A Cold New Year

Temps have dropped like the proverbial rock tonight…PDX had it’s coldest December temp (way overdue) of 28 this morning, then dropped to 26 briefly this evening before a patch of low clouds moved in around 10pm.  I’m confident they’ll pass on and PDX should be in the mid 20s around daybreak.

Easterly pressure gradient just now picking up through the Gorge as a surge of drier and colder air arrived at the east end a few hours ago.  East wind starts blowing in the usual spots the next few hours, then spreads out into most of the Metro area by midday Friday.  The result is actually WARMER afternoon temps the next few days due to better mixing.   Today we had a thin layer of cold air held in by the low clouds; thus the highs only right around freezing.  The east wind is only breezy out in Corbett and the hills above Washougal right now, but it should be cranking the rest of the weekend, and until further notice for that matter.  Split flow or ridging or the Pacific Northwest is going to be dominant through the middle of next week.  Except for the wind and chilly temps, I don’t see any real interesting weather through at least Tuesday.

Just for fun…anyone notice today’s record low maximum?  On this date in 1968 the HIGH temperature at PDX was 14 degrees…the coldest high temperature ever recorded at that location.  The low was 8, it snowed lightly all day, and the east wind was raging.  Can you imagine?  I wasn’t around, in fact I was somewhere between conception and birth.  My parents have mentioned over the years the harsh winter that year that ruined so many fruit trees on their Hood River farm.

Have a safe and Happy New Year.  I’ll be back at work Monday.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

829 Responses to A Cold New Year

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

    I hope tonight’s EURO is epic and not splitty like I am concerned about where the block pinches off moving north through Alaska.

  2. bgb41 says:

    00Z GFS at Troutdale

    Showing no frozen precip going into or coming out of the cold weather event. Would be nice to see something. Most likely some freezing rain during the transition out of the event toward the end of the run.

    • snodaze says:

      Would have to agree with whoever said whatever they were trying to say a couple of hours ago.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Wild card is the east wind. We’ll have to see what the offshore flow situation is then. Models usually don’t do well with duration of east winds once a cold pool has been well established and an inversion is in place.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Thanks for posting the graphs off of your programs.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Well not graphs, but you know what I mean. The output data from your program.

  3. pgiorgio says:

    Its very hard to post comments about redundant posts on long range forecast models almost like the movie Groundhogs Day, we never go forward in the talks because there was never much to begin with.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Over the past few days many of the operational runs give PDX at least a modified event if not a true arctic blast. The ensembles have been even more adamant about our chances. Yes of course this is many days away, but it is fun to speculate.

    • TAGinGresham says:

      Rob- so what are you thinking/feeling about the models lately. Are you liking what you see, cautiously optimistic, or think it all sucks? Hopefully not the latter :)! By the way, hope you’re doing okay!

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      I’m cautiously optimistic, but not confident. If models look like this in 3-4 days I’ll start to consider colder/snow? a reality.

  4. PaulB/Eugene says:

    GEM has low tracking through S/Central OR at day 9…a significant winter storm for the northern half of state…

    • PaulB/Eugene says:

      00Z GFS Ensembles are a bit colder with trough for day 6-8 but are not as cold in the Pac NW between days 8-14.

    • TAGinGresham says:

      Paul-you mentioned Dec. 1983, could you tell me what happened weather wise.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Yeah the 500mb height anomaly really pushed the ridge north of Alaska shifting everything else north.

  5. pgiorgio says:

    Its very hard to post comments about redundant posts on long range forecast models almost like the movie Groundhogs Day, we never go forward in the talks because there was never much to begin with.

    • snodaze says:

      Its very hard to post comments about redundant posts on long range forecast models almost like the movie Groundhogs Day, we never go forward in the talks because there was never much to begin with.

    • snodaze says:


    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      n da da n da da n da da
      n da da n da da n da da n
      I got you babe…

    • pgiorgio says:

      They say we’re young and we don’t know
      We won’t find out until we grow

      Well I don’t know if all that’s true
      ‘Cause you got me, and baby I got you

      I got you babe
      I got you babe
      They say our love won’t pay the rent

    • …you guys just had to conjure up that nightmare vision….yikes!…

  6. Derek Hodges says:

    I feel pretty good about snow,sleet, or ZR..or some combination of the 3 come wednesday.

  7. PaulB/Eugene says:

    00Z Canadian trending colder at 144h…522 thickness at PDX vs 528 on previous run.

  8. TAGinGresham says:

    What was weather like in Dec. 1983?

  9. Tyler in Battle Ground says:

    Gradient back up to 7.7 tts-dls. Also as is normal as evening sets in the inversion strengthens, and so do the winds.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Yup and with the cold pool well established east side it will be hard to get rid of the east wind until a system cuts through either BC/AB, or Washington.

  10. Chuck on MT Scott says:

    Wow, some really strong gusts up here tonight. The windows are rattling and bowing in and out. Haven’t seen it like this in quite some time. And 25 deg too..

  11. PaulB/Eugene says:

    With a block of that magnitude over AK predicted…someone in the US is going to get very cold….reminds me a bit of Dec 83. The 00Z GFS looks very dry…with back door arctic front with push of cold air via the gorge…no snow with this pattern through day 15 however (in PDX at least). More model runs to come….probably 40 GFS runs away from any real arctic air…although the trough at day 7 looking a bit colder.

  12. current temp temp in Long Beach, Wa. 102 in the hot tub I’m sitting in. I think a warm front just moved in.

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

    So it looks like after January 7th is when our fun may begin. Then the 500mb pattern becomes more favorable after the 10th or so and we get a fairly decent arctic blast. Still too many days away… It was nice seeing this though compared to the 12Z EURO’s garbage.

  14. Andrew Johnson says:

    Very strange run. If everything shifts a little bit more west it would be incredible.

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

    Arctic blast after FCST HR 240. Possible major east wind event/storm as well as downslope/mountain wave for Clark County.

  16. stevied (North Portland) says:

    I’m liking the 00z a tad better than the 18z so far out to hr 162. Looks like weather cold enough for snow around hour 156 (early morning Jan. 9th).

  17. 27°…calm…

    Amazing, a 7 and 9 record and you go to the playoffs!

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

    Well to FCST HR 156.. more aggressive with initial trough… 500mb thickness under 522dm

  19. bgb41 says:

    18Z GFS @ Troutdale

    I know this is late, but here it is

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

    Watching closely for any embedded southern shortwaves west of 145-150 W and eastern trough progress.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Huge eastern trough… Looks like we’re going to have to wait until that kicks out for us to have any chance at a favorable pattern. That may occur after FCST HR 162 or so.

  21. High 36.2
    Low 27.0

    Battling alot of low clouds and fog most of the time. Some daytime partial clearing. Must be that little valley in the foothills thing. 🙂

    Currently 31.7

    • Andrew Johnson says:

      It was a totally clear sunny day here in Silverton except for some high clouds around noon. I did notice though that there was a lot of low clouds and fog up in the foothills and especially concentrated along the creek valleys.

    • …low clouds all day here, high 31.6, cleared off at sunset, of course, now it’s 24.6…probably gonna beat last nights 23.9….

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      Man, that’s hard to believe! We were in the coast range and at Newport today and it was fantastic there!

  22. stevied (North Portland) says:

    Looks like at least a couple of the tv stations (not kptv) calling for maybe SOME wintry mix around pdx Tues night/Wed morning. Looking interesting. Looks like it will be a close call and wouldn’t last too long in PDX, but I do think 1-4am Wednesday presents the best shot at it before more onshore flow picks up in PDX.

  23. Tyler in Battle Ground says:

    Quite a sunrise this morning (1.2.11) as seen from near Battle Ground.


  24. Tyler in Battle Ground says:

    I actually made it to 40.8 at my Vancouver station, 38.3 here in BG.

    Currently 27.4 here in BG.

    The low this morning was 19.7, I wonder if we dip below 20 tonight or not? It is more clear.

    • Chuck on Mt Scott says:

      We have not been above freezing for days. Our High was 28 up here today. Not much of a temp swing from night to day. The east winds are howling up here.

  25. alohabb says:

    URGENT!! This just in from KGW Newschannel 8!!

    “Forecast confidence starting Wednesday is very low.”


    Rod Hill..

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

    29.3, DP 12, east wind gusting 30-35mph.

    00Z in 30 minutes…

    Back to something epic? Modified event lasting 5-10 days, Run of the mill cold snap? Or warmer?

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      My bet is all of the above.

    • Sarah (E. Gresham) says:

      I thought the E winds were supposed to start dying down this evening? They seem to be getting stronger within the last half hour or so though……not that I’m complaining of course ;o)

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      I am not surprised. It’s the strengthening inversion helping with that as well as a well established cold pool east side. Same old song and dance we’ve seen it happen dozens of other times where models want to get rid of the Gorge winds far too soon.

    • PaulO says:

      Stopped at Vista House briefly on the way home from hiking about 6:00 and was quite surprised with the gusts. Heading back to the van almost got me airborne and had to do a quick gust enabled shuffle down the last 4 steps and into the parking lot to keep from getting slammed on my face. Seemed almost as strong as when I had been up there and folks were measuring 70+. Hold onto your kids! Latourell Falls trail was nice but the bridge and especially the trail at the upper falls is nasty wet ice. Seriously questioned our choice to head on around the loop and back the main trail (after it was too late) but we made it :). PS: It gets dark early still… 🙂

  27. SEWoodstockBob says:

    Wouldnt this be nice!!! found on weatherforyou.com

    Sunday Night – January 9
    Partly Cloudy.
    Low: 21°F / -6°C.

    Monday – January 10
    Partly Cloudy.
    High: 28°F / -2°C.

    Monday Night – January 10
    Low: 22°F / -6°C.

    Tuesday – January 11
    Cloudy With Flurries.
    High: 23°F / -5°C.
    Precipitation: 1.32mm (0.05 in)*
    Tuesday Night – January 11
    Mostly Cloudy.
    Low: 20°F / -7°C.

    Wednesday – January 12
    Light Snow.
    High: 23°F / -5°C.
    Precipitation: 3.32mm (0.13 in)*

    Wednesday Night – January 12
    Low: 19°F / -7°C.

    Thursday – January 13
    High: 28°F / -2°C.

    Thursday Night – January 13
    Partly Cloudy.
    Low: 9°F / -13°C.

    Friday – January 14
    Light Snow.
    High: 34°F / 1°C.
    Precipitation: 3.61mm (0.14 in)*

    Friday Night – January 14
    Low: 26°F / -3°C.

    Saturday – January 15
    Light Snow.
    High: 30°F / -1°C.
    Precipitation: 4.72mm (0.19 in)*

    Saturday Night – January 15
    Low: 9°F / -13°C.

    Sunday – January 16
    Mostly Cloudy.
    High: 18°F / -8°C.

    Sunday Night – January 16
    Low: 12°F / -11°C.
    Precipitation: 8.70mm (0.34 in)*

  28. SEWoodstockBob says:

    Just curious as the other meteorologist and talking about some type of frozen percip Tues/Wed but not Fox 12???? Wheres Mark when ya need him.

  29. Yevpolo1990 says:

    This 00z run is for he marbles or the kiss of death is there for us.

  30. Joshua in Lake Oswego says:

    Hey guys, just wanted to share a few pics from the gorge today. Up at the Vista House, it was literally hard to stand up and unbearably cold. There was ice everywhere in the gorge and it was absolutely beautiful! I only took a few pictures and they are all from Multnomah Falls. please forgive the quality as they were taken on my phone with the hdr function because the shadows were too dark otherwise. I hope this works:

    • W7ENK says:

      Nice! The pics look great!

      I should have gone up there myself, rather than spending the afternoon in the back yard hacking apart the remains of my Christmas tree to get it to fit in my yard debris… o_O

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Great pics Joshua, makes me wanna take a trip.

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      Nice pics! Thanks for sharing.

  31. Josh in Puyallup says:

    Lets go HAWKS!!!

    • Gordon (Vancouver) says:

      Amen to that! I don’t care if we sneak in at 7-9. We’ll be at home and it’s another week of Seahawk football!!

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