Best (Worst) Ice Storm in 2 Years

It’s finally over this morning, the eastern suburbs of Portland have warmed dramatically between 9-10am as the cold Gorge wind grinds to a halt and the warm Willamette Valley southerlies take over.  What an icy night east of downtown Portland.  We haven’t seen ice that thick in the Metro area since at least early January two years ago…maybe longer. 

It was an interesting event with respect to model performance and forecasting (they did a horrible job).  I’ll post about it later today.

On the way to work I’ll drive by Vista House and see if that new sensor is alive.  The windspeed at Corbett hit 70 mph last night, so 80-100 mph was a good bet up there.

Enjoy the pineapple and palm tree smell in the warm air!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

72 Responses to Best (Worst) Ice Storm in 2 Years

  1. W7ENK says:

    Unfortunately, I’m going to have to call this one a non-event for me in Milwaukie. I don’t believe 35 degrees with 20 minutes of snowflakes mixed with rain followed by 30 minutes of ice pellets, 45 minutes of rain at 31 degrees before warming with absolutely zero ice build up on anything qualifies as anything more than a non-event.

    So close, but not quite! Looks like yet another one misses Milwaukie. 😦

  2. JohnD says:

    I can understand why some people want to give up on winter. It is without a doubt very, very frustrating following the weather with great passion, only to have it rarely manifest anything other than mild rain. Sort of like having your favorite sports team on a perpetual losing streak.

    Right now is gut check time. Grin and bear it. Persistence is a virtue, etc.etc. As long as we are in the theoretical winter weather window–and boy are we ever–then it is ludicrous to “give up”!

    It would seem to me that this would be a year–more than ever–amid a very strong, and very UNTYPICAL La Nina phenomenon–that some real interesting surprises could still yet evolve!

    And how about this; talk about frustrating: I am a lifelong Western Oregonian. My wife is from Massachusetts–born and raised. God created weather in Massachusetts–my mother-in-law would like to think. And they DO–seemingly–have one exciting weather event after another there–while we have nothing but weather boredom!

    I DO try to explain to them the intricacies of our marine climate, how we are close to a number of other climatic influences, etc. But I don’t think they get it.

  3. PortBlazerFan says:

    The weather models are flip flopping more than John Kerry in the 2004 election….LOL

    • PaulO says:

      Me 2

    • Karl Bonner says:

      …OR flip flopping more than John McCain in the six years since the 2004 election.

      OK time to drop the politics….It’s starting to get wet outside with very little snow on the roads or sidewalks left, and last night’s 1-2″ accumulations are beginning to melt on the grass as well. But I see no hint of ice anywhere. Funny because around 2am last night I started to hear the sounds of ice pellets, indicating that we were changing to a snow-sleet mix.

      What did schools in the Portland metro do as far as delays and closures this morning? Lots of closures and delays in the Central Gorge at least…

    • Mark says:

      Politicians, both with long records (no wonder they both lost!). I see two guys with some wisdom, noticing the flip and floppin’. At least there are some people still aware of what people said 5 minutes ago!

      As for the models flipping about, indeed… The 18z was the first to hint at an emerging cold weather pattern change, and now it completely when 180 degrees in the opposite direction. Let’s do a wee bit of model ridin’ and see what happens over the next day or so…

      I must admit, I’m not too hopeful…

  4. OCWX (Tillamook) says:

    Could be interesting around here this weekend.



    • snowflakey says:

      Just to show the roller coaster ride we’ve all been on…I read your post as “This hilarious weather outlook…..” and thought nothing of it, until I read it again.

  5. william johnson says:

    I just dont understand how you all can be so negative and say winters over in my thoughts winter is not over till mid april ive seen it snow three times here in Astoria and ive lived here for 7 years .So dont count winter out just yet you know pacific northwest weather it can change in an instant it does not matter what the weather map runs and and all that mumbo jumbo Those can change patterns in just a day .

    • Rob "Wrath" S.E. Portland says:

      My thinking is patterns can change in 3-4 days. Of course it depends on what type of pattern you’re transitioning out of, or moving into as some are more transitory than others and some are more stable. It all depends on 500mb pattern upstream/downstream.

    • jake at the lake says:

      its just how some people are, just to git yer goat. they know better.

    • pdxgeologist says:

      Last time I checked, winter isn’t over until the third week in March. 😉

  6. Kyle From Silverton says:

    My favorite moment this winter is the short New Years sunny spell.

  7. Kyle From Silverton says:

    THE PNW is cursed but hey when it’s sunny it REALLY does help.

  8. cap - Hood River says:

    Driving back to Hood River this morning, the temp went from 48 deg around Gateway to 40 deg less than 1 mile east of that! Temp dropped to 33 deg by east Gresham, held that until Corbett where it dropped to 31, held that until a couple miles east of CL, and then dropped to 28.

  9. WEATHERMAN says:

    Turn out the lights the parties over. Say goodbye to winter and hello to spring. With a strongly negative AO and heights going up to 560 we are looking at mild conditions for sure. Rainy and mild for at least a week. Then comes a large ridge of warm air. Just right for an inversion. That brings us 55 degrees during the day and 35 at night with a snow eating 10,000 foot freezing level. Call what we have la nino. It sure hasn’t been la nina. For all you snow lovers, forget it. We might even see a 60 or so later on this month.

    • Azzurri says:

      See Mark….this… this right here is forecasting. Never you mind following models or current observations. Perhaps you learn something. 7 day forecast? Pssh, perhaps now it’s time for a 21 day forecast.


    • jake at the lake says:

      and u call yerslf a weatherman? LOL

    • TAGinGresham says:

      You’ve got to be kidding right? If it was that easy, then we would never have trouble forecasting. But I guess, since in your mind winter is over, we won’t need to see you post anything until the end of March. See ya then!

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      Ouch that hurt. Just because I don’t see any more cold weather coming our way, there is no reason to be trollistic. The weather pattern was set last November. It hasn’t changed much since then. It doesn’t look like it’s changing now. Once you get to February the chances of getting a meaningful cold snap that brings snow to less than 1,000 feet goes down rapidly. Don’t get me wrong I want very much to see some cold air and snow on the valley floor. I just don’t see any coming over the next 16 days. Just being realistic folks.

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      Ooops, sorry. That is WEATHERDAN not WEATHERMAN. I am not AMS certified and have never claimed to be. Though I have studied the subject on my own for about 50 years I have no professional credentials. These opinions are just my opinions.

  10. PortBlazerFan says:

    Looks like a decent dose of pineapples for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week. I’m Not going to take the chances of cold air on the recent model runs seriously until it’s 72 hours out.

  11. PortBlazerFan says:

    Lookss like pineapples for breakfast, luch, and dinner for the week

    Looks like pineapples for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week…..It’s about a 20-25 degree difference from the same time yesterday!!

  12. Brad says:

    WRF-GFS Extended looks very interesting at days 5-7, but it also looks very fragile. By fragile, I mean that the set up which amplifies a ridge at 140W to drive modified arctic air in over us would either need to remain in place or shift further west to give us the good stuff. Given that the arctic air doesn’t make it in until day 5, the usual grains of salt need be taken with this run because the slightest shift east would begin to push the amplified ridge over us and this would have dramatic consequences for resident snow lovers.

    I guess it’s good that we have something to keep an eye on.

  13. Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

    Thunderstorms and antimatter? Portals to the other realms 😉

  14. Well we had a very interesting night. At about 10pm I went outside to see if it was icing up and I see this large flash of blue light behind. I turn around and the main electrical wire coming into the house was sparking and then caught on fire. I ran in the house grabbed the fire extinguisher, ran back out to the pole and shut down the power. Got the fire out, just scorched the gutter a bit thank goodness. No power until about an hour ago, it was cold in this house last night. Thank goodness I went outside, scarey.

    • Sarah (E. Gresham) says:

      YIKES! Glad you were home and that everything turned out okay!

    • fishinbeaverguy says:

      So glad you went outside and got the power off and fire out! That could have been much worse than a chilly night!

    • cherie in vernonia says:

      Wow…..scary indeed. Do not think I would have known what to do. Glad you are ok!!!!

  15. sweetone Rockcreek PDX says:

    Should we be building an ark?

  16. cherie in vernonia says:

    Finally made it to 38 on my $2 thermometer @ work. Timber Jct still 34F. Quartz Creek Br is 46. wow…the cold air must have settled here in the “bowl”.

  17. PaulB/Eugene says:

    Next 6-7 days mild, variably wet, mountain passes to look ugly with dirty snow by the roads, dog poo (as snow melts)on the nordic ski trails.

    Looks like ridge builds over the west USA/NoAm for days 8-15…time to ski on the Magic Mile.

    Basically, mild moist zonal flow for this week, some reamplification of flow next week, with possibility of cold air for someone in the USA…most likely Great Lakes/northern plains…cannot rule out PacNW yet…although ensembles don’t see this as of now.

  18. Sean says:

    Wow that was fun and exciting! Didnt get much in the way of snow (bummer) but it sure was fun to watch it unfold. You weather nuts sure are a fun group to observe. I like that Mark Nelson reports the weather on air bieng conservative yet in his blogs he tells it like he see’s it. Thanks everyone for a great time and allowing us novices to learn on the fly.

  19. Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

    Looks to me that the 12Zgfs,euro, gem are all on the same page at 7days. Somebody needs to get that high to retrograde!

  20. pgiorgio says:

    If youre going to look at the MJO and NAO, why not mention the AO, PNA, and AAO.

    Forecast 10 day for PNA is +1.5 peak 10 days from now. I’ve never seen cold invasions in the NW with that positive value

  21. EA_TTD says:

    12z Euro didn’t get the memo about the NAO or MJO. Sends the Canadian cold due east. Toronto residents will need to add a layer if this transpires!

  22. Gidrons says:

    I heard Steve Pierce on the radio using the word “Snowpocalypse” this morning. This blog is now adding to the English vocabulary!

  23. OCWX (Tillamook) says:

    51.5 and there has been 1.32 in rain since midnight and still raining heavy.

  24. desertnw says:

    Grand total from Sequim 0″. No snow, no rain, nothing. But we still have some lying around from Sunday morning when we got 3″. It’s also been slow to warm up; we’re still at 37. In these moisture over-running cold air situations Sequim usually does very poorly for snow because the rainshadow (snowshadow) effect applies. It still snows here though…on Nov 22 we got 9″ in about 6 hours… of which about 4″ fell in just one hour.

  25. wwm says:

    WOW, pretty wild 20 min. ride in temps around 9:00 or so. I was making some french toast, the temp was sitting at 33 the last I checked. Next thing I know the kitchen windows were all steamed up, looked aroundand ALL the windows were steamed up- on the OUTSIDE. I checked the temp and it had shot up to 39. checked 10 min later and it was up to 45, another 20 min. later it was up to 50!!

    I am curious why the windows would fog up like that? air becoming moist, warmer, hitting a much colder window that hasn’t reached the higher air temp yet?

    • Sarah (E. Gresham) says:

      I noticed the same thing when I woke up this morning around 9am. All my windows and sliding glass doors had condensation or something covering them completely on the outside (from a distance, it just looked like a cloudy film). Never seen that before!

    • Ditto, only it was my car that was entirely fogged up this morning.

    • Brad says:

      The glass in your windows doesn’t warm as fast as the outside temperature changed. As a result of the sudden change, the warmer air outside then condensed on your relatively colder windows.

    • Brad says:


  26. BRETT says:

    What was the url to the vista house weather station again?

  27. Yevpolo1990 says:

    Looks like same situation is going on in Uktraine, Kiev is seeing freezing rain (about 100 miles north of where I used to live). The Black Sea is giving off those warmer south winds, 32 with freezing drizzle there. To be honest, freezing rain is very uncommmon in Ukraine….

    • Yevpolo1990 says:

      However, Moscow has west winds. No really a warming wind there…
      30 degrees there, overall it is always cooler there than in Kiev.

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      Yev, my daughter in law is of Ukrainian descent. She’s from the Belfield area of ND. Big Ukrainian population there.

  28. Marc (East Vancouver) says:

    Warming up fast. C’mon spring!

    • wwm says:

      SPRING?! I am in no hurry for spring …yet. Still have more winter to come.

    • Marc (East Vancouver) says:

      It’s about this time of year when I start looking forward to grilling and spending time on the lake. Usually, I don’t feel this way until our first sunny 70 degree day when mother nature teases me, only to see it turn gloomy and gray for the next two weeks straight. I can take another month, but then it’s full steam ahead spring 2011.

    • wwm says:

      Yeah, I hear ya. I miss grilling too.

      I always get bit with the “fake spring” bug and then go into the late winter blahs when it rains everyday and is 50 degrees for the next 2 months.

    • …no grilling in winter?..I didn’t get that memo…! 🙂

  29. Yevpolo1990 says:

    Still some nice icing coating on the trees, looks cool!

  30. fishinbeaverguy says:


%d bloggers like this: