Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cold with icy/foggy roads!

An interesting drive to work for many this morning. Icy roads in many places, patches of fog, all this AFTER you defrost your windshield and/or pry open your frozen car door. There have already been a couple accidents in the area so please, leave early and drive slow and cautiously this morning. If you commute over to the Portland area, ODOT reports black ice on Hwy 26 and 6, and the NWS advises there is freezing fog over in the Hillsboro, Portland, Vancouver, Oregon City areas. The State Police tell of patchy black Ice on I-5 between Portland and Wilsonville. While we are down near 30, they are in the 20s over there. The temperature will slowly rise to near 40 today so I don’t see conditions improving much across the summit areas today before we go down below freezing again tonight. Today and tomorrow should be sunny, but cool, and with clear skies again tonight, the temperature will fall below freezing and into the upper 20s. With the winds increasing to 10-15 gusting to 20 tonight, the windchill temperatures will make it feel like the teens! Sunday some clouds start to return ahead of an upper level disturbance moving down from the north that could bring some rain later Sunday. After that we might squeeze out a couple more nice days before another strong system affects the area.

The County Road department advises Bayocean Rd was reopened yesterday and Foss Rd is open at MP6, but still restricted to one lane at the slide area. They are also still clearing up several other small rock slides in various spots so be extra careful near these working roadcrews, especially with the slick roads!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cold, rainy and snowy today, improving tomorrow!

Several reports of snow on Hwy 101 from South County this morning and for sure there is snow on the passes above 700’. ODOT’s Tripcheck reports 1” of new snow with 2-3” on the roadside, and snow on the roads of both Hwy 6 and 26. Here at the office we had a shower move through earlier that left a white coating of hail on the ground and vehicles, and, there is more falling right now. All this to say, please, please drive safe and use extreme caution, take your time so you can arrive safely!

So, we can expect showers to move through today, with the snow level up around 600’ which will rise some today to about 1000’ before dropping down to at least 500’ again tonight. The low tonight is expected to be down near freezing so…if we do get a heavier shower overnight it could drag the snow level lower. It will be breezy today also, winds northwest 15-20 gusting to 25, so, it will feel much cooler than it is. Right now the temperatures are running around 38, which puts the wind chill at about 28!

The showers will start decreasing this afternoon as cool high pressure start to build in then cool dry weather will continue starting tomorrow into the weekend. We can expect daytime highs in the mid 40s and lows slowly warming into the mid 30s into the New Year. The next shot at rain starts the beginning of next week with significant rain expected again by Tuesday.

County Roads

The Public Works Director, Liane Welch, reports that Bayocean Rd, MP1, and Foss Rd, MP6 are still closed due to slides but they hope to have at least 1 lane open in the next few hours. She reports her crews are also hard at work dealing with several other small rockslides throughout the county and asks that drivers please drive slow and use caution when driving near any road crews, here or anywhere else!

She also reminds us that should the temperature drop to near freezing, or below, tonight, she has limited personnel to sand the many roads from North County to South County so PLEASE be cautious for black ice during the night and early morning hours wherever you drive!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cold front still coming...possible snow!

Lots of rain overnight, some areas have reporting 3-5” which has cause several issues this morning, Public Works reports they have been very active most of the night. As I write this, Miami Foley road has water covering both lanes at MP1, as does North Fork Rd., Foss Rd had a land slide and the road is closed, other land slides include Resort Dr, MP 2 partially blocking, and others are happening but things are very dynamic right now, changing moment by moment as they get cleared and others happen.

The heavy rains have also affected the rivers this morning, last reading the Nehalem was at 11.08 and cresting but forecasted to rise to 13.04’ later this morning, Action is 12.0 and Flood is 14.0. The Wilson River was at 9.69 (and cresting) and forecasted to crest at 11.26’ later this morning, Action is 10.5 and Flood is 12.0’. Obviously I will be monitoring this closely but my thinking is the rivers levels will fall until the next batch of rain then rise again briefly, but be below forecasted levels and below Action Stage.

More wet and breezy today as the cold front continues to develop and approach the coast. Currently the freezing level is near 4000’ and our temperatures are running in upper 40s across the area with light rain. We can expect another burst of rain as the front pushes through but the satellite picture suggest to me that the main surge of moisture and winds will pass us to the south. Once the front get through later today or tonight, the temperatures will start to fall until reaching a low of 35 by early morning. More showers are expected tomorrow with the snow level down near 500’ then rising in the afternoon to maybe 1000’ before falling again in the evening and we could see a rain/snow mix after 4pm, or snow overnight, with any remaining showers but little to no accumulation is expected. Wednesday night and Thursday night the lows will be near freezing but there is a decreasing chance of showers into Thursday and Friday. New Years Day we could get some sun breaks, high near 47, low near 35 as high pressure builds in though we will still need to watch a system forecasted to move into California next Friday into the weekend.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Moe Low Snow Expected!

We had showers moving across the area this morning but the rain from the next system is already moving onshore. As of 7am this morning, ODOT was still reporting snow flurries up at the higher passes though this should turn over to rain soon as the snow level will temporarily rise today and this evening. Later this evening we can expect some moderate, occasionally heavy rain to develop as the front itself works its way through and the usual winds, gusting to 35 inland and 55 along the coast. While the rivers will surge up about 3’, they will still crest several feet below Action Stage. After the front goes through tonight we will continue to have showers into tomorrow when the colder air settles in causing an increase in showers which will turn to snow in the Coast Range (1-3”) as the snow level drops to between 500-1000’ by tomorrow evening. The showers will continue into Wednesday with the snow level hovering down around 500’ still (another 1-3”), possible even lower over in the valley with colder air spilling in through the Gorge. Thursday we should see decreasing shower activity but with the lower snow levels, snow showers are still possible in the passes Thursday morning. High pressure is expected to build in by Thursday afternoon to help dry things up a bit through Sunday.

Advisories, Watches and Warnings

A Small Craft Advisory is in effect until noon today when a Gale Warning takes effect thru 6am Tuesday.

The Winter Weather Advisory and High Wind Watch for the coast and Coast Range has expired. The High Wind Watch may be reissued later today as the winds are expected to get close to warning criteria and the previous Winter Weather Advisory has expired but I would expect another to be issued later this evening for tomorrow’s expected snowfall activity.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rainy Christmas Forecast

Showers off and on all day with some sun peeking through every now and then, but the clouds return overnight and by tomorrow morning we will be cloudy and rainy as the next warm front slowly makes its way east towards the coast. By Friday the associated cold front should be inching towards the coast but won’t make it thru until Christmas Day. It appears the main energy of this system will be aimed at rain-soaked California again but we should still see moderate amounts of rainfall in our area. The front will be driven by a broad area of low pressure sitting up over the northeast Pacific, just like last week and the week before. What this means for us is – after Christmas we will be stuck in the same ol’ pattern of disturbances rotating under the low and over the area causing rainshowers and periods of rain for much of next week. Temperatures for the rest of the week, highs near 50, lows near 40, slightly cooler temperatures expected for next week and the snow level is up above 3,000’.

Advisories, Watches, and Warnings:

Small Craft Advisory in effect now thru 1am Thursday.
Gale Warning from 1am Thursday thru 10am Thursday
Storm Watch from Thursday morning thru Friday afternoon.

ODOT’s TripCheck shows intermittent rainshowers but it has removed the patchy ice information it had posted for Hwy 6 and 26 earlier this morning.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The forecast for the first day of winter!

We still have a few light showers racing to the northeast across the area but I am still hopeful that we could see some sun breaks today, even if seen through some thin high clouds. Another trough of low pressure will move across tonight, giving us another shot of rain overnight into tomorrow morning. This will again cause strong, cold winds through the Gorge area into the Portland/Vancouver area similar to the conditions experienced last Friday so that area could see a brief period of snow or rain/snow mix Wednesday morning. So for us, on Wednesday, more showers, maybe some sun breaks as another of those large, broad low pressure areas sets up over the northeast Pacific. We can expect this will cause more disturbances to rotate under the low and over our area, the first of which, a slow moving front, will be affecting our weather late Wednesday or early Thursday into Friday with periods of moderate rain through the weekend and possibly into next week. The cool, active pattern continues!

By the way, today is the first day of winter, the Winter Solstice. Today is the shorted day of the year and tonight the longest night, from this day on the days get longer each day through the spring.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Wild Weather Weekend Continues

Wild weather weekend, lightening took out a Verizon cellphone tower, 8” of snow to start the weekend over the Wilson River Summit, sun, rain, winds, we had it all. We will have, and are having more showers today, and, there has been sporadic lightening detected in some of the showers offshore so one of these could make it onshore today though they appear to weaken as they get nearer to shore. Another low pressure system will develop off our coast tomorrow so we can expect more showers to start then steady rain by Tuesday night into Wednesday. Thursday another cold front will slowly approach the coast so more rain is likely then a large low pressure system will set up over the northeast Pacific again which means periods of rain as disturbances rotate under the system and across the area from Friday, through the weekend, and, into next week. Snow levels will continue to be in the 1,500 to 3,000 range.

For those that may have travel plans that include the Columbia Gorge and Basin areas this week and weekend, little will change there, more snow is expected and with a cold easterly wind setting up, more cold air will spill into the Portland/Vancouver area by Wednesday so they could see another Rain/Snow mix with conditions similar to the end of last week, and that could include the icy roads and strong winds that downed trees and knocked out power in that area. Checking weather and road conditions prior to your travels is highly recommended. As an example, TripCheck this morning at around 7am was reporting Hwy 26 had slush and snow pack breaking up with a trace of new snow and 4” of snow roadside at 30 degrees, Hwy 6 was the same except 32 degrees and 6” roadside.


Friday, December 17, 2010


I see blue sky now as high pressure moves across the area. The higher passes are still reporting temperatures below freezing so if you have travel plans into the valley, watch for patches of black ice as you cross the area of the summit on Highways 6 and 26. They also have a dense fog advisory for the valley until 10am this morning. As for us, the high pressure will move east today as a large area of low pressure continues to develop in the northeast Pacific which will allow disturbances to rotate under the low and into our area through the weekend and into next week. The next disturbance will move in tonight and tomorrow morning and could bring snow to the upper levels of the passes once again by tomorrow morning. There is also some concern that with the cold air moving into the valley from the Gorge area that some of the low elevation snow expected in the Columbia River Gorge area tomorrow morning may make it into the Portland/Vancouver area. Should the Portland/Vancouver area get the morning snow or rain/snow mix, it will turn over to all rain in the afternoon. If you are traveling through the Gorge area, it will likely be snow all day Saturday. If you are traveling through those areas, watch the weather carefully before you go and be careful.

Well, that takes care of today and Saturday morning…starting Saturday afternoon, watch for rainshowers and possible thunderstorms again through Sunday. As for next week, more unsettled weather as disturbances continue to rotate under the low and through our area for most of next week.

After the Aumsville Tornado this week, I did a little research…it appears Tillamook had a F1 tornado (86-110mph winds) touch down at 9:30pm, December 12, 1975 that stayed on the ground for approximately 2 miles and caused considerable damage. It reportedly passed by KTIL radio which recorded 90 mph winds as it passed. Overall, from what I could find, Oregon has an average of 2 tornados a year, putting us about 47th in the nation, Texas leads the race with over a hundred, followed by Oklahoma, Florida and Kansas. Also, you’ve heard much talk about the Fujita Scale (also known as the Fujita-Pearson Scale) this week. This is determined after examining several factors related to observed types and extents of damage. Here is a little about that scale.

EF0 weak 65-85 Gale
EF1 weak 86-110 Moderate
EF2 strong 111-135 Significant
EF3 strong 136-165 Severe
EF4 violent 166-200 Devastating
EF5 violent > 200 Incredible


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snow least over in the valley and Gorge, maybe!

I can only find some widely scattered, light, rainshowers on the radar this morning, all offshore. One may eventually reach the coast so about a 30% chance of catching one this morning. We actually have weak high pressure building over us today so we could catch a little sun with partly cloudy skies this afternoon before a weak disturbance brings more clouds and a chance of some light showers overnight. A large low pressure system will develop over the northeast Pacific tomorrow which will cause disturbances to rotate through the area, with one expected late Friday night into Saturday. It looks like an easterly flow will set up through the Gorge area over the weekend, like is did a couple weeks ago when they had ice and snow issues. If you have travel plans through that area this weekend or next week, go to and review conditions before you leave. So the long range forecast, more unsettled weather as this large low pressure area will push disturbances and fronts through the area for much of next week. An easy extended forecast, cloudy and cool with periods of rain until….with highs 40-45 and lows 35-40.

For anyone that might be interested, I set myself up with a Facebook page, Gordon’s Tillamook Weather Center, this is apart and separate from my normal EM job, though somewhat related. I will post important Tillamook County weather information there, and you can to. This will be “our” page to help keep us all informed and potentially – safe! If you see or experience some significant weather, share it. Have a weather related question…I MIGHT have an answer…

Stay tuned for tomorrow's issue as snow may be effecting your weekend travel plans...I'll try to remember to post it once I write it... :-)


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wild, wild weather!

Quite and interesting weather day yesterday. We had a couple bouts of severe weather, the first in the early morning hours caused wind gusts along the coast of over 70mph. One strong cell that came ashore in Lincoln City took the roof off the Sea Horse Condo Resorts and tossed it nearly a block away. We had numerous showers with small hail, then the tornado around noon over in Aumsville. As you may have heard, this was an F2 with estimated winds at 110-120mph. There were reportedly 50 structures damaged, 30 or more trees blown over or snapped, five sheds, 2 semis overturned, and two injuries. It appears the tornado skipped along a path about 5 miles long and did damage up to 150 yards wide in it’s path. Later in the afternoon the National Weather Service reported a water spout west of Pacific City but the only report I received was from a resident that called about dime to nickel size hail.

So, we can expect more showers today and this evening but not as strong as yesterdays though small hail is still likely at times along with gusty winds. We see fewer showers tomorrow then the models continue to show a low pressure system developing in the northeast Pacific Thursday into Friday and pumping disturbances over the area from time to time, all weekend and into the start of next week. And as for the temperatures, afternoon high 45-50, morning lows 35-40.

For anyone traveling over the higher passes in the next few days, look at ODOT’s Trip Check webpage before you go, this mornings reports advised the temperature was 32 with show flurries and about an inch of snow on the side of the road with slush on the road for both Hwy 6 and Hwy 26. The temperature was 33 down on Hwy 18. I would expect the snow level to lift some today, maybe up to 2000’ but dropping back down to 1500 during the nighttime hours. We could see an additional 3” of snow, somewhere between 1500-2000’ and above thru tomorrow.

Finally, all the rivers in Tillamook County are below Flood or Action Stage and continue to fall and this trend is forecasted to continue into next week.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Showers and what....snow?

A strong and cold – Cold Front raced through early this morning and now the snow level will begin dropping. Currently it is up around 3,000’ falling to 2,500’ by late morning then down to 1,500’ by around sunset. As a result of the post frontal showers expected today and tomorrow, combined with the lowering snow levels, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory until midnight tonight for the North and Central Oregon Coast Range and a Winter Storm Warning for the Cascades. Depending on how quick and low the snow level drops, and how the showers activity develops, we could actually see a Winter Storm Warning for parts of the Coast Range late today and tonight. So, more showers today with a possible thunderstorm or two which could give us some small hail and brief gusty winds with heavy downpours, snow developing in the higher elevations, more showers tomorrow then it looks like cool High Pressure will build in Thursday to ease the shower threat, then, a Low Pressure system develops off the coast Friday to push in more rain, off and on, lasting into the beginning of next week. Continued cool, highs in the mid to upper 40s, and lows near 40.

The rivers, which had been falling nicely after our weekend issues, showed a slight and brief increase from the heavy morning rains but all have resumed their downward trends.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Round Two, Rivers to rise again!

Yesterday was round one, we had 1-1 1/2 inches of rain locally, Lee's Camp saw 4.1 inches which is actually a little less than expected. The rivers responded accordingly, the Wilson River crested about 10 last night at 9.92' and the Nehalem River at 11.92'. This morning we will see round two as the associated cold front moves thru the area bringing another round of heavy rain. This will drive the rivers up again, both expected to crest late Monday morning, the Wilson at 10.2 (Flood is 12') and the Nehalem at 13.32 (Flood is 14'). The Flood Watch remains in effect until Monday Morning also.

The winds picked up again overnight and are currently quite gusty along the coast and inland. I have winds southwesterly 15-20 gusting to 30, Pacific City is 26 gusting to 46 and Lincoln City is 14 gusting to 45. I found gust to 70 up on Mt. Hebo and a gust to 55 on Cape Meares. As a result the National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning until 1pm today.

Radar show the rain and the associated cold front has pushed south of Astoria and is now approaching the Manzanita area. This event will add another 1-3 inches to the, already impressive rainfall totals and another trough will give us another shot of rain Tuesday.

As for the rest of the week, the active pattern will continue so rain off and on, the next thing to watch is the snow levels which should be dropping all week as we also transition back into a cooler pattern also.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Special Weather Update

Currently it cloudy and rainy, winds less than 10mph in most areas and the temperatures are running in the mid-40s. The latest river readings show the Nehalem River level is currently at 9.8 and falling gradually, the forecasted crest is 15.59' on early Sunday morning, flood stage is 14'. The Wilson river level is 6.2 with a slight rise, its forecasted crest is around midnight tonight at 11.94, flood stage is 12'. A Flood Watch has been issues for all of Northwest Oregon from this afternoon thru Monday morning. We will all need to keep a close eye on this as the levels continue to change with each forecast and the forecasted rainfall can vary with actual observed amounts.

Today's forecast, continued cloudy and rainy, that rain heavy at times. Looking at the radar, satellite and other sources, it now appears the warm front is moving northward faster than the models suggested which would decrease the amount of rain we get ad thus limit the flood potential. I caution though, it is still early in the game. Winds are relatively light thru the county though they are expected to increase this afternoon, especially along the coast, becoming southerly 30-40 gusting to 60-65 at the beaches and headlands. There is a High Wind Warning from 1pm today thru noon Sunday.

Tomorrow, more clouds and rain, breezy still with the associated cold front as it moves through so yes, we will have another shot of moderate rain and wind though not as much s with the warm front today.

Monday on - continued cloudy with occasional periods of rain, highs 45-50, and lows 35-40.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Flood Watch Issued for TIllamook County

We have a break now which will allow the rivers to recede some before the abundant rainfall starts tomorrow. Little has changed in the forecast except some of the models now show the Warm Front dropping south again Sunday morning to give us another shot of the moderate to heavy rain before the cold front pushes thru Monday. The National Weather Service is still calling for 3-6” in our area Saturday with a storm total for the period Saturday morning thru Monday night of 6-10”. The further north you go during this event, the worse the flooding potential will be. River forecast remain the same for now with the Nehalem and Wilson Rivers projected to crest early morning Sunday at less that a foot above flood stage. Winds for this event are forecasted to be, dare I use the term “average”, gusting to between 45-55 on the coast and 20-30 inland.

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River Forecast goes above Flood Stage Saturday

Less shower activity today and even some breaks in the clouds so we will see that sun thing. Tomorrow morning things will rapidly change, starting with the increasing winds from the southwest 10-15 gusting to 25 as a strong and moist warm front approaches the area from the south. The rainfall amounts and the winds will increase quickly as the front nears with the heaviest of the rainfall moving north of the area by early Sunday morning. After a little break the front will drop southward again Sunday afternoon or evening and bring another round of moderate to occasionally heavy rain then late Monday night or early Tuesday morning the associated Cold Front will push thru bringing…more rain! After that, more unsettled weather off and on the rest of the week and weekend.

Now let’s talk hydrology, nice big word. Yes, flooding is a possibility this weekend. The concern is the 2-5 inches of rain expected could turn into even more with a slight shift in the system. All the models agree that Saturday will be a very wet day, where they differ are in some of the important details like exact timing and location. Right now it looks like the hose will be pointed toward Washington but having said that, it still looks like we will get enough precipitation to push our rivers up sharply Saturday night into Sunday. Today’s river forecast reflects that they (National Weather Service Portland, River Forecast Section) expect the Nehalem to crest around 9am Sunday at just above flood stage (14.77’, flood is 14’) and the Wilson to crest just above flood stage around 1am Sunday (12.47, flood is 12). If this trend continues, I would expect the NWS to issue a Flood Watch for those rivers later today.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Weekend Update

Just had a briefing with the National Weather Service (NWS) and for today, right now, it’s looking like this:

Saturday a Warm Front will approach us from the Southwest during the day, bringing with it much rain and some wind. This moisture field is currently pushing northeast of Hawaii and will continue to develop as it approaches the coast. The Warm Front itself will push thru late Saturday and we are looking at rainfall totals between 3-6”, even the valley may see 1-3” and there are flooding concerns there too. Sunday we have a break between systems then Monday we get another 1-3” with the Cold Front as it pushed thru. They (NWS) are still uncertain as to where, exactly, the hose will be pointed thus who will get the greatest rainfall totals. The NWS also cautions that if you have looked at the latest readings for the Wilson and Nehalem River you will see the models lowered the crest. This may have given you a false sense of security as minor changes with the system would make a big difference and there will likely continue to be variations in the forecasting models. With some of the heavy rainfall amounts there could also be some small stream flooding take place. This will ALL be looked at again tomorrow and a Flood Watch would be issued then if necessary.

As for winds, a standard event in this regard, winds southwesterly Saturday 15-25 gusting to between 40-50 along the coast, 35 inland.

I will update again in the morning and I get another special briefing tomorrow afternoon and will pass on the information afterwards.

Heavy rain expected for the weekend!

A good band of showers pushed thru about 5 this morning, it woke me up, more showers are expected today, tonight, and tomorrow, associated with more disturbances rotating under the large low pressure system still to our northwest. One of these disturbances will bring rain tonight that will last into the morning, then; the shower activity diminishes Friday afternoon ahead of a developing complex weather system which will bring abundant rainfall to the area on Saturday. This starts with a warm front bringing rain and gusty winds to the coast with rainfall amounts of 2-5 inches possible. The models all agree that this system will bring plenty of rain Saturday evening and night but vary on exactly where the heaviest amounts will fall. As the National Weather Service puts it, this is a critical detail that will directly affect the amount of rainfall and flooding potential. Currently the Wilson and Nehalem Rivers are forecasted to crest Saturday night around 10pm above Action Stage but below Flood Stage. Some good news though, this time frame coincides with a low tide period at around 11pm. This needs to be watched closely for changes and I will update the forecasts this afternoon and tomorrow as needed. Sunday we may see a break in the activity but Monday the Cold Frontal portion of the system will again bring more wind and rain. Beyond this, light rain showers are expected into midweek. Highs for this period in the low to mid 50s with lows in the low to mid 40s.