Severe Storm Could Sock Oregon Before December
By ABE ESTIMADA, KGW Oregon
CORVALLIS – The crisp days of fall may arrive earlier than usual with cool temperatures and wet conditions, said Oregon’s climate guru.
Now the bad news: A severe storm could sock the Pacific Northwest sometime between now and December, said Oregon climatologist and Oregon State University atmospheric scientist George Taylor.
Taylor released his fall and winter forecast for 2004-05 on Wednesday. In the forecast, Taylor studied factors such as sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean, wind conditions and solar cycles during past “analog” years with extreme weather events. Those same conditions exist now, prompting Taylor to believe that something big could happen in the next few months.
“If that holds true, we could see a major wind storm, a snow storm, high rainfall events or maybe even a tornado,” Taylor said. “They’re rare in Oregon, but they do occur.”
Conditions were similar in 1971-72 when a flood struck northwestern Oregon in January of 1972, leading to two deaths and numerous injuries. In the spring of that year, a tornado began near Portland and crossed the Columbia River into Washington.
In 1987, another analog year, there weren't any "extreme" events, Taylor said. But a windstorm in December with 50-60-mile-per-hour winds caused three deaths, and an unusually late snowstorm in March of 1988 bogged down the state in a slushy mess.
"The year 1994-95 was a truly wild one for weather," Taylor said.
In that time, storms began in late October and continued on and off during the winter. Then two major storms hit within five days of each, dousing western Oregon and dumping large amount of snow in the Cascades. Winds hit 70 miles per hour in Tillamook and gusts of up to 100 miles per hour were recorded at the 7,000-ft. level of Mount Hood.
In December 1994, a big snow storm hit western Oregon – with the white stuff falling all the way down to the valley floor, Taylor said.
In more specific regions of Oregon, Taylor offered this forecast:
-- The Oregon Coast: October through December will have slightly below-normal temperatures and slightly above-normal precipitation. Temperatures and precipitation should be slightly above normal January through March.
-- The Willamette Valley: Near-normal temperatures and slightly above-normal precipitation October through December; and slightly above-normal temperatures and precipitation January through March.
-- Southwest Interior: Slightly below-normal temperatures and precipitation October through December; above-normal temperatures and slightly above-normal precipitation January through March.
-- Northeast Oregon: Slightly above-normal temperatures and precipitation October through December; above-normal temperatures and slightly above-normal precipitation January through March.
-- Southeast Oregon: Near-normal temperatures and precipitation October through December; above-normal temperatures and near-normal precipitation January through March.
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