Thursday A.M. Update: Snowstorm For South Valley and Coastline

10am Thursday…

A snowstorm is on the way for the central and south Willamette Valley and a good chunk of the Oregon Coast!  I can hear the collective shouts of dismay from Portland area kids, teachers, and weather geeks.  Too bad for us.  Maybe we’ll at least get some flurries…

This morning models have come into agreement with our forecast…always good when that happens!  They are all keeping just about all snowfall well south of the Portland metro area late tonight and Friday morning.  That doesn’t mean we couldn’t get flurries anywhere else, but any “impact snow” (enough to turn roads slick) should stay south of the metro area.

Maybe a slightly later start than previously expected both at the Coast and inland.  Sometime after 3am at the Coast and 6-7am in the valley from Salem south.

  • High clouds thicken up today, as a result our coldest day so far, just creeping a few degrees above freezing
  • Snow will spread onto the beaches (yes, the coastline!) late tonight and inland by sunrise tomorrow.
  • At this point it appears accumulating snow will most likely stay SOUTH of a line from about Seaside to Newberg to Mt. Hood.  Yes, that means just flurries at best for the Portland metro area late tonight and Friday morning.
  • 1-3″  is possible from Tillamook to Newport on the coast, and in the Valley from McMinnville to Salem and south during this time (Friday AM)
  • 2-4″ is possible Albany, Corvallis, and Eugene (south Valley)
  • A dusting to 1″ could make it as far north as Forest Grove and Banks near the Coast Range…maybe
  • Avoid travel south on I-5 all day tomorrow between Salem and Eugene
  • Strong Wind Metro Area Friday:  Gusty east wind pours out of the Gorge tomorrow, bringing a frigid arctic airmass west of the Cascades, the coldest we’ve seen in 4 years.  Between the wind and colder temps, the metro area is going to feel much colder tomorrow than the past few days. We could see 40-50 mph gusts from the east-northeast central and east side of the metro area, and up into parts of Clark County too.  So some power outages are possible during the day.  The wind will dramatically die off Saturay though and be calm by Saturday night.  High temps probably won’t rise above freezing Friday through Sunday; our coldest weekend we’ve seen in a long time…but sunny!

What has changed today?   Not much, you’ll notice the highlights are almost the same as yesterday’s info.  Luckily, our RPM model has finally come into better agreement with all others.  And timing seems to have slowed down a couple of hours too.  Here is the latest snowfall forecast from our RPM model:


And the WRF-GFS:


Are you a casual observer of the weather and don’t spend every waking hour staring at weather maps?  Then keep in mind that you generally shouldn’t read models like this literally.  For example on the lower map don’t assume 3″ of snow is coming for Tillamook and nothing for Pacific City.    Instead note the big picture that then northern extent of the snow is around Astoria and the southern edge is around Newport.

I think it’s interesting to note the placement of heaviest snow in the Willamette Valley is almost exactly the same as what we saw during the “pre-Spring Break” snow in 2012.  The snow begins accumulating somewhere south of Wilsonville and is heaviest in the Albany to Eugene stretch.  It sure won’t feel the same though!  This time it’ll be well below freezing, roads will stay icy, and with a northerly breeze it’ll even be blowing around a bit.

Tomorrow looks very cold across the entire area, even if temps are warmer, it’ll feel as cold as 4 years ago during the 2009 arctic blast due to a strong east wind being pulled out of the Gorge by the surface low tracking down the coastline.

Strong wind may be an issue around metro area tomorrow.  Take a look at the WRF-GFS cross section:

When I see 50kts getting that close to the surface that’s impressive.  Gusts 40-50 mph look possible not only in the usual east wind spots but also in parts of Clark county and the west hills.  This isn’t a classic downslope wind event; that happens when we have warm air above with an inversion and the flow is capped near the crest of the Cascades.  Still, who wants to lose power on a day the temp has trouble getting above freezing?

That east wind will go calm by Saturday night and Sunday morning as high pressure develops directly overhead.  This, along with the bitterly cold airmass that just moved in, will lead to our coldest nights since 2009.  In the areas with snow cover in the valley, Saturday and Sunday nights will probably be the coldest since the 1998 cold wave.  Lots of single digits south of Salem assuming the snow arrives.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

82 Responses to Thursday A.M. Update: Snowstorm For South Valley and Coastline

  1. Ben T says:

    Hey flurries are kinda cool 🙂

  2. David B. says:

    Flurries have materialized in the central Puget Sound region.

  3. Ron says:

    Actually not a counselor at all. 40 wonderful years as a science teacher, retired. It was meant to stir up conversation about when people that don’t get snow and then make comments like “I hate Portland, or we’re the armpit of America, or I’m so depressed. Interesting how people react when they are disappointed. I come here to glean information about the weather, look at models, discuss weather, find out what’s going on in one’s area but only to have to read through so much non-related junk.
    I don’t think Mark had that in mind when he put this blog together. How many times has he had to clean this blog up by kicking people off, putting people on probation, and has to take time to constantly police this blog. I’m sure he has better things to do than that. Just guess my expectations of people coming on here and contributing rather than whining and b**&^ng. Have to scroll through so much garbage to find something actually useful. Human behavior always fascinates me esp. when people don’t have control of things in their lives. The milk and cookies are still free.

    • David B. says:

      I suggest you get a life. This is a weather blog, frequented by weather geeks. Most of us look forward to extreme weather. When it fails to materialize after almost doing so, disappointment results.

      At least the folks whining about this being a no-snow event are whining about the weather. That’s more than be said about your whining, which is totally off-topic.

    • IceCold says:

      Couldn’t have said it better Dave. Ron, needs to go somewhere else.

  4. Aloha Rainshadow says:

    The experimental RAP model doesn’t go out far enough to show the moisture getting onshore at this point but if you were interested in checking it out…it does run every hour…the ultimate model riding experience 🙂
    It goes out 18 hours.
    Mark, do you ever look at this model?
    FYI, it hasn’t really trended eastward as of yet, like the NAM has.

  5. WEATHERDAN says:

    At Noon Forks Washington is reporting light snow. I hope we all see a good dump of snow. I also heard from the NWS that some places in the Western Columbia Gorge may have a -20 degree windchill this weekend. That I think will be the big weather story this weekend, the extreme cold not the snow. Oh by the way back in January of 2007 we had a situation very similar to now. On Thursday Salem had a high of 30, clear and cold. Then on Friday it snowed a couple of inches. But the coast got over 8 inches. I don’t think Portland got any snow. If the track of that system had been only slightly different Portland and the valley would have seen a big dump. Point being that Portland might still some snow from this system. And even if you don’t the storm coming in on Monday night might start out as snow. This is a very cold and very deep air mass over us and the one coming in tomorrow night is even colder. So it might take until Tuesday or even Wednesday to dislodge the cold air. Especially in the Portland area. So be of good cheer, you may still see some snow. And remember this is only very early December in what is supposed to be a very active weather Winter. Lots more fun to come most likely. Peace.

  6. dharmabum says:

    Ya know we all get cranky from time to time especially in winter when we are “trapped” indoors more and can get a case of “Cabin Fever”

    Well now I thought it is time I share one of my secrets on having a good marriage: “We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music, and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.”

  7. paulbeugene says:

    NWS should issue something this afternoon. NA

  8. paulbeugene says:

    18z NAM has expanded snow to central Willamette Valley

  9. Ron says:

    Some of you must really be hard up for the need for social communication. This is a weather blog. Contribute something worth posting about weather/climate. Don’t really care or feel sorry for how you feel or if you are looking forward or not to the cold weather, whether you like Portland or not. Go talk to your dog. Post something that’s worth something about weather and climate instead of whining drivel. Good grief. Get a life some of you.
    I come on here to read, learn, and contribute, not listen to your personal problems. If this is how you deal with disappointment in your life over something like this, can’t imagine how you will deal with things that really matters in life when all said in done. Learn to deal with disappointment in your life. This is small potatoes compared to REAL life. Make this blog a place to learn about weather. If you have personal issues go see a counselor. I charge $100/hr. Would be glad to help. Seriously, I can help you. I serve milk and cookies too. That part is free.
    Some of you disrespect this blog.

    • W7ENK says:

      Wow, someone’s cranky!! 😯

    • Ryan says:

      No one cares what you think, Ron.

      Anxious to see the 18z RPM..Could it revert back to previous runs?

    • W7ENK says:

      I hope you don’t treat your patients with this same level of disdain, Ron.

      I can just imagine…

      Oh, you poor sorry sap, you’re so depressed, your life sucks so much…

      No one wants to hear you whine about your abusive father or how your mother never held you, or how your wife cheated on you, or how your husband comes home drunk every night and blah blah blah…

      Why don’t you just grow a set and buck up, sunshine!

      If that’s how you practice, I’d say $100/hour is about $101 too many.

      Way to be professional, Ron. Is that attitude good for business?

    • Sifton says:

      Is this Ron from ‘Parks & Recreation’? Love your work there! (& here)

    • Brad says:

      Ron as a “professional counselor” I would have thought you had mastered the technique of ignoring comments that offend you and moving on to those you value…without the need to rant and vent. Interesting strategy for dumming up business.

    • dharmabum says:

      “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar”

  10. BoringOregon says:

    Weather Channel is saying maybe some some for us!?!?

  11. Taylor says:

    30 degrees in Clackamas right now and had remained that way for awhile now such I realize is much higher than other areas might just barely get above freezing today.

  12. WEATHERDAN says:

    Increasing high clouds here in Salem this morning. 29 now after a low of 17. Rpm model says 1-2 inches for Salem. Maybe some sinle lows and highs aro0und here this weekend. Great time to haul out the old sled and take it to the park 1 block from my house. Peace.

  13. SnowedIn - North Plains says:

    Well hey, who knows? Maybe the low will take an unexpected jog to the north. How many times have we seen that happen?! Regardless of what ultimately happens, we should all be pretty thankful for the rare arctic air that we’re ALL experiencing. Hoping to see at least a few flakes though, that’s for sure.

  14. N3EG says:

    Anybody get any “river effect” snow last night? We got an (unofficial, of course – wrong side of town for the weather station) 1/4″ in the southwest corner of Longview. Low of 22.

  15. Muxpux (Castle Rock 175') says:

    Lots of people on my Facebook saying it was snowing in Longview. My guess is the fog we had was freezing and like a most was falling as ice crystals? I didn’t see it but our deck has a light sprinkling of shard looking ice crystals on it, more so under the trees that have thick frost on them.

    • David B. says:

      A thick enough fog/stratus layer produced by radiational cooling can make drizzle (or light snow if it’s cold enough). We had the light snow happen in many lowland areas last January during the prolonged inversion event.

  16. Aloha Rainshadow says:

    Some real echoes showing up at the southern tip of the sound.

    • Brad says:

      Port Angeles is reporting light snow.

    • David B. says:

      Forecast discussion for Seattle mentioned a chance of flurries today. Varying cloud thickness (sometimes quite thick and gloomy, othertimes the sun almost burns through) here on Bainbridge Island but no flakes so far. 33 degrees currently.

  17. runrain says:

    Going to be fun to at least see a couple flakes in the area (maybe). I’m happy for the valley folks. They miss out frequently in these things without the Gorge influence, etc. This one’s for you – enjoy!

  18. Aloha Rainshadow says:

    BTW, if you want to see the beginnings of the low, it’s showing up on this IR loop just off Van Isle. Run it on medium/fast.

  19. Brad says:

    You know, Mark is sure due for a forecast bust that brings us an unforseen shot of snowy goodness…just saying.

  20. Aloha Rainshadow says:

    At least we can all look forward to having nothing to track in about 4 days….?????

    • Brad says:

      It’s only an hour from here to Albany/Corvallis. Book a hotel room and take a drive if you want to be assured of seeing snow tomorrow. 🙂

    • JohnD says:

      Good call Brad. My wife and I already have
      plans to leave early Saturday with cameras in
      hand for the Valley. Roads should be good by
      then. I like the concept frigid in
      PDX and snow to drive to very close by.

      WITHOUT having to go to the mountains!

    • W7ENK says:

      Yeah, but nothing beats waking up in your OWN bed, stumbling out into your OWN living room, wrapping yourself in your OWN blanket, sitting by your OWN roaring fireplace, staring out your OWN window, watching the snowflakes fall and pile up in your OWN yard while sipping your warm beverage of choice prepared in your OWN kitchen, etc…

      Better yet, knowing you don’t have to drive anywhere and risk being rammed into by some inexperienced Southern Californian that just moved up here this last summer who’s never even seen snow before, let alone knowing to slow down and take it easy while driving in it! I’d rather watch them pile into each other on my OWN TV and not bother with getting stuck out in it. But that’s just me.

    • ocpaul says:

      I have to agree Erik. I never have enjoyed ‘other people’s snow’.

    • Brad says:

      Erik, until we get snow on demand in this region…you have to drive.

  21. GoDucks says:

    Sheesh people mellow out. It’s only the weather. You whine and cry. Get a grip…. It is what it is. Move to Montana..

  22. Larry says:

    Not looking forward to the bitterly cold wind, but such is life.

    • JohnD says:

      I spin it glass half full too–e.g. flurries
      better than nothing–plus a true arctic
      weekend will be fun. ALSO Mark has been “wrong”
      maybe-what-1% in his entire career! Still
      holding out for Mother Nature’s curve ball.

  23. Aloha Rainshadow says:

    Wow…it’s all the sudden a whine-fest around here! Cheese anyone??? Maybe some peppered salami?
    It is what it is, I want snow just the same as the next guy/girl but whine about it….just drive south, stay a night in the real armpit, Corvallis 🙂

    • David B. says:

      Such is model riding. You have your ups “Yaaay! Epic cold is on the way!” and your downs “What?!? Shut out of the snow *again*!?”.

    • Aloha Rainshadow says:

      It’s why we do this, you only learn from this experience, we’ll have that many more posters with that much more knowledge next time! It’s the chase!!!

  24. boydo3 N Albany says:

    Remember that big snow p-town got a few years ago? We missed out on that big time. Only a cold rain.
    Stop your whining 😉

    • No kidding. At least we’re on the fringe. Poor Seattle gets nothin’. They do have that groovy monorail, though…

    • Aloha Rainshadow says:

      Hoping for a good dump for ya Boydo, if we can’t get it up here, our fellow bloggers should at least get some!!!

    • W7ENK says:

      Yes, but you’ve been nailed on a handful of occasions since then, while PDX has seen nothing. What’s anyone’s point?

      It still stings.

    • Dave in South Salem (500') says:

      I lived in Portland for the big 2008 event and lived in Salem for the good south of Portland snows a couple years ago. Luck has been with me…

  25. Gordon (Vancouver) says:

    So depressing. What a waste of such a cold airmass that we are lucky to see once every 3 to 4 years. It seems the last few arctic airmasses we’ve seen have come and gone with very little to no snow. History tells us that this is probably our one and only shot this year too. Oh well.

  26. schmit44 says:

    Low 14 this morning at BG Lake. Should only reach upper 20s today out here. My high was 31 yesterday

  27. Rich says:

    At last, something south of Salem!

  28. IceCold says:

    I hate PDX. We truly live in the armpit of America.

    • Ryan says:

      You’d rather live in Salem?? Or Corvallis?? Haha, talk about an armpit!

    • Calling PDX “the armpit of America” because we’re missing out on snow by 50 miles or so is ridiculous. Maybe we’ll get hit next Tuesday. Maybe it’ll dump on us in two weeks. Maybe we’ll end up with 50″ in January. Or maybe we’ll get nada. But I’d rather live here than almost anywhere else in the country, hands down – for a million reasons that have nothing to do with the weather!

    • Model Rider says:

      Someone needs a nipple

    • Ron says:

      Some of you must really be hard up for the need for social communication. This is a weather blog. Contribute something worth posting about weather/climate. Don’t really care or feel sorry for how you feel or if you are looking forward or not to the cold weather, whether you like Portland or not. Go talk to your dog. Post something that’s worth something about weather and climate instead of whining drivel. Good grief. Get a life some of you.

    • IceCold says:

      “But I’d rather live here than almost anywhere else in the country, hands down”

      Someone doesn’t get out of the house much.

    • IceCold says:

      Ron, you just contradicted yourself.

    • Dave in South Salem (500') says:

      I for one would rather live in Salem Ryan. Portland is no better in any way unless you are a Blazer ticket holder, or single.

    • Dave in South Salem (500') says:

      Not joking, PDX got very annoying for me. I just got tired of the culture. To each their own…

  29. Ryan says:

    I’ll take flurries at this point.

  30. W7ENK says:

    So close, yet so far away… 😦

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