Ice, Then Strong Wind Thursday PM

11pm Wednesday…

Another wet system is moving into the region tonight.  The cold airmass is still in place through the Gorge and north-central Oregon below about 3,000′ but that cold air is just about “played out”.  By that I mean the airmass has moderated by 3-4 degrees over the past 24 hours.  So the metro area is remaining ice free and the western Gorge is likely only getting light additional accumulations.   Farther east at the higher elevations of the central/eastern Gorge there should be another glazing of freezing rain during the night.

East winds have ramped up to their highest of the season so far in full ice storm mode.  I can guarantee you it’s gusting to 100+ mph on the Vista House steps with an 11 millibar easterly gradient and warm air less than 1,000′ above that location.  The Troudale profiler shows the cold airmass still about 1,500′ thick, just like last night.

You can see temps around freezing through much of the Gorge so the NWS has re-issued the Ice Storm Warning for additional freezing rain tonight.


The wind will back off dramatically late tonight and then…yes…it will actually turn southerly and westerly (through the Gorge) late tomorrow.  Temps at Vista House should jump from 32 to 52 in a short period at some point in the afternoon.  At that point the ice will finally melt quickly.

Now, let’s talk about the warm and mild pattern ahead.  For the next 7-9 days we’ll be in a classic, mild December stormy pattern.  Numerous cold/warm front combinations will pass through our area along with a few strong surface lows.

The first cold front passes overhead tomorrow afternoon, with some sort of surface low zooming up the coastline.  Most models have been giving us just average gusty southerly wind in the afternoon (gusts 25-35 mph) as the low moves north.  Thus 50-60 degree afternoon temps!  But the 00z WRF-GFS has come in much deeper with the low.  This is what it looks like at 3pm:


Our RPM is not nearly as strong, neither is the 00z ECMWF or GFS, but it’s still pretty windy showing about 14 millibars southerly gradient from Eugene to Olympia:


Regardless, we’re going to get a strong push of southerly wind up the coastline and valley tomorrow afternoon.  Right now I’m expecting gusts 30-40 mph in the valley, but that could change if 12z model runs get any stronger.

Beyond tomorrow, several very wet systems arrive:  later Saturday, Monday, and again Tuesday/Wednesday.  We’ll see snow level rise, then fall with each one.  But in general this is a mild pattern.  Check out the snow outlook for the Cascades:


I’m watching several possibly strong surface low pressure centers next Tuesday/Wednesday too.   Various models have shown solutions that could give us high wind in the valleys

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


32 Responses to Ice, Then Strong Wind Thursday PM

  1. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Don’t know if this water vapor shot will work.

  2. MasterNate says:

    Looking forward to some weather action the next 7 days. I like seeing that the models have been showing cooler weather after the 10th for some excellent cascade snow building!

  3. paulbeugene says:

    12z 4km GFS mm5 shows 45kn gusts in Willamette Valley after 1pm. 55kn in Puget Sound. Probably worth keeping the advisories and warnings as is. WV satellite looper looks good. What happens in Eugene will be excellent indicator for what will happen farther north. Gusts in PDX probably 5-10 mph greater than EUG

    • Latest UW 4km resolution model has gusts to 60mph for Seattle around 4pm local time today. Interestingly, only a little over half that on Bainbridge, which normally gets hit worse by high winds. Maybe I’ll avoid an outage at home this time.

  4. Feels very mild this morning. Looks like I have another windstorm coming my way, High Wind Warning is in effect for this afternoon and evening up this way. If it materializes I think that would make it the fifth windstorm of the season so far. (Who says El Niño winters are always boring?)

  5. Doug says:

    Checking the Oregonian weather page this morning (Thursday), I looked at the rain totals for the prior 24 hours. Lake Oswego, where I live, had 0.83″, Beaverton 0.77″——and so on. The total given for this period in Portland is 0.06″. How can this be? It appears that Zaffino provides the data for this page, so that probably explains it.

  6. paulbeugene says:

    Mm5 NAM 12z showing mid 980s low tracking up to Oly Peninsula, gusts in Willamette Valley to 40mph.

    Latest HRRR 3km showing similar solution.

    NWS should downgrade to wind advisory for metro Seattle. Not sure we even need wind advisory for Willamette Valley

    • runrain says:

      That seems reasonable.

      Long ways out, but Tue/Wed seems to have attracted Mark’s interest. Any thoughts about the strong wind possibilities during that time period?

  7. Jason Hougak says:

    48F Mild and moist, feels tropical.

  8. Jason Hougak says:

    I’m ready for sum weather action!

  9. I don’t need the warm winds here; 51F this morning with the rain. So far December is taking away the snow we accumulated in November.

  10. Longview 400 ft says:

    NWS – Winds 30-40mph/ Gusts 50-60mph. Yikes!

  11. schmit44 says:

    12/2/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:64 at Gold Beach (US 1( 60 ft) & CW5302 Roseburg(410 ft) & NK7G Roseburg(472 ft)
    Low: 54 at Gold Beach (US 1(60 ft) & Bullards Bridge(23 ft) & Gold Beach(16 ft)

    High:21 at BARNHT(894 ft) & NYSSA(2172 ft)
    Low: 10 at KB7DZR Joseph (3984 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 25 degrees
    PRINEVILLE 4NW (52/27 ) (2839 ft )
    N6DQX Redmond (50/25) (3025 ft)

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    1.95″ at QUAIL PRAIRIE LO(3183ft)
    1.58″ at RED MOUND(1753ft)
    1.46″ at ILLINOIS VALLEY(1389ft)
    1.32″ at EW4856 Brookings(1365ft)
    1.28″ at DW3557 Portland(750ft)
    1.24″ at USCRN SITE NEAR(39ft)
    1.19″ at K7ZQU-7 Santiam(4790ft)
    1.11″ at FLYNN PRAIRIE(1543ft)
    1.08″ at EW7191 Selma(1394ft)

  12. LK says:

    I haven’t heard any of the TV weather folks mention El Niño in a while. The current patterns seem very opposite to what was being predicted.

  13. Can’t get the anemometer up until Saturday. Just wait a few more days!!

    • Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

      I received my first weather station for Christmas in 1995. I missed the December 12th windstorm :/

  14. I’m ready for some warm south winds

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