave. Some shingles torn off roofs at 13th Ave. and Wygant St. as well as 18th Ave. and Going St. Gutter was also torn off house at 18th Ave. and Going St.  A few bricks came off of a chimney at 25th between Prescott St. and Skidmore Street. 

Public Information Statement
 National Weather Service Portland OR
 339 PM PDT Tue Jul 2 2019
 New information has extended the damage path to 38th Avenue and 
 Shaver Street. No changes to rating or strength of tornado.
 EF Scale Rating:        EF-0
 Estimated Peak Wind:    80 mph
 Path Length:            1.60 miles
 Path Width  (Maximum):  40 yards
 Fatalities:             0
 Injuries:               0

Read More ...

Tuesday Weather Pattern Shift To Bring Needed Rainfall

By Rod Hill on 2019-05-13

Monday will bring one more warm, sunny afternoon with highs in the 70s before a cool, showery weather pattern returns Tuesday. Right now, rain is likely to develop Tuesday afternoon and mostly end by the evening hours. Valley rainfall tomorrow could reach .25 inches with highs in the low 60s. More rain is expected to develop Wednesday. Starting tomorrow, each 24-hour period will see at least a chance of showers.

Forecast models show mostly cool days with no 80 degree temperatures through the 30th of the month with up to 2.00" of needed rainfall in the weeks ahead. This pattern shift if true, is great news in terms of delaying the up-coming fire season.

Rod Hill

Read More ...

Summer Outlook 2019

By Rod Hill on 2019-05-01

The outlook from the National Weather Service May through July projects all of the western United States to see above normal temperatures when averaged over the three month period.  The map on the right shows a below normal rainfall pattern for the same time period for north-western Oregon and western Washington, while much of the country is likely to see above normal rainfall as indicated by the green shading. 
Summer Outlook - NWS
The May outlook shows temperatures and rainfall may be closer to normal than a warmer and drier June and July.  If true, our summer season will get hotter and hotter, starting in mid to late June and building through August. 
There is some hope that the summer of 2019 will be less hot than one year ago.  The weak to  building El Nino pattern that is taking hold, historically leads to no more than twenty 90 degree days in Portland.  Last summer set the Portland record for heat with 31 days reaching 90 degrees.
My closing thought is a hot reminder that our climate is in a warming cycle.  Portland’s last 10 summers have averaged 18, 90 degree days.  The 30-year climate average is 11 hot 90 degree days.  I believe many forecasters would agree unless you have strong reasoning to forecast cool, the best bet is to forecast warmer than normal summer temperatures. 
Meteorologist Rod Hill

Read More ...


By Rod Hill on 2019-02-26

THE NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Portland, Salem and all areas in purple on the map. This next round of snow starting mid to late evening and continuing through tomorrow morning may drop 1-3" of snow. The best chance of more than an inch will be in the hills and south of Portland. Obviously, each snow forecast has come true, but so far nothing has covered all areas. Maybe tonight is the night?

Read More ...

By Rod Hill on 2019-02-24

Below is the surface map mid-morning Monday from the GFS model. Note the  L center is
cutting across Crater Lake.  The position of the low puts our region in the snow zone,
with Portland on the northern edge of accumulation.  If this position holds, I would expect:
1.  Little to no snow north of Portland or Vancouver / heaviest amounts up to 4 or 6” south
toward Salem and Albany and the east side around near Mt. Angel and possibly as far north
as Sandy and east Multnomah county.  
2.  Portland downtown, north to Vancouver and west to Hillsboro may see nothing or 1-2”
at most.  Heaviest snow will fall late tonight, ending before noon Monday.  Daytime highs
around Portland will rise into the mid to upper 30s during the day and possibly 40 degrees
in some areas.  
3.  Keep in mind, some forecast models show 6-8” of snow.  Keep an eye on Salem, Silverton
and other south to east locations for a possible snow bulls-eye.  
This looks to be a classic case of Portland being right on the edge from getting snow to missing out!
Rod Hill

Read More ...

Snow Likely for Portland, Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019

By Rod Hill on 2019-02-08

Confidence remains high that lowest elevations of the I-5 corridor from Albany to Vancouver
will see Friday evening rain with snow levels near 1,500 feet and surface temperatures 
holding in the mid 30s through the midnight hour.  Total moisture Friday night will be near
.25 inches, which would drop 4” of snow near the snow level. 
SATURDAY MORNING & NIGHT:  All moisture to fall as snow showers or fairly steady snow. Surface
temps are uncertain, but Portland and Salem may hold above freezing through mid-morning. 
A developing low center will deepen during the day as it drops south, which will bring cold
air advection and likely freezing afternoon temps at sea level, leading to widespread sticking
snow, including at the coast.  Likely snow through much of Saturday night will bring at least 2-3”
of low level accumulations and possibly more like 4-5 inches.  East winds will become increasingly
gusty during the day, 10-25 mph, gusty to 40 near the gorge.  Once again, daytime temps in the 
metro valley will top out near 36 degrees but could be 30 degrees by 3:00 or 4:00 pm. 
SUNDAY:  Snow will be cut to flurries by sunrise with early temps 20-26 degrees.  Look for flurries
or  light snow showers during the day with cold high temps in Portland and Salem near 34 degrees. 
Winds will be light. 
SUNDAY NIGHT:  A fast moving low center, dropping northwest to southeast will bring 2-3” of snow,
setting the stage for icy, snow covered roadways Monday morning.  Low temps 27-30 degrees. 
MONDAY:  A quiet daytime, then rising temps to 40 degrees.  Rain develops late day. 
NOTE:  Forecast models have backed off on Tuesday snow and my tracking finds a south wind 
flow, which would lead to a rain / snow mix of little if any accumulation near and below 1,000 feet. 
The forecast continues to be well above normal through the 20th of the month with most days 
struggling to reach 40 degrees and more snow chances in the days ahead.
Rod Hill

Read More ...

Low Center To Bring Gusty Winds Saturday Night, Jan. 5, 2019

By Rod Hill on 2019-01-05

A low pressure track this evening (Saturday night) will bring a period of gusty winds, heavy rain and possible thunderstorms.  Weather alerts for possible high winds have been posted by the NWS from 8:00 pm until 4:00 am Sunday. Worst case scenario shows a period of 1-3 hours of high south to east wind gusts in the valley between 40-50 mph.  However, the low center may not be strong enough to produce gusty winds of more than 25-35 mph, except near the gorge, where east winds seem certain to spike into the 40s.

At this morning hour before 7:00 a.m. most weather data does not support a high wind event, however because of the low pressure center track, right over Portland and arriving from the southwest, tonight's weather should be watched closely and it is certainly best advice to be prepared for possible power outages and spotty wind damage. 

Meteorologist Rod Hill


Read More ...

EF0 Tornado, Sunday Oct. 28th, North Portland

By Rod Hill on 2018-10-29

The NWS confirms an EF-0 tornado, Sunday afternoon at 2:58 pm in north Portland, 3 miles west of PDX, near Marine Drive.  Peak gusts are estimated at 74 mph.  Damage includes, minor tree damage, minor roof damage and three semi-truck trailers overturned in a parking lot. There were no reported injuries.  The damage path was 1.25 miles long and 20 yards wide. 

The tornado was birthed out of a cold upper trough and very unstable air.  Marble size hail was reported with multiple intense downpours and numerous thunderstorms.   

-Rod Hill

Read More ...

Rod Hill's Winter Outlook 2018-2019

By Rod Hill on 2018-10-12

Before I begin, it is important to share with you my track record of accuracy for seasonal forecasting, dating back to 2000-2001.  Last winter my forecast was a success, largely because of my 67% confidence call for a below normal water year.  In fact, PDX recorded a water year ending September 30th of 30.03 inches, (normal is 36.03).  My error last season was a projection of below normal temperatures, which was clearly incorrect.  Other points, correctly called for a quiet valley snow year and a call for no significant valley windstorms.  Overall, my seasonal outlooks rate a 66% accuracy rating, compared to an industry standard closer to 55%.


HERE IS MY 2018-2019 WINTER OUTLOOK  (followed by research discussion)

1.  TEMPERATURE:  Normal to above average, 73% confidence

2.  PRECIPITATION:  Near to below normal.  Best chance 35.40" at PDX  (Normal 36.03")  

3.  VALLEY SNOW:   Less than 6.00 inches, a large snowstorm is unlikely.

4.  VALLEY WIND STORMS:  40% chance of a 60 mph wind event, a significant or above average chance.

5.  MT. HOOD SNOWPACK:  Below normal year, projecting season snowpack at 66% of normal. 


The above conclusions are largely based on the NOAA Enso Outlook calling for a weak to moderate El Nino this winter.  I ran a set of winter seasons dating back to 1950, that are on record with the Enso temperature range of positive departure expected in the coming months.  I also ran years following summers with an extreme number of 90 degree days and multiple year patterns, matching present day.  Below are my findings related to the above Winter Forecast. 

1.  TEMPERATURE:  11 of the 15 winter seasons I consider as analog years showed near to above normal temperatures.  In fact, the last cool year of consideration was the winter of 1979-1980, making a cool winter unlikely. 

2.  PRECIPITATION:  The 15 analog seasons have an average of 35.43 inches, which is near normal and only slightly below. When looking at weak to moderate El Nino winters following hot summers, average precipitation for the complete water year is 35.36 inches.  It is worth mentioning, my research shows a possible range between 25.87" and 43.03 inches.  Again, my number of highest confidence is 35.40 inches.  

If I may, my highest confidence number for last season was 30.10" and PDX received 30.03 inches!

3.  VALLEY SNOW:  Analog seasons show an average of 7.3 inches.  My research gives a 50% of winter snow in Portland being less than 3.00" and a 50% of winter snow being over 8.00".  Average snowfall following a hot summer is 5.4", (last winter recorded 7.6" and the winter of 2016-2017 received 11.7").  The "kicker" for me is my finding that it is extremely rare for PDX to go three winters in a row with 6.00" or more of total snowfall each year.  In fact the last time was 1977 - 1980 and the time before was 1949-1952!  The result is an 8% chance for PDX to receive 6" or more of total snowfall this coming season.  Therefore, I am calling for less than 6.00 inches of total season snowfall for 2018-2019.

4.  VALLEY WIND STORMS:  6 of the 15 analog years had a significant wind event, which is 40% and considered to be an elevated chance of seeing a period of 60 mph wind gusts or higher. In fact the analog winter of 2014-2015, which followed a hot summer, had a December 11, PDX south wind gust of 67 mph, the strongest wind since 1981.  The event lasted 4-5 hours with 40-55 mph consistent wind speeds.  It is worth noting that history overwhelmingly shows Portland's biggest wind storms take place in La Nina and Normal Enso winters, neither of which is expected this year. 

5.  MT. HOOD SNOWPACK:  Analog years show a 50% chance of a 100% of normal snow year, so there is reason to be hopeful for a good season!  However, the analog average is a snowpack of 66% of normal and it is alarming that two of the lowest snowpack seasons ever recorded show up in my data set.  The winter of 2014-2015 produced the lowest season snow total on record at just 25% of normal.  Also in the analog years, is the winter of 2004-2005 when the snowpack was 44% of normal.  Mt. Hood Skibowl's front face was closed much of both seasons. It is worth pointing out that last winter's snowpack was 77% of normal, meaning a forecast of 66% of normal would only be slightly less snow.  A little perspective shows a 25% of normal snow year at Timberline would dump a range of 240-290" of snowfall for the season, depending on water content or weight of the snow, while a 100% of normal year may dump more than 600" at the lodge!  Lots of factors go into labeling a resort ski season as good or bad, including timing of big snowstorms, weekend weather conditions and overall freezing levels on the mountain. 

I hope you find my Winter Outlook to be a valuable tool as you plan the winter season.  As a forecaster, I live in the relm of possibilities and am often reminded that averages are a good method to determine odds of wet or dry, but sooner or later the entire data set range of what is truly possible comes true.

Happy Winter Season   -Rod Hill

Read More ...