More Precipitation = Lower Snow Level

10:15am Tuesday…

It’s rare, but I was actually surprised by a dumping of snow out the window when I woke up this morning.  About 1.5″ new so far.  Now I live at 1,000′ just east of Corbett, but I see snow is falling (not sticking) even into the east metro area near the Gorge.  That’s due to slightly drier/cooler air out there.

Models didn’t show this much moisture making it north, and as of now I don’t see the precip suddenly changing over to snow for most of us.  BUT, the snow level near the Gorge at least is right at 1,000′ at this hour.  Notice it’s been dropping from 1800′ to 1100′ the past few hours on the Troutdale profiler:


I don’t think the snow level will get much lower since we don’t have a cold/dry source of air flowing through the Gorge.  That said, offshore flow increases through the afternoon/evening as the low pressure offshore slides to the south.  I’ll be watching closely!

Showers will taper off this afternoon/evening and then we go dry/cold the rest of the week as mentioned in the previous post.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

52 Responses to More Precipitation = Lower Snow Level

  1. schmit44 says:

    12/29/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:52 at Port Orford (US( 89 ft)
    Low: 41 at OCNSID Oceanside(22 ft)

    High:12 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft)
    Low: -5 at Agency Lake (4150 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 35 degrees
    Agency Lake (30/-5 ) (4150 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.68″ at EW4856 Brookings(1365ft)
    0.65″ at WILKINSON RIDGE(1346ft)
    0.64″ at RYE MOUNTAIN(2000ft)
    0.63″ at RED MOUND(1753ft)

  2. Farmer Ted says:

    Cold is cold no matter what you call it, throw another log on the fire.

  3. paulbeugene says:

    With ongoing steady precipitation snow level dropping already to around 1200′ around Eugene if not lower. May see snow to 800′ before precip done

  4. Adam in SE says:

    Why does it say “m/s” under the color legend on the profiler graphic?

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      meters per second. In meteorology (outside of the public products) that’s a typical measurement of velocity.

    • Adam in SE says:

      Yes, I know that m/s is meters per second. 🙂 What I mean is, the colors look like they’re indicating temperature, not velocity!

  5. buffedman says:

    Classic El Niño pattern.The southern jet appears to be rearing its head.

  6. WEATHERDAN says:

    Sun or rain may I explain.
    Hot or cold if I may be so bold.
    I want the when but this is now,
    I awake each morning and wonder how.
    I rise without recourse and wonder why,
    It is now December and not bloody July.

    May you get that which you seek, Peace.

    • Farmer Ted says:

      It’s been rain, rain and more rain here,
      Enough to make me cry in my beer.
      No snow, oh not even a flake to be seen,
      This kind of weather could make me be mean!
      Twenty one and a half inches of December rain,
      That’s washes Astoria’s record down the drain.

  7. W7ENK says:

    321 PM PST TUE DEC 29 2015

    • Dave in South Salem (500') says:

      Hmm, air stagnation following a month of rain and a valley inversion. That sounds like pea soup weather coming up!

    • Farmer Ted says:

      This time I think the east wind will scour out the valley by blowing over the cascades.

    • W7ENK says:

      The cold pool East of the Cascades isn’t deep enough to spill over the mountains. As Mark said earlier, this will be a gap wind event. Most of the Willamette Valley is going to stay socked in until the pattern changes.

  8. Boring Oregon says:

    How much snow will the ski resorts lose from the inversion?

    • Right now, it doesn’t seem like much. It’s not supposed to be as ridiculously warm aloft as it sometimes is during inversions. Plus sunny dry mild weather tends to be nowhere near as harmful to snowpack as mild rain. Water has a much higher heat capacity than air.

    • Dave in South Salem (500') says:

      Usually don’t see much snow loss from the sun until February.

    • Rubus and Dave are right. I recall the 2010 winter Olympics here in BC. There was a quite a bit of melting happening to the snowpack during the first few weeks of 2010 because of rainy, foggy weather. The during the Olympics there was a week of sunny dry weather. That saved a lot of snow.

    • Farmer Ted says:

      Only rain depletes the snowpack in a major way. It’s way too cold for any substantial melting, only some through sublimation.

  9. High Desert Mat says:

    This cold snap so far sure is underperforming for me. Low of 24 last night and already at 37 today. I know its suppose to hit in a day or two still but today wasn’t even suppose to go above freezing here. Single digits, supposedly, by Thursday morning. We shall see, if only this were July. Peace

  10. Boydo3 N. Albany says:

    It’s gonna get lip rippin’ fake cold in about 5 days as some lows approach the coast from the west. That’s a cold, lip rippin’ wind setup for sure!

  11. Hal in Aims says:

    nothing but 35 and rain here……….had snow off and on across 212 from Clackamas thru Boring until about Troutdale……….

  12. WEATHERDAN says:

    Looking ahead 384 hours it looks dry and cool/cold. Not a good pattern for snow lovers. However for those who want Winter there is always a chance for an insider slider or a transition event. Not seeing one now but who knows. If this pattern were to be in July, well that is a ways away, still. Peace.

    • Still a chance for an Arctic blast as well. Anything past 7 days can’t be trusted and there is at least 6 weeks where we have a good shot at snow. After the next 6 weeks things go down hill quick. Not that I’m overly optimistic but we’ve had some good late January / Early February snow storms.

  13. Washougal 1100ft says:

    Now been snowing for 6hrs with the east wind blowing so slightly. Nice when you live near the gorge and the east winds aren’t blowing so you can actually enjoy the snow!!

  14. W7ENK says:

    More 35 degree rain.


  15. anonymous says:

    layperson here…can someone please explain the “fake cold”? thanks! 🙂

    • Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

      Fake cold results from cold air being trapped at low levels where most of us live. Cold air settles because it is dense. This allows warmer air to sit on top. It’s called an inversion because in this case, the lowest levels of the atmosphere will be cooler than those higher up. The warm air puts a lid on the atmosphere keeping the cold air (and often pollutants) in place.

      For example, last year we had temps in the 30s around Portland and temperatures were in the 60s at Government Camp.

      When we get an arctic air mass in here, that is when we are talking legitimate cold.

      Often fake cold is our coldest time of the year in the marine world.

    • Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

      Using this website:

      Look at the 850 mb (this is the temp around 5,000′) temp (in Celsius)

      Hour 75, the 850 mb temp is 7 degrees (45 F)

      The surface temp is 28 degrees F

    • Tyler nailed it. Also, it’s a term which so far as I know is peculiar to those who comment on this blog. Don’t expect some random person, even a weather geek, to know what it means.

    • W7ENK says:

      It’s specifically a Karl Bonnerism, as is the 17 season calendar and an irrational love for pterodactyl palm trees.

    • Dave in South Salem (500') says:

      This is different than last year though. Freezing level on and east of Mt. hood will be near the surface whereas over the western valley it will be over 9,000 ft.

  16. Wow…this pattern is the closest thing to a “Fake Arctic Blast” that I’ve ever seen.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m a weather blog “stalker” could you please explain the “fake cold” everyone is talking about? 🙂

    • Fake cold typically means an inversion. There is warmer air a loft in the mountains but colder air settles into the Columbia basin and we get offshore flow that draws colder air into the western valleys by way of the gorge.

      The air mass itself isn’t cold but low sun angle/weak sun to warm the valley’s (burn off fog & low clouds) and ample cold air to be drawn off the eastern side of the state keeps the valleys pretty frigid.

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