Wednesday Morning Storm Update

It’s the day after the storm, or for some of you the storm is still ongoing…

If you’re just checking in for a forecast, it’s straightforward for the metro area: Showers and windy the rest of today, south wind gusts should stay below 40 mph.  A balmy high between 45 and 50 degrees.

 Here are some highlights of the storm so far:

– Heavier snowfall than expected of course here in the metro area.  Looks like widespread 1-5″ totals.

– It DID change to rain around 1-3 am, so at least that part of the forecast turned out okay.

-It DID snow heaviest out against the Coast Range…I just got one report of 11″ on the west side of Forest Grove.

-The low pressure center is just north of Astoria right now, moving onshore.  Models did really well with that, especially the WRF-GFS.  NAM was slightly too far south in the end.

-South wind is picking up across the metro area right now and it’ll be quite windy through the afternoon, pushing temps up around 50 degrees.

– Check out those coastal gusts!  109-110 mph at spots on the central coast, lots of 80+ reports.

– Mountain snow:  Mt. Hood Meadows has received 37″ since 5am yesterday…must be close to it’s all time record.  I think that’s somewhere in the 30s for a 24 hour total.

Another surface low moves in to our south tomorrow morning.  This pulls fresh cold air into the eastern Gorge.  If so, you folks in the central/eastern Gorge could have another foot on the way.  It might be a significant ice storm at the western end towards tomorrow morning too as the east wind gets going (not in metro area).

What did go wrong?  I should have trusted those mesoscale models better.  They clearly showed a snow profile.

I had the worst drive ever on the way home last night.  Extremely heavy snowfall from Beaverton down Hwy. 26 onto 405…real slow.  Then the Marquam Bridge was just closed as I approached.  On SB 405 that forces you onto SB 5.  Did you know there’s no exit for about 2 miles until you get way up to the Terwilliger exit?  So I drove down the hill from there onto OR 43, across a still and snowy Sellwood Bridge, through an empty Sellwood, then through Milwaukie (it actually snow there last night), a very slow drive all the way to I205 & 224 entrance ramp.  Meanwhile, here and there were vehicles stuck in the deep slush/snow.  Up I205 to 84.  Slow drive in blinding snow to Corbett exit.  Halfway up Corbett hill a guy is sitting in the middle with flashers on.  I ask if he needs help “no, I’m just from Portland and checking out my 4 wheel drive in the woods”.  Hmmm, okay, move on.  I get within a mile of home in the middle of nowhere, dodging trees hanging way down over the road.  Come around a corner and Bam!…a large tree fallen across the road.  I back up, park, start walking.  All you can hear is occasional cracking from limbs and trees falling.  Just as I start, a Reliance Connects phone company crew drives down looking for a way to get to their equipment.  They have a chainsaw!  So at 1:30am, in a suit and boots, I’m helping remove a tree off the road, which is somewhere 8″ or so down.  What  a weird experience .  I got home and to bed around 2:30am.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen 

79 Responses to Wednesday Morning Storm Update

  1. hahahaahah Yevgeniy Kostenko facebooked my mom telling him to respond back to him about a serious matter about me lol

  2. Karl Bonner says:

    We got about 6″ in The Dalles today. The good news is that by the 4pm lunch break, it was clear enough for me to get out in my old Toyota mini-pickup with rear wheel drive and no traction devices. So I was finally able to go get coffee for me and my buddies at work and finish the day on a happy note.

    The question I have for Mark and some of the other weather wonks is: where is this fresh source of cold air for the East Gorge coming from? I though the current push of warm air from the southwest would continue to drive the arctic/subarctic air out of the PNW. So apparently some cold air is going to somehow make it back down from the Upper Columbia Basin and western Canada…

    Then again I haven’t looked at ANY model maps in over 24 hours, and in this kind of weather setup 24 hours is an eternity!

  3. Mark Nelsen says:

    Fresh post above

  4. The little bit of snow in the Portland area last nite (which was slush by daylight) isn’t anything near the weather story of the rain today in the central part of the State.
    Whadda ya think?,1,1,1,1,1,1,1

  5. Kyle says:

    2 things before I go to bed.

    1. The power just went off for a moment and the wind is sort of picking up.

    2. I am hoping we get that cold air from Seattle to come down and screw up the forecast as from my experiences usually Seattle gets things first and then we do later in a *surprise* way.

    Has anyone noticed that fronts coming from the north the last 10 years seem to *stall* a lot right around Long View/Kelso WA?

    • IceCold says:

      Keep dreaming. The cold air is on its way back to Canada.

    • Karl Bonner says:

      Actually it appears that east of the Cascades the cold air will sag southward again tomorrow, at least that’s what Mark’s saying. More heavy snow for the East Gorge!

  6. Laura says:

    Glad you made it home safely, Mark!

  7. Thomas says:

    Way to ger er done Mark! I would pay good money to see you break down the seven day with a chainsaw in hand. Yee-Haw! Glad you got home safe and sound.

  8. Joshua in Lake Oswego says:

    Is it weird to anyone that basically the entire state of Oregon has been getting rain all day, but the Portland metro area has been high and dry for many hours? Are we getting any more in this neck of the woods anytime soon again? All the forecasters made it seem like it would rain all day here. We certainly got a lot of rain, but all before noon.

  9. jakeinthevalley says:

    Approaching 4″ of rainfall in West Salem in the last 36 hours. Of that, only had around two inches of snow in two separate showers.

    Flooding?? What do you think?

    • snodaze says:

      No… That snow @ 1-3000 ft. will melt away at a ‘normal’ rate.. (high rates, but still ‘normal’ for this time of year)

      If there was a sudden / big warmup for a solid week+ with pouring rains.. yes. — You’d see Sam Adams sandbagging downtown.

      Temps are up, but will go back down. — then back up, then back down…

      We’d need a pinapple express (right now) to do damage. — that’s not really happening.

    • jakeinthevalley says:

      Tell that to anyone that is along any one of several mid valley, coast range draining streams. There has been a heck of a lot of rain down here. 1996…no way, but it’s been a long time since I have seen this rate of rainfall over such a short period of time down here, pineapples or not.

    • There’s a lot of snow at 1,000-2,000 feet… you don’t need a big warm up…just a lot of rain on that snow which will happen this week. this has flooding written all over it.

    • and if you live in those areas with 15-20″+ inches of snow I’d be getting that snow off your roof.. talk about a sponge..

    • chris s says:

      Jake i posted the same question earlier in the day too. I live in west salem as well, and while we dont quite have as much low level snow as we did in 96′, we are looking at possibly 10 more inches of rain the next 2 weeks, so i think flooding is a definite probability. And ya i cant remember the last time it rained like this down here, thats for sure.

    • speak of the devil:


      – flood advisories, watches are out all over now.

    • jakeinthevalley says:

      I have Glen Creek running behind my house and there is some serious water cruising through. It’s pretty high gradient with a really well defined channel, but I would hate to have a downstream culvert plug before it has a chance to drop.

    • chiefWright says:

      NWS has been muttering about “looking at the hydrology” in their discussions for several days now, and there’s flood advisories, watches & warnings all over the area, especially in the coast range.

      But we neither have the accumulated moisture nor the days and days of pineapple express in the cards to set up for major inland flooding.

      But just like this last storm, it’s going to be impossible to make an area generalization. The effects will be local– some severe, some meh.

    • snodaze says:

      All I can say jake, is if you have it all figured out…

      why did you ask? —

      post back in 3 days about your 3rd floor apt. being under water… we’ll see what we’re all talking about… lol.

      relax grasshopper.

    • jakeinthevalley says:

      snodaze, sarcasm font ain’t what it used to be!!!

      rhetorical question would be more appropriate??

    • snodaze says:



      Maybe? – even likely (that’s normal – to me)… But do we ask them over for steak dinner in (err) local floods @ 44th and cherry?… And curse them at the threat of snow?


      Yes, build a freaking ark already!… We’re all going down… (the river)

    • We just drove to a middle school hoops game to Scio from Mill City on the back road from Lyons (Hwy 226)…it was ugly..there were several places where the water is flowing right over the road…a few of them quite deep. The fields in the flat before Scio are also looking like lakes. There is a lot of water out there folks.

      And….it’s still pouring rain as it has done all day long. The power went out in the middle of the 3rd quarter and we played the rest of the game with the few emergency lights on and with the limited outdoor light coming in through the windows.

    • snodaze says:

      Nothing personal jake… fyi… — ya good chap!

      I’m just sorta sayin’… — (my take)…

    • snodaze says:

      It’s anything personal jake… — I am no better than you…

      Nothin but love for the bloggers…

    • snodaze says:

      Mark… you really need to upgrade to a blog that enables you to ‘edit’ or delete your post…

      The double post above (not of my fault of course)… makes me look foolish… And you of all people should know it’s not about the forecast… — It’s how you look doing it!!!


  10. David B says:

    Not quite over yet here in West Seattle. Just checked outside and a light freezing drizzle is falling; exposed surfaces are getting glazed. Radar shows a line of light showers that has been stalled over me for the past several hours; looks like the convergence zone has set up to the south of where it usually does, probably pushed by the ongoing Fraser outflow. Northerly breezes are ongoing, but seem lighter than this morning.

    Weather Service has issued an advisory for a wintry mix through midnight tonight. With temperatures forecast to drop into the 20s tonight the roads should be a fine mess by tomorrow morning.

    • David B says:

      About 1/10 inch of ice glaze so far in West Seattle; starting to look real pretty on the branches in the street lights. Branches are starting to creak in the wind. There’s reports of branches breaking in some outlying areas which must be getting heavier accumulations.

      Temp hovering around 30 in the cold Fraser outflow. This is turning out to be more of a winter storm for us than last night’s forecast called for.

  11. Roman~Snow-Zone says:

    It is absolutely pouring down here in the central willamette valley. It looks real pretty on the radar loop. But Lots of streets are closed from standing water and streams breaking there banks. I know there is flood warning for the Luckiamute river.

  12. robwaltemate says:

    NNE of Long Beach

    High today of 50.6 F at 11:53am
    so far today I have had 1.58″ of rain (I don’t think there was any snow in the rain gauge after midnight).
    Had a gust of 29 mph here on the back side of the Peninsula.

  13. snowlover says:

    Can someone please read the NOAA latest forecast discussion and tell me what they think. He said something about tomorrow night being a ‘problem’

    • robwaltemate says:

      I think it said something about there being cold air trapped on the East side of the Cascades, so if the upper air is warm, then maybe freezing rain?

  14. robwaltemate says:

    I enjoyed your adventure Mark. First thing I though after the news was done is that you better get out of there or you would be there all night.

    Testing his 4×4 “out in the woods?” Usually there isn’t pavement in the woods!

    I though about going for a drive up to Radar, but decided against it last night. Too much wind and trees for even crazy me!

    So, now you need a chain saw for your birthday to put in the car or truck! LOL

  15. Wendy-Silver Lake says:

    It’s melting fast out there. We have probably lost about 6-7 inches so far today. Temperature is at 42.8 and has been there for about three to four hours.

  16. 1.7 inches of rain here since 10:00 last nite. Snow melting like crazy.
    Hmmm…..gonna get some serious flooding in places.
    Just got an email from a friend on the Alsea river. They’re on generator power, trees down, and the river’s on the rise. The central coast range is getting hammered!

  17. stevied (North Portland) says:

    Fun but QUICK storm last night. Picked up 2.5-3″ in North Portland.

    Looking at models, I would really like a pattern flow outlined on the 18z GFS… 3 or 4 storms from the NNW giving chilly systems (possibly snow) to PDX hours 204-384). Let’s hope a pattern similar to that sets up in about 8 or 9 days.

    • Josh (Gresham) says:

      Yup, quick looks at the last few runs of the GFS show an interesting pattern for later this month

    • Jethro (Canby ~187') says:

      12z hinted at that as well. Started out with systems coming in on similar tracks as this one, then transitioned to colder systems coming in from the NNW.

  18. TAGinGresham says:

    So now we’re back to model riding I guess. Hopefully this was just a teaser of what’s to come! Rest up Paul, because I am anxiously awaiting your upcoming thoughts!

  19. Max in Fairview says:

    Pendleton seeing much colder air filtering in after spiking to 39 earlier this morning. Last update was 27° with freezing rain.

  20. David B says:

    Well, I think it’s about over as far as accumulating snow goes here in West Seattle. There have not been any more intense pulses of precip in the past half hour, and it’s already an hour past the time when this event was forecast to start winding down, so we ended up getting a little more action than forecast.

    Still some stuff falling from the sky, can’t tell if it’s tiny little individual ice crystals that haven’t aggregated into flakes, or little frozen drops of drizzle sleet. Radar shows a band of convergence zone precip overhead, but it’s all light, so I doubt we get any significant additional accumulation out of it. Still some blowing snow in the north wind.

    A touch over 4″ total fell. Call it 4.25″.

  21. napapjd says:

    Winds starting to pick up here in PDX (NE 60th/Glisan)….

  22. Wave after wave after wave. Funny how long it took to get the motor started this winter. But it looks like it won’t be stopping any time soon!

    Click on “loop” for colorful fun!

  23. Max in Fairview says:

    PDX reading 45° last update. Troutdale still in the mid 30s. Wonder how much longer Troudale holds on the sub 30s.

  24. Aleta- West Gresham says:

    Wow! You’ve had some interesting drives home! Glad you made it home safely!

  25. Shawn&Hollie says:

    Hey if you ever need help up in the area we dont live too far and we arent scared of this weather at all! We enjoy the craziness and are actually planning on taking a trip to the coast tonight…if we can find a way that isnt closed. Just email me at I wont put my phone number on here. Last night we decided to drive up towards hood to help people and believe me there were a few people we had to tow out of ditches and help get back on the road. We were actually looking for down trees to help clear roads too. On the way back from Sandy along 26 we saw 3 transformers light up the sky! It was pretty amazing to see all the blue and purple colors on the white snow! Too bad I didnt get it on video or any pictures.

  26. Roman~Snow-Zone says:

    Localized street flooding occurring in Monmouth. Most of the ditches and streams are overflowing, fields are turning into shallow lakes…

  27. umpire says:

    I’m surprised the road from the freeway to Corbett was even open! Glad you made it home safe. And would second/third/fourth the comments to carry some coveralls in the rig.

  28. Austin-Felida says:

    im so happy i got 3 inches of snow i didnt want to go this whole year without snow. it also seems like the NWS was right on this one srry mark:( it was a good forecast tho lol

  29. On the phone w/ my folks right now (they’re in Tigard near Bull Mtn) and they’re getting all rain now – no snow on the ground at all. They drove over to Washington Square a couple of hours ago and no issues at all. Chatted w/ some friends in Beaverton and they said pretty much the same thing. . . . Typical. . .

  30. Fred482 says:

    Mark, congrats on getting home safe! Many folks didn’t. We (the F.D.) had several “trees down, power lines involved” calls in the foothills last night. Most of the volunteers carry saws, to ensure getting home after the event(s). I carry my Stihl all winter, fortunately I didn’t have to use it yet, but there’s still lots of winter to come……;-) It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve cut my way home, you know Scotts Mills!

  31. homer55 says:

    What a great drive home tale! Doesn’t that I5 SB exit issue suck? Glad you got to drive through all the places you had forecasted wouldnt’ have snow 🙂 And glad you made it home OK.

  32. Oh Mark.. you gotta pack some clothes during times like this 🙂 Wearing the suit home.. in the snow and ice..?? So very East Coast 😉

    Glad you made it home safe.

  33. W7ENK says:

    The main question is, how did those studless snow tires perform for you, Mark? Or did you use chains?

  34. Austin(cornelius) says:

    So…where’s the wind, when will it get here, and how much will we get?

  35. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Hahaah! You’ve sure got some funny stories this winter, Mark!

  36. kelli says:

    Mark, I don’t know how you do it, living out there with the winter weather as it is. Isn’t this the second time this winter you’ve had to walk home or almost walk home? Quite a long trip home! Glad ya got there safely!

  37. Forest Grover says:

    There is a ten degree temp difference within 15 miles. Forest Grove – 36 and Hillsboro – 46. Still have a 3-4 inch puddle of snow around at 11 am in FG.

  38. Rookie says:

    I love the “in the woods” remark.

  39. PaulB/Eugene says:

    Some signs of possible renewed cold weather around days 10-12. Will wait until inside of 144 hours before discussing this. Plain exhausted from tracking the weather lately.

    • A voice in the wilderness! I always appreciate your insight and hadn’t seen any posts lately (may just have missed them). Please tell us more winter is coming our way. I’m not ready for warm, muggy weather just yet.

    • snowlover says:


    • Tom (NE Portland) says:

      Appreciate your input on the blog, Paul! You were the one that called this waaaaaay back. Kudos to you! Hopefully Eugene is able to get in on some of the fun next time around.

  40. napapjd says:

    Wow, what an adventure. Glad you made it home safely, Mark.

  41. Sandi (Wilsonville) says:

    Glad you made it home OK.

    You can add that you nailed Wilsonville forecast. We only got snow in the air… and most of that was mixed with some rain. The S wind never really stopped here either, though it almost died down from time to time.

  42. Steve in Beavercreek 1,100' says:

    Sounds like a fun drive home! I left for work this morning at 1:15am. Lucky for me I was going downhill most the way. I nearly slid off the road a few times.

  43. Shows what weathermen are made of…

  44. PaulB/Eugene says:

    12Z GFS ensemble mean shows about 12″ inches liquid precip in the next two weeks in the Willamette Valley. Even if that is a bit overdone that is a significant amount of rain (hopefully as much of that as possible will be snow in mountains).

  45. chiefWright (Marquam) says:

    Holey Moley, what a ride home! Don’t you at least toss in a pair of coveralls in your rig in the winter?

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