Close Call for Snow Tuesday

Looks like we’ll escape without snowfall in the lowest elevations of western Oregon and Washington tomorrow, but by just 5 degrees or so.  An occluded front is approaching the Pacific Northwest tonight.  We still have a cold and dry airmass pouring through the Gorge at the surface, while the airmass above isn’t all that warm.  A long cold, clear night for maximum radiational cooling away from the Gorge is on tap once again as well.  Assuming precipitation arrives as most models forecast…around noon-3pm…we should stay all liquid here in the lowlands.  Our RPM model (not exactly a stellar performer so far this winter season) shows precipitation arriving soon after 9am, indicating some snow up against the Coast Range with some cold air damming there.  Since it’s the only model showing an earlier arrival, I’ll ignore it.  But I like the idea of cool air allowing snow to relatively low elevations from Portland north and west.  In my 10pm weathercast I’ll mention snow to 1,000′ north and northwest of Portland.  I’m thinking Vernonia, Buxton, and the hills in northern Clark County, Cowlitz County, and Columbia County in Oregon.

If you’re traveling I-84 through the Gorge tomorrow, I’d get it done before 4pm.  After that expect a steady sticking snowfall for a few hours…maybe 3″ at river level for messy freeway travel. 

There will probably be an area of freezing rain/ice pellets in a narrow band in the western Gorge.  The cold air is  very shallow west of Multnomah Falls out to Troutdale.  So above about 500′ (Corbett, Washougal Hills) the precipitation will probably be in the form of rain but surface temps will evaporationally cool down to 30-31 degrees.  Once the wind goes southerly tomorrow night those areas will be exposed to that warming, ending the threat after just a few hours while deeper into the Gorge the cold air will remain untouched and just gradually modify the next two days.  Just explaining myself so you don’t think I’m wacko and calling for a large area of freezing rain.  It’ll be localized, but it involves my home so I get to talk about it.

The Thursday system looks juicy…a wet New Year’s Eve.

The 00z GFS then builds ridging/splittiness over us beginning Sunday.  ECMWF shows some sort of ridging as well into the first week of the New Year.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

238 Responses to Close Call for Snow Tuesday

  1. jack gibbs says:

    oh yes and by the way 3″ at fairview. light snow/ice still falling at 9:42
    no wait take that back all snow now!
    who knows what this mysterious december night may bring?

  2. jack gibbs says:

    its all in the delivery my friend:) + mark knows i’m only kiddin him anyway. guy is the best weather man in the us. works his tail of and then when he is done he works it off again! his work ethics are impeccable. so ya miss one, out of how many???????? never under estimate that old east wind is all i can say. i have seen it drop troutdale 15/20 degrees in 10 minutes years past. happy new year nelson. so lets talk jan snow now people?

  3. Maria_M says:

    Driving in first or second gear improves traction and helps you make slow (but safer and steadier) progress in the snow.

  4. Maria Kysor says:

    S.E. Portland 1 1/2 inches

  5. Aleta Worthey says:

    Just measured 2 inches on the hood of my pickup on 73rd off Killingsworth and still snowing. I am about 2 miles from the airport so whatever elevation is there that is about what I am.

  6. Amanda Feltz says:

    1″ in Clackamas on 157th and sunnyside

  7. Chris says:

    I just measured approximately 3″ of snow on my deck here in Milwaukie/Oak Grove.

  8. brittany Henry says:

    2 inches in oregon city

  9. Scott Salzwedel says:

    Heavy snow in Southwest Hills near Council Crest park. We’re at 850 feet with at least 4 inches!

  10. Jessica says:

    we are here in Sherwood and have about 3.5 inches!

  11. tim says:

    2″ in Ridgefield, Wa

  12. kyle says:

    4 inches and counting out here on the eastside of gresham

  13. Fossil says:

    Snowing steadily in downtown Salem – the roads are covered in snow/slush and traffic appears to have slowed down a bit.

  14. Austin-felida says:

    Well its just huge flakes here man its just dumping this is amazing i cnt find my ruler crap wen i do ill tell u guys how much i have

  15. Kevin Hall says:

    it is snowing like quarters in salem would you like pictures

  16. jack gibbs says:


  17. Matthew says:

    .3″ at my house in southeast Portland.

  18. BrianInKeizer says:

    Snowing pretty good again and a bit of mixing rain too! This is very cool!

  19. Snowing cats and dogs on Sky Ranch Rd. – about 11 miles north of North Plains. We are at 1600 feet or so, but it is also snowing in downtown Hillsboro where we have to go right now. Big snow flakes.

  20. Annie in Vancouver ~330 ft. says:

    Just started snowing here about 5 mins ago!! AND it’s sticking!! AND snowing harder!!

    Yesssssss! Now THIS is what I’ve wanted to see this season, at least a but of snow! I’m a happy camper 🙂

  21. Andrew (Ellensburg, Wa) says:

    Roads are covered here in the west hills. 31 degrees.

  22. KeizerGuy says:

    Starting to snow again in Keizer – very light (had stopped for quite a while)

  23. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Light snow in scappoose! I am now happy.

  24. Christiana--Forest Grove says:

    Roads are covered and the winds are from the south but very light winds. The peak gust has been 5 mph. If I find my camera will post pics.

    Temp: 33 with a high of 35. Hopefully, the temp goes back up and the white stuff leaves since I have dinner plans tonight.

  25. Andrew (Ellensburg, Wa) says:

    Moderate snow here in the west hills, sticking to everything!

    • James (SE Portland/Vancouver by day) says:

      JR is it snowing at your house yet? Why did you take the RIP CITY sign down?

  26. Stevengibson says:

    Its about done looked at radar the rain line is closer to the valley now. the line is inching closer west salem is all rain an across the river its mixed.

  27. Andrew (Ellensburg, Wa) says:

    Dewpoint at the airport has dropped from 28 to 26…

  28. Chuck on Mt Scott says:

    Winds out of the E SE now and down to 29.8 at 900′ Just flurries right now. Temp was over 35 an hour ago. Quite a drop.

  29. Annie in Vancouver ~330 ft. says:

    Just talked to my mom, who is at 122nd & Sunnyside and said it JUST started snowing there and her temp dropped from 37 to 33.

    My temp here has been sitting at 36.4 for a while now, but my humidity came down 10% bringing my dp to 30.0.

    COME ON SNOW!!!!!

  30. R.G. Oregon City - 397' says:

    Streets turning white almost instantly! Hope it takes some quite sometime before it changes.

  31. Mark says:

    Uh oh. Anyone check the latest gradients?

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