Gorge Ice Storm Update: More Damaging Ice Through Tonight

One more weather development this morning, that approaching low pressure center is pulling quite a bit of cold air through the Gorge, more than I expected. In fact it’s deepening east of the Cascade Crest.  Auspurger Mountain (~3000′), was 38 degrees at 4am but is now down to 21!  The cold air is banking up against the east side of the Cascades.  Same thing with a dropping temperature across the river at Greenpoint SNOTEL site at about the same elevation.  So the cold airmass over there is around 3,000′ thick.  With such thick cold air, temps are now at/below freezing at the west end of the Gorge above about 1,000′ with a strong east wind.  Vista House wind sensor froze up around 10am…you can see it here.  And at my home I have ice starting to form on trees, but not on the road/pavement.  Seems like it needs to be about 30 degrees with freezing rain to get ice on pavement during the day.  It’s interesting in situations like this where the temp goes from 34 to 33 to 32 etc…; it’s just raining like normal, and then all of a sudden you notice ice is forming on objects while it continues to rain at exactly the same rate.

If you’ve lived in the Columbia River Gorge long, you know that to get the cold air out, the wind needs to switch to west.   There is good and bad news on that front:

Bad:  There will be no wind switch and thus no warmup until the very early morning hoursThe Ice Storm will continue until that time.  Anything that falls will fall as freezing rain or possibly sleet (ice pellets);  more thick ice building up on all objects.   That could easily add another 1/2″ ice accumulation.  There are already trees and powerlines down all over the place out there in the Hood River Valley and east to The Dalles, Lyle etc…; it’ll get worse before it gets better.

Good:  Sometime between 4am and daybreak a good surge of 45 degree westerly wind will punch through the east end of the Gorge, aided by a much cooler airmass moving in above too (sounds strange, but this helps mix out the cooler air at the lowest elevations).  That breaks the inversion currently in place with below freezing air below but mild temps in the mountains.  So tomorrow will be MUCH warmer for storm cleanup.

By the way, if you have good ice storm pictures, send them to photos@kptv.com and we may be able to get them on-air to show others.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

185 Responses to Gorge Ice Storm Update: More Damaging Ice Through Tonight

  1. Ron Goodwin says:

    Where is the temperature gauge located at Vista House? Yesterday Jan 23rd the temp went from the 30’s to 63 at 1:36pm and stayed in the 50’s until late in the afternoon. Maybe it needs to be someplace else. At Multnomah Falls it was 35 all day long.

  2. Laurie (Sylvan) says:

    I’m in LA, where Channel 7 is doing Live! Team! Coverage! on the rain. They just interviewed a woman trying to do errands between rain showers.

  3. Out of curiosity what time does the storm come in tomorrow? Might wanna go fishing in the morning if it’s not gonna be too bad.

  4. gidrons says:

    The Euro is showing potential 192 hours out. The GFS, not so much but I’ve lost confidence with that model.

    • chris s says:

      gfs seems to want to take us back into the december pattern, ugh…. It has been a stinker for past few days, so I hope this is not the time it actually comes through. If so, it doesnt bode well for us to see anything exciting in the lowlands the rest of the winter, as the best we can hope for is a repeat of last year end of february type blast, which is not really what we are all looking for i dont think. Feb 1989 please, its time for you to show up!!!!!! 🙂

  5. Sun is out in full here in Battle Ground.

    I always love seeing this:

    The sun rose at 1:23 PM today in Barrow, Alaska and set at 1:53 PM.

    Tomorrow gains: 52 MINUTES!!!

    The sun will rise at 12:52 PM and set at 2:27 PM

    It is nice to see our local sunset after 5 PM now.

    • vinnybob says:

      Having more than 1 hour of light since about a month ago is great. I drove around Council Crest around 4 PM 1000 FT. and it was thick with fog and very gloomy. Even saw little piles of snow.

  6. Cliff Gavic 1,100 ft says:

    Sunshine in sandy this morning. Slight offshore breeze. Lo 31. Stormy last night.
    Of course ice

  7. W7ENK says:

    Here we go again…


    Well, we all wanted a pattern change. I guess we should have been more specific in what we were asking, huh? 😦

    • Jethro (Canby ~187') says:

      I was just checking the projected precip. totals on the 12z GFS… this is for the 48 hrs. preceding 7AM Thursday:

      Not as extreme as last week, but when you consider how high the rivers our now… this may get ugly. But hopefully it won’t be as bad for the creeks.

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      Oly crap…..!

    • Joshua in Lake Oswego says:

      It looks like the rest of the 16 day forecast is remarkably dry. Once we get past Wednesday, it appears that we won’t have any big storms for a while. I wish that this coming storm had lower snow levels. The mountains can never have too much snow (as long as it melts at a steady pace).

    • Beautiful sunshine and fresh snow on the mtn today!

  8. Garron Beaverton says:

    Uggh! Just caught my typo from yesterday, sorry I guess I’d better slow it down from 12 WAM back er down to 10. Keyboarding and my 2 left hands go infamously together.

    Weatherbug’s blinking….what could it be???? A scooby doo fog advisory has been issued. It was rather on the thick side as I came home this morning, at least we’re getting a break from those stinky east winds today. So (far) this morning, low of 34, winds from the WNW light and variable.

  9. Jake-(Gresham) says:

    Not to state the obvious but man, the NW is really under the hose after a super boring first-half of a winter, can’t say the same now!

    • Garron Beaverton says:

      That and Mark can copy and paste this post for today as well for the Gorge looks to be in for some more fun. Looking forward to see if the cold shot for the end of next week turns into something for the lowlands.

  10. bgb41 says:

    1/22/2012 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:55 at CW5925 Coos Bay( 49 ft) & North Bend Munic(16 ft)
    Low: 44 at Brookings (US 10(150 ft)

    High:24 at ANEROID LAKE #2(7300 ft)
    Low: 7 at CRANE PRAIRIE (5500 ft ) & ANEROID LAKE #2 (7300 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 26 degrees
    Pendleton /McKay (49/23 ) (1100 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    2.54″ at QUAIL PRAIRIE LO(3183ft)
    1.82″ at RED MOUND(1753ft)

  11. …soapbox time…..
    …caps intended…
    seriously, ive seen this weekend a family with 2 little kids in a small car wanting to go to bagby, (there’s probably 6-10 inches of trampled muddy slush slop on that trail, not to mention that the road is a single track thru the slop….) a father and young son who are familiar with the roads go 15 feet down an embankment on an icy corner have to use the phone for a tow (both ok, just wet and cold), another slide off the road and came in to find a tow…and then, this tragedy…..
    I’m serious, if you have young kids, enjoy the snow somewhere safe….
    ..back to regular programming…

  12. WEATHERDAN says:

    Atmospheric river headed our way. Maybe we will get as much rain as last week. This according to the NWS. The lead story later this week might be big flood of 2012 top weather story. The rivers are already high and the ground is saturated. Even 5 inches in 3 days would make for bad flooding. Those poor folks in Turner might get hammered again. Hope it doesn’t get as bad as 96. But more heavy rains won’t help.

    • chris s says:

      well models the past few days have been backing off on the rain amounts but your right, if we were to get 5 inches in 3 days, we are gonna be in trouble again down here in the central valley. At least sandbags and such are already in place, but it could be a mess again down here in salem and turner area.

  13. Here is a short timelapse from yesterday PM as heavy showers rolled through.

    This is taken with my new camera, the GoPro HD Hero 2. It’s SOOO much better quality. Now I need to get a wall charger so I can take longer than 4 hour timelapses!

    The video is the last image on this page.

  14. alohabb says:

    Boring weather day!

    Wonder if Chip Kelly is leaving Ducks because sanctions coming…Huh.

    • Gordon (Vancouver) says:

      That would be my guess. Seastrunk, James, Thomas, now Kelley and rumors that Josh Huff is transferring. Did we miss anyone linked to Willie Lyles? All have left the program.

  15. W7ENK says:

    I added more photos of the flooding from today. Wend downstream this time into Downtown Portland. Not as dramatic down that way, but the river is definitely running high!


    It poured rain most of the time I was out, very wet day.

    Editing video now.

  16. Mountain Man says:

    I finally have a chance to sit down and look at weather for the first time in 24 hours and marks site is down. Anyone else having that problem?

  17. Sandi (Wilsonville) says:

    Downpouring now. Like we need another one. KUAO gusted earlier to 37 mph with S/SSW winds.

  18. Kyle says:

    I am not sure how to word this but it looks like we are going to have scenario 1 of A Large Storm Front coming to City X where it is predicted to mostly miss us.

    Then we will get the surprise winds which will make the NWS look foolish since that’s where most of the TV forecasts come from.

    It’s not the TV people that Fate is going after but the NWS people which most citizens do not even give them a second thought.

  19. Kyle says:

    The trees are swaying a lot harder then this morning. Really getting gusty now at least where I am and I heard it not only over my closed window but with my noisy computer on.

    I am pondering if the NWS will issue a wind watch of some sorts within the hour.

  20. checking buoys…..most are in the 30-35 kt range right now. I see hurricane force winds expected far to the West. Any idea when? Might be fun to watch them.

  21. Muxpux (Castle Rock 175') says:

    Kelso airport just had a gust to 36. Windy out there!

  22. Winds are picking up suddenly here in BG. Now gusting to 23 mph from the east.

  23. And this is why I don’t usually forecast:

    I said last night with the clearing I thought we might get down to freezing. Instead I should have looked at the satellite and outside to see that clouds would be quickly approaching.

    My temp is 44 right now.

    • Longview - 400 ft says:

      I should have too.
      I thought with some clearing as well we might dip below freezing. When I went to bed I noticed the temp was around 37.

      I will view the satellite visual next time.
      Those who are going to watch the games today, may it go well for you and everybody else after a wild week of weather!!!!

  24. Big Nel says:

    Crown Pt. winds turn east again. He we go again.

  25. bgb41 says:

    1/21/2012 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:56 at Cayuse(1550 ft) & WB7CYS Pendleton(1550 ft)
    Low: 45 at DW8735 Yachats(92 ft)

    High:29 at CALIMUS(6629 ft) & ALAKES Haines(7979 ft)
    Low: 11 at HOWARD Mt Howard (8150 ft ) & ALAKES Haines (7979 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 30 degrees
    DW2789 Milton Fr (52/22 ) (1358 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    1.38″ at LOCKS(128ft)
    1.32″ at CEDAR(2220ft)

  26. Just went out to the truck. It has ice on the hood & windshield. Not just ice….but possible frozen rain as it was not smooth….it was bumpy….

  27. Roman~Snow-Zone-Monmouth, Elv. 223' says:

    Photo taken yesterday from right on the edge of down town Independence.. The water nearly filled up the entire park and amphitheater. The city remained untouched thankfully.


  28. Andrew (Portland....Sylvan Highlands ~800 feet) says:

    Down to 36 here, things may get interesting tonight…

  29. Longview - 400 ft says:

    Down to 35.4
    Are we in for a freeze tonight?

  30. MasterNate says:

    We need another post from Mr. Mark Nelson on the likely hood of an arctic train or possible snow in the next 10-12 days. Mark, if you could pleas.

    • Doesn’t really matter, Molalla is just going to get jipped again if it does happen… 😉

    • MasterNate says:

      You know, Molalla seems too be in a banana belt I agree. I remember back in the late 80’s though in mid Feb a late winter arctic spell set in and it didnt matter where you were it was snowy and cold. I am holding on to a similiar situation, possibly.

  31. Temp dropped 7 deg in about 30 min a bit earlier. Much colder atmosphere out here than we’ve seen. Expecting some snow tonight, and tomorrow.

    The Worst of the ice storm was probably early this morning, when the winds turned back from the west, and the front blew threw. There’s was a constant cracking sound all over the place.. very eery, and a bunch more limbs, trees, and tranformers went down.

  32. Kyle says:

    Also clouds are still coming from the SW which means we are not done yet with showers hopefully so perhaps a freeze is in order?

    Will a hard freeze with ice cause Mark Nelson to have a free delay to work tomorrow since he lives pretty high up or does he stay home on Sundays which means an *ice day* does not matter?

  33. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Positive splat test with the last shower. I won’t tell you my temp. You’d tell me it’s wrong.

  34. Temp sure went down quick….38 & dark!! sky

  35. Tyler Mode says:

    Seems these showers will collapse after sunset.  I wonder if we say clear enough for a freeze?  Winds will have to die down though too.  

  36. 100th!

    Just had a gust to 25 mph from the west as well, stronger than at anytime last night or this morning.

  37. A few snow flakes mixed in with this latest shower. Temp is 40.7.

  38. I don’t remember the forecast calling for a whole lot of convection today but it just got done dumping here and the temp has dropped to 41.1, my low for the day.

    Also, with the passing shower my wind whipped around from the SW to the NW.

    See my station link for the drop off in temps, pick up in wind and rain.

  39. Wow temp 44 but hailed long enough to turn the hood of my truck white

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