Rod's Weather Headlines

Low Snow Levels at Times Monday - Thursday

By Rod Hill on 2016-12-04

A long stretch of possible winter weather at times Monday morning through Thursday.  Monday is looking to be likely rain for the city center of Portland.  A snow mix may be sighted, but ground temps at lowest elevations will hold above 32 degrees and roadways will simply stay wet.  The snow level for accumulating snow may dip to 500' at times, but could hold closer to 1,000' feet.

The chance of showers and a wintry mix continues into Tuesday morning.  Tuesday morning metro valley temps will again be in the 30s, so some spots could see snow. All dry Tuesday pm and Wednesday.  Wednesday morning will see a hard freeze in many areas as east winds blow.  A warm front Wednesday night could lead to icy precipiation in the gorge and other spots where cold air could be trapped.  At this point, Portland looks to be all wet. But please keep an eye on the forecast through Thursday night.  A Friday front will bring rising snow levels and warmer air. 


MT. HOOD 2,000' AND HIGHER:  6-8"

1,000 to 1,500 FEET:  3-6"  (This could be Sandy, Or. and other high metro hills)

500 FEET:  Likely a mix of rain and snow, but a dusting to 2" of snow is possible.  Best chance for snow coverage will be north of Vancouver. 

Lowest Elevations:  All rain or a wet mix in the air, ground temps above 32 degrees. 

Rod Hill

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"SUPER MOON" to be covered by clouds & rain

By Rod Hill on 2016-11-14

When is the Moon a Super Moon?


Originally, the term "Super Moon" was used by astronomers to describe a full Moon when it is within 90% of its closest approach to Earth, in any given orbit. The term has become popular and is now used to describe any full Moon that appears larger than usual.

Astronomers call this sort of close full moon a perigee full moon. The word perigee describes the moon’s closest point to Earth for a given month. On November 14th, the full moon will be at 5:52 a.m. PST followed by the perigee at 3:36 p.m. PST.  Full moons vary in size because of the elliptical (oval) shape of the Moon's orbit. Perigee, or the Moon's closest approach Moon to Earth is about 31,068 miles closer to Earth than the its apogee or farthest distance. The Moon's distance at perigee changes by 3% over a period of 18.6 years, but in general while at perigee, a full moon would appear about 14% bigger and 30% brighter than a corresponding full moon at apogee, but it's not really all that much more dramatic than a regular full moon. On November 14th the Moon will be full, and just 221,524 miles away, making it the closest approach to Earth in 2016. According to NASA, this full moon will be not only the closest and brightest supermoon of 2016 but also the largest since 1948. What's more, the full moon won't come this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034.

(The above is courtesy of Jim Todd - director of space science with OMSI)

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October sets multiple all-time rain records

By Rod Hill on 2016-11-01

On this final day of October 2016, much of the Willamette Valley is setting all-time records for total October rainfall and the number of days with measurable rainfall, meaning .01" or more in a calendar day.  Below are new total rainfall records, which will be added to through the midnight hour of October 31st:


SALEM:  11.19" & counting





Portland (PDX) has finished the month with 8.31 inches, second place all-time in terms of total precipitation.  The wettest October is 8.41" set back in 1994.  PDX has seen measurable rainfall 28 of 31 days this month, breaking the old record of 23 days back in October of 1950.  It is very possible that this October will go into the books as the wettest month of the up-coming rainy season that typically runs November through March!  Normal rainfall for October in Portland is 3.00 inches.  The surplus of better than 5.00" of rain is basically like getting an extra November or December thrown in over the last 30 days.

Meteorologist Rod Hill 

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October Wind Storm Likely has Peaked

By Rod Hill on 2016-10-15

What was expected to be our typical wind event has likely peaked as of 3:30 this afternoon with the main surface front pushing through.  Gusty winds at times will continue into tonight.  Tens of thousands have lost power at times and multiple reports of downed trees are scattered across the valley.  Many areas report peak winds between 25-35 mph, but there were strong winds as predicted. 

Here are a few peak wind gusts: 

Portland (PDX) 53 MPH, Oregon Zoo 49, Salem 52, Hillsboro 53, Happy Valley 48, McMinnville 46, Ridgefield 45, Scappoose 41, Keizer 40 mph.  A report at 1,200 feet near Newberg of 61 mph. 

Coast wind reports:  Garibaldi 77 mph, Manzanita 64, Long Beach 62, Pacific City 61, Lincoln City 55, Yachats 63 mph.

Coast Range Winds:  80-102 mph along the highest peaks.

MT. Hood:  7,000 Feet 60 mph. 

-Rod Hill

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By Rod Hill on 2016-10-04

Before I announce my projection for the winter of 2016-2017, here is a quick word as to where we are coming from.  Last winter was as expected, a strong El Nino pattern that produced a healthy snowpack on Mt. Hood, much above normal rainfall for the Willamette Valley in terms of the water year dating back to October 1st and ending Sept. 30th and above normal temperatures overall.  Below are a few headlines for the water year:  

1.  Mt. Hood Test Site Snow Ending April 30th:  90" depth, 41.7" of water storage for 67% of normal.

2.  Portland (PDX) Total Water Year Precipitation Oct. 1st - Sept. 30th: 47.02" / 10.99" above normal

3.  Portland Season Snowfall:  1.3"

4.  Highest Wind Gust (PDX)  SW G 55 mph, December 21, 2015

5.  Portland Temperature average:  2.5 degrees above normal mean temperatures.


The strong El Nino of last winter weakened during the spring and Enso Neutral Conditions are in place.  NOAA projects a 55-60% of Neutral conditions holding through the winter of 2016-2017.  My forecast projection work is based on data sets showing Neutral condtions, dating back to 1950.  I further examined Neutral seasons following a strong El Nino winter.  My outlook is based on averages of the above mentioned data sets. 

Here is my Winter Forecast for the Portland Metro Valley & Vancouver:  

1. Temperatures likely to be near normal or above by no more than 2.0 degrees.

2.  Rainfall: While a dry season is possible, odds favor rain totals near 37.90" / 1.87" above normal.  November and December are likely to combine for a wet start to the rainy season. 

3.  Valley Snowfall:  At least 1 or 2 mini-snow events dumping 3-6" of total snowfall are likely.

Also, I see an elevated chance to see an 8-12" snow event.  The historical average for this winter's pattern is 6" of total season snowfall.  However, odds are equal of seeing a big snow event as to seeing less than 3.00" for the year.  The December snow of 2008 that dumped 19" and the winter of 2003-2004 that produced 12.6" are in the data set. 

4.  Windstorms:  Odds are heightened for valley windstorms with south wind gusts reaching 50 mph or higher. The majority of Willamette Valley windstorms happen in Neutral and El Nino years.  Most recently, Neutral years brought the windstorms of December 2014, when PDX had a 67 mph wind gust, the highest since 1981 and the storm of December 2006, which had a blow of 80 mph in Salem and 70 in downtown Portland, but 53 at PDX.


Perhaps most important to many is the Mt. Hood Snow Outlook.  My snow records for Mt Hood only go back to 2000.  Of these years, I found 8 seasons in the data set matching this up-coming winter scenario and 6 of the years had solid snowpacks!  The projected snowpack for this up-coming winter is 72% of average, which would be slightly higher than last winter.  I do want to point out that the 2 bad seasons I looked at include the record low snowpack season of 2014-2015.  In otherwords, there is reason to be cautious with the snow projection, but the best bet calls for a solid year with Timberline seeing more than 500" of total snowfall and Meadows more than 400 inches - both would be considered near normal.  Also, odds favor a good start to the season with a decent snowpack build during the month of December.


My Seasonal Foreast track record dates back to 2001 and has a 67% accuracy rate, including my 2016 summer prediction of 16 total 90 degrees at PDX. The airport hit 90 degrees, 14 times this past summer.  

Industry standards for seasonal prediction is considered to be less than 50% for precipitation and 55% for temperature outlooks. 

-Rod Hill


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Portland Hot Weekend Sets Records

By Rod Hill on 2016-06-06

Portland's (PDX) hot weekend sets records both days for warm low temperatures and hot afternoons.  Below are the new records: 

Saturday:  Record high - low temperature of 63 degrees.  The afternoon high was 98 degrees. 

Sunday:  Record high - low temperature of 66 degrees.  The afternoon high was 100 degrees!

At PDX, June 5th becomes the 2nd earliest to reach 100 degrees.  May 28th, back in 1983 also warmed to the century mark.  Assuming the Rose City warms to 90 or hotter on Monday, June 6th, the total for the year and month will be 3 days.  At this point, I stand behind my summer outlook calling for 16 - 90 degree days this year.  Forecast models do not show any hot weather between June 7th and the 22nd.  It is possible that we will not see any additional 90 degree heat this month.  

Rod Hill

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Mercury to pass in front of the sun!

By Rod Hill on 2016-05-09

Mercury Transit Viewing at OMSI

A rare celestial event called a transit of Mercury is set to transpire on Monday, May 9,2016. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and the Rose City Astronomers Club will host a transit of Mercury viewing party in OMSI’s east parking lot for this occurrence, not to be repeated until the year 2019! 

A transit of Mercury is the observed passage of the planet Mercury across the disk of the sun.  It occurs when Mercury, orbiting the sun “on the inside track,” catches up to and passes the slower Earth.  To viewers, Mercury will appear as a small dot in the foreground, making its passage (or “transit”) from left to right across the southern hemisphere of the sun.

Transits of Mercury with respect to Earth are much more frequent than transits of Venus, with about 13 or 14 per century, in part because Mercury is closer to the Sun and orbits it more rapidly.

For Portland, the transit will commence at 5:46 a.m. with the sunrise and Mercury appears near the Sun's equator.  The greatest transit movement will occur at 7:13 a.m. when Mercury appears just below the equator of the sun. The transit will end at 11:13 a.m. as Mercury exits to the lower west of the sun. Filtered solar telescopes will be available for safely viewing the sun during this transit.

It is important not to view any of this transit activity without eye protection or without using indirect viewing techniques.  Viewers should use only an approved solar filter which blocks dangerous ultraviolet and infrared radiation as well as visible light.  Special solar viewing glasses are available at the OMSI Science Store.

(The above is courtesy of Jim Todd - OMSI)

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2016 Warmest April on Record at PDX

By Rod Hill on 2016-05-02

It may come as little surprise, that PDX set the all - time record for being the warmest April!  Records go back to October of 1940.  The month set 7 individual temperature records for warm air & now holds the record in all three monthly temperature averages for April.  Here at the numbers:

1.  Warmest average high temp:  68.5 degrees (above normal by 7.1 degrees)

2.  Warmest average low temp:  47.0 degrees (above normal by 3.9 degrees)

3.  Warmest mean temp:  57.8 degrees (abvove normal by 5.5 degrees)

The previous warmest April was 2004. 

Rod Hill

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Rod's Summer Outlook 2016

By Rod Hill on 2016-04-14

After the sizzling summer of 2015, you may be wondering if this summer will be just as hot!  Last year set the all-time record with 29 days reaching 90 degrees or warmer.  The climate average is 11 days. In doing my research, I found that 5 of the 6 warmest summers in terms of 90 degree days were summer months leading into an El Nino pattern.  This summer we will be leaving El Nino and heading toward either a neutral fall or a developing La Nina. 

I further found that overwhelmingly, Portland's coldest and wettest summer months were tied to existing or developing La Nina patterns.  It seems the current weakening El Nino leading into a weak, nearly neutral fall Enso pattern leaves the Northwest with no reason to expect extreme heat or cold as we head into summer. 

Another topic I looked into is the apparent short-term rise of Portland's summer season temperature average.  The number of 90 degree days according the climate average is 11, however, if you run the average since the year 2000, the average number of 90 degrees days is 14 and the average of hot days increases to 16 over the past 10 summer seasons.

The one part of my research that has me perplexed is the summer of 1983, following one of the strongest El Nino winters on record.  That summer of '83 went on to only see three, 90 degree days due to wet weather in June, July and August!  Throwing out 1983, my projection for 90 degree days is a range between 11 and 22 days and my rainfall projection is near normal.

I hope you found the above to be an interesting read.  Below is my 2016 Summer Outlook for Portland:  


 (The number would be roughly 1/2 of the record summer of 2015)


(June could be near 2.00", but July likely an inch or less and August, likely an inch or less)

The headline of my Summer Outlook is the strong confidence of seeing less than 20, 90-degree days, meaning much cooler weather than one year ago!  While my research found signs supporting a cool-wet summer, the evidence of past years highly supports a sunny Northwest summer without the intense heat of one year ago. 

The National Weather Service currently projects dry and warm weather through the month of June.  I feel Portland has a 50-50% chance of seeing near normal rainfall during May and June. Remember, my projection for a dry April, ending the soaking El Nino rains seems to be correct so far!  My seasonal forecast accuracy going back to 2001 is 65%.  My projection of last winter seeing a good snowpack on Mt. Hood and a good water year for Portland was correct. 

Rod Hill



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Record high temps at PDX likely this week

By Rod Hill on 2016-04-04

Last Wednesday saw Portland reach 70 degrees for the first time this year.  The high of 74 degrees kicked-off a run of 70 degree warmth that lasted five days!  A similar, but warmer stretch of weather returns this Wednesday.  The Rose City is forecast to hit 80 degrees  Wednesday,  82 Thursday and hold in the 70s through the weekend.  If true, record highs at PDX would be set Wednesday through Friday!  Portland's first 80 degree temperature one year ago, came on the 20th day of April.

Rod Hill


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