Tracking heavy showers and thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Expect a few bumps in the atmosphere Wednesday afternoon as cold air holds over the region hits sunshine to allow for the development of heavy showers and potential thunderstorms.

That means we can get a downpour here or there, with the possibility for small hail. The view coming out of Stoller Winery Wednesday morning paints a moment of clouds as showers move through wine country. There may be some clouds that are billowing up much higher than the ones that we have coming through Dayton. Once we get some more heat from the afternoon sun, the ability for rising air and thunderstorm development should take over.

There have been some heavy rain cells late morning as we push to mid-day. We haven’t even reached the peak hours of the afternoon sun, so expect more. Wednesday is the type of day that you want rain gear with you, but you won’t need it all day. You won’t want to get caught under one of these downpours for it will quickly leave conditions wet. Most of these cells will start small and grow in intensity and then exhaust the energy and dissipate. You will likely need to just step inside for 15 minutes or so unless there is another quick-moving cell right behind. For the most part, you should come across sun breaks before and after the rain.

The view out of the KOIN tower around mid-day shows the sun breaks and clouds passing through the valley. Harmless clouds from this view, but if you see them building vertically, you know there is something coming your way. By the way, the view of the waterfront park is just spectacular. Right now we have a beautiful green even though the conditions have been dry this spring. Enjoy it before we start to dry out even more for the summer.

Check out the short-term forecast for this afternoon. Scattered downpours and showers continue to form here in the Willamette Valley. There will be more of a break for the Oregon coast as conditions will not be as unsettled compared to the valley. This particular weather model has a strong storm right over Marion County by early afternoon.

This is not certain, but we will keep an eye out up and down the Willamette Valley this afternoon for a strong storm that may drop some hail and may even offer some lightning and thunder. If you do hear the thunder, make sure you’re heading inside until the storm passes. Today is a day that you can go golfing, but get caught in a storm quickly. We have a great radar on our KOIN 6 Weather App!

I want to show you a graphic that is going to deliver the message that there will be energy for thunderstorms this afternoon. That shade of blue is a pocket of energy that would help fuel downpours or storms today. We factor this information into our forecast and that is why we are watching out for those more aggressive storms today.

Below is a good idea of where a thunderstorm my develop this afternoon. Eugene is just about the cutoff, although a few cells to the south is possible. Although there is a clear section of green in the graphic, I wouldn’t say there is a strict delineation to development today. That means there may be a few storms that develop outside of that green block. The area below is just the best chance for those storms to develop. The Greater Portland Metro Area and communities up into southwest Washington are in the center of this thunderstorm potential.

It is likely that the risk burns out later in the day as we get closer to sunset. Most storms and cells are probably east of Interstate 5 by the evening hours (after 6 p.m.). We look at the forecast for 6:30 p.m. in the graphic below, supporting the idea for fewer showers west of I-5. With cold air aloft, there may be some snowfall for those mountains this evening. Temperatures in the lower 60s today, which tells you that we have that cold air right over us.

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