We’re In The Coldest Weeks of Winter

We’ve bottomed out…it’s the coldest day of winter!

Well, one of the coldest. Here in Portland we “bottom out” with an average high/low of 45-35 from December 13th-January 5th. Winter is centered around January 1st in our climate west of the Cascades. Remember these are averages…any year the coldest weather of the winter could occur as late as February in our area. Or it can happen in late November (this year maybe?)…each year is different.

So when someone tries to tell you winter doesn’t start until next week?  Tell them they don’t know what they are talking about weather-wise.  Weather/climate doesn’t follow a calendar!


Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


27 Responses to We’re In The Coldest Weeks of Winter

  1. Destiny says:

    Any chances of snow near Salem??

  2. Jason Hougak says:

    For those who bought ski bowl passes I’d go on Wednesday their opening day. Thursday may be good early then their base could go away as another AR event sets up again. Timberline should get hammered once again by heavy snow with a switch over to rain before turning back to snow. This is typical in the PNW, helps settle the base and build a stronger snowpack if the rain isn’t too heavy and it freezes up and snows quickly after. Another nail biter for the managers at Ski Bowl wondering how much of their snow will be lost.

    • paulbeugene says:

      Will probably have 12-15 inches of snow fall before about 1-1.5 inches of rain falls on top of that. Net loss of a few inches but greatly increasing snow water equivalent. Not too bad. Need concrete to stick onto the slopes of the upper bowl.

  3. Boydo3 N. Albany says:

    In so much as I hate this dismal, shoulder hulking, bone wreaking cold and rain. I’m forcing myself to recall the heat and choking dust of just a couple months ago to balance it all out…….trying. Keep trying. 😦

  4. Can someone ELI5 why January gets much higher average snowfall than December, even though Dec has lower lows and more precipitation?

  5. I guess in our climate at least, calling the winter solstice “Midwinter Night” isn’t too far-fetched, is it?

  6. W7ENK says:

    We’re also in the darkest days of winter, the time between the earliest sunset (December 8th) and the latest sunrise (January 8th), with the solstice of course at the mid-point (December 22nd)

    This is absolutely the worst, most loathsome time of year for me. Second only to late Spring, those times when winter refuses to let go, but my mind and body want the clouds to break and the warm sunshine to take over again!

    • Garron (1/3 of a mile from Hillsboro airport) says:

      I feel your pain Erik. My 3rd least favorite to those you mentioned above would be “morning cloud season” in June when the morning clouds don’t break out to sunshine until 6 or 7 pm. Absolute waste of the longest days of sunshine. We haven’t had a whole lot of low cloud days the last couple of summers’ due to the warm blob off the coast. I assume that we’ll be making up for that this year, as it looks like the warm blob is slowly disappearing leading to less protection from morning clouds.

  7. Garron (1/3 of a mile from Hillsboro airport) says:

    Hey Mark, just wanted to ask the link to that site? I lost or can’t find, and like to use it for quick ref’s. Thanks.

  8. paulbeugene says:

    I took a look at the latest version of the Euro weeklies. What is interesting is that it does show in the means a persistent 500mb positive anomaly center offshore over the ocean waters but it drifts the positive center farther N toward Alaska and negative 500mb anomaly center centers over the SW USA, with 500mb positive anomaly (weak) over NE USA. It has also in the means a positive surface pressure anomaly over interior British Columbia, negative anomaly over California. Overall 850mb temperatures colder than normal west of the Rocky Mountains for much of the run.

    This suggests a couple things:

    1) It should dry out considerably in the coming few weeks.
    2) We will have enhanced tendency for offshore flow, gorge winds with at least continental air masses stationed over the interior NW USA
    3) Enhanced precipitation over California. The Sierra Nevada and associated water interests should do great in this pattern.
    4) Ultimately, may be at risk of arctic air intrusions as the 500mb positive anomaly drifts toward Alaska. This may be what breaks down the positive Arctic Oscillation that has kept much of the country free of arctic air. Best chance of this would be toward New Years or after.
    5) the skiing will be fantastic for the next 2-3 weeks, whenever the weather allows. Once the good base is established it ain’t going anywhere soon. The skiing in Utah should be incredible as we get into January. They may get pounded with moisture that passes east from California.

    Who knows. Maybe this will be a repeat of 1861-62. Flooding rains in NW shifted S and we were in the deep freeze for months. There was ice at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia at the beginning of March. Of course that was the little ice age, perhaps with a bit of absinthe added.

  9. My Coldest temperature last year was on Nov.30th(16F). This year so far it’s on Nov.29th (22F). I haven’t yet had a freezing daily minimum temperature this month. I hope to see a few before the new year!

  10. Vinnybob says:

    Sunsets get longer starting today but more total daylight minutes start in about a week

  11. Mark bergal says:

    Will be interesting to see if the coldest weather has already taken place, or is still on the horizon. Seems one certainty is more rain.

  12. Adam in SE says:

    The sunset times bottomed out last Thursday and will only get later from here. (But sunrise doesn’t bottom out until January 3rd.)

  13. Joshua Downtown PDX says:

    First. 6 degrees above normal and 7.5″ of rain above normal for December so far. Crazy anomalies.

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