Morning Freezing Rain Update; Looking Better

7:45am Wednesday…

Looks like our RPM model has done a little better job showing a slower arrival of precipitation this morning.  So far no reports of rain/freezing rain and radar looks very dry east of the Coast Range, where most of us live.  This is a good sign if you want to avoid ice on roads.

It’s pretty clear now that the “worst case scenario” mentioned in last night’s posting isn’t going to happen.  We’re going to see spotty freezing rain at best the next couple of hours in most of the metro area and north/south along I-5 to Salem and Clark County. 


  • Spotty freezing rain still possible between now and 10am anywhere west of the Cascades in the lowest elevations.  Key word here is “spotty”.  Some areas are warm enough it’ll be just rain
  • Much better chance of icing on roads in the West Hills, or east of I-205 as you get closer to the Gorge (colder air) between now and noon.
  • After 10am it’s over.  If for some reason precipitation hasn’t arrived by then, it won’t matter, roads will be too warm just about everywhere except close to and in the Gorge.
  • Rainy and mild with temps close to 40 this afternoon; no issues for evening commute except IN the Gorge east of Troutdale.

Gorge Forecast:
My kids are sitting here at home, waiting for the 2nd “school call” around 8am (after a 2 hour delay) to see if it gets called off or not.  Probably quite a few administrators waiting to see what happens the next few hours.  I can’t offer any good advice other than sending kids to school when roads could be very icy this afternoon seems like too high a risk to me.  Take a snow day, it’s been a mild winter with no closure yet anyway here and no sign of impending snowy/icy weather as we head into early February.  Okay, that was my advice.  Freezing rain quite slow to get started in the Gorge the next few hours, but when it does start, it’s below freezing on all surfaces through at least noon. 

The ice pellets/snow in the central/eastern Gorge may not arrive until almost noon out there.  Then a few inches of snow before temperatures creep up around freezing this evening.  There will be no quick warmup in the Gorge through tonight.  No mild west wind.

For the hardcore weather folks:
Temperatures at the lowest elevations WEST of I-205 (away from the Columbia River Gorge) are very marginal for freezing rain, meaning that unless precipitation doesn’t begin by 9am it’s probably over.  Solid cloud cover during the night didn’t allow the east wind to decouple either, so we’re pretty much back to a “gorge influenced” event instead of having lots of sub-freezing air stuck in the Valley.  BUT, no south wind either, in fact it was interesting that the 4am sounding over Salem showed no warm southerlies in the lowest few thousand feet of the atmosphere.  When precipitation finally does arrive, most of the metro area temps will drop 1-2 degrees (assuming it’s more than sprinkles) due to evaporative cooling.  But looking at pavement temps at Rocky Pt and I-205/Division, even then it’ll be tough to get rainfall to freeze in those areas.  Remember, to get freezing rain to freeze to pavement during the day (after 9-10am), it’s got to be at least down to 30 degrees; very unlikely that’s going to happen except well east of I-205.

There IS plenty of cold air still pouring out of the Gorge, that gradient is still around 8 millibars TTD-DLS.  12z NAM-MM5 just out shows no south wind today in the Valley and the Gorge wind just gradually dies down.  If we had started with the low level cold air pouring out of the Gorge about 5 degrees colder, today would be a perfect ice storm here in the entire metro area.  I think it still will be east of Troutdale in the Gorge.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

129 Responses to Morning Freezing Rain Update; Looking Better

  1. Dave in South Salem (500') says:

    This is what oregon winter is all about! 10 days of 28 degrees and freezing fog followed by a 34 degree rain event.

    • Ben T says:

      You gotta love it! We’re known for rain but we can’t seem to get it frozen in the winter.

    • JohnD says:

      Very interesting. It definitely feels
      –and is–doggone cold out there right now!
      It is simply statistically not possible to be
      any closer to a frozen precipitation event
      of some kind without actually having one.
      But go figure–this is Portland. The weather
      gods simply virtually never give in.

  2. Some areas saw brief Sleet/Ice Pellets, brief ZR, and some areas saw nothing which is about what we expected, right? Now some places are seeing chunky rain, a mix, or still just cold rain. All good….

    KPTV Tower Temps
    As of 12 PM (1 hour lag. Updates every :15 after the hour)
    Upper Sensor(1818′) 39.0 (37.6 at 11:00 AM)
    Middle Sensor(1473′) 32.2 (31.8 at 11:00 AM)
    Lower Sensor(1043′) 30.9 (31.6 at 11:00 AM)

    • germantownsummit1000' says:

      30.2 here – ice pellets falling intermittently mixed with rain – decks slippery – hose end refrozen since 11AM – when it was 32.1.

      Definitely on the cusp.

    • Mr Data says:

      Rob please convince Mark to push the -PNA button to increase our chances of Artic Air.

    • Dave in South Salem (500') says:

      The temps are falling, oddly enough

  3. Kmgarlington says:

    Snow at 950 feet north of battle ground!

  4. Marcus says:

    All rain here no ice at all wow that switched quick!

  5. vernonia1 says:

    can someone send me the wordpress link to this blog??? Thanks

  6. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    Temp has dropped nearly two degrees now and there are ice pellets falling.

  7. Amy Raulerson says:

    Up to 35.6 but I’ve got ice forming on my trees in my yard!

  8. I can still go outside and make a 33.8 degree mud man… it’s all in perspective….

  9. Amy Raulerson says:

    I’m on the west side of rocky butte. Pacific power said they had 5,500 customers out this morning due to an interruption at a sub station.. A few weeks ago, I was on my way home & there was snow on the cars & grass & a bit of slush on the road 3 blocks away but nothing at my house!

    • Lurkyloo says:

      Yeah, that’s what I saw, too. I’m 12 blocks W of Rocky Butte and nothing.

      Glad you got power back. 🙂

  10. Marcus says:

    Tower temps are delayed tho it will be interesting to see cause It sure looks like snow mixing in,anyway all I know is its not RAIN:)

    • Ben T says:


    • Marcus says:

      Won’t turn out I’m sure, it’s so light! My main reason for getting excited is that it may take longer to get out of the cold if there is snow mixing vs sleet rain mix! It’s not doing it now any way,currently light FZ rain!

    • JohnD says:

      Temperatures in all locations at this moment
      appear to be trending DOWNWARDS. Rob and
      others had mentioned evaporative cooling to
      take place today. I wonder how impacting this
      will end of being!? Or–e.g.–a very
      temporary phenomenon with a warm SW rush of
      air is soon to follow?

  11. Amy Raulerson says:

    In the last 30 min, temp has gone from 35.6 to now 34.3. Decent rain coming down with some sleet mixed in here. I’m at the base of rocky butte. Still have strong, gusty east winds. Thankfully my power just came back on after being out for almost 3 hours! Was down to 57 inside!

    • Lurkyloo says:

      Amy, I’m close to you and haven’t seen any mix. But I think you’re in a cold micro-climate? There was snow on the ground when I dropped my kids at school one day, but nothing in my neighborhood. Ugh, 57 is cold inside. We didn’t lose power. What side of Rocky Butte are you on?

  12. Doppler Dave (NE Portland) says:

    Precip is 100% liquid form, albeit cold rain, and 35 degrees here in Hillsboro.

  13. Marcus says:

    Must be sleet! Thanks

  14. Snow? don’t think the cold layer is thick enough for that… Sleet/Ice Pellets sure….

  15. Marcus says:

    It sure looks like snow is mixing in as well? Possible?What do you think rob?

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