2pm Update…SO Close to Freezing Rain!

All metro area temps are within 2 degrees of freezing at this hour, which is going to cause some issues for the evening commute and overnight on area roads.


Moisture is still falling from the sky, mainly in liquid form, but plenty of ice pellets mixed in.  This will theoretically come to an end during the evening hours, definitely by midnight.  At that time the whole band of clouds/rain/snow/frz.rain will shift to our south.


For the evening commute:  Hilly areas are BELOW freezing right now and that won’t change, so the slight bit of solar heating we are getting (even through the clouds) will end at sunset.  That means many roads in the West Hills and other hilly spots may freeze up.  Freeways and highways will remain clear, but be careful elsewhere in the higher elevations.

Overnight:  Several models push the entire band of clouds to the south after midnight.  If so, skies will clear and temperatures will drop.  Any road that is wet in the metro area could freeze for the morning commute.  Of course some will have a chance to dry with the dry east wind blowing, but many will just freeze first.  Allow extra time for the morning commute.

Friday:  Sunny all day!  It’ll be like our little winter event never happened.  High temps in the lower 40s, but as opposed to Wednesday, the wind will just be a bit breezy from the east, not raging.

The forecast went well today here at FOX12, but what a close call.  If the precipitation were a little heavier and temps 2 degrees colder, the NWS forecast could have easily verified.

I did totally miss with the snow forecast out in Washington County though…sorry Forest Grove!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

86 Responses to 2pm Update…SO Close to Freezing Rain!

  1. schmit44 says:

    -23°F at Seneca, Oregon this morning. Here are all the stations the were at least down to -5°F today.

  2. schmit44 says:

    12z GFSx for Hillsboro – Three nights in the teens coming for colder spots in the Portland CWA. 14 degrees is the output now for Sunday morning at HIO

  3. paulbeugene says:

    Saw storm report of 2″ ice accumulation in coast range. If that is true that is an exceptional event with probably much yet unreported damage, potentially disastrous. Will be anxious to get more details. Must admit there was too much focus on PDX metro but that is where the people live.

  4. It was a nice ice-free drive in on my route from Barberton in to Swan Island. I was expecting the roads at least out by where I’m at to be icy.

    Pretty decent fall so far weather wise. A south and east wind event with a cold snap and some snow. Can’t complain too much thus far.

  5. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Blue Skies

  6. High Desert Mat says:

    It has now been snowing 33 hours straight, well ok, for about 4 hours last night it switched to sleet. So my totals are this unscientifically in my backyard.

    Yesterday 10″ snow+1/2″ sleet
    Overnight 14″ snow

    2 feet on the ground in mid November. Crazy

  7. W7ENK says:

    Roads stayed mostly wet all day yesterday, but started icing up pretty bad last evening in my area. By 7:30p I could hear cars spinning their tires and sliding all around the neighborhood. Thankfully, despite clearing skies and freezing temperatures, the roads dried off overnight and this morning’s commute was a breeze!

    Speaking of breeze, that’s completely gone now.

  8. Boydo3 N. Albany says:

    Funny that the NWS would issue an ice storm warning for my area. A bit late. It was icing all day yesterday with lots of big branches and trees getting hit hard. Not to mention power outages. We could hear it crashing all night long. But thanks for the warning 😉

  9. prairiedog says:

    My wife and I drove up to Crown Point around noon yesterday (13th). I usually go up there in wind events and have had my share of 100mph events. I hadn’t been up there when it was actually snowing. Usually it’s either clear or partly cloudy. I was looking at the CP sensor readings earlier and it was bouncing around in the 60’s and occasionally a 70mph. When it’s hitting 70 usually winds are close to 100mph on the steps. So we went up. We were not disappointed. It was absolutely raging with blowing and drifting snow, 26f on my car thermometer. I was barely able to stand up on the steps. The gusts were simply vicious. Easily 100mph. I had loaned my anemometer out so I can’t say for sure what the wind speed was but I was up there last year when the winds hit 122mph. I missed that, but several of us pegged numerous gusts at 105-110mph for about an hour. This was very similar to that as far as my ability (inability) to stand and walk around. The snow was swirling, visibility about 1/4 mile. It was absolutely awesome. Calculated windchill when I got home with an estimated 100mph and it was right at 0f. It gives you an understanding of what people that experience hurricanes go through (albeit much warmer). To have that kind of wind pounding for hours would be a terrifying thing. Even homes up in Corbett were getting smacked pretty good. Don’t know how’d you sleep. Mark?

  10. schmit44 says:

    11/13/2014 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:63 at AGNESS2( 247 ft) & CW5302 Roseburg(410 ft) & DW6983 Winston(600 ft)
    Low: 56 at Gold Beach (US 1(60 ft)

    High:15 at HARL BUTTE(6071 ft)
    Low: 4 at CW9027 Ukiah (3415 ft ) & CROW FLAT (5172 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 29 degrees
    WICKIUP WEATHER (44/15 ) (4358 ft )
    LaPine (US 97 MP (43/14) (4600 ft)

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    2.88″ at WILKINSON RIDGE(1346ft)
    2.85″ at GOODWIN PEAK(1800ft)
    2.45″ at CW9669 Springfie(462ft)
    2.43″ at YELLOWSTONE MTN.(3080ft)
    2.41″ at BURNT RIDGE(2955ft)
    2.41″ at VILLAGE CREEK(1565ft)
    2.31″ at CW4896 Waltervil(574ft)

    • PurpleHaze says:

      Talk about two extremes! A warm low of 56F at Gold Beach and a low plunging down to a bone-rattling 4F at Ukiah at 3400 feet one of Oregon’s iceboxes!

      Imagine driving between the two areas!

  11. B says:

    So, what possibility is there for a messy icey morning commute in the metro area or is it going to heat up too much?

  12. I will say the most impressive thing about this whole cold event is not just how early it came – but how it all happened with essentially NO cold 850mb support west of the Cascades. Just two glancing blows of modified arctic air into the Gorge, and bingo – a wintry mix in Portland and a shot at getting down to 10 degrees in The Dalles Saturday night. Will be interesting to see what we can pull off with 7-8″ of fresh snow on the ground!

  13. paulbeugene says:

    It is wet down here. have had about 1.2 inches of rain since about 4pm. Impressive training band of price over Corvallis. Could that be ice pellets? Am concerned that there may be some folks with significant ice accumulations this evening. A bunch of underground stations in mid/south valley not reporting any price while temp is constant around freezing and ongoing radar returns overhead. That sounds suspicious for accumulating ice

  14. Marc (East Vancouver) says:

    Bark for Mark, the king!

    • PurpleHaze says:

      Arf! By the way absolutely nothing here in the valley! It has sat at 34F all day long not budging. So much for the Evaporative cooling eh? Well it evaporated all right into nothing!* but at least that will keep everything green when the sun does shine!

  15. Muxpux (Castle Rock 175') says:

    Who’s hide do I gotta chap to get the temp sensor at the kelso airport fixed??

    Also, just as it started snowing here in Kelso, WA, I got a call from my buddy to come into work. We got hooked up with a logging outfit and have been cutting, splitting and delivering 3-5 cords of firewood a day. I wanted to sit and watch it snow, but ended up providing folks with nice seasoned, ready to burn wood. Feels good, but we get our wood way up by Boisfort, WA. A good 10 miles out of Vader in no mans land. It stopped snowing before castle rock on our way out.

  16. Dottie says:

    Rob makes an interesting point. I live at 560′ elevation near the Sylvan bridge and was well aware ice was accumulating on my windows and entire property by 8:30 AM. The temperature had dropped to 30.2 degrees, the east winds were raging, at times some wintry mix but mostly freezing rain lasted throughout the day and is continuing this evening. Current temperature 30.6 degrees. It was strange and un-relatable to see the PDX temperatures above freezing. Micro climates must have been existent in many locations, adding to the difficulty of this forecast.

  17. PurpleHaze says:

    Can anybody explain in a precise way what went bust in the valley to prevent even the 1-3 inches of snow forcasted?

    BTW. I knew it wasn’t going to snow because the east winds didn’t make it cold enough here. It was in the 50s the other day with barely 32F at night. No deep 20s.

  18. JohnD says:

    Great comments Rob…as usual. Kudos to Mark. Simply a master craftsman. Others pale by comparison. Just not quite cold enough for Portland snow and/or a lack of a steady precipitation band amid the marginal circumstance. STILL a great fall/early winterlike day! ‘Significant scraping exercise coming out of work tonight on NE 22nd/Sandy amid 31’ degrees and strong wind gusts, by the way. Lots of sleet still on the ground.

    Can’t wait to hike in the Goege this weekend!

    Here’s to a great winter season!

  19. Tyler Mode says:

    Sleet has changed back to snow now. Temp 32.5

  20. Paul D says:

    Was a nice day to just stay at home and watch the weather. I only left my house to bring the garbage can in this morning 🙂

  21. tony demicoli says:

    7inches and still falling in fabion between zig zag and rhododendron
    bty 5 giant trees came down tues. Thanks Mark for being so informative Tony

  22. Excellent forecast, Mark. However, one thing the models failed at, specifically the WRF 4km. They never showed PDX or TTD to drop to or below freezing, but we certainly did especially east of I-205. The Soundings had us 33-34, then warming. They messed up there as well as the duration of temps 31-32 degrees.

    This was a very complex event and I have to believe that not having access to the very trusty KPTV Tower Temp data really hurt us. They are invaluable when you’re dealing with a situation like this where we absolutely need to know the depth of the cold layer, where the warm layer is at over PDX, etc.

    I also came to realize about 1-2 AM that the RUC/RAP Upper air data on Mesoanalysis was initializing too cold, but also too warm at 925mb over SLE for a time. It also sucks that we’ve really had bad model performance this entire event. Either the NAM was too cold, WRF too cold, then too warm. Gradient overdone, models initializing 925/850 2 to 4c too cold, or pressure 4-7mb too high. I’ve honestly never seen such poor performance from the MM5-NAM/WRF-GFS on a run to run basis.

    Now at 7:30 PM we have a narrow deformation band off to the northwest of PDX. East of I-205 its 31-32 degrees. ZR is falling here and ice accumulations are starting to increase. The east wind has backed off, but it isn’t gone. Another thing, dewpoints at my house, Troutdale, and east of I-205 have dropped a few degrees. Some concerns that as this band of moisture slowly sags south that we may have a bit of an ice storm east of I-205.

    What’s next? Well, we now have a snow covered Gorge, eastern Oregon, and lower Columbia Basin. That will make this next cold shot a touch colder than modeled. It also could lead to a stronger Columbia Basin cold pool and thus stronger offshore gradients this weekend. Winter is here!

    Due to this wacky rare Wintry event my mind has now been conditioned to think that it’s actually December or January. The calender says it isn’t. It’s not even mid-November and we’re dealing with this, yet it looks like the heart of Winter outside. It feels like old man(or woman?) Winter has placed its icy grip on the Portland metro area. It’s in a sense “tricking” our minds into doing so, and I think it’s awesome.

    Here we are two weeks before Thanksgiving and we have had by all accounts a decent modified arctic blast. We’ve had a rare widespread east wind/downslope wind storm(plus the southerly wind event/storm in October) and now we’ve had Snow, Sleet, and Freezing Rain. I can never remember in my life this occurring or my mind being altered to think that hey, it’s Winter already. This is going to make this Winter season seem awfully long, much longer than usual and I think that’s outstanding. I hope we have many more events in the coming months!

  23. alohabb says:

    The roads are a mess…stay home!

    • flurball says:

      Yes, don’t agree with anyone here or it is “sucking up”. BigBank Hank….turn yourself in to SnowBank Hank and give us your breakdown of what was forecast and what actually happened. Hunting season is here.Alas some people have obviously got their troll tags.

  24. Big Nel says:

    Scanner chatter Morrison bridge on-ramp to 84 police car into guard rail, 2 car accident on ramp north bound to Freemont bridge asking for sand trucks, Halsey overpass at 205 about 8 cars in accidents. Things iceing up all over

  25. Hal in Aims says:

    28 and another batch of light zr going through ………still a stiff breeze out of the east……

  26. Tyler Mode says:

    About 1/3″ of snow remaining here in Battle Ground.

    32.6 now with moderate sleet falling.

  27. Vinny says:

    Happy Valley 31 and freezing drizzle and breezy. Everything is now iced.

  28. paulbeugene says:

    Thankfully it is not 3-4 degrees colder here in Eugene, otherwise we would have a real ice storm on our hands. 35.2F with rain coming down at .2 to .5 inches/hour. The temp has been creeping back down this evening.

    • Curtis C says:

      It’s getting really iffy down here in Eugene. Station by my place temp is at 33.9 and rain has been coming down pretty hard for awhile. If it dropped a few degrees it could get ugly.

  29. Mark, over on Western your old pal Jesse took issue with your conservative forecast yesterday. Then this morning he said you were right for all the wrong reasons, essentially that PDX escaped because of a lack of precip. Then he had to admit your genius when the heavier precip moved in and still no major accumulations. He did revel in his snow though, I think Stevenson deserves a special shout out on the 10 o’clock news!

  30. I picked up 1.79″ of precip today. Currently just misting and 32 with a light glaze of ice. On the way hope there were moderate ice accumulations (At least 1/4″ on all elevated surfaces from about 800-1400′, the roads were just wet though.

  31. Sapo says:

    Mark nailed it on this one. We’ve had a surprisingly impressive amount of freezing rain here in Tigard, tons of ice on everything but the roads. Roads will probably freeze here, temperature is around 30. I’m wondering if some school district might have a 2-hour delay for tomorrow…Not likely, but it happened last year where roads froze over (no snow event, but some ice on the roads) and schools had a delay. Curious what the morning commute will be like.

  32. Paul D says:

    You nailed this one, Mark! Great job!

  33. Hal In Aims says:

    Down to 28 with light freezing drizzle and a brisk breeze……everything is set up hard now….

  34. MountainMan says:

    Well, looks like 4.5 inches is all we can get out here in the gorge just northwest of Beacon Rock at 1200 ft. Just not enough moisture for a big event here. Still it’s only Nov. 13th and that’s crazy good for a snow lover like me. Moisture is moving south out of the central gorge now.
    Please? I would really appreciate it if someone had a link to the OMSI meeting I missed. Thanks.

  35. EY (Oak Grove) says:

    Amazing job overall, Mark.

    I’m starting to REALLY wonder about the NWS and I’m beginning to doubt them overall when something like this happens. Going out and saying 4 – 6 inches and only pulling it to 3 – 5 inches is just bad, very bad.

    • Mike P says:

      Since when has a government entity been accurate and efficient? They take our money when they need it. A business has to work hard at being accurate and efficient if they want to make money. When I want accuracy or efficiency, I go with the non government option if at all possible.

    • EY (Oak Grove) says:

      The thing is that I don’t remember them struggling with events so much back in the day. Then again, maybe I’m getting old enough now that everything “back in the day” was better even though, statistically speaking (especially when it comes to using science and technology) it isn’t.

      I didn’t intend (and don’t intend) to do a “government vs. private” post because I absolutely can’t stand how polarizing that discussion is and it’s essentially poison for any topic. I am legitimately wondering if they HAVE been getting these events wrong more often recently or not and, if so, why?

      I know these are insanely difficult to predict (I call Portland a “boss level” for weather prediction) because each mile counts, every degree counts, ever percent of humidity counts when it comes to snow. But the folks at the NWS should be better at accounting for it.

      The only idea I really have is that a number of the people that work there may not have lived in the Portland metro area (maybe not even the PNW) for a very long time. It seems like that the people who have lived her for most of their lives have at least as good a shot (and in a number of cases, a better shot [looking at you Mark]) than they do. Heck, I’m not even a meteorologist and I had a better prediction than them (1 – 2 inches possible over the metro area, ice/sleet likely afternoon… And this was yesterday afternoon at work when I made that prediction.)

    • Hal In Aims says:

      Heard today that the Chinese hacked into (among others) the noaa computers….

    • David B. says:

      Private entities are not inevitably better than government ones. Exhibit a would be (in)AccuWeather vs. the NWS.

    • David B. says:

      @EY – I remember them struggling. The NWS often slipped up big on snow/ice events in the 1990s in Seattle. For a while it seemed like most of the major events that actually happened had not been forecast at all. Like the one in 1990 that dumped 14 inches in an afternoon at my house in Shoreline, with nothing more than wet snow mixing in with the rain in the official forecast that morning.

      In general, NWS’s accuracy has improved over the years. Their modeling is much more fine-scale. In the 1980s, forecasts didn’t even take things like the Puget Sound Convergence Zone into account (too fine a scale for the models of the day).

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      I’ll bite on this one. The NWS forecasts are much better than they were 10-20 years ago. I think the issue is, for whatever reason, they are forecasting worst-case scenarios with snow/ice MOST of the time nowadays. They are not able to show uncertainty very well. It would have been nice if the forecast could have been for “most likely” instead of “it could be this bad (good)”. Interesting topic for sure!

    • EY (Oak Grove) says:

      Like I said, I know that it’s better than it was. It’s just a matter of well, rose tinted glasses of the past. Something that kinda hits virtually everyone… “Back in my day…” kinda thing. 😛

      Mark’s explanation makes some sense. They are more likely to hit the panic alarm and forecast the worst case scenario recently, which is a terrible idea, in my opinion. They need to mention that it CAN be that bad and actually err on the side of caution, not hitting the panic button because it whips a lot of people into a frenzy (such as schools.)

    • Mike P says:

      Yes, private entities are better than government entities across the board. That simple. What examples are needed? We could start with the post office. Take from the hard workers to pay for the lazies that milk the system. It is proven that over 50 percent of government assistance is taken fraudulently. It is the government and their workers that can’t make decisions quick enough. It isn’t the average government employee that is the problem. It is the red tape that is tangled around the throat of the system that bogs it down and creates inefficiencies that effect everyone. Hard work is punished in this country

  36. Jason Hougak says:

    38.3F at Santiam Pass, 18.7F in Sisters about 1800′ lower in elevation on east slope of the Cascades.
    Blue Box Pass on hwy 26 is 13.7F. That’s 24.6 degrees difference in about 70 miles of Cascade crest distance.

  37. Pat -n- Garden Home says:

    Sleet started here around three in the morning …. Then trans. to freezing rain.. Have about eighth inch + covering everything with two temperature gauges varying between 30 degrees and 32.5. Although surface road moisture is fluid…Drove into Portland around ten AM and the temp. Popped up to 34-35.. was a weird day…. I believe it won’t be long before the water on the roads freezes .. Be safe everyone… P

  38. MountainMan says:

    Hey, did anyone ever post the meeting at OMSI from a few weeks ago. I’d like to watch it. Last year Mark had a link…

    • MountainMan says:

      4 solid inches here in the gorge at 1200 ft north of Hwy 14 approx. MP 28. A few drifts about a foot deep. Still all snow and 23 degrees.

  39. Boydo3 N. Albany says:

    Interesting around here today. 1.62″ of rain so far according to the Corvallis field station near my house and it’s still raining hard. My rain gauge has slowly let some rain through but is still caked in ice. My anemometer and wind vane are stuck. I live across the river from Albany at around 450′ elev. and have not gotten above freezing all day, but just a short ways down the road it’s just plain wet! Lots of big branches busted off in my neighborhood and icicles on everything. Micro-climate?

  40. pmbalmforth says:

    Again…another educational and exciting weather event to put in the file folder for later referencing! Oh to be a fly on the wall over at the NWS offices right now…

  41. marcus5day says:

    I must say what a good job Mark has done on the forecast.

  42. gidrons says:

    Are your ears burning Mark? Over on the weatherforums, the old western, you’re getting high marks for your forecast. Even Jesse is chiming in!

  43. sds says:

    Hey Mark

    How is it that my area 6 mi. up the Lewis R. out of
    Woodland at 250′ has all snow–no sleet or frz rain and I’m in the same air shed as PDX–just 20 mi. N??

  44. Marc (East Vancouver) says:

    Snow covered roads and very slick! Coming down. Messy commute home on this side of town especially on the side streets.

  45. David B. says:

    Must have been something of a white-knuckle experience, sticking to your “it’s not going to be a major event” line when everyone else was saying it would be.

%d bloggers like this: