I’m not working tonight, but inbetween family duties…weathergeekness calls! Amazing how well the models are handling the first system, basically falling apart over Western Oregon this evening. So no reason to doubt steady freezing rain or ice pellets arriving as Drew said around sunset Sunday from Salem-Longview (earlier south). We can’t rule out snow briefly at the beginning, but ice pellets are far more likely. Significant snow accumulation is likely east of Multnomah Falls in the Gorge.
By the way, the peak wind at PDX today was East 52 mph, which is the strongest wind gust in 4 winters (at the airport). The wind will die down some tomorrow everywhere away from the Gorge, but pick up in the Gorge dramatically by morning. This seems to happen with every ice storm. A non-scientific way of thinking of it is that as warm air moves in above, that moving layer of air through the Gorge is squeezed down into a smaller area.
I am a bit concerned about the amount of moisture coming…it’s looking wetter than last January’s storm and slightly colder. But not nearly as cold as 2 years ago. So we think it’ll stay solidly frozen across the entire metro area through Tuesday AM. And even by Tuesday PM, freezing rain may still be an issue right near/in the Gorge. By the end of that time there could be some pretty good glaze accumulation east of I-205.
One more note, Drew Jackson, our weekend meteorologist is one of only 3 forecasters in Portland who grew up in the area (I would be #2). He knows the weather patterns here well, so pay attention to him when he’s on…he does a great job keeping on top of things. In fact we almost always come up with the same forecasts in situations like this.
A wet and/or mild Christmas is now guaranteed, so enjoy the "silver thaw" while it lasts.
I’ll begin updating this regularly once the storm starts…Mark