A Cold Morning; Stuck in the Clouds

Sunday, 8am…

I didn’t plan on posting anything this morning, but got this picture in email and had to share:


It’s yesterday afternoon/evening from Chris Markes.  Hopefully you recognize it as Mt. Hood.  It’s okay if you just moved here and don’t.

This morning is interesting…the low cloud/fog deck has expanded in coverage and appears to be up around 1,000-1,500′.  This is the beginnings of our own little “cold pool” in the western valleys.  Similar to what is often seen east of the Cascades when we get the east wind.  The morning sounding at Salem showed the coldest temp up around 2,000′ or so, then SLIGHTLY warmer above (-5.5 at 850mb).    The KPTV tower at 1800′ is significantly colder this morning near the top of that “cold pool”, yet temperatures at the lowest elevations are warmer compared to Saturday with more cloud/fog coverage.  It is the coldest morning of winter so far at the edges of the clouds/fog.  Sandy, Estacada, Colton, Corbett, all very chilly with clear skies much (or all) of the night.  Some of those spots made it into the teens.  Same thing north of the metro area with clear skies dropping the Longview area into the teens.

Don’t complain, it dropped to -26 last night in Lakeview!  That’s the coldest temperature I’ve seen in Oregon in a long time…

I thought the lower dewpoints Friday would have kept a solid stratus layer from developing, but looking at dewpoints (mid-upper 20s) at the lowest elevations, it’s clear that didn’t happen.  Gut feeling is we maybe be locked in with gray the whole week; that’s after tossing model information out the window.  Tomorrow and Tuesday much warmer air arrives overhead, and that should seal our fate, creating a strong inversion. 

By the way, it was interesting that a bunch of the 00z ECMWF ensemble members must try to push something cold down the east side of the ridge next Thursday-Friday.  Look how many of them have the big dip on the 17th:


Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

79 Responses to A Cold Morning; Stuck in the Clouds

  1. TruckinAint4Sissies says:

    Some pretty good flurries here in Clackamas!

  2. Ben T says:

    Hope flurries will turn into something bigger!

  3. 34 to 29 in the last 30 mins. Wonder where it will bottom out tonite??

  4. Dave in SW PDX (235') says:

    Only a 4.8° difference between my high & low temps today (so far), 31.9°/27.1°. That makes it the first (and hopefully not the last) sub-32° high temp for my location this winter season.

  5. WEATHERDAN says:

    I posted on this a couple of years ago but here goes. Here’s how you get snow with a high freezing level. By the way the latest freezing level is still on the surface. Let’s say the freezing level is 6,000 feet. And you have drizzle falling at a temperature of 45 degrees. No problem, it’s above 32 degrees all the way down. But suppose you have as we do a layer of 2,000 feet close to the ground that’s below freezing. The low clouds are only 600 feet off the ground at their base. So when drizzle falls it falls as snow. It’s usually very light, as drizzle is usually very light. And yes you can have light accumulations of snow in a situation such as this. The reason you get this snow is that the snow is forming in clouds that are below freezing. And it is below freezing all the way to the ground. Thus the snow. By the way it looks like we have this cold inversion in the valley all week long. Lows should be in the mid to high 20,s withe highs ranging fro 28-36 degrees. It looks like maybe some rain as the ridge breaks down at the very end of the month. Otherwise dry and cool until then. Much better that the rain we usually get this time of year.

  6. orwxguy says:

    It appears the temperature gauge at Cannibal Mountain was fixed a couple days ago. The temperature went from 135 degrees down to a more reasonable 40. Today, the temperature sensor at Cannon Beach, though, appears to have an issue. It went from 32 above zero at 9am to 39 degrees below zero 15 minutes later and was 31 degrees below zero when I last looked… Gotta love those automated sensors…

  7. orwxguy says:

    What we certainly don’t want to see (and no models point at that which is good) is some warm moisture sneaking in underneath the ridge… then all we wind up with is ice… and that would be icky!!

  8. Ben T says:

    Anyone else frustrated about by the Seahawks game?

    • Ben T says:

      about the*

    • chris says:

      yeah i call b.s. to the time out Atlanta lucked out

    • chris s says:

      Besides playing a prevent defense with 25 seconds left and the opposing team needing to gain 30+ yards in that amt of time, not kicking the ball out of the endzone so that they would have to start at the 20 yard line, thus needing to gain 40+ yards to even try a field goal??? No not really……
      Seriously how a NFL kicker cannot kick the ball out of the endzone on artificial turf indoors is beyond me!!!!!
      Yes they played poorly to start the game, but the end of the game is what will haunt them.

    • Ben T says:

      Yeah, what even happened on that timeout?

    • runrain says:

      I’m happy for Jaquizz Rodgers. Great Beaver supporter who had his longest run of career today.

      29.1 already in Happy Valley. Sunny all day but would be fun to see some of those little snowflakes tonight.

    • Brad says:

      Atlanta was the better team and Pete appeared to call timeout.

  9. Marcus says:

    Anyone ready for a arctic blast after this ridge breaks down I am!:) models keep hinting at it we will see!

    • Ben T says:

      10 days out I bet lol.

    • Marcus says:

      Ya, lol! Seems to be the trend.

      • Ben T says:

        This cold air helps out for the future right? To develop a cold pool. What’s this I hear about much warmer temps?

    • W7ENK says:

      You can hope that would hold true…

      • Ben T says:

        You’re more bitter about us not getting snow, than how bitterly cold it has been. Though in all seriousness, I can understand. The ingredients of a perfect winter weather system rarely ever come together to form a 5-star three course meal.

    • W7ENK says:

      The much warmer temps are up abov, which basically keeps a lid on things in the valley, trapping the cold air at the lowest levels of the atmosphere, hence the term inversion. While it’s in the 20s and 30s at the surface, it can be in the 50s, 60s or even 70s up on the higher terrain above 3-4000 feet. The temperature differential also causes moisture in the cold air at the lowest levels to condense out, forming the incessant fog.

      While it may be socked in cold and gloomy down here, it’ll be sunny and 65 degrees at Timberline.

  10. LurkinginFG says:

    Just barely made it to 29 degrees an hour ago. It has now fallen back down to 28.6 and never saw the sun today. Clouds still thick and fog is starting to form again. Trees are all covered with a very thick layer of frost. Kinda rare to see it as thick as it is. Also can see little icicles pointing to the sky on my lawn and rhodies. Up to an inch long…. that’s a first for me.

  11. Marcus says:

    I want some snow too:( well topped out @ a balmy 29degrees today that is the coldest high temp I’ve had in La Center in long time!

  12. Someone mentioned the “intel” effect on this blog earlier but I am wondering if there’s any real substance to it. No snow at my house just outside of the Hillsboro airport. Drove literally a couple miles in closer to intel and BAM all white. Maybe three quarters of an inch? It’s really strange! I noticed this the other day as well. But I thought maybe it was just frost. No denying it today. It’s definitely snow.

  13. have to keep a heater running in the garage just to keep my washer from freezing “( I would love some clouds 🙂

  14. runrain says:

    Per the NWS afternoon discussion, an ooze alert may be needed…

    • Brad says:

      Ooze alert?

    • alohabb says:

      I saw that too. Funny.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Hahaah! A Ooze Watch is definitely in order!

      National Weather Service Portland or
      200 PM PST sun Jan 13 2013

      The one subtle item to watch is that despite a strong upper high over the northeast Pacific…the models continue to indicate the remains of a weak dying frontal boundary may push onto the coast Monday and ooze inland either later Monday but more likely Monday night for a slightly increased onshore flow…more lower clouds… and possibly some patchy drizzle or flurries. The best chance of this is near the coast and along the west slopes of the coastal mountains Monday afternoon and Monday night…but it might even ooze a bit inland along the Columbia River Monday night. Both the nam12 and the new 12z
      European model (ecmwf) continue to paint some very light quantitative precipitation forecast into the Portland area
      Monday night…as well as the Canadian Gem model. The GFS is the last holdout. Anything that does fall should be light. Have decided to bring touch of light precipitation inland along the Columbia River Monday night.

  15. paulbeugene says:

    After a high of 31.0F…temps creeping back down…now 29.6..here in Eugene.
    Was at top of Spencer Butte (2055′)…was able to see blue sky for a few moments above….but the top of the low cloud layer was probably 2500′. That is a pretty thick low level cold air mass that will thin from top down as the ridge builds in but I highly doubt we will get out of the 30s for the next 5 days…any slight north breeze will only dam up and thicken the cold inversion layer in the South Valley while PDX clears out potentially.

    • Karl Bonner says:

      I remember one day in November 2008 when the top of Spencer Butte must’ve been in the 60s even as the north half of Eugene was buried in the fog. It’s always fun to escape an inversion by going uphill.

  16. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    These clouds coming in from the north could certainly lead to seeding and more light snow etc later tonight and tomorrow.

  17. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    The exact opposite of normal yesterday and today. Sunny up here in Kelso and socked in in BG.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      It was sunny here all day too. Looks like the entire east side of the metro north of Clackamas county and near the Columbia River saw sun, but no one else? At least that’s how the visible satellite loop looked.

    • Marcus says:

      No sun in La Center high temp of 29 still frosty,stayed that way all day!

  18. cgavic says:

    Sandy snow/sunshine and mid day temp of 25 degs. Lo was 16.

    2 inches snow. Only 4 miles east of us on Firwood rd/442nd, 3-4 inches, colder yet.

    Taking pics of snow formation on trees, bushes, fence posts, and a bunch of deciduous, bare-branched low-lying trees between the road and someone’s pond is soooo cool

  19. Ben T says:


  20. ocpaul says:

    I’d gladly trade my sunny 28.4 for snow.

  21. alohabb says:

    As soon as u hit the westside BOOM, pure fog and maybe 29-30 degrees! Portland and east, sunny and 32-34.

  22. LurkinginFG says:

    Looks like this day 2 of thick fog with occasional flakes and a high temp struggling to reach 30. As of right now its 26 with heavy fog and frost. Never saw the sun yesterday and both days at 7am it was 24 out. Not so sure FG is even gonna make it to 28 today. Was 2 degrees warmer at this time yesterday.

  23. W7ENK says:

    No clouds or fog, full sunshine here in Milwaukie, and everything in the shade is frozen. 31.7F

    Jealous of the little bit of Marine snow being reported, but happy to see the sunshine! 🙂

  24. SNOW! says:

    Little tiny flakes falling at my house! (SW bull mountain)

  25. Dave in SW PDX (235') says:

    I have some VERY light snow falling here at my house, just random flakes, really. But it IS snowing.

    • Dave in SW PDX (235') says:

      28.5°, DP 27°

    • Dave in SW PDX (235') says:

      That was brief, maybe 10 – 15 minutes in duration. I see patches of blue now, so the low clouds must have been stirred up just enough to squeeze out a few flakes.

  26. pbo9 says:

    I got actual snow here in North Portland near Lombard. Everything is now white. I’ll take a picture. The street is solid white and slick. 27ºF here now. How could snow come out of those paltry clouds?

    • W7ENK says:

      Marine layer snow, perhaps? I didn’t know that was possible… o_O

    • pbo9 says:

      It’s so fine and light that its already evaporated off of the street. It was pretty. Talked to some friends in NE PDX- no snow at all. 29º now.

  27. SNOW! says:

    Koin local 6 is saying flurries possible on Monday! Hopefully it will turn into something bigger, but probably not even one snowflake will fall. 😦

  28. ErinK says:

    The weatherbug on my phone says snow flurries. I dont know what source the information comes from but its typically correct I’d say @ 90% of the time. Is there ANY chance for flurries today at any point?

  29. W7ENK says:

    Nice shot of Mt. Hood!

    • W7ENK says:

      My temperature bounced off 25 last evening up to 31, then held all night at 30 before dipping to 28 this morning at sunrise. Sitting at 29-30 right now with broken clouds and a bit of sun shining through.

      It would be nice if this ridge would retrograde just enough to allow some energy to drop in on us, dumping a few inches of snow before some really cold air moves in as the ridge reestablishes itself end of the month, keeping the snow around for a while… One can dream.

  30. runrain says:

    Mark, you may have to come up with another set of commercials to address this fog situation, this time calling it “Stoppable”.

    • runrain says:

      The upside to this cold and gloom is that when it does break, the days will be slightly longer, the rain will feel good, and 55° will feel like absolute heaven!

  31. 12z GFS…. When you look at the models and run after run is the same story with a strong ridge over us 10+ days you have to dig deeper, even sometimes mentioning la-la land. Well, today’s run shows the pattern breaking down after day 9 with retrogression apparent afterwards. We’re kind of to that point where we have to grasp at straws, agreed? so why not….
    FCST HR 240

    FCST HR 276

    FCST HR 300

    FCST HR 336

    Still not the most ideal 500mb pattern as we’d want the ridge another 300-500 miles further west. Don’t focus merely on “Oh, it’s past FCST HR 300” Yeah, true, but remember the pattern change begins after day 9. It’s only one run and ECMWF will probably disagree anyhow lol.

    • W7ENK says:

      Well, we have the cold air in place now, isn’t that the first step, “worry about the rest later”?

  32. kcteach Gresham 500' says:

    Spent a beautiful morning snowshoeing near Government Camp yesterday. Got there early to beat the crowds and the temperature was around 15 degrees when we took off. What a great way to spend a Saturday morning and lucky we have that within 45 minutes of home.

  33. runrain says:

    Looks like the cloud deck is breaking here in Happy Valley. Lets see if it holds. One more nice day would be great before Fogagedon ensues.

  34. As Mark mentioned our cold pool is developing.

    KPTV Tower Temps
    As of 7 AM (1 hour lag. Updates every :15 after the hour)
    Upper Sensor(1818′) 21.4 (21.9 at 6:00 AM)
    Middle Sensor(1473′) 22.6 (22.3 at 6:00 AM)
    Lower Sensor(1043′) 24.3 (23.9 at 6:00 AM)

    16z(8 AM) Upper Air Analysis(Observed over PDX)
    925mb: -5.9c
    850mb: -7.0c
    700mb: -11.0c
    500mb: -22.2c

  35. Thanks for the update, Mark. Thus far I have enjoyed the cold, crisp feel to the air. Time to adjust those high temps downward the rest of the week, eh?

  36. Steve in Beavercreek (1100') says:

    It got down to 20.7 in Beavercreek this morning.

  37. bgb41 says:

    26 here at BG Lake with low clouds. Heading up to Longview this morning and will be hoping I see sunshine. Yesterday I broke out of the low clouds around Kalama as I drove north and it was gorgeous all day in that region.

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