Between Snow Storms Today

DSCF0012 I was a bit negligent in posting yesterday…probably due to exhaustion and the fact that forecast-wise there wasn't much to talk about for today.  The other is that I REALLY wanted to get home due to generator issues and other things (2 kids stuck in a house alone with my wife).  So at midnight I made it down my rural road which had one lane plowed with 3 foot berms on each side.  I get to my driveway and…nowhere to park!  My wife had left the snow shovel, so at midnight I spent 30 minutes digging through the (relatively light) snow, just enough to nuzzle the SUV into a little parking spot.  Then it was a 500 ft. trudge through about 2 feet of snow in the pitch dark, stumbling into the powder, in jeans and hanging onto bananas and a bottle of wine.  You can imagine the scene.  No electricity at home and the family was camped out by the woodstove all asleep like it's Christmas Eve!  To make this long story short, the power just came back on and internet access is restored.  I am just amazed at the snow depth.  I still have 21" on the ground about 2 miles east of Corbett at 1,000' elevation…I don't get much drifting here because of very little wind, so I assume that there must have been 22-24" before it compacted the last 24 hours.  That includes 13" on top of the thin ice layer Sunday too.  You see the picture…that's my dog;  the Prius is on the left and the Odyssey minivan is on the right.  They won't move for a long time!  I'll put some other pictures in the viewer photos on the sidebar.

I haven't spent the usual enormous amount of time staring at maps today, but enough to confirm what I was already thinking, with a few changes…

Offshore flow continues tonight and early tomorrow ahead of an approaching weather system…keeping us relatively cold through morning.  I see temps are approaching freezing in spots at 1pm, so that forecast is looking good.  I doubt we'll see a dramatic drop tonight, just staying in the mid-upper 20s.  That sets us up for some snow in the morning as precipitation from the approaching California storm merges with the cold front coming in from the northwest.  Last night I said 2-4" and at this point that seems a bit high, considering that the freezing level should rise to about 1,500' from 4pm tomorrow through early morning Christmas Day, and the heavier precip comes with that slight warming.  Maybe 1-3" is a better bet.  Christmas Eve itself (tomorrow evening), should be a bit sloppy with a rain/snow mix due to a good southerly wind blowing up the Valley.  Not exactly a real warm wind, but enough to change those of us below 1,000' to that sloppy mix.

Then the fun returns Christmas Day itself.  Looks like a surface low slides right over the top of us or just to the south during the morning hours, turning our surface wind easterly again (cold), then light north by late in the day.  There is a good burst of precipitation at the same time…SO…I think Christmas Morning we'll probably see widespread 2-4" snowfall, with some spots up to 6" if we stay chilly enough.  Maybe Steve Pierce can confirm, but I don't think we've ever seen such a White Christmas! 

I think the higher elevations and Columbia River Gorge could see another foot of snow from tomorrow morning through Christmas night!  Down here in the metro area I see snow, then rain/snow mix or all rain, then more fresh snow Christmas Day.

I didn't look too far beyond Christmas since I spent the morning shoveling, BUT, it's obvious there is going to be a quick change to mild and wet westerly flow late Friday and the weekend.  50 degrees isn't too far away for those of you tired of the snow…

9pm Update:  This will be brief, since I need to get organized for the 10pm show, but I see precipitation is moving in quickly this evening.  Some below have mentioned the KPTV tower temp is above freezing at the top.  Yes, but just barely and the dewpoint at that elevation is below zero.  That means evaporational cooling should drop temps down below freezing at that elevation soon after the precipitation starts falling.

Just looked at 00z maps…there seems to be a slight northward trend in the 00z WRF-GFS and 00z MM5-NAM in the low pressure center location for Christmas Day.  The 00z NAM would give us no snow, but the 00z WRF still could.  Just another wrinkle in the forecast. 

What continues to be very clear in the longer range is that the snow threat ends Friday.  After that it's back to wild, wet, and warm Pacific weather systems.  Enjoy the snow while it lasts!

Mark Nelsen

444 Responses to Between Snow Storms Today

  1. cap - Hood River says:

    Amazing temperature rise down the gorge. At The Dallas, the temp was 17, a mile past Mosier, the temp suddenly zoomed up from 24 to 36 degrees in about one mile! Hood River is at 33 degrees.

  2. Annie in Vancouver (currently in FG) says:

    Taj – thanks for answering. Was wondering who you were referring to.
    No snow – I know. But today is the day we celebrate it. I shouldve been more clear I guess, and was just trying to lighten things up. Sounds like a lot of ppl here need to.
    It’s christmas for crying out loud…sheesh. All the ppl complaining is getting old.

  3. Annie in Vancouver (currently in FG) says:

    OMG!! Just opened the door to let the dog out and saw that it’s snowing pretty dang hard!! Maybe some sleet mixed in? I was NOT expecting this!! Yaaa hoooo hooey!!
    Anyone else getting any snow or rain or anything??

  4. Sandi (Wilsonville) says:

    New post by Mark!

  5. HIO Phil (Punxsutawney) elevation 189' says:

    I should add it’s a very light misty rain.

  6. HIO Phil (Punxsutawney) elevation 189' says:

    Uh, Just make that plain old rain right now, and the temp is below freezing! So be carefull if you are driving around Hillsboro, as it is freezing to the ground and the old wreck outside.

  7. HIO Phil (Punxsutawney) elevation 189' says:

    Well, I open my mouth and say it’s going to stay clear, and the Coast Range starts letting the clouds through, it warms up and now I have a bit of sleet with a few snowflakes mixed in. Surprised that there’s any warm air in the mid levels right now.
    Currently 31.4 DP 30

  8. Jenn says:

    Um, does anyone know when the roads will melt enough that I can drive? I’m at 750 feet in Portland, and the ice ruts are so deep on our road that my station wagon is high centering. How much longer will I be stuck at home? Will I be able to get out on Saturday? I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 15+ years, and I’ve never seen anything like this.
    Thanks.

  9. Boring Larry in Cherryville el.918 says:

    ….please don’t feed the trolls; if you wish to observe the feeding process, please visit between 4 and 5 am, so as not to disturb the other critters…

  10. No snow says:

    Jesus was not actually born today.

  11. Kirk ( 7miles North of Washougal ) says:

    Holly Cow this is crazy !
    We have had 29 inches of snow fall up here. 5 inches today !
    Have a solid 20″ all over the place.
    We have lost power 3 times. Phone 2 times.
    Had to shovel flatter roof areas.
    Plowed drive several times. Now have snow piles up to 8 feet high !
    I never thought I would say this but I am ready for a break.
    But I have loved every minute of this cold weather.
    Thank you god !

  12. Annie in Vancouver (currently in FG) says:

    Taj – u gonna answer my question?

  13. Sandi (Wilsonville) says:

    My oldest daughter is in the kitchen right now making a pineapple upside down cake. Smells very tropical in my house.
    I haven’t looked yet, so I’ll throw out the conversational question of how much rain is expected tomorrow?

  14. Nof near Carlton says:

    NNW winds have returned, temp quickly dumped back into the upper 20’s after sunset. Sitting at 28.8 now, no new snow accums today. Everything went east and south 😦 Happily things were kinda melting, driveway has now been cleared. Unfortunatly the county snowplow took out my neighbors mailbox and damaged mine >:[
    I don’t know about apples but a pineapple sure sounds good right now!

  15. Sandi (Wilsonville) says:

    Well, after a bit of snow in the wee hours of the morning, we’ve been under the south wind’s influence and above freezing for most of the day. Our wind influence went WSW and then N with some clearning for a short time this evening and all the rain and melting snow we had today froze. The south wind has returned (barely) and we’re back (barely) above freezing. Deck at ground level is still is slippery, though.

  16. sno-ball-daze says:

    Taj ma haj,
    1. do you believe in Santa Clause
    and
    2. do you like apples?

  17. sno-ball-daze says:

    taj ma haj…
    Do you like apples?

  18. Boring Larry in Cherryville el.918 says:

    ..i’ve said it before, but it’s something one gets to rarely say on Xmas…it’s snowing, and 32.4…

  19. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    I’ve noticed since bottoming out at 32.8 degrees I’ve been slowly warming over the last hour to 33.6.

  20. Karen in Camas says:

    I agree Larry….geesh. I think we’re supposed to be discussing weather on here, aren’t we? And let’s lighten up….it’s Christmas.

  21. Andrew Johnson (Silverton) says:

    I saw the 18z brings in some cold air in lala land lol… I expect mild conditions for the next three weeks or so then I would not be surprised if we got more cold air in here…I don’t expect widespread 15-25 inch snowfall totals during a two week period, that would be crazy!

  22. Boring Larry in Cherryville el.918 says:

    Tetra, i have a friend in that area who is on day 5 of no power…

  23. Tetraforce says:

    BTW Mark Nelson generally stands to my expectations. He has been 90% right with only a few minor errors but he is pretty reliable. The last few winters have made my mind.

  24. Boring Larry in Cherryville el.918 says:

    …jeez, anyone have anything to talk about like, oh say, immediate weather for tonight and tomorrow…you know, things like when snow turns to rain?…

  25. Tetraforce says:

    Mom said on one of the news channels that they showed our area and Silveton,Mollala had the most power-problems compared to Portland which got off pretty easy…….except 4 the west hills.

  26. Annie in Vancouver (currently in FG) says:

    Not lecturing, just one sentence.
    So, which of their peers does stand up to your expectations??

  27. Tetraforce says:

    Here is something intresting. A week ago before we had our ice-storm I looked at the ocean index thread over at Western and they said that their will be colder weather with moisture heading south of Seattle and bulls-eye into Portland.
    The essembals supported that agreement and Mark said we would have rain but instead we got over an inch of ice on EVERYTHING. We lost power and had to put our food outside so it won’t spoil then we decided to abandon ship. Everyone else said record snowfall for Portland and you know the rest.
    I actually predicted this kind of thing though I didn’t think the ice would have been so bad. LOL. X: (axe on Tetra)

  28. Annie in Vancouver (currently in FG) says:

    Thanks Tyler! I’m on the Fremont bridge right now and its not icy but hwy 26 was till about Murray rd. (on my iphone) I am soooo sad that I missed the super heavy snowfall today!! But I’m glad that there’s beautiful snow on the ground and I did get to see it fall today!! How blessed we have been with the snow!
    Taj – please have a more positive attitude on this special day!! NOBODY is perfect, except for the person whose birth we are celebrating today!

  29. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    If there was only someway we could flip a switch to heat the roads and melt everything off those surfaces quickly while leaving the snow everywhere else in place! 🙂
    I dare not take my Passat out until Saturday at the earliest. I fear I may become one of those many sedans I saw on the side of the road today with the flashers on.

  30. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    Temps are approaching freezing in Vancouver right now. Roads are the worst today because of the ruts.
    Recorded 1.5″ of snowfall today. That is a record for me and beats out last years 0.1″.
    32.6 here.

  31. Christiana--Forest Grove says:

    There have got to be more important things than forecasting accuracy going on in your life. I like this blog and would hate to see it shut down or people banned because they can’t treat each other with respect.
    The only reason that I’ve had time to read the blog today is that I’m snowed in and can’t get to my family on Christmas.

  32. sno-ball-daze says:

    Tajerie magid hagerie,
    Do you believe in Santa Clause?

  33. HIO Phil (Punxsutawney) elevation 189' says:

    30.5 now.
    Driving yesterday was probably the worst I have ever seen it in the Portland area. The back roads and side streets were just nasty. I have an all wheel drive sports car with snow tires and it kept bogging down. I felt better when the Tahoe had trouble with the ruts and deep slushy snow as well.

  34. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    It’s Christmas and people are arguing over forecasting accuracy? Go be with your families folks!
    Quick weather update from Walnut Grove… I’m at 32.9 and noticed most the fresh snow on my car now has a nice layer of ice on it. It’s going to be slick in the morning so I’d stay home if you have no pressing needs!
    Even a 4×4 Dodge Ram 1500 had a heck of a time with some of those ruts on the roads.

  35. Annie in Vancouver (currently in FG) says:

    Is it freezing in Vancouver?? Driving home from FG and it’s baaaad here!

  36. HIO Phil (Punxsutawney) elevation 189' says:

    31.3 and temp dropping like a rock here. If it stays clear tonight and I think there’s a good chance here, we could get into the teens by morning.

  37. Antipex (SE Gresham) says:

    32.1 here at 500 ft with snow still on the trees from the heavy snow this afternoon. Looks like it’ll be crazy icy out there tonight and tomorrow morning.

  38. taj ma haj says:

    “Excellent. You’ve agreed with my point…”
    Not at all, but I rather showed you how your analogy was flawed relative to our expectations of meteorologists.
    “We don’t expect anyone to forecast what the weather conditions will be at a precise time three weeks from today.”
    You’re right it is absurd to have such an expectation and no one here is demanding such accuracy over such a time frame. But 24 hours?
    “I’m genuinely interested in knowing your thoughts…”
    Mmm. I doubt it.

  39. Tetraforce says:

    At least in the 24hr time-frame and that’s what we really are concerned about. I certinatly don’t ask that we fore-cast weather 98% right 3 days out just a general trend only.
    We reallllly need to take a peek at the ocean essembles more.
    That’s what the Western Weather Forum does even though there is bickering worse then here so once a week or so I am going to check out the fore-cast for the ocean.

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