Brief Freezing Rain In Spots Eastside & Western Gorge


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

34 Responses to Brief Freezing Rain In Spots Eastside & Western Gorge

  1. Steve Pierce says:


    All of the 2012/13 winter weather forecasts from the 20th Annual Oregon AMS Winter Weather Forecast Conference held on Nov. 17th have now been posted, along with a video of the entire meeting.

    For full details, please see:

    Enjoy the holidays!

    Steve Pierce
    Oregon AMS President

  2. umpire says:

    Still windy in NE Portland – interesting that it’s clearly stronger on Sandy at the top of the hill – think 70th where the Safeway is. I came home to a lot of branches down, including one draped over the house power line. Can’t get that dead tree down soon enough . .

  3. paulbeugene says:

    Quick outlook

    Looks potentially quite wet around Tues/Wed next week but my guess more for WA than OR..with mild temps, melting snow, some minor flooding possible.
    I reviewed ensemble means for GEM, GFS…looks like trend is for some weakening of Bering block…with some positive height anomalies taking place of the mean trough offshore of PacNW. Negative anomalies over the NoAM continent anywhere from PacNW to Great Lakes by days 11-15. Looking at ensemble spaghetti am not seeing anything to suggest an arctic invasion in the next 2 weeks. Most likely scenario is colder temps for the upper midwest and great lakes but nothing out of ordinary for this time of the year, for them or for us.

    Skiing looking dicey. Some snow for ski areas this weekend (mostly above pass elevation) but will lose some of snowpack in mild rains next week.

  4. W7ENK says:

    Wait, what? Where?? When??? It’s not cold enough!

    • W7ENK says:

      Oh, I see… Just high enough in elevation for the atmosphere at the surface to be sub-freezing, but not quite high enough to pop out above the inversion layer… Tricky!!

  5. Hal in Aims says:

    power is back on……maybe this has been answered before, but…….why does the nws issue high wind warnings for winds at the coast that aren’t nearly as strong at times as those in the gorge like the last couple of days. If there are trees down, damage and power outages, it would seem that meets at least some of the criteria. Or not?

    • W7ENK says:

      Because the NWS tends to fail in this regard. A lot.

    • I think I can answer this to some extent. I believe along the Coast, Coast Range, and Willamette Valley the criteria for a High Wind Warning are gusts of 60mph+

      For the Gorge and Cascades that criteria changes up to 75mph gusts needed to issue a Warning. Someone please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      I’ve only see the NWS issue a high wind warning for the western Gorge maybe once in 10 years? During that damaging east wind event in January 2009 they did, but that was the last time.

  6. Sifton says:

    “I’ll be hopefully fixing the Vista House sensor before noon”.

    How Mark, are you gonna break the law & trespass up to there??

  7. 12z euro ops run = 10 days of boredom. That said, long range analysis is best handled with the ensemble product, will check that later (Yay!).

  8. runrain says:

    Quite a fast forming comma cloud out there around 143w. Does the fact it formed so quickly and appears to be gaining strength mean anything for us?

  9. Thanks, hope the Vista rig is OK.

  10. Thanks for the update, Mark. I think it’s safe to say the east winds probably aren’t going to back off today or tonight for that matter….

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