Patchy Freezing Rain Monday AM, Then the Big Thaw

February 9, 2014

Today’s slow thaw was VERY slow.  PDX hit 33, other parts of the metro area were up in the 33-37 degree range.  But now we are seeing plenty of refreezing because skies have cleared out.  Snow cover on the ground and a clearing sky means temps can easily drop back to freezing.  Around 9:30pm this semi truck went flying off the I-205/I-5 interchange near Tualatin:

Camera-LiveODOT

There will be no warming south wind overnight, and the only thing that would keep temps near/above freezing would be thick cloud cover moving in.  Don’t count on that.

Here is the plan for tomorrow morning:

  • Most side roads will be icy, or at least have lots of leftover slush/snow on them
  • Freeways should be mainly okay though
  • I don’t expect a widespread freezing rain event
  • But some showers will arrive after 8am, and in some spots those will fall as freezing rain.
  • Will you be able to tell the difference between a few spots of freezing rain and icy streets left from overnight freezing…I doubt it.  Not much different from what we have right now.
  • By 10am temps will be rising above the point which liquid rain would freeze to roads anyway (30-31) ) so then we are out of it, including the far eastside of town (Troutdale/Gresham)

MarkWarnings_FreezingRain_MetroPlusGorge

In the Gorge, it’ll stay frozen all day, except the far west end near Corbett and above Washougal which will get warming southerly wind in the afternoon/evening.  So maybe 1/2″ ice accumulation from Multnomah Falls to Hood River.  Lighter amounts at The Dalles.

MarkWarnings_FreezingRain_MetroPlusGorge2

So drive carefully tonight and tomorrow morning.  If you DO plan to go to work, rest assured that roads will be MUCH better in the afternoon and evening.  Really!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


Much Better Driving Sunday Afternoon…On the Main Roads

February 9, 2014

I just got in to work at 5pm Sunday; it only took me about 5 minutes longer than normal!  But that’s because my commute is mainly on I-84 and U.S. 26 (Corbett to Beaverton, 37 miles).  The good news is that freeways are in excellent shape, mainly wet with just some leftover junk in spots, generally the far left lane.  I was able to go normal (or a little above) speed with the light traffic.

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The other main roads I drove on were just okay, but still lots of slop left.  Once you get on a side road though…what a sloppy slushy mess!  We are located on  Greenbrier Parkway just off Hwy 26 and it was the worst part of my entire commute; even worse than the solid snow/ice at home.  Thick slush/ice pack breaking up; I was all over the place even in my 4Runner.  This is what it looks like, probably quite similar to the street outside your home if you don’t live on a main road and don’t have a plow running by.

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Luckily the forecast of no precipitation (or very little) worked out great.  Other than spots of drizzle we’ve been dry for about 18 hours in the metro area.

By the way, my commute home at midnight last night was really weird, even fewer cars than I have seen while commuting at the same time during previous snow/ice storms.  That surprised me since it was a Saturday night; apparently people who party don’t like to drive on ice and snow.  In fact from around Gateway to my exit east of  Troutdale, I never had a vehicle in sight either ahead of me or behind.  It really is nice to just move back and forth across a 3 lane freeway with no one else around.  And ODOT crews had it down to just a thin ice/snow layer, so no big bumps or snow chunks…very smooth driving about 40-45 mph the whole way.

Temps just barely climbed above freezing and combined with a sunbreak or two, cleared those main highways/roads a bit.  PDX hit 33 today, so far.

PLOT_Temps_MetrotoCentralCoast

Looks like dry weather will continue through at least sunrise Monday.  But I haven’t looked at the rest of the forecast so I don’t have any other comments on that.  More later when I pull myself together and stare at maps/models.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen