I had stayed overnight in Florence and woke to grey drizzle, so I headed to Eugene to run some errands before going home. I shopped REI and Oregon Art Supply, making big finds in both place, before heading north up I-5 for home. Just south of Coburg I hear the first warning on the radio, of the storm moving NW at 30 mph near Oakridge. This surprised me as Oakridge is just SE of Eugene and I saw no thunderheads in the area. I even looked over my shoulder to confirm that the sky was blue, with broken ceiling of small puffy clouds. Hmmm, interesting contrast that I'd see nothing to indicate trouble, but the storm was enough to activate the EBS. The afternoon was warm and muggy, not at all like our typical weather.
I arrived home around 2pm and kept the local radio on to stay up to date. The storm was continuing to move NW and was lining up for Corvallis and Albany. I confirmed this online by checking the satellite image loop. Did you know before reading this, that I am a weather geek? Yes, I am a registered weather geek, an actually NWS Skywarm Weather Spotter. This was going to be my first big moment, I was going to see something that I could report in to the weather service. Yessss!
I spent the next hour preparing for the storm. I cleared the patio of items that could blow away, I locked the kids in the house, charged the video camera (oh yeah, I'm not going to miss this one), emptied the rain gauge, prepped flashlights and pulled out the corded phone (you know your wireless phones won't work when the power goes out, right?), and kicked the AC way down so that I'd be cooler longer if the power went out. Long before the storm hit the am/fm radio crackled to life. If you listen to am radio you can hear lightning strikes long before you can see them or hear thunder. Soon the radio was almost constant crackling, like I've never heard before.The blue lines represent negative lightning strikes and the blue circles are positive strikes. Benton county is outlined in grey with various fire districts outlined in different colors. The two big, yellow shaded areas represent, from right to left, Corvallis and Albany.
As the storm approached the sky grew dark and the wind picked up speed, keeping the trees bent. I grabbed a quick dinner so in case the power went out I wouldn't have to deal with cooking in the dark and with no way to nuke something. It looked like we were poised to take a direct hit of this storm and I was ready for it. For me however, the constant thunder and lightning, big rains and hail never came. Over the course of the storm I logged .13" of rain, and as I waited, the storm seemed to never really "hit". We had some lightning and thunder, but nothing like what was being reported on the radio. I checked online again and saw the reason. The storm of the year had approached my location, and then split around my location, before joining again just NW of me. You've got to be kidding me! Really?!!! Yes. What a let down. In Corvallis, the storm was big. Check out this video of rain:
Yeah, rain is not a new thing in Oregon, but we don't get it like this
Or wind like this...
Today I have been somewhat vindicated. While driving home from Corvallis I spotted a funnel cloud. I wasn't sure that's really what I was seeing, so I pulled over and watched the cloud. It was growing as I sat there, making it half way from the cloud base to the ground. Then, after a short period of time, the funnel became thinner and disappeared. Luckily, I had my camera with me and I pulled it out for a shot of the event. Unfortunately, my batteries were dead...waa waa waaaaaaa. Oh well. I was able to finally make my first Weather Spotter report when I got home, yeah! And later that afternoon, my report even made it onto a NWS bulletin! Woohoo!
WWUS86 KPQR 192006
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PORTLAND OR
106 PM PDT FRI JUN 19 2009
LOWER COLUMBIA-GREATER PORTLAND METRO AREA- CENTRAL WILLAMETTE VALLEY-SOUTH WILLAMETTE VALLEY-I-
5 CORRIDOR IN COWLITZ COUNTY-GREATER VANCOUVER AREA- INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...ST. HELENS...CLATSKANIE...HILLSBORO...
PORTLAND...OREGON CITY...GRESHAM...SALEM...MCMINNVILLE...DALLAS...EUGENE...CORVALLIS...ALBANY...LONGVIEW...KELSO...CASTLE ROCK...
106 PM PDT FRI JUN 19 2009
..ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS AND POSSIBLE COLD CORE FUNNELS...
NUMEROUS SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS HAVE DEVELOPED THIS AFTERNOON THROUGHOUT THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY AND THE LOWER COLUMBIA AND I-5 CORRIDOR. THESE SHOWERS AND ISOLATED THUNDERSTORMS SHOULD CONTINUE THROUGH MID TO LATE AFTERNOON...WITH THE STRONGEST OF THESE BEING NORTH OF SALEM WHERE MODELS INDICATE THE BEST INSTABILITY WILL REMAIN. THE PRIMARY THREAT FROM THESE SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS IS HEAVY RAIN ALONG WITH SMALL HAIL.
ADDITIONALLY...THIS TYPE OF AIR MASS IS ALSO CONDUCIVE TO THE FORMATION OF COLD-CORE FUNNELS. AT 1220 PM A SPOTTER REPORTED SEEING A FUNNEL CLOUD IN LINN COUNTY...BETWEEN CORVALLIS AND ALBANY OREGON. COLD-CORE FUNNEL CLOUDS DO NOT USUALLY TOUCH THE GROUND. HOWEVER...IF THEY DO TOUCH THE GROUND THEY ARE DANGEROUS AND CAN BE DAMAGING.
And on the front page of the Democrat Herold, this photo by Mark Ylen, looks similar to what I saw, but further SE.
What a weird weather year. First a bunch of snow in January, a couple of really hot days in March and a very cool April, May and June (so far). I wonder what else the weather has in store for us this year? Come what may, I'll be watching.