When Is The Gorge Going to Warm Up?

A Winter Storm Watch has been issued by the NWS for the central/eastern Columbia River Gorge (Cascade Locks to The Dalles) for tonight.  Actually, it’s technically not for The Dalles, but that’s Pendleton NWS area and they aren’t real coordinated with PDX sometimes.  There will be freezing rain at The Dalles tonight too.

The cold airmass has been very persistent (surprise!) in the Columbia River Gorge.  I live at 1,000′ just east of Corbett and have only been above freezing one day (33 degrees) in the last week.  There has been a solid layer of glaze ice since Thursday evening…about 1/2″ ice on objects with freezing drizzle/showers right now.  It’s unusual for me to be in a “silver thaw” for 3 days.  Here’s a nice pic of the rain chain all frozen up:

photo

As a result, my wife doesn’t want (me) to drive anywhere so it’s definitely a weekend at home.

Looks like the “freezing rain level” in the western Gorge is around 500′, so the freeway is in decent shape until just east of Cascade Locks.  East of that area, some overnight clearing refroze the snow/ice.  The Dalles dropped to 22 after a day of snow yesterday.

There has been one big change the last few hours that says this cold air mass has just about played itself out…the depth of the cold air has shallowed dramatically since 3am.  It’s under 2,000′ thick in the Eastern Gorge.  Temps jumped at Wasco Butte, Auspurger Mtn, and Middle Mountain, all 2200′ and above.  Yes, they are near or below freezing, but that’s because the “real” air mass streaming in from the southwest is that cool.

Tonight, we get strong warm advection with the freezing level rising to around 7,000′.  Westside locations (away from the Gorge) will be around 50 degrees by sunrise.  That means likely just freezing rain tonight in the central/eastern Gorge, and mainly above the freeway level where temps will hover near or just below freezing up to about 1,500′.  It’ll be real patchy around Crown Point and Corbett since the milder south wind is going to be moving into that area during the night.

So to answer the initial question, when will it warm up?

Probably right around sunrise or just before a breezy west wind pushes at least to Cascade Locks, that means temps jump into the 40s for the first time in a week!  East of there, temps should jump at some after sunrise but by noon at the latest.  If the west wind makes it to The Dalles, it could jump close to 50 there!  Get out the shorts…

Until that time, only about 2 degrees warmer than what you have right now as all the precipitation falls tonight.

By the way, it’ll be cold enough west of the Cascades for snow in the hills again Wednesday night through Friday morning.  There’s no reason snow couldn’t stick all the way to sea level at times during that period too, but as mentioned in the previous post, it’ll all depend on moisture availability.  It’ll be a similar pattern to what we saw earlier in December.

If you’re looking for that big arctic blast somewhere a week or farther out, that’s still very much up in the air.  Nothing has changed on that front.  I’ll post my thoughts again Monday when I’m back at work.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

163 Responses to When Is The Gorge Going to Warm Up?

  1. W7ENK says:

    Somewhat appropiate lyrics in a song by one of the bands I’m currently binging on:

    Poets of the Fall – “Illusion & Dream”

    Look in my eyes I’ll make you see,
    We’re drifting aimlessly.
    Blind in a world of make believe.

    Hear them sing their songs off key n’ nod like they agree,
    Buying the needs to be discreet.

    I’ve got no hand in matters worldly,
    I hardly care at all.
    What’s going on fails to concern me,
    ‘Cause I’m locked behind my wall.
    But you know what drives me out,
    Out of my mind? Oh…

    It’s whatever makes you see makes you believe,
    And forget about the premonition you need to conceive.
    The images they sell are Illusion and Dream,
    In other words, dishonesty.

    If I speak ill please, humour me
    Won’t rant on endlessly.
    Just thought I’d try to make you see.

    It doesn’t solve a thing to dress it in a pretty gown,
    A stone will not need you to guess if you’re still going to drown.
    So you know what drives me out,
    Out of my mind? Oh…

    It’s whatever makes you see makes you believe,
    And forget about the premonition you need to conceive.
    The images they sell are Illusion and Dream,
    In other words, dishonesty.

    So can you name your demon?
    Understand it’s scheming
    I raise my glass and say “Here’s to you.”

    Can you chase your demon?
    Or will it take your freedom?
    I raise my glass and say “Here’s to you!”

    I’ve got no hand in matters worldly,
    I hardly care at all.
    What’s going on fails to concern me,
    ‘Cause I’m locked behind my wall.
    But you know what drives me out,
    Out of my mind? Oh…

    It’s whatever makes you see makes you believe,
    And forget about the premonition you need to conceive.
    The images they sell are Illusion and Dream,
    In other words, dishonesty.

    So whatever makes you see makes you believe,
    And forget about the premonition you need to conceive.
    The images they sell are Illusion and Dream,
    In other words, dishonesty.

    • JohnD says:

      Axiomatic–As in weather, as in art, as in
      life: It is true if YOU believe it’s true (if
      only for you!) And if the masses are believing
      it too, well, so much the better!

  2. Marcus says:

    I like the 12z ECMWF!

  3. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    PDX just hit 50.

    In addition Mark says it’s 47 at home and the ice is gone…

  4. pappoose in scappoose says:

    More interesting nuggets!

    National Weather Service Portland or
    905 am PST Monday Jan 7 2013

    The front then comes back as a sharp cold front as a strong north-northwest oriented jet digs cold air from the Gulf of Alaska southward to our offshore waters. Rain will probably spread onshore late Tuesday night/ early Wednesday morning. Low level wind profiles suggest winds may get a bit gusty as the front moves through…with the NAM suggesting 35-45 knots winds as low as 950 mb. This would not be enough for a High Wind Warning…and the pressure gradients will not be ideal for wind in the Willamette Valley. However this will be a dynamic front which could have an easy time tapping into the stronger winds aloft to mix them down to the surface.
    Another note about the strength of this front. Cold advection will be
    strong along and behind the front. There have been cases in the past where a similar setup provided heavy enough precipitation to cause temperatures to go isothermal near 0 degree c from 1500-2000 feet to the valley floor. This due to the latent heat of absorbed by snowflakes melting through the column. In any effect this system will need to be watched closely for the potential of ending with low elevation snow…especially if it comes through in the cooler morning hours. Otherwise snow amounts do not quite look sufficient for advisories in the Cascades or Coast Range at this time. Weagle

  5. Dave in SW PDX (235') says:

    12Z GFS operational is an improvement, esp. with the weekend system; it shows a better track hugging the coastline as it drops south. Rex block depicted off the west coast in the long range.

    • Mat the Salmon Killer says:

      Link Dave? I recently lost everything on.my phone. Sorry

    • Mark says:

      I’ve always liked Rex Block. He set some nasty screens/picks in basketball, and was an overall impressive figure.

      If he can manage to bring his cousin along – Omega Block – for a few straight weeks, even better.

  6. paulbeugene says:

    R A I N & S N O W M I X E D B E L O W 5 0 0 ‘

    • W7ENK says:

      Okay, so that’s a done deal…

    • paulbeugene says:

      Models definitely in past 12 hours have trended away from region-wide snow event for late this week. Some chance it could swing back the other way. Ensemble means have trended milder as well (GEM and GFS, while Euro ensemble is milder than operational)…..which is not a good sign if you are a fan of low elevation snow, arctic air, etc.

    • W7ENK says:

      Yup, that’s what I’ve been seeing, and that’s what I was afraid of. Better luck next time.

      Thanks Paul!

    • runrain says:

      Oh well. At least the heating bill won’t be as bad. As consolation, I believe we deserve a good, warm southerly windstorm!

    • JohnD says:

      I am getting sooooooo tired of this game. We
      play it every year and try really, really
      hard–as if it would matter anyway. And the
      bizarre thing is that it almost NEVER happens
      –big time winter weather events that is. At
      a certain point you are just tired of the
      whole thing. Especially when no one seems
      optimistic anymore. And we are now
      approaching the statistical heart of the
      season. Seriously after this current yearly
      edition of struggle–in about another week–
      I, for one am going to be forgetting the
      whole thing and longing for spring. .

    • W7ENK says:

      You’re absolutely right JohnD, but the most frustrating thing (for me, anyway) is when someone shows the slightest bit of skepticism or doubt. It’s always the same routine, it’s frowned upon, even despite the history of reality. So I’ve learned that in order to “fit in” with this crowd and not get labeled as a pessimist or a Negative Nancy, I have to pretend like I’m all enthusiastic about the chance of snow and cold in the extended that I know full well is going to fall apart before the 60-72 hour range. Had even half of the epic cold and snow the models have thrown at us over the last 4 years come to fruition, PDX would have had several feet and smashed temperature and snowfall records in probably every one of them. Instead, PDX hasn’t seen a truly significant snow event at river level since December 2008 — over 4 years now, but don’t anyone dare nay-say, because we’re long overdue, and this time it WILL happen! :(

      I’m peering over the edge of the cliff… and I smell burgers and beer!

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      The odds are in our favor then, W7! Hahaah!

    • …been keeping the coals going, and the kegs tapped!!…

    • W7ENK says:

      Thanks Larry, I know I can always count on you! :)

    • runrain says:

      It’s the best roller coaster ride in the west!

  7. W7ENK says:

    Nice bit of southerly breeze this morning, almost 1/4″ of rain since midnight.

  8. alohabb says:

    Wow Koin really backed off their idea of snow this weekend and changed up their 7 day.

    • W7ENK says:

      Of course they did. :cry:

    • David B. says:

      I still think an arctic blast is gonna happen. There’s still lots of winter left that’s more than 10 days out. Heck, there’s still room for it to happen inside the window I gave last month.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      A different person made the forecast most likely. Remember that each person on each shift makes their own decisions.

  9. What a warm, moist, and breezy morning. I forgot what 48 degrees felt like. It sure is balmy that’s for sure.

  10. This is an interesting nugget of information….

    .LONG TERM…WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGH SUNDAY…COLD AIR WILL SETTLE OVER THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR MUCH OF THE EXTENDED FORECAST PERIOD. SNOW WILL BE POSSIBLE DOWN TO SEA LEVEL AT TIMES. HOWEVER THERE WILL NOT BE A WHOLE LOT OF MOISTURE FOR SYSTEMS TO WORK WITH…AND THERE IS A LOT OF DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN MODELS REGARDING WHEN AND WHERE THESE SYSTEMS WILL TRACK AS THEY APPROACH THE PAC NW FROM THE GULF OF ALASKA. *THE LAST THREE RUNS OF THE ECMWF HAVE SUGGESTED AT LEAST ONE SYSTEM… SOMETIME THU NIGHT THROUGH SAT…GLANCING THE COAST AS IT MOVES SOUTHWARD.* **THIS WOULD BE A SNOW TRACK FOR THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY AND POSSIBLY THE COAST. GIVEN THE ORIENTATION OF THE UPPER TROUGH…IT APPEARS THE ECMWF MAY BE ONTO SOMETHING. IF ANYTHING THE LAST COUPLE RUNS OF THE GFS/CANADIAN HAVE TRENDED IN THE SAME DIRECTION WITH AT LEAST A SHORTWAVE OR TWO WITH A SIMILAR TRACK.** BOTTOM LINE IS THAT LOWLAND SNOW IS CERTAINLY NOT OUT OF THE QUESTION BEGINNING WEDNESDAY…WITH AT LEAST THE CHANCE CONTINUING ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE END OF THE WEEK.
    WEAGLE

    • W7ENK says:

      I want some of what they’re trippin’ on!

      IF ANYTHING THE LAST COUPLE RUNS OF THE GFS/CANADIAN HAVE TRENDED IN THE SAME DIRECTION

      Which GFS runs were they looking at?? I guess they have a different, better GFS that we don’t have access to, because the GFS I looked at has been sucking the last few runs… And the Euro wasn’t all that pretty, either.

      I haven’t looked at the 06z yet…

  11. alohabb says:

    Breezy this morning for sure. Crazy how the blog just about died after midnight.

  12. bgb41 says:

    1/6/2013 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    Warmest:
    High:56 at CW5925 Coos Bay( 49 ft) & NATRON(518 ft)
    Low: 44 at DW8735 Yachats(92 ft) & CW8449 Charlesto(322 ft)

    Coldest:
    High:23 at OWYHEE RIDGE(4400 ft) & Burns Municipal(4144 ft) & Rome(4049 ft)
    Low: 0 at HEREFORD (3599 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 36 degrees
    COLD SPRINGS (47/11 ) (4640 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.46″ at AA7OA Astoria(240ft)

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