That Was Fun: Metro Area Snow

4pm Sunday…

  • It was a bit late getting going, but things turned out almost exactly as forecast (a nice change).
  • Accumulation on roads was only in higher elevations closer to 1,000’ and above…West Hills, Mt. Scott etc…  I saw a report of 2” around 1,000’ in Forest Heights area (thanks Mikayla)
  • Accumulation is pretty much done since showers will be on the decrease now through the evening
  • Lower elevations (in cities) was a rain/snow mix depending on where you were. West/northwest suburbs (Hillsboro/Scappoose/Banks) did get some light accumulation and the coldest temps.

ROADS IN THE WEST HILLS ARE SNOW-COVERED RIGHT NOW ABOVE 700’ OR SO.   Pic from Andrew Mork in Forest Heights area:



METRO AREA TONIGHT:  Mixed showers mostly end by 10pm.  Temps hold steady above freezing, might even rise a degree or two in the hills where it is right at 32 degrees,  so FREEZING OF ROADS IS UNLIKELY DUE TO CLOUDY SKIES, but I’ll keep an eye on it.  Any clearing would bring icy spots since roads are wet.

Driving to work between 2-2:45pm was real interesting…totally dry until about Fairview, then flakes got bigger and bigger through Gateway area.  As I got closer to downtown some rain mixed in, but mainly snow.  Going through the tunnel on US26 I entered into a nice winter wonderland of frosted Douglas Firs on both sides of the highway on the climb up to 700′ at Sylvan.  At that point you could see some snow on the exit ramp. But MOST INTERESTING was that within 1/2 mile coming down past the cemetery, all snow on trees and most on the ground disappeared!  Even though it was a higher elevation than down around the zoo to the east and below where there was plenty of snow.  Most likely that was caused by easterly wind piling up colder air against the east side of the West Hills, allowing snowflakes to make it farther down in the atmosphere without melting east of Sylvan.  That’s my guess.  It would only be noticeable in these real marginal rain/snow conditions.  After that it was just a rain/snow mix the rest of the way to the Cornell Exit where FOX12 is located.  Good geeky stuff

More later…

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


71 Responses to That Was Fun: Metro Area Snow

  1. Very good post. I certainly love this website. Stick with it!

  2. Washougal 1100ft says:

    Doesn’t look like will see any moisture tomorrow. Dang better luck next time. Time will tell if winter is over or just getting started??

  3. WEATHERDAN says:

    Here is my prediction for Tuesday-Monday. Tuesday, Rain or a mix 36/41. Tuesday night a mix or wet snow, 31. Wednesday brief AM drizzle or a flurry with partial PM clearing 39. Thursday, fog with some PM clearing 27/38. Friday foggy 26/36. Saturday, foggy 27/35. Sunday, foggy 28/34. Monday AM fog PM sun 27/38. Maybe a rain/snow mix around Thursday January 7th. Peace and Happy New Years.

  4. Sapo says:

    Tomorrow night could maybe be interesting…
    Looking like temps will be getting down into the lower or mid-30s in Portland just as the precipitation (possibly) arrives, so similar to what we saw yesterday. Models have shifted the precipitation further south so we’ll have to watch and see if we get any precip, 18z GFS says it’ll be dry but WRF gives us some light precip/showers.
    We’ll have to wait and see!

  5. vinnybob says:

    That was fun? No it wasn’t unless you were at 1000ft or more

    • Sapo says:

      it was quite fun at my 250′ house in tigard

    • W7ENK says:

      Wow, that’s a tall house! What’s the site elevation? 😛

    • Jon SE/PDX says:

      I had snow for hours at like 60ft. And it was fun. As Mark has to constantly point out, in these situations it’s location more so than elevation that dictates who gets snow and who doesn’t and that part is quite unpredictable

    • It was fun down to sea level if you where under the heaviest precip for any period of time. Altitude wasn’t as much of a factor as precip intensity was.

      There was a good amount of snow on the ground in NoPo/Swan Island this morning. Columbia River north? Nothing. Heaviest precip moved through the heart of Portland yesterday and most those areas scored.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Some of that cold air piled up over my 150′ house, leading to a very happy weather geek!

  6. W7ENK says:

    The Dome was in full effect yesterday, right exactly where it always is. Snow falling down to all elevations in and around Portland Metro except right in the heart of Milwaukie / Clackamas / Gladstone / Oregon City. Classic Dome, just like when I was a kid when we would see snow on the TV news falling all over the city while looking out the window at 35 degree rain, and North Clackamas District #12 being pretty much the only school missing from the scroller.

    Elevation was not a factor, it snowed in Downtown Portland and the South Waterfront at basically sea level, but 750′ in Oregon City saw 35 degree rain. Some snowflakes seen at 1,000′ on the top of Mt. Scott, but nothing really stuck, meanwhile the Westside had several inches of sticking snow down to 200′ and below. Sticking snow from Forest Grove through Cornholius and into the West end of Hillsboro, a slushy trace on favored surfaces after Hillsboro and toward Aloha, snowflakes in the air all the way through Beaverton, down 217 to I-5 through Tigard, Lake Oswego, Tualatin… then not one single snowflake seen beyond Stafford Rd. in Lake Oswego all the way up to the top of Oregon City, nor back down to Milwaukie. Heard reports of snowflakes in Sellwood and West Moreland, so the dividing line was really close. All evening in Milwaukie people were reporting snow — plenty was sticking — all the way around me: Grasham, Vancouver, North Portland, Swan Island, SW Portland, SE Portland, Happy Valley, Lake Oswego, etc. I went to bed early with 35 degree rain outside, woke up really early with 35 degree rain outside, left the house with 33 degree rain outside, got to work with 33 degree rain outside, and even right now, with my phone telling me it’s snowing outside, I look out to see 35 degree rain.

    I really hate this &^#@$*%! Dome!!! >_<

    • JJ78259 says:

      It only matters if the snow is outside that front door of your home! Milwaukie snow has always been horrible tragic non occurrence. Going to bed with the thought of snow in the morning after hearing Jack Cappell’s evening forecast and looking into street light every 2 hours that night to only see cold rain was the worst! Then getting up to listen to KEX go through the no school list was the death nail, hearing my mom say they did not call out NC 12 was the worst. The list was a mile long still wondering why, going to widow again just to see cold rain! It was agony. Had to go to school.

    • W7ENK says:

      Yes, exactly!!!

      So many people question the existence of The Dome, but those of us who’ve experienced it first hand, we know all too well that it’s the truth. It’s the craziest, most aggravating thing, and it happened again yesterday. It’ll probably happen again tomorrow, too.

      It would be interesting to figure out the exact science behind why it happens, but I don’t have the time nor the resources to study it in depth. I can only offer my first hand accounts and historical evidence of its existence.

      ● What causes it?
      ● Why is it so predictable??
      ● Why won’t Mark or the NWS take it into account when they forecast these things???
      ● But most importantly, how do we make it go away?!?

      And for anyone who may actually be questioning my sanity at this point (although you probably should?), no, I don’t actually believe there’s a dome. It’s tongue-in-cheek — mostly — but there HAS to be some tangible reason why this always, and I do mean ALWAYS happens during marginal snow events.

    • “[H]ow do we make it go away?!?”

      We don’t. You go away — i.e. move elsewhere. If even to someplace else in the metro area that gets more snow (which means, basically anyplace else). It doesn’t have to be some unaffordable expensive view property up on Skyline or Germantown roads; ODOT cameras even showed much of North Portland was white this morning.

      For whatever reason, the Greater Milwaukie Area Banana Belt really does exist. It’s doubtless a natural geographic reason, and can’t be changed.

    • jimbo says:

      I always question your sanity

    • JackFrost says:

      It’s us that needs to change. The more we fight it the more anger/hurt we do to ourselves like giving ourselves poison to make the dome problem go away.

      The second poster is quite right about moving to a different part of town which will be a far easier move then getting to know a whole new city.

  7. Well, after weeks of storms, heavy rain, and as of late close calls on snow it looks like boring will be how we bring in the new year. Just .2″ of rain over the next 16 per the 06Z GFS and copious amounts of fake cold.

    At least we will get a chance to dry out a bit!

    Maybe we’ll get lucky mid/late January.

    • Frosty/foggy/inversion-y periods are part of a typical winter here. Sometimes (though not typically) they can even come with a little light snow if the inversion stratus layer gets thick enough. Even if it does get really warm in higher elevations, sunshine and highs in the 60s are no where near as bad for our snowpack as mild heavy rain.

      And it least it feels like winter out down here in the lowlands — which is more than you can say for much of the suck-fest that was last season’s so-called “winter”. This winter’s already been so much better that I really can’t complain.

    • That is pretty much what I said… Fake cold and boring.

  8. Washougal 1100ft says:

    Here’s to hope for another exciting week of weather ! Looking not so exciting after tomorrow but things can change fast for good or the worse! Winter wonderland in washougal over 1000ft

  9. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    Interesting note, my temperature has moved less than 10 degrees in the last 5 days. 31.4 to 41.4.

    The diurnal ranges:

    24th: 7.9
    25th: 7
    26th: 7.7
    27th: 5
    28: So far, 1.5

  10. Goes to show location is everything in the lowlands. Up in Vancouver we got snow but nothing stuck around. On my way into Swan Island this morning much of North Portland still had snow on the ground.

  11. Monmouth had rain the entire time. 😦

  12. schmit44 says:

    12/27/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:50 at BANDON( 79 ft) & Bullards Bridge(23 ft) & Port Orford(0 ft) & EW1135 Yachats1(32 ft)
    Low: 45 at Port Orford(0 ft)

    High:13 at WOLF CREEK(5630 ft) & YELLOWPINE(4600 ft) & BALD MTN(5592 ft)
    Low: -7 at BALTZOR RANCH NE (4620 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 26 degrees
    BALTZOR RANCH NE (19/-7 ) (4620 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    1.45″ at CEDAR(2220ft)
    1.30″ at SANTIAM JCT.(3740ft)
    1.20″ at ANNIE SPRINGS(6010ft)
    1.00″ at SADDLE MOUNTAIN(3110ft)
    0.91″ at Timberline Lodge(5880ft)
    0.85″ at SOUTH FORK(2257ft)
    0.83″ at WALDPT Waldport(43ft)
    0.82″ at EW4856 Brookings(1365ft)
    0.81″ at MEARES Cape Mear(1421ft)

  13. “More later”? How about talking about the weather coming up the next few days???

  14. prune Hill outpost says:

    About 2 inches on the ground and the roads here in Skamania County about 10 miles down Washougal River Road! Still snowing and 32 degrees.

  15. WEATHERDAN says:

    A little mix around noon otherwise all rain. Another chance late Tuesday and early Wednesday. Then cold with a lot of morning fog. 25 by night and 35 by day for several days. Basement is dry again. Enjoying the drier weather. Still I really miss July, but it will be here soon enough. So for now I hope for some snow. Peace.

    • JJ78259 says:

      It’s cold here in San Antonio 41°with cold north wind blowing. My seat heaters and steering wheel warmer came on in the Truck! Back to 65° in a couple days 70s next week.

    • Happy New Year,Weather Dan. I know you’re kidding about missing July, right? 🙂

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      Happy New Years Roland. I am by nature a warm weather person Roland. Perfect weather for me is sunny 88/58. But I also enjoy a good snowstorm from time to time. I enjoy what we have now, but yes I do miss July. I am happy that people got the snow they wanted but I feel more alive when the mercury hits 80. In the meantime if it snows Wednesday I will enjoy it. Peace.

  16. Mendyincorbett says:

    Snowing good here in Corbett at least an inch on the ground and still going

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

    The NWS weather discussion indicated we’ll be doing the same dance with snow on Tuesday.

  18. Diana F. says:

    What a glorious Weather Weekend! OK, I guess Christmas wasn’t so bad either….but if I had to choose……

  19. geo says:

    Weird. Got back from Portland Adventist, snowing with a mix of rain but once i passed 182nd and division flakes were big and fat and sticking on roads and grass about a 1/2 inch deep.

  20. Gene says:

    Still snowing fairly hard in east Gresham, sticking on most surfaces, with a bit of an east wind helping keep things cool

  21. Washougal 1100ft says:

    Mark you might have a fun drive home tonight. I live across the river from you on the Washington side and this last band of precipe dumped a couple more inches of snow and still snowing hard maybe 4″ and counting.

  22. Aleta-West Gresham says:

    All snow here, even sticking to the road!!

  23. Another round of big floppy snow flakes and a little bit of rain. Quick change back to rain when the heaviest moisture passed.

  24. Katrina says:

    I thought we were done, but now up to solid 2.5 ” on deck railing, still coming down snow despite radar showing rain, 800′ near skyline and Cornell.

  25. Dave in south Salem (500') says:

    Snow/rain mix here from 1130am through 230ish. Temp varied from 36-37. At 230 I went up to the top of silver falls hwy to a snow rain mix and 37 at 1700ft and it was all rain until about 1600 ft although snow on the ground suggested it was snowing recently. After that drove to Detroit lake, also about 1700 feet and it was mostly snow past the dam eastward. You could see the snow line ringing the dirt halfway down to the water. Maybe 4 inches on the ground in town.

  26. Washougal 1100ft says:

    Coming down good still expect another 1″ out of this next band coming should be close to 3″ said and done. Not a bad day ! Exciting stuff hope this coming week has more surprise!!

  27. Jonathan SEPDX says:

    Big fat flakes again but feels way too warm

  28. Terry says:

    Out in Deer Island at 750′, been snowing all day and still is. About 4″.

  29. muxpux (Longview) says:

    Daylight, warmest part of the day?=all snow.

    Darkness-temp going down?= rain

    I love the northwest

  30. catschmidt says:

    Just south of the airport, an accumulation about 3/4″. on the ground.

  31. Washougal 1100ft says:

    Still snowing about 1 1/2″ on the ground . 30 out with the wind still blowing.

  32. Katrina says:

    1.5″+ on deck railing, 800′ near skyline and Cornell. Snowed all day, nothing now. ☃❄️

  33. Paul D says:

    Lots of flakes in the air in Hillsboro, but no stickage. All rain now.

  34. Longview 400 ft says:

    Mark, I have question for you. Today, at times, we had huge snowflakes that looked like one part was a parachute with a tiny figure coming out of the middle of it. This happened quite frequently during the heavy snow showers we had today. What causes the snowflakes to form like this? Snowflakes merging and forming as they descend?

  35. Lee Wilson says:

    At home elevation 35 and spitting snow and rain.
    Temps only hit 37 or maybe 38.

    Oh, real question, maybe you can lay a rumor to rest.
    is is it true that rain can pull down even colder air thus causing additional cooling if it rains hard enough then changes over to rain?

    and and out and out of hopes I have my “Let it Snow” inflatable up.

    • muxpux (Longview) says:

      Let me try this. I’m on top of Sandy Bend, and we had a good snow shower. Even say the grass turn light green and elevated surfaces take on a shade of white.

      Heavy precip pulls the cold air down with it. Think summer thunderstorms and the cool down that happens, same concept, different temps.

  36. W7ENK says:

    2-3 inches of snow on the ground at Henry Hagg Lake this afternoon, elevation 275′

    Returned to 37 degree rain with no snow mixed in at Oregon City, elevation 750′

  37. Lee Wilson says:

    This is you Nemisis speaking,
    Mark i would like to direct you to the following video if i may,

    This was at 500 feet here Castle Rock Washington
    It was recorded at 10:45 am.
    On a road Called Dellemeter.

  38. yevpolo1990 says:

    Looks like Hillsboro Airport is at 32

  39. Hal in Aims says:

    nothing but rain and 35 here………

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