Mainly “Conversational Snow” This Morning


The light precipitation has arrived, and it’s doing just about what we expected.  Flakes or ice pellets in the air, sticking lightly in some spots, but not in others.  As I mentioned in the first couple sentences of last night’s post, it may end up being just a “talker” as we say in the business.  I first saw the term “conversational snow” a few months ago and I’ve decided it’s a perfect weather phrase.  It means enough snow for folks to notice and admire, but not enough to have a significant effect on roads or your life.  Just enough to blare the Christmas music in your car as the flurries zip by at 65 mph while you spread butter on the bagel, fix your hair, and sip your coffee.

I have white ground here at home, that’s just since 7am.  Many areas in the main part of the metro area have seen nothing sticking to the ground though.  There has been less than expected up in Clark county.  Looks like 1/2″ at best so far north of Vancouver.  I still think the Battle Ground to Amboy areas have the best chance of getting 1″ or so before it’s over.  Also watch out for freezing rain in a few protected valleys in the Coast Range or Cascade foothills.  It’s real straightforward; if your road is wet, it’s not going to freeze now.  But if it is snow-covered a layer of ice may form over the top of that before 10am if your local temperature is below freezing.

Models have clearly shown a back edge to the solid precipitation and that may be what’s coming over the Coast Range right now.

Big Picture:  As expected, we escaped a significant snowfall and by 9am the upper atmosphere will warm too much to support snow anyway.  Then it’s on to gusty southwest wind this afternoon.  Probably the strongest southerly wind we’ve seen in about 3 weeks.  Maybe 30-35 mph gusts.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

72 Responses to Mainly “Conversational Snow” This Morning

  1. Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

    34 / 5 today here.

    Had some freezing rain a couple of hours ago. At least that shows there is moisture around.. but not much.

  2. boydo3 N Albany says:

    LARRY! Fire up the grill! Jumping will begin shortly.
    I drop in with some home brew…..

    • Model Rider says:

      Ya Larry its Dec. 20th!! Winter cancel!!! If the models look as they do come Feb. 1st, then I’ll jump with you guys. But get real guys.

    • Sifton says:

      Well if I’m reading the ECMWF monthly run correctly, & Feb.1st being just around the corner, (with winter half over at that point calender wise) I’d put a few bucks down on winter being over! & by then I couldn’t be happier!!

    • chris s says:

      Ya Sifton lets hope winter is over, ski resorts go bankrupt, we have drought conditions, with horrible wildfires this summer. Serious fail dude. Why do you live here if you want winter to be over by feb 1st?

    • Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

      That almost happened during my last snow season. By practically middle of February I was already regularly getting “50’s and sunny” sort of days, and had one of my last snows. lol at 4000 elevation that is not normal Feb weather..

    • Sifton says:

      Bankrupt?? Please!
      Drought conditions with horrible wildfires?? Spring showers to the rescue dude!
      & I live here for the awesome summers chriss,
      how bout you?!

  3. As Paul mentioned below, we need moisture or it will be ugly this summer!

    It’s always a double edged sword for a hiker like me! Less snow means an earlier hiking season, but also, less water in streams, and of course, fires which can close or ruin trails.

    There have been a lot of years recently where some high trails have snow into August…and even early September.

  4. 14 hours of precip and…0.38″…geeze.

    Up to 41 here, my high for the day.

  5. BoringOregon says:

    All this Boring Weather is making me want to move down to Oklahoma? Any one want to rent a house out down there with me!?!?

    • BoringOregon says:

      The Temperature just went up from 35 to 41 in two hrs!!

    • ocpaul says:

      I’d choose Rockford, Illinois. Great summer thunderstorms, awesome fall/winter snow storms. Other than that, it’s still the Midwest. But I agree, every winter since 2008 (this one included)
      hasn’t been worth the dynamite it would take to blow it to h@#&.

    • Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

      Some part of eastern Montana would be my #1 choice if I both loved snow and epic severe storms in the summer. Also there you don’t generally worry about a tornado, but the storms still come in just about full force. 😉

    • Muxpux (Castle Rock 175') says:

      I got family in SE Montana. It’s a town of about 300 people in BFE, so no thanks. Almost pulled the trigger on the Williston oil fields in ND but living in a camper with multiple people isn’t my idea of living

  6. WEATHERDAN says:

    At 2:00 PM Salem has wind gusts close to 40 mph. Temperature is steady at 40 degrees. Some brief snow between 2-3 AM. Cold and windy now. Looking forward to a sunny Christmas and a high of 40. Clear and crisp but no travel problems.

  7. Lurkyloo says:

    Well, that “event” played out like a script in my neck-o-the-woods: 7am dusting of snow, 8am sleet, 9am rain. But, as Vernonia1 asked, where’s the warm-up? Still feels pretty cold here in NE. I need to buy a thermometer …

  8. Taylor says:

    Trace amounts of snow in Clackamas today. 36.9 degrees right now. Pretty much no wind here. Weatherbug says winds are coming out of SSE right now.

  9. WEATHERDAN says:

    NLAYB ISF. For every dome there is an inverse structure. We had a 1 inch snowfall so far and several big thunderstorms last summer here in Salem. Every weather event hits the dome and bounces off only to be attracted to our anti dome. Sorry Eric. Peace.

  10. vernonia1 says:

    someone tell me where the warm air is?? been 34 here all day. Thought it would be at least 39 by now. More freezing rain tonight??

  11. GTS1K' says:

    Still 30.2 here – no melting of the frozen junk that fell this AM yet.

  12. David B. says:

    This event really shows how much better weather forecasting has got in the past 20 years. In the 1990s, these sorts of events (incoming mild storm with some cool to cold air at the surface but no big arctic blast) would almost always be forecast as nothing but rain. No longer.

    Sure, there’s still sometimes a tendency for the models to underestimate the difficulty of light, mild air displacing dense, cold air, but it’s better than it used to be and forecasters correctly decided to ignore the models which showed no accumulating snow.

  13. paulbeugene says:

    Looking at the GFS run this morning, I think we can go ahead and declare 2013 as the driest year ever in Eugene Oregon.
    One can only hope for a long cold wet spring to give us some lasting moisture into the early summer in our Cascades. Otherwise we could be looking at one horrific fire season next summer. Khaki lawns are going to be in style next summer.
    Mt Hood Ski Bowl should open up for Mt Biking.

    • MasterNate says:

      I agree, could be an epic fire season. It will be interesting to see what spring brings.

    • David B. says:

      Last time I checked the long-range forecasts, spring was supposed to be colder and wetter than normal. So it may be yet another “March miracle” year for snowpack.

    • gidrons says:

      Hard to believe that I’d hope for a long wet spring. But if snowpacks don’t start improving up and down the west coast, I will be.

  14. Andrew (Beaverton, OR) says:

    Hillsboro airport still sitting at 32, could be some pockets of freezing rain still going on out that way.

  15. David B. says:

    Sleet showers and 32 on Bainbridge presently. Cold air is eroding from above…

  16. W7ENK says:

    848 AM PST FRI DEC 20 2013

  17. Paul D says:

    Saw very light snow was coming down in Hillsboro at 6:15. Ended up with a very light dusting – looked like a bad case of dandruff. It’s washing away now.

  18. alohabb says:

    I have more flakes in my office than outside this morning.

  19. Wendy-Silverlake says:

    Started raining as I took the kids to school. Really was making a mess out of the snow covered roads, lots of slush and was pretty slick. Temp holding at 32, according to the car.

  20. Ryan says:

    Another great call, Mark. When do you see the heavier rain coming in today? Afternoon?

  21. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Maybe we need to start some conversations about how WINDY it’s gonna get, Mark! Hahaah!

  22. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Turned to rain here. More than a dusting, not enough to start measurements. Was fun though! Can’t get too picky in this man’s army!

  23. So if you add up ALL the snow at my location this year so far…I’ve had 1/2″…Funny, including today, I’ve had 13 days with some kind of wintry precip falling. It’s just like our rain, it may happen somewhat often, but it just doesn’t add up.

  24. No Snow says:

    32 and rain on Skyline. No Snow strikes again.


  25. cgavic says:

    Snow flurries and trace at 1,100 ft. Sandy

  26. …never did see any snow here, this started out as sleet around 5:30 and switched to freezing rain around 7:15…

  27. Model Rider says:

    All snow in Redmond. Temp is 23 and coming down moderately. 1/2″ so far. Sticking to everything. Obviously, its 23 degrees. Expect sleet to freezing rain in next few hours as warm air moves in overhead.

  28. Definitely all sleet now in BG.

  29. W7ENK says:

    Still haven’t seen any snow yet this winter*… or last.

    *Yes, I’m fully aware that “winter” doesn’t start until tomorrow.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Two official snowfalls in Portland (at NWS) .5″ and .2″. You are running behind Erik!

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      I bet someone at the winter weather meeting could find 6 or 7 already!

    • Model Rider says:

      6 or 7 what Mark? That’s a little confusing post.

    • Ben T says:

      I thought you saw 12 flakes?

    • W7ENK says:

      12 flakes don’t constitute “snow”, especially when they melt immediately after touching the ground. The “snow event” a couple weeks ago failed to produce any snowflakes in Milwaukie. So did this one.

      One notch closer to packin’ all my stuff and moving to Central Oregon. And that’s no joke!

    • David B. says:

      Seriously, W7, if you can’t easily leave your job in downtown Portland even Clark County or Hillsboro (the latter is an easy MAX commute) would be an improvement.

    • W7ENK says:

      Ya know, the first winter I lived in Klamath Falls (2002-2003), I thought I would get more snow than I knew what to do with. Strangely, even at 4,400 ft elevation, it didn’t snow until the first week of April. Okay, so it snowed a few inches down there while I was back up in Portland over the Holidays, but it was completely gone when I returned… Regardless, when it finally did snow, it was a few sloppy inches that melted away by noon. That turned out to be the first winter in over 30 years that Upper Klamath Lake failed to freeze over.

      I could move to Valdez, Alaska and it would quit snowing there.

      Such is my luck.

    • Brad says:

      Erik…then it that case, please don’t move to Battle Ground…we like receiving our occasional snows.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      The Dome isn’t over Milwaukie, W7.
      It’s over YOU! Hahaah!

    • gidrons says:

      I was in Milwaukie this morning and some snow on the barkdust.

    • W7ENK says:

      Well, then it must have happened after I left for work.

      Left the house at 6:15, 34 degrees and dry. 6:18 it started to rain with sleet mixed in, mostly rain. Bus arrived at 6:25 — 4 minutes late, 10 minutes later at the Milwaukie TC precip stopped. Rain started again, maybe with a little bit of sleet mixed in around SE McLoughlin at 17th. Arrived SW 2nd and Main downtown at 6:52, rain with very little sleet mixed in, wet roads the whole way. 33 degrees at 7am, 34 degrees at 9am, 35 degrees and raining lightly now at almost noon, not a single snowflake to be seen the whole time.

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