Freezing Rain In The Gorge

I’ve been real quiet on the weather blog for a few days…been “under the weather” for the first time in two years.  Somehow I picked up a deathly illness late Tuesday and yesterday was the worst.  Thought I was near the end as I drove the two hours back from Thanksgiving Dinner early, but probably just some sort of severe “man-cold”.  Hopefully I’ll start snapping out of it later today. 

We DID get out of the cold air without a big transition event (that would be today).  So always remember that we can and do occasionaly leave an arctic airmass without a big dramatic event.  Of course that weak warm front brought the flurries and spots of freezing drizzle Wednesday evening, but that was it.  With the transition today, there is plenty of freezing rain and ice pellets in the Gorge.  I have maybe 1/4″ ice here at 1,000′ east of Corbett, at 29 degrees right now.  Some very crunchy snow on the ground.  It’s a very thin layer of cold air in the Gorge and the Columbia Basin too.  I love it when Troutdale is sitting near freezing and the rest of the Metro area is in the 40s…here’s a great map showing the local obs.   Now if we would have had a low pressure area approach from the southwest, then freezing rain would have been widespread across the Metro area.  But models consistently showed the low up to the northwest and lower pressures to the north (4-5 days ago), so that’s why we never had any sort of frozen mix on the 7 day forecast for Thursday and Friday.  The southerly wind up the valley overnight and this morning saved us.  And it sure was a short arctic blast wasn’t it?  Two days with highs around 30, then right back up to 40 yesterday.

The Columbia Basin is totally snow-covered after Monday-Tuesday’s event;  that really made the difference in getting freezing rain through the Gorge this morning and into the far eastside of the Metro area since it’s keeping low-level temps very cool over there.  It’s interesting that looking at the maps I don’t see a big surge of westerly wind to wipe out the cold air in the basin.  In the next 72 hours it’ll stay chilly eastside (at least below about 2,000′).  The inversion with warmer air aloft will go away as cold air overhead moves in later tonight and through the weekend.  But without a good mixing, the snow cover probably won’t melt.  So there will probably be another round of some sort of frozen precipitation in the Gorge when a stronger system approaches on Tuesday.

Westside, we’ll have relatively low snow levels over the weekend…not a ton of precipitation, but snow sticking down around 1,500-2,000′ again.  Similar to what we had before the cold blast Monday P.M.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

205 Responses to Freezing Rain In The Gorge

  1. Cherie in Vernonia says:

    new post

  2. Cherie in Vernonia says: what is the story for Tues? Might get a chance to experience east winds if that is what is happening?? Have to be at the airport at 1:30ish. What’s the scoop?

  3. If you liked “Model Ride”, there’s more song ideas:

    O Snowy Night
    Winter Storm Is Coming To Town
    Snowdrifts We Have Seen So High
    It Came Upon An Artic Front
    Snow Fallin’ On The Mountain

  4. Sandi (Wilsonville) says:

    We must be in a pocket of fog or at the edge. KUOA reporting clear and the traffic cameras show it’s clear at I-5 & Arndt Road, which is just south of Wilsonville. The sun is starting to show through the fog now and it looks more like the moon than the sun. Very pretty this morning.

  5. PaulB/Eugene says:

    What is with the OSP/ODOT pass reports? It has Govy with 61″ on ground while the the 5000′ snow gauge has 37?….

  6. Sandi (Wilsonville) says:

    Woke up earlier to dense fog and 30°F.

  7. Andrew Johnson says:

    Very frosty and 26 here in Silverton. The roads look very icy and I’m about to drive to Woodburn, hope the aren’t to slick!

  8. Ken says:

    30 SLE Slick surface streets.

  9. RobWaltemate says:

    Waiting for some wind here near Long Beach WA

  10. k5mitch says:


  11. On the other hand very chilly in Barrow at -6°F

  12. Currently 30.3° and clear skies. Lots of frost this morning.

  13. washington observer says:

    Unofficial 8 deg this morning in Glenwood.

  14. Kyle says:

    Lol and behold temps have dropped like a rock:

    33.8f and lots of stars and I don’t mean movie stars……………….:p

    I wonder if Dad will see icy roads coming to work at Lloyd Center Pharmacy?

  15. W7ENK says:

    [Milwaukie] 11/28/2010
    48.2°F High
    37.9°F Low
    WSW 8.7 mph at 12:38p

  16. stevied (North Portland) says:

    Hmmmm… an interestng image from the WRF-GFS run this evening. It shows freezing air over PDX as moisture moves in Monday evening. Something to keep an eye on. Possibly some brief frozen precip in PDX, and likely in places like Troutdale and east.

    • W7ENK says:

      Monday evening as in tomorrow Monday evening?

    • stevied (North Portland) says:

      yep… tomorrow evening. Seems unlikely, though, for PDX.

    • W7ENK says:

      Yeah, I highly doubt it. The southerly push ahead of the front (preceding the rain) will most likely warm us up considerably, and with a lack of significant cold air East side, the pull through the Gorge won’t be all that cold. Maybe some freezing rain again from Cascade Locks and points East, but nothing here, probably not even Troutdale.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Remember the TEMPS on that map are at 925mb (but that map does show SURFACE wind). So the zero line is over us at maybe 2,000′ or so. I’ll admit that zero line on those maps is my “pay attention” zone. It’ll be close as the precip begins up above 1,000′. Looks like a lock for something frozen central and eastern Gorge again though.

    • RobWaltemate says:

      Near Long Beach 7am
      Temps 38.8 DP 37.5 but temp is increasing, earlier DP and Temp were the same until 3am
      Winds Calm at about 4:50, but picking up 3 G 7 S.
      Presure is 1024.9 and looks to be starting to drop.
      Cold and very damp outside when I pluged in Christmas lights at about 6am

  17. Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

    For the past several days I have been far too dizzy/lightheaded to post which since the weather has really slowed down is acceptable. If I am feeling up to it later it might be worth discussing the potential for high winds on the Coast, gusty south winds in the valley, gusty east winds in the Gorge, and how far west the frozen precip line may reach.

    • W7ENK says:

      I’m sorry you’re not feeling well, Rob. Hopefully your head will clear up enough to look at some upcoming weather numbers? I’m curious as to what the winds might be like here in the valley, that storm offshore looks mighty impressive! 😀

    • The last several runs of the GFS keep insisting on a big rain event in la la land. Seems to be centered around the Dec 12th time frame. Too early to tell at this point.

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      Don’t sweat it. Besides the weather ain’t worth talking about lately. Lots of variations on the big picture as far as I can tell.
      If you don’t mind me asking, are you saddled with Meniere’s? I know a guy who struggles with. Not fun.

    • Debbie says:

      Hope you start to feel better Rob! I have intermittent vertigo episodes and it is absolutely exhausting. I think it is so tiring because your brain and eyes are constantly working to make you feel balanced. That’s my theory anyway.

    • Debbie - East Vancouver says:

      oops, typed my name wrong and my post is awaiting moderation.

      Hope you start to feel better Rob! I have intermittent vertigo episodes and it is absolutely exhausting. I think it is so tiring because your brain and eyes are constantly working to make you feel balanced. That’s my theory anyway.

  18. MasterNate says:

    Who do you gotta know to get an updated 7-day forecast here on the web????

    • JohnD says:

      Yeah test indeed. I am more of a “lurker” than a poster. But I follow–and appreciate–all of you guys–including Rob–and, of course, especially Mark!

      Really cool, low snow level pattern ensuing–and tomorrow late looks “interesting”–(at least for the Gorge.)

      Can’t believe the blog is so dead. Must be the end of Thanksgiving “blahs” (not me!)

      This winter is going to be AWESOME!

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Not me either JohnD, I think the system coming in tomorrow eve will light up the blog again. As Tyler says today is like a repeat of yesterday as I’m about to head out with the dog and examine the frozen designs on the vehicles. Not as much moisture to watch tonight though (but my eyes are peeled).

  19. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    Today is like a carbon copy of yesterday. Started off kind of drippy and foggy, now some sunbreaks. Temps even very similar!

    • W7ENK says:


      So far, today is looking exactly the same as yesterday, within ~1/2 degrees anyway.

      11/27/2010 48.4 37.7
      11/28/2010 47.8 37.9


    • Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

      Yesterday: 45.2/35.4
      Today: 44.4/34.8

    • sds says:


      Have you checked out the new combined radar from the UW site–it is on Cliff Mass’s latest weather blog/Sat.–quite the site!

    • W7ENK says:

      I know, right? It was a “rubber stamp” day.

      11/27/2010 48.4 37.7
      11/28/2010 48.2 37.9

      Both highs and both lows were 0.2 degrees apart, though my low may reset before midnight? Down to 38 n’ change at the moment.

      I wonder if tomorrow will be another?

  20. stevied (North Portland) says:

    well, things kind of slow right now. Hmmm… looking at WRF-GFS this AM, I see next weekend may set us up for some chilly rain, Gorge snow/frz rain, and some moderate east winds. We’ll see how it pans out. Kind of far out on the models still at hr 159.

  21. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    Check out all of the snow cover in Eastern Washington!

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      It’s a beautiful thing.

    • Emily Waldman says:

      My mom says it’s scenes from Norman Rockwell Christmas outdoors. Very Beautifyk. They live in Liberty Lake, WA north of I-90 & four miles from the ID border!

    • washington observer says:

      Just got home from eastern WA/Idaho border. Blue sky when we left and it was beautiful, but fog is covering much of the Columbia Basin and Yakima Valley.

  22. RobWaltemate says:

    🙂 If you can’t wait for snow, make your own?

    This would be fun, but kind of expensive!

    • Emily Waldman says:

      Rob do you know where one can get fog seeding materials then we would have snow? Just a thought:) All the major airports have it!!

  23. RobWaltemate says:

    N of Long Beach it is 30 DP 27.9 Calm SE Presure 1016
    sun is peaking though low fog here and there, but it should be gone very soon.

  24. Little bit of snow at 800ft this morning at KM Mountain Pass

  25. Kyle From Silverton says:

    I will not be dismayed by the anxiety disorders and will be offline during that time.

  26. Kyle From Silverton says:

    As much as my instincts want to scream Jan 1950 SNOW

    I have learned to fight them since they have lead me to nothing but embarresment in life so here is my *logical* based forecast for all you Vulcans:

    December is almost out and I predict the Salem airport will be 45-43F for the average high (depending if we get a lot of storms off the NW bringing mountain snow and inversions)

    We will have lows of 34F-32F with a one shot event of snow (1-2 inches like January 2008) and much more in the 500ft foothills: Plus a mini-artic outbreak that will be over hyped by the models at first before they come to an agreement and a few stale runs causing anxiety disorders here.

    The Mid-Late December Artic outbreak will be near-stall speed just north of PDX and cloud cover the first night or 2 will prevent widespread low temps until the middle of the airmass reaches thus we wind up losing maximum potentiol on whatever the final forecast winds up being 24 hours before the “event”.

    The final 24 hours will be “messy” as par of late:

    Once it gets it’s butt in here we will probably have temps down in the mid-teens in the axis for outlying areas like Brian’s house at Battle Ground and Jesses’s in Orchards WA.

    We will be like THIS close to a transition event but a few shy degrees to warm and Troutdale Oregon will have a moderate ice-storm and/or surprise light snow event causing chaos on the roads up there.

    I for one am happy if we can squeeze out just 1 inch of snow this winter like late January 2002.

  27. W7ENK says:

    [Milwaukie] 11/27/2010
    48.4°F High
    37.7°F Low
    SW 8.1 mph at 1:39p

  28. Cherie in Vernonia says:

    that last shower that went through was all snow here. Coated the car…but temp is holding at 34.5 sooooo….

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      Yeah, we had a nice shower of sleet-slush-rain here around sunset. Not much since. 35 to 38 with an occasional look at some stars. S wind. Beavs are hanging their heads.(:

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:


  29. Karl Bonner says:

    Sophie pulled a classic snow level flub on TV a couple minutes ago. She said “flurries above 1000′ but below that it’ll probably just be rain.” She forgot to mention there’s a zone about 500-1000′ thick that lies below the sticking snow line, where flakes and/or slush will be seen.

    Also noticed a 41 for The Dalles tomorrow. I’m a bit skeptical about it, given that Hood River’s only supposed to make 36. But if it did happen and we stayed above 35 or so for most of the day, it should be enough to get rid of most remaining snow cover in the lowest elevations, and that means less albedo to maintain the surface inversion. So tomorrow we may completely break out of the cold/ZR situation and be back to nothing but normal rain for early next week.

  30. 36.5 here, no ice in sight….

  31. Tyler in Hazel Dell says:

    A little icy up here in Vancouver.

  32. […] bitterly cold chunk from western Canada and slid down to the Pacific Northwest. From an interesting Portland Oregon weather blog there were reports of freezing rain and ice up to a quarter inch thick on Saturday (Nov 27, 2010) […]

  33. fishinbeaverguy says:

    35 here in Beaverton (Lombard & Allen)

  34. pappoose in scappoose says:

    OK Cherie, is it snowing?

  35. RobWaltemate says:

    Presure 1006.7 at 4:40 rised up to 1011.4 at 21:02

    What is this I am hearing about some wind at the coast?

  36. tc says:

    Can some one explain why we did not have an eastwind event like most arctic outbreaks. I live due north of Mark at about 1000’elev above the Washougal River and there was only a little wind. What was going on meteorologically speaking–the position of the lows/the arctic front, winds aloft etc etc that prevented the east wind event from occuring? you can email me @ Mark if you want to chimein or post on the blog at your convenience that would be great. Thanks

  37. Garron near washington square says:

    B.G. Brian, I book marked your winter weather page, I hope that is ok, that is way better than the text pages, I really appreciate your spreadsheets. Much easier on the eyes!

  38. alohabb says:

    Well, with that rain shower we had, temps have cooled off and Aloha is now 32 and freezing roads! Just walked out to get mail and slipped down the driveway..

  39. W7ENK says:

    So, we had a pretty good little shower go through here about an hour ago. Now, it’s clearing off and the temperature is dropping rather quickly, down to 37F at present. With how wet the roads are, any chance they might ice up overnight?

  40. JohnD says:

    I just inadvertently deleted my carefully prepared previous post!

    Oh well, try again.

    Yeah we were driving back from downtown PDX to E. County this early evening and I caught a great lightening flash a little before 5:30 p.m.

    My wife thought I was hallucinating. Wrong. Definitely not a flashback. Plus we were saving the drinking for when we got home!

    40’s today and seasonal. Not bad. Definitely better than ABOVE average! Too bad most places locally missed a bulls eye on the recent flirt but at least we got a 30 minute mini blizzard and 17′ a night later!

    Our daughter is down from Seattle today–where the cold air had arrived in step with the precipitation this past Monday. I “think” the official was 2.7″ at the Seattle Airport but more like 4″ downtown she thought; and it lasted a few days in the residual arctic air–much to the chagrin of Seattle maintenance officials–who seem to do MUCH worse than Portland under similar conditions! I, frankly, think we do very well here–when we finally do get an “event”.

    I REALLY believe that we can rightly be keeping a wary eye out cover to cover this fall-winter season and that we WILL have a couple of big league events along the away.

    I did notice that the Seattle AFD mentioned some possibility for around 12/07–yeah still a ways off.

    SPORTS NOTES (sorry–breaks the weather semi-doldrums): Went to the Ducks vs. Arizona football game last night (Great!); and the Ducks vs. Duke basketball game today (not so great.)

    It was absolutely astonishing how many local Duke fans were at the game. (I know Kyle Singler, etc.–but it still impressed me as rather bizarre–there can’t be THAT many former alums!) Ducks basketball will evolve again soon too, without a doubt. They held their own today–in a blowout kind of way. The game would have been MUCH closer if their shooting percentage had not been in the tank.

    Anyway, sorry for the sports digression; AND HAPPY WEATHER WATCHING!

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