An Arctic Tease or The Real Deal?

Good evening. Hope you all had a good weekend. Well, as they say in the weather community, “let the model riding begin.” For those who track computer weather model guidance, this is the time of the year when there can be a lot of sleepless nights as we await the many different models to come in. Most models update two times a day, with a few more updating as often as four times a day. What I call the “big three” models include the GFS (Global Forecast System), the ECMWF (European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting) better known as the “Euro” and finally the Canadian, also known as the GEM. So, why all this talk about model riding today? Well, as many of you have already seen, at least two of these “big three” are showing what could be an unseasonably cold air mass sliding down over the Pacific Northwest sometime next weekend (Nov 13th-ish).

Let me note that it is still to early to take any of this “to the bank,” but the one model I personally feel is the best (the Euro) is getting colder with each run over the past 3 days. Then there is the GFS and Euro Ensembles. These also show a trend to the colder solution of the Euro operational and Canadian. I took a look back at the model guidance from last Novembers arctic outbreak that struck just before Thanksgiving and there are similarities to what I am seeing in the models again this year. But that does not mean the result will be the same. If I were making a forecast tonight, I would not jump on board with Ozzy Osborne’s “Crazy Train” just yet, but if these solutions are still showing this by Wednesday, I will likely be punching my ticket at the station and getting on board. We shall see how it all plays out in the coming few days. Check back here for updates. It could be nothing or as I said at the big Winter Weather Conference in Portland last weekend, it could be a “November to remember.” Only time will tell.

By the way, here are the links to the models I am referring to:

Euro loop (via Mark Nelsen’s site) –


Canadian –

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Stay tuned!

Steve Pierce
President – Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society

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:

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