Weather

Where's The Sunshine & Warmth?

The image above (albeit not that easy to read here) is the latest Euro model output. It continues to show one weather system after another hanging around the Pacific Northwest over the next 7 days or so. The devil will be in the details, but it is safe to say that there won’t likely be any prolonged warm weather coming in the next week. La Nina is fading and one would expect that conditions will return to normal sooner or later. However, with last winters La Nina being the strongest (according to the MEI index) since 1955, anything is possible. March through June is the time of the year when ENSO models (La Nina and El Nino) experience the most “noise” in their forecasts for the coming months. In other words, we are right in the middle of the “dead zone” right now. ENSO models typically lock back on to a good forecast in July. Until then just about anything goes.


The image above is the latest output from the CPC, which gives us a neutral ENSO signal going into next winter. That means neither La Nina nor El Nino. As my good friend George Taylor calls it, LA NADA! I like that term and I also like what kind of weather we can see in a La Nada winter, which may be coming to a window near you soon! But until then, as much as we all want to see sunny and warm weather return, I once again think about 1954 and 1993, where non-stop rains and cold weather frequented the Pacific Northwest all summer long. Will summer 2011 be a repeat of last year? Will it be even colder and wetter? After all, we are breaking records all over the place this spring, just not the kind that most of us want to hear about. It is so cold and wet that my cat won’t even go outside!

Oregon AMS member Phil Welke pointed out that Hillsboro and Portland are both very close to setting yet another record, this time for the least number of 60 degree days in a given calendar year from January 1st through May 31st. Looks like Hillsboro already has this dubious record in the bag, and Portland may also reach the top spot in the coming days. Not a record that any of us are to excited to see, but a record none the less. For those of us who actually thrive on weather no matter what mother nature sends our way, a -PDO signal coupled with a neutral or slightly -SST signal, coupled with coming off of a 3 year period of nearly zero solar activity may just end up being the weather equivalent of the baseball world series. Although not entirely scientific, I think the door is wide open this coming fall and winter for another “15 year return cycle windstorm” and perhaps another good snow dump at low elevations. Now that is a long ways out from now and things may shift a bit in the coming months. Let’s see what the ENSO model output (above) looks like come July. Until then, stay warm and dry!

Stay tuned!
Steve Pierce

Steve Pierce

Steve Pierce

Steve Pierce is widely known as Oregon and Washington's "go-to-guy" when it comes to fast, accurate historical meteorological research and forecasts. Steve is currently the President of the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Steve is also recognized as a regional weather commentator and blogger who can be heard on local radio stations and seen in print media outlets across the Pacific Northwest. His Weather Blog is hosted by the Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Check it out! He is a third generation resident of Vancouver, Washington and holds a degree in Communications. Both sets of Steve's grandparents migrated to Vancouver during World War II. One set traveled from Lenox, Iowa to work in the Kaiser Shipyards supporting the war effort. The other set came to Vancouver from Olympia, Washington to work as educators for the rapidly expanding Vancouver School District. When the war was over, both sets of grandparents decided to stay in Vancouver and continue raising their families, as did thousands of other families at the time. Those who are most familiar with Steve can attest to the fact that weather is his true passion. His love for "all things weather" began at the age of 7 when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980. He was fascinated with which direction the ash plumes were headed. Then came the very powerful windstorm of Friday, November 13, 1981, also referred to as the "Friday the 13th" storm. This was the strongest storm to hit the Portland / Vancouver area since the great Columbus Day Storm of 1962! At age 11, he was asked to publish an extended weather forecast for his elementary school's weekly newsletter. In the 1980's, at age 14, Steve was the youngest of KGW-TV's local "weather watchers" and would phone in his daily Vancouver weather stats to then television meteorologist Jim Little for use on-air. Steve has lived through all of the major Pacific Northwest weather events of the past 30 years, and then some. The most notable events include; the bitterly cold winter of 1978-1979, the record setting snow storms of January 1980, the summer heat wave of August 1981, the windstorms of November 1981 and December 1995, the severe arctic blast of February 1989, the record flood of February 1996, the historic ice storm of January 2004, the Vancouver tornado of January 2008 and the record setting snow storm of Christmas 2008. Not to mention every Mt. St. Helens volcanic eruption in between. With access to the most extensive set of historical weather records available to date, Steve has personally designed and integrated a proprietary system that gives him the ability to quickly locate and manipulate weather data as far back as the 1800's. As one local Meteorologist put it, "Steve has fast access to historical weather data that is needed for media, agriculture, business, personal, historical and other climatological needs. He can quickly manipulate the data in many different ways. His forecasts are also quite accurate, especially at longer lead times." Steve also provides local storm assessments, narratives and weather presentations to the general public, as requested. In his spare time, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, the outdoors, vacationing at his family's coastal cabin and just relaxing! By the way, do you like your weather on the "extreme" side? So does Steve! Whether it is collecting damage assessment data & photos after record setting 125 mph winds at the coast in December 2007, being one of the first on the scene after the January 2008 Vancouver tornado, or feeling (literally) the awesome power of 100 mph wind gusts at Oregon's Crown Point in January 2010, Steve has experienced it all! As Steve says, "don't just love weather, live weather!" Check out Steve's personal weather website at: http://www.piercevideo.com/weather.shtml