Tuesday, Dec. 16th – Lincoln County
Summary: Mostly cloudy skies yesterday with an occasional drip as showers passed through, some heavier than others, like the one that nailed Lincoln City and Depoe Bay with over a third of an inch of rain. This year’s unusually persistent east winds (see Weather Factoid below) were lighter than over the weekend, and the mercury climbed into the upper-40s and low-50s. Occasional showers continued through most of the night; low temps dipped into the mid-40s. At daybreak, there were big blue gaps in the clouds and a light east wind was barely perceptible.
Past 24 Hours High/Low/Rain…
Lincoln City: 51F/45F/0.45”
Depoe Bay: 48F/44F/0.35”
Forecast: Every 24 hours or so a weather system spins off the giant Pacific storm carousel and brings us a shot rain. However, the east winds are keeping a damper on the strength and dampness of these disturbances. It looks like we’ll be on this ride for the next couple of days. Clouds and sunny periods today, chance of showers, light easterlies and highs about 50F are projected. Tonight, rain developing, east winds 5-10 mph and lows of 45F. Rain turns to showers tomorrow, a few sunbreaks are possible, high 50F, and the breeze begins veering to the south. Outlook is for more traditional Fall weather Thursday through the weekend with periods of steady rain and sometimes blustery sou’westers. Seasonal temps will range from 45F to 50F.
Christmas Eve/Day… Showers, partial clearing, low 38F, high 45F. The chance of snow is less than 10%.
Travel: In the Coast Range today, chance of rain with highs of 45-50F. Valley destinations are expecting a chance of rain and 50F. The Columbia River Gorge forecast is rain likely, light east winds, temps around 45F. For the Cascades, there is packed snow on all highway passes this morning, rain and snow showers today; the snow level is at 4,000 feet. Carry chains or traction tires.
Cascades Snow Pack: Currently 7”, a gain of 1” since yesterday; no overall change during the past seven days.
Ski Report – New Snow/Base/Condition…
Willamette Pass 0”/4”/Closed
Mt. Bachelor 5”/32”/Open, fresh powder
Mt. Hood Ski Bowl 0”/18”/Closed
Mt. Hood Meadows 0”/2”/Closed
Timberline 2”/12”/Open, Bruno, weather hold for Palmer
Marine: The breeze is SE this morning, anywhere from 5-20 knots, with seas 11-12 feet at 15 seconds. As of 8:00am, Depoe Bay bar is closed to all recreational vessels, and to uninspected passenger vessels 36 feet and less. Yaquina Bay bar is closed to recreational vessels 30 feet and less. A Small Craft Advisory for hazardous seas is in effect until 10:00am. A Small Craft Advisory for winds is in effect out past 10 miles until noon. SE winds 10-15 knots nearshore today, but 20-25 knots offshore, easing to 5-15 knots this afternoon; swells of 13 feet at 15 seconds are expected through the day. Tonight, E winds 5-10 knots gusting 15 with seas subsiding to around 8 feet. A W to S breeze is projected for tomorrow, 5-15 knots gusting 20 offshore past 10 miles, and seas should be about 10 feet at 14 seconds. Outlook is for a gale on Thursday with southerlies 20-25 knots gusting to 35, swells 7-10 feet with 6 foot windwaves. Friday, sou’westers 15 knots but swells building rapidly to 20 feet. South wind on Saturday, 20-25 knots, seas 18 feet.
On the Beach… Showers, sunbreaks, surf 6-8 feet (moderate).
* For a safe and enjoyable time on the Central Coast, the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department offers these Beach Safety Tips.
12/16 Tue 07:24 AM 8.06 H
12/16 Tue 02:20 PM 1.92 L
12/16 Tue 08:23 PM 5.67 H
12/17 Wed 01:27 AM 3.03 L
In Short: Mixed sky, showers, light east winds, then continued wet.
Weather Factoid: Why are we having so much east wind this Fall? It all has to do with something called the Polar Vortex. This is a large cold-core weather feature situated over the North Pole (near Santa’s house). The vortex spins counter-clockwise at varying speeds. When it rotates quickly, the very cold air stays up north; but when it slows down, segments of it are able to get away (like jumping off a merry-go-round) and drift south. This year, our lower hemisphere jet stream, the upper level wind that brings storms to the Central Coast, has been a little stronger than normal and is slowing the Polar Vortex rotation. As the cold air segments are allowed to break free, they drop south and their pressure increases as they move into the upper central US. With generally lower pressure near the coast during the Fall and Winter, the cold higher pressure air is then sucked west through gaps, first in the Rocky Mountains, and then the Cascades, where the air masses are attempting to stabilize. Voilà, east winds develop over Eastern Oregon initially, then come whistling through the Gorge and other Cascade/Coast Range fissures eventually reaching the Central Coast.