Our midday band of rain is moving in, and it’s cold enough in the Upper Hood River Valley, and above 2,000′ in north Central Oregon for spots of freezing rain. It would be freezing rain instead of snow because of the warm air above; the 4am freezing level at Salem was 9,000 ft! So watch out in Parkdale, Pine Grove, Madras, higher parts of the Warm Springs Reservation, Condon, and possibly down to Tygh Valley. It won’t be much, and the temperature needs to be down around 29-30 to get ice on roads during the daytime, but there may be a few slick spots. In the western Gorge there could be a spot or two on the trees; between 1,500′ & 2,000′ the next couple of hours. I have 35 and steady rain here at 1,000′.
Models have been a total failure on handling the cold pool east of the Cascades; I had a feeling that would happen when I blogged Monday night. This is a similar pattern to the big ice/snow storm in 2004 when lows approach from the SW with high pressure east of the mountains. When those surface lows move towards the coast and then veer farther offshore (as it will today), it prolongs the strong east wind in the Gorge and keeps the pressure gradient high. Two days ago models (including all the mesoscale ones) showed just a few millibars by late Tuesday and this morning. In fact last night was the strongest so far with a gust of 59 mph near MHCC in Troutdale and the gradient INCREASED yesterday afternoon and evening to around 10-11 mb. between The Dalles and Troutdale.
I’ll be hopefully fixing the Vista House sensor before noon (if it didn’t get damaged by water) and same with Corbett; we’ll see what the peak gusts were (maybe). Biddle Butte at 1,400′ gusted to 69 mph early this morning; I think that was stronger than any gust there last winter. It’s quite safe to say it gusted over 100 mph at Vista House on the “Keely Chalmers Memorial Railing” more than once in the past 24 hours.
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen