August 18, 2015

Ice day!!!!!

The forecast for today is 98F (moan) both today and tomorrow. So I've put in orders for ice both days. Today's delivery should show up in the next two hours, and let's hope they didn't run out.

Last summer I didn't have a single ice day. This year I think this is about ten of them, which is unusually high. I doubt we'll have any more, though.

Hey, Weather Bureau! We could use some rain. How about it, eh?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 10:37 AM | Comments (16) | Add Comment
Post contains 81 words, total size 1 kb.

1 I spent last week in Hillsboro and the weather was very stable, about 100 defF or about +28C. Low winds, thin cloud layer overcast about 12k. KHIO has a significant student traffic, both fixed- and rotary-wing. When I went there, my wife asked about the weather and I fed her the line I that I think I read here at Chizumatic: "if you don't like the weather (in Williamette valley), wait 15 minutes and it'll change". In actual fact the weather was stable for a week.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at August 18, 2015 11:02 AM (RqRa5)

2

Oregonians don't like to admit to people from out-of-state that we actually do get sun here. Of course, that's seasonal; another saying around here is that we get two seasons: Winter, and August.

That one isn't true, either.

But in the winter it's possible to go weeks at a time without ever seeing the sun. I remember when I worked at Tektronix that sometimes we'd hire someone from elsewhere, and they'd live through one winter here, go mildly nuts, and then leave to go somewhere else.

Especially in the Willamette Valley (and offshoots, like Tualatin Valley) the weather in the Spring and Autumn can be extremely variable. That's because storm systems blow in from the Pacific, breeze right over, and keep going east.

But for the last month or so, we've been getting our weather blown up here from Nevada a lot of the time, like today. The Jet Stream has been staying north of us.

Anyway, I've got my ice so I'm set for today.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 18, 2015 11:57 AM (+rSRq)

3 Well, it's the hottest part of the day and the thermometer on my deck says 95. But inside here it's actually a bit chilly. I think I'm going to eat a hot meal and warm up a bit.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 18, 2015 04:01 PM (+rSRq)

4

So today's heat index is expected to be 109 in sunny Houston.  It was 112 last week.

On Monday of that week, when I left work, my car thermometer read 106.  Twelve miles down the road it read 78  -- I'd driven into the center of a large afternoon thunderstorm.  From the radar, if we don't get over 100 today, it will be for a similar reason.

Posted by: ubu at August 19, 2015 05:51 AM (VSb4z)

5

The people who are really praying for rain are out east in the Willamette Valley.  The reservoirs are really low, and it's costing them a lot of money.  Detroit is only 16% full, and it's orphaned all but one of the boat ramps on the lake--and this is a town that exists solely for the recreation on the reservoir.  I don't know how many businesses won't be able to survive this summer, but some probably will go under.

At least you're asking the Weather Bureau.  Some people were upset with the Corps of Engineers because our reservoirs aren't full.  Not joking, like you.  Legitimately upset and demanded that we do something about it.  I think our leaders wanted to tell them, "Dude, if we could control the weather, we'd be doing something a lot more lucrative than 'Army officer' or 'government bureaucrat'."

Posted by: CatCube at August 19, 2015 06:56 AM (fa4fh)

6

I'm trying to imagine what Detroit lake would look like that low, and I can't. We used to vacation in that area when I was a kid.

I guess they couldn't exactly let the Santiam river dry up, so they had to keep releasing water from there, but as you say, it kind of kicks Detroit in the teeth.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 19, 2015 07:45 AM (+rSRq)

7

I found this from April with pictures of the lake bed, and it looks like things are really terrible. That was several months ago; likely it's even worse now.

Detroit used to be at the bottom of the valley, and when they planned the dam, one of the things that had to be done was to move Detroit up to above the anticipated water line. So they built a new Detroit, moved everyone to it, and then tore down the old one and hauled all the wreckage away so that it didn't end up in the lake and potentially foul the dam.

This all happened about the time I was born.

The location is such that they could have built a lot taller dam there and made a much larger lake, but there wasn't really any good reason to do that with the amount of water flow feeding the location. The two rivers (North Santiam and Breitenbush) are just not all that big even at the best of times.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 19, 2015 01:26 PM (+rSRq)

8 I just read it more carefully, and those pictures are from Feb, 2013. But they are probably representative of how it looks now.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 19, 2015 01:28 PM (+rSRq)

9 After the multiple inches of rain we got last night, caused by a major-league cold front rolling through, today's high temperature here in Duckford was 70°. 

Happy Summer!

Posted by: Wonderduck at August 19, 2015 04:45 PM (jGQR+)

10

We've been threatened with rain several times in the last month, with anything from 10% to 80% in the forecast, but we haven't gotten an7 at all. We're in for 20% chance Friday night, but I bet it doesn't happen.

We don't ordinarily go this long without any rain even in the summer.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 19, 2015 05:24 PM (+rSRq)

11

Before this summer, the minimum flow maintained out of Big Cliff, which reregulates just downstream of Detroit, was 1500 cfs.  They worked through NMFS, ODFW, and whoever else to get that cut to 1000 cfs (and that caused a lot of angst), but there's still mostly a downward trend in the reservoir.

Eyeballing the data available here, it looks like the reservoir has dropped about 15 feet in the last 30 days.  That page has a teacup diagram showing the percent full.  If you click on any of the dams, you'll get a PDF that shows current status and historical data.  The entire system is only 29% full, and 68% below the total rule curve.  It's not enough to do water restrictions, but it's hitting businesses hard.

Posted by: CatCube at August 19, 2015 06:01 PM (fa4fh)

12 After 10" in May, we've gone 50 days without rain.  It's like the drought never ended.

I'm leaving for vacation (driving) on the 31st, with Portland as the turn-around point; what kind of weather should we expect in September, and will the leaves be changing in the mountains by then?

Posted by: BigD at August 19, 2015 06:41 PM (VKO9N)

13

Leaves? Since when are there leaves on evergreens?

We do have deciduous trees in this area in lower areas but the mountains are covered in fir and pine. The deciduous trees mostly do their thing in October; I would be surprised if there was much to see even in late September.

September will be sunny and not quite as hot as it's been this month. You might see a few rainy days, but probably not many.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 19, 2015 06:54 PM (+rSRq)

14

Catcube, that chart is scary. I had no idea the situation was so bad. I'm used to thinking of the Willamette Valley as the land of rain, rain, and more rain, but it looks like that hasn't been the case for the last couple of years.

The good news is the El Nino is coming and preliminary estimates are that it will be a strong one. So we should start soaking again Real Soon Now.

Or maybe not.

Generally, it is expected that this will lead to below-normal precipitation and higher-than-normal temperatures across the Columbia Basin and Canadian border states to the east through next spring.

As always, the only truly safe prediction about weather is, "Yeah, we'll get some."

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 19, 2015 07:15 PM (+rSRq)

15 Ah, I was thinking of the more mixed foliage in, say, Colorado, with the Aspens and all.  I've never been west of Glacier/Yellowstone before, and only made those in the last trip a couple years ago, so I'm not totally sure what to expect.

I just hope the waterfalls aren't all dried up; we had hoped to see a few along the Gorge, or out by Crater Lake.  I don't know if there's much that would interest us in Portland proper, other than "THE" bookstore, and even that has to compete with Amazon and public library kindle offerings these days.

Posted by: BigD at August 19, 2015 07:29 PM (VKO9N)

16

It would take a real catastrophe for the waterfalls in the Gorge to go completely dry. Probably a lot less spectacular now than they would be in winter, but I'm sure they'll still be nice.

The storms here blow off the ocean, across the Coast range and the Valley, and then mostly blow themselves out on the west face of the Cascades. And most of the trees in that area are Douglas Fir. If you've never seen one before, you've got a pleasant surprise coming to you. They aren't as big as Redwoods but they're close.

On the east face of the Cascades, there's a lot more open ground and it isn't anything like as lush. The most common trees are Lodgepole Pine. But they aren't shoulder-to-shoulder because there isn't enough water.

Deciduous trees mostly grow in areas where humans had previously cleared the land and then abandoned it. (You also see them in the early phase of recovery of a forest fire.) The most common deciduous trees are Maples, I would say. But I've seen Aspens on State Route 202 between Jewell and Astoria. (Or at least something with white bark.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 19, 2015 07:57 PM (+rSRq)

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