Big Snow Storm In Hills Today

Today we’ll see the best snow accumulation of the winter in the hills on the east side of the Metro area and into the Cascade Foothills.

A strong cold front passed overhead during the morning commute (notice the wind suddenly dropped off?) and now lies down in the Valley.  Just behind it it is cooler air with the freezing level down around 2,000′.  Normally you might expect snow just a little below that, but with the very heavy precipitation rates (.85″ @ PDX since 4am!), the snow level drags all the way down to near sea level.  Sticking snow appears to be falling to around 500′, especially onthe eastside of the Metro area where the precipitation is heaviest.  I already have 2″ at home.  It appears that the dropping snow level has bottomed out with temps holding steady the last hour or so.  If you don’t have snow now in the metro area you probably won’t get it. 

This will continue all the way through tomorrow morning as the front becomes almost stationary over Northwest Oregon.  Combine the great atmospheric forcing with a stationary front and you have a tremendous snowstorm that’s just getting going.  Heavy snow has begun falling in the Cascades and will continue through Tuesday morning…imagine a total of 2-3′ in just 24 hours!   Our RPM model forecast for the next 18 hours is down below.  When you read maps like this one, don’t get too hung up on exact location of contour lines.  The graphic is “machine-made”, so it interpolates between points.  It knows 30″ at the crest of the Cascades and nothing in Portland, and generally sees a “smoothed” elevation map.  But it can’t account for every ridge and valley.  For example, it isn’t going to snow 10″ at Multnomah Falls at sea level with a west wind, but a graphics program can’t handle that kind of detail for drawing the contours.  More importan is that  this is a 4km model.  That means the grid points are 4km across…wider than the Gorge.  It sees the Gorge as a low pass.  All models do that to one degree or another, depending on their resolution.

Down in the lower elevations, I expect the sticking snow level to climb a bit to 1,000′ or even a little higher by this afternoon, but it won’t go above 1,500′.  So how much snow in places like Sandy, Detroit, or the hills above Washougal, Corbett, and Estacada?  There’s no reason a foot of snow couldn’t fall in those areas, but at least 6″.  This happened one day in February 2008 when I got 9″ at 1,000′ at home and it was significantly deeper just 500′ higher, but none in Portland.   This setup also tends to give power outages with the falling trees in the Hoodland area from Sandy to Rhododendron. 

Beyond that, a quick jump in freezing levels tomorrow afternoon ends the snow threat at the lowest elevations.  The big windstorm for Wednesday is a bit farther offshore, so just windy here in the Valleys with strong wind at the Coast.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

560 Responses to Big Snow Storm In Hills Today

  1. Kyle says:

    Does this mean I am a nut or a raisin on this blog?

    Song: “I’m a Nut”

    “I’m an acorn small and brown. lying on the cold cold ground. Everybody walks over me. That is why I’m cracked you see. “I’m a nut. (knocking noise) “I’m a nut (knocking noise) “I’m a nut!”

    Called myself on the telephone just to hear that golden tone….I’ve forgotten how the words all go so I am done with this kids song. “I’m a nut. “I’m a nut” “I’m a nut”.

  2. Josh "The Snowman" From Everett, WA says:

    Copper, I accept your apology.

    Here is my graphic for the upcoming windstorm. Looks like Sigourney will have her work cut out for her in blowing inland this potential Alien:

  3. Yevpolo1990 says:

    We are probably going to see some really sharp temp rises throughout the day tomorrow. May mid to upper 50’s?
    Not a very impressive cross section either…http://charlie.wxcaster.com/cgi-bin/create_fullgfsmeteogram.cgi?model=GFS&STATIONID=KPDX
    50 knot winds only down to 900mb, so 30-40mph in the valley sounds reasonable.

  4. bgb41 says:

    00Z GFS @ Troutdale

    Nice..showing 5 day dry spell Sunday through Thursday. Only 1.67″ of rain next 16 days but temperatures will remain below normal. Much more boring weather to come after tomorrows low swings by offshore.

  5. bgb41 says:

    Strong winds developing: 46 mph at Corbett

    Cross Cascade Gradient -9.7mb

  6. Yevpolo1990 says:

    The more and more we get closer to the inside of the cinnamon roll the more delicious it gets 😀

    • Jethro (Molalla ~320') says:

      I just hope there’s no raisins!

    • MomOf2Kiddos says:

      The raisins are the best part! I just hope there’s no nuts.

    • Jethro (Molalla ~320') says:

      OK, good point — no raisins and no nuts. I think all the nuts are on this blog, so we shouldn’t have to worry about that. 😉

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Sometimes you feel like a nut…sometimes you don’t.

    • TAGinGresham says:

      LOL, first time I come to check the blog, and this is the first post I read. You guys made me laugh, which is a good thing after today! Sorry MomOf2Kiddos, I do not like raisins in my cinnamon rolls, and I don’t like nuts either. Jethro would be correct that we have enough nuts on the blog! I like mine warmed with butter and extra frosting, yummy! Now what were we talking about?

    • TAGinGresham says:

      Almond Joy’s got nuts, Mounds don’t because…

    • MomOf2Kiddos says:

      Ah well, I tried. I guess they truly are just humiliated grapes. Glad you laughed TAG 🙂 I needed a laugh today also.

    • Yevpolo1990 says:

      I actually adore the cinnamon, but raising are great as well.

  7. Tornado Aly (Battle Ground) says:

    Models handling the location of the low well. The low is a little bit stronger than projected at 7pm, but placement is almost dead on. There is no second low.

    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/cgi-bin/latest.cgi?fronts-ir

    The low will go more north from here on out, it will not head much more east. It is already north of 40N before being east of 130W, so our “sweet spot” is missed already. 😦

    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~ovens/loops/wxloop.cgi?sat_sfc_full+12

  8. Yevpolo1990 says:

    The cinammon roll is going inside 130W see that?

  9. Ken says:

    Is it just me or is the storm still tracking NE. If it were to end up where the models put it then it would have to basically start heading due north right now. A bit concerning.

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      Not to beat a dead horse but odds are this baby is gonna rip straight north and give us some really nice weather tomorrow. Upper 50s, little rain with some sun? Could be…

  10. Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

    If the weather gets you down, here’s a project for ya.
    And it will help keep weird thoughts from entering your brain.
    http://zapatopi.net/afdb/

  11. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Cliff Mass on the incoming storm:

    http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2011/03/pacific-hurricane.html

    • alohabb says:

      Well, i’ll be in Tillamook in the AM for work, and might have to sneak over to Netarts to see how windy in can get!

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Should be breezy to gusty in Tillamook, borderline body bracing weather.

  12. Foggy 41°…..Pressure at 29.75″ and has been falling steadily the past 6 hours.

  13. alohabb says:

    The second low looks a few hours behind, yet on a path for some damging winds for PDX.

    • Boydo3 500' North Albany says:

      Not likely for damaging winds on the second low. Not nearly as strong. And the primary low will be sucking the life out of it.

    • Jethro says:

      I think that’s tomorrow’s cold front, and not actually a second low. SLP charts don’t show any indications of a second low.

  14. Longview - 400 ft says:

    Currently 36.1 & foggy
    High today – 37.4
    Low 32.7

    Still have over an inch, YEAH BABY!!, of snow on the ground.

    • Longview - 400 ft says:

      My total of snow for the year is over 13 inches compared with a dusting of snow last year.

      Now I am ready for Spring; planting tomatoes, peas, pumpkins and what not, even mowing the yard. Wow, I wrote that!!! LOL

  15. Josh "The Snowman" From Everett, WA says:

    Alright, in order to get the storm closer to the coastline I have recruited someone to help blast it closer. Fitting considering what the storm looks like:

    • MomOf2Kiddos says:

      LOL! Ok I didn’t really notice the alien thing til you pointed it out. It does though 🙂

    • Jethro says:

      Nice! 😆

    • Copper says:

      So…you want damaging winds to devastate the Portland, OR area? Huh weird logic don’t you think?

    • Copper says:

      Okay I shouldn’t have posted that it was way too harsh I’m sorry I understand that you guys live for crazy weather, but you also need to be mindful sometimes of the impact of that weather on an area of course I assume you know that so please excuse my earlier comment.

    • Copper – it’s the great internal struggle amongst weather nerd types. No one wishes for damage or suffering, but there is, naturally, something thrilling about extremes. It doesn’t even have to be extreme – I could wish for a lovely little snowfall of just a few inches, but that could be all it takes to send a car off the road and cause a deadly crash. Does that mean I shouldn’t wish for snow, or enjoy it? I totally get where you’re coming from, especially as a homeowner. It has tempered my enthusiasm … somewhat. But not entirely. It’s a little difficult to reconcile, I will say that.

  16. Yevpolo1990 says:

    Let’s hope its not a double barrel low though….

  17. PaulO says:

    Sat loops look like the secondary low is forming off the CA coast and beginning to turn more northerly. Seems to be tapping the strength of the initial low. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Models did not show it.

  18. Mike near Clackamas Town Center says:

    Apparently there was a landslide around Milwaukie Ave in sellwood this morning forcing the closure of the Oaks bottom trails. I loved hiking and biking on those trails when I was a kid. 😦
    I think 1996 was the last time that the Oaks bottom trail was hit by a landslide and it took a long time to reopen it.

  19. …ok…Ive fought thru rain, Ive fought thru death ridge, i’ve fought thru the 12.7 low. I’ve fought thru a glorious 3 hour snowfall….but south winds?…that might put the bbq out, for a few hours…

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