Whew! Major Flooding Avoided & Lower Snow Level

Some good news all around this Sunday morning:

1. It appears no river in our FOX12 viewing area has or will have major flooding

2. Coastal rivers have already crested and are dropping since the rain has tapered off our there

3. Snow levels have already dropped back to around 5,000′ this morning, saving some of the snow in the higher parts of Timberline & Meadows!

By the way, Portland tied a record high temperature before midnight of 59 degrees…that was weird to step outside late in the evening as the rain stopped and feel totally comfortable on December 20th!

As expected, the main rain band shifted south late yesterday evening and we haven’t seen rain at PDX since midnight.  Our RPM model did really well showing less than 2″ in most north Willamette Valley locations.  You can find the latest totals from the NWS here.  It’s still raining in the mountains and those totals have been amazing too.  Lots of 5-8″ totals in both the Coast and Cascade ranges.  Close enough since our models were showing widespread 5″+ and some spots to 10″.  That’s as of Friday evening.

River model forecasts and actual observations are lower now, so no rivers are forecast to go into the MODERATE or MAJOR FLOODING category.  In fact the Coast Range rivers have mainly crested and are falling.  That’s typical for them…they drain quickly.  Note the Wilson River:


The flood warning has been dropped for the Santiam and North Santiam Rivers, and the forecast crest for both the Sandy and Clackamas has been lowered quite a bit.  Here’s the Sandy as of 8:30am.  It’ll be interesting to see if at that location (near Dodge Park), the river is actually cresting right now much lower than forecast.  It looks like that could be the case:


and the Clackamas at Estacada, hitting flood stage right now.  Note the forecast crest is about 4 feet LOWER than what appeared to be possible when I left work Friday evening…good news:


and Clackamas at Oregon City:


It’s farther down the river of course so the crest will be later.  Still, just a bit above flood stage which hopefully means minor road and field flooding only.  Again, it appears we may be avoiding a big flooding event on the Clackamas.

Let’s talk snow…it’s not nearly as bad as it could have been because as the band of rain has shifted south, snow levels have fallen to around 5,000′ or so.  Looks like a mix or all snow at both Timberline and the lodge at Meadows right now.   Both locations appear to have around 16-18″ on the ground…not bad considering at one point it looked like we’d see two days of heavy rain and hardly any left!  Those ski areas may be able to get a lift or two running for Christmas Break yet!

Snow level will sit around that elevation today, then it should be mainly dry Monday and Tuesday.  Wednesday is a rain to snow day as a strong cold front crosses.  That means maybe 6″ or so new by Christmas Eve.  Dry after that for a few days.  Beyond that, the pattern is still pretty bad with ridging and mild temps wanting to hang around in the mountains.  But maybe we’ll gradually build some sort of base for the higher ski areas.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

65 Responses to Whew! Major Flooding Avoided & Lower Snow Level

  1. schmit44 says:

    00z GFS operational run is somewhat interesting to start 2015.

  2. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    I was hoping the temp would at least drop into the 30s…made it down to 40 not long ago, but it has since popped back up to 40.5.

  3. Dringus says:

    00z GFS looks good hopefully Euro follows.

  4. JohnD says:

    Yeah I have to say you stuck it for sure. Great job–in concert with the wonders of the world. I like the clouds and tree in the fore ground contrast too. I once got a similar pix when we were in E. County, along with the shadow plume on Mt. Hood–and it is on our wall now. But yours is even more dramatic. Very artful indeed!

  5. W7ENK says:

    A star, a star! Shining in the East!!

    • Your a trader! You’re watching KATU!

    • That ain’t a star, that’s the gas from the sewer treatment plant.

    • Or a dump truck is driving through a hydro glycerin plant.

    • W7ENK says:

      Actually, that’s my Mother’s TV. We’re all here tonight decorating this Douglas Fir monster we just dragged into her living room. If it were my TV, it wouldn’t even be turned on. I don’t think I’ve had it on “TV input” since the summer? Honestly, it’s been so long, I can’t remember…

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Tv’s good for the soul Erik, didn’t you know that? Its great for Marks salary, without it, he wouldn’t make as much lol.

    • runrain says:

      Haven’t had a TV in my house for a year and a half now. Don’t miss it at all. Sorry, Mark! I still check out the FOX12 online offerings and all its wonderful ad content!

      Trip to the desert looks dry next week but definitely trending cooler. Mid 60’s might be the best I’ll get.

  6. JohnD says:

    The afternoon Seattle AFD is compelling. Hopefully their trends work their way here!

  7. JohnD says:

    Today seemed like one of those early winter days that could make you feel like we could skate through the season with not much happening. Hope I’m wrong. I ALWAYS pull for low elevation Pacific NW winter weather. Seems like an anomalous year so far coast to coast.

  8. WEATHERDAN says:

    Looking quite a bit colder over the next couple of weeks. Starting about Christmas day and continuing on from there. A major pattern shift is in the offing from the one that has so far this month brought us the warmest December in Salem’s history since records have been kept (1892). Now this doesn’t look like a straight on Arctic plunge, rather a change in upper winds directions. With winds coming out of the North to Northwest I would expect to see highs from 41-46 on the 25th to the 28th and from the 29th to at least January 5th about 36-42 with lows in the 20,s. Not cold enough for valley floor snow but maybe down to 1,000 to 1,500 feet if we get any moisture. In other words more of what a normal Winter should be around here in early January. I am hoping to see some snow this Winter but I’m not sure if this is the pattern to see it. So far this month Salem is averaging nearly 53 for daytime highs compared with a normal high closer to 45. That’s a whopping 8 degrees warmer than average. As Joe Biden would say that’s a honking big deal. In the meantime I wish everybody a Happy Hanukkah and a
    Merry Christmas. Peace.

  9. High Desert Mat says:

    After looking at euro and 18z gfs, I really like the overall pattern and trend with the high out in the eastern pacific pretty much staying put with a little retrograding here and there.

  10. Mountain man says:

    Rob is over on their Facebook pdx weather analysis page. I lurk and am a member just to see his and a few others take on winter weather (wind, cold, snow, flooding). It is awesome to have him and the others input. Saves me a ton of time, and he is very good. Why post here when he gets trolls whipping him poop too much? He needs to be respected and backed up, and the lurkers tossed.

    Thanks Rob, Chris, Steve, Paul, Derek, and the others I am forgetting to mention. Great job.

  11. I think rob dissapeard.

    • W7ENK says:

      He typically goes silent when there’s nothing of interest to discuss. No one here really wants to read his analysis if it repeatedly calls for clouds and 45 degree rain showers, clouds and 45 degree rain showers, clouds and 47 degree rain showers, clouds and 44 degree rain showers, clouds and 46 degree rain showers, clouds and 49 degree rain showers, no wind, no snow, no ice, no thunderstorms, no nuthin’… and quite frankly, I don’t blame him. Where’s the excitement in that?

      Welcome to the doldrums.

  12. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    After a weekend full of rain and gloom…this is a nice surprise to wake up to the first morning of winter.

  13. W7ENK says:

    Surprisingly sunny this morning. 🙂 I’m hoping it stays that way, but the atmosphere has that about-to-sock-in-with-fog look to it, at least in downtown. After this weekend, I need a reprieve from bleak flat gray.

  14. schmit44 says:

    12/21/2014 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:65 at PROVOLT SEED ORC(1180 ft) & Medford, Rogue V(1329 ft)
    Low: 57 at Roseburg Regiona(525 ft) & EW4053 Myrtle Po(417 ft) & BROOKINGS(79 ft) & Port Orford(0 ft)

    High:31 at Mount Hood Meado(6601 ft)
    Low: 23 at HOWARD Mt Howard (8150 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 20 degrees
    Arlington (59/39 ) (449 ft )
    KLAMATH RIVER BE (49/29) (3288 ft)

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    6.30″ at SEVENMILE MARSH(6200ft)
    5.70″ at COLD SPRINGS CAM(6100ft)
    5.30″ at SALT CREEK FALLS(4000ft)
    5.20″ at HOLLAND MEADOWS(4900ft)
    5.10″ at MCKENZIE(4800ft)
    4.90″ at CASCADE SUMMIT(4880ft)
    4.69″ at SELDOM CREEK(4875ft)
    4.50″ at FOURMILE LAKE(6000ft)

  15. I’m kinda dreamin but I believe we will get an artic blast late December early January. I think that we’ll see a transition event somewhere in there that’ll make stuff interesting.

  16. Jason Hougak says:

    GFS is still favoring colder weather, not extreme arctic like yesterday’s craZy run with a -2F and highs in the teens. That run was dry throughout the cold weather anyhow. Great snow making weather though. Still looking like it’s going to get more winter like.

    • Sapo says:

      Not necessarily very cold weather but definitely cooler weather. In fact, the 6z GFS shows almost the exact same setup (cool air from the NW, precip, snow level dropping, lots of mountain snow, no valley snow) happening two more times after Christmas. That would add a decent amount of snow to the mountains. In the 15-day range, there really isn’t anything that looks favorable for snow in Portland.

  17. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    6 years ago today…

  18. Y’all have any thoughts of snow beyond x-mas?

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Ya, either it will or it won’t. I’ll say it does at some point around mid January. That’s my guess.

  19. David B. says:

    Pineapples were harmed in the making of this video:

    (Via Cliff Mass’s blog.)

  20. EY (Oak Grove) says:

    Winds peaked insanely high at Timberline Lodge last night around 11pm…

    20 Dec 11:00 pm PST 36 36 100 16 SSE 94G121 OK

  21. Jason Hougak says:

    Well Mark I’m glad we dodged the weekend washout of the cascade snow. It’d been sick if only a patch or two of snow remained Monday like your past post.
    The great news was that the snow level started low enough and the over running moisture produced more snow on Saturday than anybody thought. Snowlevel peaked quickly and fell back down rather quickly to ski areas.
    My daughter keeps bugging me about skiing. On clear days when the mtn is visible she says that the mountain is white with snow. Her 6 year old mind doesn’t grasp that there has to be enough to ski on. Looking forward to going now with her. Keep the snow coming, especially in the 3K level. Most of the Cascades need a decent snowpack down to this level to keep rivers and reservoirs full in the spring. Also our wells are filled by melted mountain snowpack which refills our highly depleting groundwater aquifers. This year was a record for new deeper wells and if the dry weather continues you can be sure next year will only get worse.

  22. Jake@BlueLake says:

    The old “dodged that bullet” routine. LOL

  23. Boring says:

    Im going to the Mountain View golf course, think i’ll need my hunting boots?

  24. lilfoot123 says:

    Third! Yes less liquid more solid! I hear rumors of frozen precipitation by Christmas! YES! How does one upload vid on here! I have one of the two inches of rain flowing behind the house off our hill! Which is flooding the two roads off our main road!

  25. Jason Hougak says:

    Yes good news, the ski area snow pack survived! Although it’s saturated with colder temps and more snow it should compact into a solid base at least.

  26. Sapo says:

    First! Also, although the GFS is pretty bad and the ECMWF doesn’t show anything as far as Portland snow chances, don’t forget that the GEM has December Snowstorm 2014 for Portland, about 6-8″ of snow, maybe more…But, the GEM is usually terrible long-range anyways. Currently the model I want to verify though lol.

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