Thanksgiving Travel Update

10pm Tuesday…

A wet weather pattern has returned to the Pacific Northwest.  We’ve made a few (minor) changes to the forecast this evening.  Primarily to lower snow totals for the next 5 days


  • Showery conditions tomorrow (Wednesday), but not stormy.  The usual stuff
  • Thanksgiving Day will be VERY wet west of the Cascades.  Expect slow highways and freeways
  • Snow falls in the Cascades the next 5 days.  Heaviest snow will be on Thanksgiving Day.  But the snow level may briefly lift above the passes on that day
  • Friday now looks drier (or even mostly dry!) as a weather system stalls offshore before moving inland Saturday
  • I’ve lowered the total snow expected the next 7 days due to the drier Friday and more snow staying above the passes.



Don’t even worry about anything west or north of the metro area.  Forget about the Gorge too


A surface low pressure system will pass by Thanksgiving evening just offshore.  The pressure pattern isn’t right for a big wind event in the valleys, but gusts 25-35 mph are likely.

As of now, Mt. Hood Meadows, Timberline, & Mt. Bachelor plan to open at least a few lifts Friday.  With more splitting and energy headed south showing up on models , it might be tough to get too much terrain open if we don’t get at least 18 inches up there.

I’ll be driving about 9 hours on Wednesday…at least it’ll be a nice day to see all the wonders of Eastern Oregon and NE California on the way to Reno.

No posts until Sunday when I’ll be back at work.  Drive carefully everyone.


Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

59 Responses to Thanksgiving Travel Update

  1. Windsday says:

    Quit being over excited. There’s really nothing for Mark to post other then a fancy way of saying “Hmmmmm” or “I’ve no idea.”

    Personally I’d rather the “Hmmmmmmm”.

  2. Roland Derksen says:

    1.25 inches of cold rain yesterday and more showers today. Oh well, at least the snow is adding up in the mountains. I still haven’t seen my first freezing temperature of the season, but this morning we were close:34.8F. All that’s needed is a clear night (or at least partly clear) and the frost will appear.

  3. Jason Hougak says:

    ⚠️ Check out the latest 12Z ECMWF!!!

  4. Jason Hougak says:

    Oregon Cascades first Winter Storm Warning, 1-2 feet of snow. This will definitely boost the base as it has been slowly adding up by the inches and not feet yet. Timberline has received just 10″ in 72 hrs.

  5. High Desert Mat says:

    Mark, u should chime in on the forums. They are getting really worked up over the model progressions. Analogs between Jan 1950 and Dec 2008? Come on lol. Euro does have bitterly cold air up in BC at days 8-10 though. Or how about your thoughts at this hinting that’s been going on now for a week??

  6. Wendy-Silverlake, WA says:

    It appears we’re at that time of year again where it always shows snow…..10 days out. And what do you know, exactly 10 days out it shows snow. Go figure. And in a few more days, it will still be 10 days out, then 10 days out, then 10 days out, and then …. summer is back.

    • Well, sometimes it does come to pass. But — it’s never worth getting excited if one run of one model shows an arctic blast 10 days out. It’s only worth it when the forecast persists from run to run, other models come on board, and the timing doesn’t keep receding into the future.

    • Paul D says:

      The only thing that happens when it shows 10 days out is heat waves.

    • Wendy-Silverlake, WA says:

      That was kind of my point reading through the comments below. Every year it’s the same thing. Everyone gets all excited when it shows snow, and only 10 days away, then get all bummed out when it doesn’t happen. Just enjoy the weather day by day and if it decides to do something, well enjoy it even more.

  7. Boydo3 N. Albany says:

    Some interesting thoughts on the evolution of the AO
    “North America has been near record warm for most of November but that pattern is predicted to change. With the most recent PV weakening/sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) geopotential heights are predicted to build across Alaska and Northern Canada in the stratosphere. This should favor similar positive pressure/geopotential height anomalies across much of the North American Arctic and negative pressure/geopotential height anomalies across the United States. This pattern is potentially a prolific snowfall producer across Southern Canada and the Northern US but may also promote the pooling of Arctic air in Western Canada.”
    See the whole article here,

    • Scooter says:

      The short of it is that with a negative arctic oscillation and a sudden reversal of the polar vortex combined with geomagnetic reversal and periods of chrons we will be on the verge or geopolitical chaos with a bond market reversal causing a extended slump in equites.

    • GTS1K' says:

      …sound and fury – signifying nothing…

      …mock that which you do not understand…

      …the mark of a pitiful, old, lowercase,/i> troll.

    • Windsday says:

      So is it a good time to sell or buy?

  8. cliff wathins says:

    3.91 in rain yesterday near Garibaldy Or

  9. sds says:


    We blew our snow fall forecast. I was at TL all day on Thanksgiving–they got 3 inches along with Meadows, Baker got 30, Whistler got 28, Paradise got 25, Bachelor got 2.

  10. Windsday says:

    1.07 of rain here in Aumsville and still coming down pretty steady with a few gusts of wind making the rain slap the side of the house silly.

  11. Well, that is a nice way to end Thanksgiving. The 00Z went full artic blast in lala land.

  12. JohnD says:

    Sometimes fun to peruse NOAA sites from the likes of Fairbanks, etc. speculating trends downstream. What a weather world up in those parts! We’ll see if this is one of those anomalous years that a bit of that filters down here!

  13. 1.22″ of rain in the past 23 hours here. Now starting to get blustery out there.

  14. Jason Hougak says:

    Eric checkout the 12Z ECMWF. It’s looking good by Thursday December 1st with cold northly flow.
    Just getting ready to head to Ocean Park, Washington. Should be exciting crossing the Astoria bridge tonight in the storm!

  15. Jason Hougak says:

    🤔 18Z may be on to something with a cold air invasion in December.
    Snow in Tokyo, Japan which hasn’t had snow in November in 54 years.
    Only time will tell.

    • W7ENK says:

      I’ll say it again…

      18z GFS is literally the WORST run out of ALL the runs, of ALL the models.

      Please let me know when the EURO shows this less than 9 days out, or when the NAM has it inside 72 hours. Then I’ll start listening.

    • Scooter says:

      That’s one thing we can agree on, not all this peculiar wish-casting from these young fellows.

    • When I see temps far below zero up north in AK, YUKON, NWT, and BC, then I might be a little more excited down the road. Until then, cold rain here in the Valleys.

  16. Roland Derksen says:

    Okay, I’ll give the possibility of a cold snap a chance- say, around December7th. That ‘s far away enough for me. In the meantime, we have quite strong winds here (up to 45mph) and I even experienced a power outage early today.

    • Thankfully those winds didn’t make it down here. It’s been a bit on the blustery side but nothing unusual today. No power outages. 0.75″ of rain since yesterday evening.

  17. Lowland snow event is underway… in eastern Honshu Island. Tokyo is seeing its first November snow on over 50 years.

  18. Boydo3 N. Albany says:

    Lightning graphic is interesting this morning.

  19. W7ENK says:

    0.60″ yesterday
    0.63″ today

    That puts me over 5 inches for the month.

    I expect to double that amount tomorrow.




    Seems doable…

  20. Ryan (Walnut Grove) says:

    18Z GFS just kicked out a beautiful 3-4 day quick hit of modified arctic air for Portland. It’s the 18Z and it’s all the way out aroud 12/6-12/8 so the odds of it actually materializing are low.

    At least the GFS long-term has been fairly persistent on wanting to dump a cold air mass over us.

    • Jason Hougak says:

      Running the 18Z on a loop is pretty impressive.
      It has been pretty consistent with colder air, the18Z is an arctic invasion. We all know how fast things can change but at some point the GFS could nail it.

      Happy Thanksgiving and thank God for giving mountain snow!

    • W7ENK says:


      You realize the 18z is basically the mentally deficient, illegitimate step cousin that obtains its information by eating the boogers it picks directly out of the 06z’s nose, right?

      18z is an entirely low resolution run, that is wholly dependent on the output of the 06z run, which is likewise an entirely low resolution run…

      So take that for what it’s worth! lolololol

      You might have better luck with that $420M Powerball.

  21. GTS1K' says:

    Happy T-Day Mark and family – drive carefully

  22. Ann Merklin says:

    Valley snow this Winter?????

    • marinersfan85 says:

      Nope! It’s been determined by the experts that there will be zero valley snow this year. They predict at least 8 years down the road, there is a chance.

    • Paul D says:

      Global warming has eliminated any chance for Portland snow, period.

    • JohnD says:

      Ann: If you are new to Mark s blog, you will soon see that input varies widely–in all manners of speaking!

    • Brian Schmit says:

      Next Portland snowfall over 1″ will be January 2018

    • JJ78259 says:

      It’s not global warming it the expansion of the Milwaukie Dome effect across the world! It’s amazing I wonder if the same thing will happen to the no snow guys that happened to the Hillary has a lock on it guys! Could be 3 Trumpian feet of snow in Portland!

  23. W7ENK says:

    Thanks for the update, Mark. I hope you and your family enjoy the Thanksgiving Holiday. Safe travels!

  24. Roland Derksen says:

    1.26 inches of rain here yesterday and overnight from the last system. The temperature was about 49F at 5:30 am yesterday and dropped to 44F in the afternoon, where it stayed or hung around the rest of the day, so I’m happy the snow levels are getting back down. But an arctic blast coming soon? I don’t think so.

    • Mark says:

      The long range GFS shows signs of a pattern change around the 7th of December. Models drums start to diverge at that point, so here is to at least seeing a possibilities for a cold – or warm – snap in the NOT too distant future…

    • Nathan Place says:

      Lets hope for the warm part of the snap. Its 42 and cold.

    • Boydo3 N. Albany says:

      Models are hinting at a high pressure system to move in after a week or so. Should keep some low level cold air flowing in for a while. But if it sticks around very long we will no doubt start talking FOG in the valley.

    • JJ78259 says:

      42 degrees makes for tough gutter cleaning and yard raking conditions I remember those days the wood stove felt pretty good when I came in. 😎

  25. JJ78259 says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Mark have a safe Trip! Getting the Christmas stuff out to decorate the house outside. Should be around 75 and sunny today and tomorrow. Beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

  26. Paul D says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!!! Looks like a great day to stay inside and stuff your face 🙂

  27. Scooter says:

    So sorry Jason doesn’t look like your wishes are going to be fulfilled, just another lump of coal on the ski slopes for you. And highly unlikely that we have an Arctic blast coming here soon.

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Good one Teddy. Get out much?

    • Scooter says:

      More than you’ll ever know little one

    • GTS1K' says:

      scooter = This Old Troll,/i> – on OPB, Sundays at 8…

      …odd that those whose comments profit no one seem to subscribe to the “I’ll make it up in volume” school of thought…

      …unless one finds value in uninspired snark.

  28. Karen Grimmett says:

    Have a safe trip and thank you for being our BEST
    and most favorite meteorologist ! Have a safe trip
    and happy Thanksgiving. 🦃🦃🦃🦃

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