What strikes me tonight is how cold the airmass is pouring through the Gorge.  Looks like this fresh episode of cold air blasting in from the east is slightly colder than the last.  It’s probably one of the 3 coldest airmasses of the last 5 years (the other two were with the ice storms the last 2 winters).  Of course the problem would be…what happens if moisture shows up?

We may find out within 4-5 days.  Tonight models seem to be converging on a switch to milder and wet southwesterly flow at the beginning of the week.   Each model is different but they are are pointing to some sort of system as early as Sunday and several more taking swipes at us Monday-Wednesday.   Definitely too warm for snow too, it would only be freezing rain.  The worst part is that this sort of pattern change is similar to the last two ice storms in that we don’t get a quick switch to onshore (warmer low level) flow.  Usually several "waves" of rain need to pass by to get rid of the cold air eastside metro and Gorge.  We’ll see how much moisture is on the way over the next few days.  And of course it may only be cold enough for freezing rain on the eastside of town. 

In the short term batten down the hatches eastside and keep the fireplace roaring!  East winds will increase to the strongest so far this season as weather systems begin to approach and pull out more cold air through the Gorge.

19 Responses to Cold!

  1. Aaron Sentker DISTINCTIVE SERVICES Window Cleaning says:

    Hey Mark;
    I was cleaning windows in Sellwood today. Up on top of the 24 foot ladder, mid-afternoon, a wind from the East(?) kicked up, YEE HAW! Took my breath away, but managed to stay on the ladder. Went back to wetting and stroking the window–hmmm, wow, this window is REALLY dirty! Wait, thats not grime, it’s SLUSH! Went to my truck and grabbed the ice scraper and put the squeegees away. BFC!!! (brrrrfreeeezingcold)

  2. jennyT says:

    I have a friend from Idaho stationed down at McMurdo, a scientific outpost in Antarctica that swells to 1,200 population during the austral summer. It’s warmer than we are right now–in the low 30’s F. & they are bathed in constant daylight until early Feb.

  3. Jeremiah says:

    I have to admit Mark is a very good forecaster. I have lived here for 15 years and I can say that from my past experiences there is no way to tell what is going to happen until it happens. Now, when I say that, it only is for some circumstance. The Pacific Northwest is its own unique weather climet. All the way from next to ocean, lat. long., gorge, jet stream, placement, etc. It’s Very hard to predict weather here. I heard a joke that said “If you live in the northwest and you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes.” This is very true, couple weeks back there was winter storm warnings being posted 3-6″, 2-5″, 1-3″… and look at it? The only way to predict a storm in the northwest 100% accurately is to just wait it out and watch for things like consistency. Of course modern technology is very much advanced. We can accurate predict weather. Its a fact, but here in Portland/Oregon/Washington ETC lets not forget January 1st,04. Or the storm after immead. After, it went from a 1 day event to several days. No one knew much of anything. School was cancelled for like 5 days. My point is yes, things may get favorable for winter precipitation. But it’s never gurentied here until it happens. It goes both ways though; sometimes you never know when it might turn ugly…

  4. Gangsta says:

    As soon as I looked at the pinpoint forecast, I was like YES!!! freezing rain!!! no school… but they I realized its gonna be winter break anyways. Oh well just wanted to drop by and say I love FOX 12 you guys r tight!

  5. Michael says:

    I know you don’t trust the GFS, Mark, but you must admit it has been VERY consistent in the idea of some sort of ice event(s) in or near Portland. I don’t think there is a single run in the last 16 or so runs of the GFS that didn’t show this.
    I’m glad I’m coming home to Clackamas for Christmas, I don’t want to miss any winter weather events while I’m stuck up here in Seattle.

  6. Tony says:

    Wew! Talk about cold, we just reached 30 degrees and it’s ~4pm. Many places still below 30… We just get hit with some fluke clouds, but they haven’t warmed the airmass whatsoever. Model runs show some clouds on Sat, with chance of precip along the coast. NWS is now being much more conservitive with their forecast, they are unwilling to talk about freezing precip until near all their models converge on the topic. Smart, considering the last storm they totally messed up on. Can’t wait until ~10:30 when kptv air’s their weather cast. You know, kptv really should have a 5 or 6 o’clock news.

  7. Selma says:

    How come it is so hard for it to snow in Portland???

  8. Paul says:

    I think you’re right on that this particular airmass
    surge is colder. We were 20.0°F at our greenhouse here this morning (1 mi. west of I-5 @ Wilsonville-we have a wholesale nursery). Our coldest before this was 23°F.

  9. Dave J. says:

    Mark, I’m really enjoying your blog. However, I have a general question I’m hoping you could answer. I always hear you (and others) talk about “the models.” As in, “all the models are showing continued dry weather,” or “some of the models are showing a low pressure system next week,” and so forth. Can you talk a bit about these models? How are they generated? What do they take into account? I’m sure this is Weather 101 for many people, but I’d be interested in knowing more about the background of these things.
    Thanks, and keep up the good work.

  10. Ryan says:

    I got a bit bored and decided to check out the forcasts at a few sources to see how they have this possible precip scenario playing out. They show rain showers starting Sunday with highs in the mid to low 40’s and lows in the mid 30’s. Rain showers turning to ice/snow showers overnight starting Wednesday. Highs mid-40’s to low-50’s with lows typically in the mid 30’s. Clear through Wednesday with highs in the mid-40’s and lows around 30 to 35.
    KOIN: Partly Cloud/Sunny through Wednesday highs around 45 and lows around 35 (anyone else find their forcast becoming irrelevant? It seems their extended forcast after two days states the same exact high and low through the 7th day).
    KATU: Rain showers starting Tuesday with highs in the 40’s (does anyone else have a hard time decifering their weather icons on the extended forcast?).
    KGW: Currently only out the Monday on their website which calls for clear skies until then.
    :: And begins the collective *sigh* from the snow fanatics 😦 ::

  11. Ryan says:

    I noticed yesterday that even the large bodies of water (such as the ponds by Andesen/SR500) managed to stay frozen through much of the day. Even then it melted off only at the very middle of the pond. There’s a runoff I drive by every day that has yet to show any signs of melt for a good week.

  12. This kind of weather is exciting, until you have to get somewhere on ice. Note on the Corbett School weather station. On the 10th, we had some 70 mph gusts. Something happen to the wind vane. Instead of showing Easterly type of readings, it started showing Northerly readings. Today, it is reporting Weasterly readings. I observed it pointing the right direction, bouncing around but generally showing easterly directions. The unit hasn’t physically moved, but the pin must have broken or come loose in the wind vane, allowing it to rotate some. So, until the weather improves enough to get up on the Grade School gym roof, the readings are going to be suspect. The anemometer (wind speed) seems to be functioning properly. Maintanence was on the roof during the calm spell this week and checked for looseness on any of the rotating shafts, but they seemed OK. I’m worried the next few days that the power will blink, and the computer will stall. Forecasts for a greater differential this weekend, might make interesting speeds. I will talk to all persons who will be around the building, and have them restart the program if necessary. The first year the unit was up, one of the cups broke off during christmas vacation. I hope it holds together this time. Tha Max gust I have observed here at the school, was in the early 1990’s at 104mph. I’ve been waiting over 10 years to meet that mark.

  13. Ryan says:

    It appears we can’t buy a snow storm either. Given the options lets hope the freezing rain never materializes. Once again Portland gets so close yet so far from a shot at snow.

  14. Tyler says:

    A very cold morning to start here in Vancouver. I dropped to 18.9 degrees overnight, marking the earliest temperature in the teens for me in the ten years I’ve been keeping weather records. The wind is dead calm here and everything is coated in frost. Even the tree branches are white today, it once again looks like it snowed a dusting overnight. It is very pretty with the setting moon and the rising sun.
    What really amazes me is how frozen even the large areas of water are around town. Usually only the small ponds will freeze over, but right now most are ice.

  15. Grant L. says:

    Pretty impressive Mark. Im enjoying this December so far with the cold temps and my average at my weather station of 35.7 degree’s. This so far, has been the coldest December i’ve seen for who knows when..just I know it’s been awhile.

  16. alice says:

    i realize that conditions for a lot of different indices have to be “in place” for certain weather patterns to exist….(sort of, im very new to this hobby)what i do not understand is how the sst’s can be so cool (vs el nino), the pdo so low etc and we are still left high and dry…..
    what factor is so strongly in place that we have a “warm episode type pattern” ie: these frequent and long lasting ridges.
    shouldnt we be in a zonal flow getting blasted with wind, rain and snow?

  17. James says:

    At this writing (6:10 a.m. 12/15) it is 19 degrees at our home near Brush Prairie (approx. 300 feet elevation). I’ve lived around here 50 years and white christmases are rare. Unfortunately for snow fans, the very conditions that produce snow in our area also ensure that it will not last long. At least that has been my experience.

  18. Tony says:

    Maybe a better look on the upcoming system is in call. Majority of the forecast models keep the east wind through the first two small waves that push in (the first is almost something to note). If the models stay consistent in this way, it is possible to see more than just one day of ice. If I where to make a guess based on what the models say, also adding in the factor that I have been watching weather since I was thirteen, I would say we can very well possibly get a small or medium ice event this coming week. There is a small possibility that it can start as snow, if the system comes during the morning hours, but I think after a quick turn to freezing rain, it will turn to all rain be late day. BUT if the system moves in at night, we could see some extra cooling due to the freezing precip, and may see ice for an entire day (well a good portion of it). But just like any NW ice event, we have those three factors that need to be just right. We got cold air (Can you tell?) east of the gorge, we have the wind, but yet again the question is of the amount of precip. Right now models are scatterd.
    To answer a question about why we need lots of precip to get it to rain: When the snow falls, it “grabs” the heat from around it when it melts. At this point it wills till fall as rain, but if the precip stays steady, the snow level will begin to drop as the cold air is pulled down by this process. Sometimes the air is cold enough, but only on rare ocassion here in the PacNW.
    But of course, Mark is among the best forecasters here in the NW. What do you think this system will bring us Mark? There is only one thing I dislike more than a cloudy day in summer, and thats rain that is 3-6 degrees too warm to snow. I don’t like the feeling of watching the rain while my thermo is telling me it’s 36 degrees outside.
    On a side note, night before last we did have some snow here on the east side of town (Near Gresham/Troutdale). Started to stick for near two minutes before it totally cut off and melted. Interesting part was that the difference between the rain and the snow was 100-200 feet. If you went down the hill, there was no snow to be seen, go up to the top of the slight hill (100ft?) and you can see snow accumulation.
    Eaither way it is cold, cold and cold. 27 degrees here (Gresham) as of 12AM Thursday.

  19. Tyler says:

    It is cold here in Vancouver…24.5 here at my house. No east wind whatsoever. If you run out of things to talk about on here…maybe pull up the past…like at this time 7 years ago, we still hadn’t had our first freeze. However, a week later, we only reached the mid 20s for high temperatures with snow just before Christmas.
    Anyway, hope we get at least some type of winter precip next week. Any kind of weather would be nice, this is getting old, what is this the 3rd week like this so far this season?

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