Storm Almost Done: 1-3″ Widespread in Metro Area

December 14, 2016

7pm Wednesday…

The traffic gridlock this evening in the Portland metro area was the worst we have seen in 7 years and many freeways are still jammed going on 4 hours now.  You may remember the surprise snowstorm of December 29, 2009?  That’s the last time we saw this.  Click on the link for summary of that fiasco.

But this storm was perfectly forecast!  At least up until around 5pm when totals started going above that 2″ forecast I gave.  I think too many people decided to wait to leave work until the snow started falling.  So then we had a very compact commute at the same time roads turned icy…what a mess.

The one miss is the northern extent of the snow band.  Instead of stopping around Pacific City to St. Helens to Woodland, it headed north all the way to Longview, Tillamook, & Cannon Beach.  You folks got an unexpected snowfall.

This is what we’ve seen so far, as the main band has pushed to the east.  Officially the total so far is 1.5″ at the Portland National Weather Service forecast office; I assume that number will go up at little:

Definitely a solid inch or so above my 1/2″ to 2″ forecast.  Remember I said a few folks could see 3″, but in reality we’re going to see a few spots up around 4″ instead.  Close enough…

Radar shows the real solid snow has passed on to the east, but the wraparound moisture from a wave moving by will move over our area the next couple of hours.

Enjoy the snow!


3:40 PM: Conditions Thread

December 14, 2016

Post your current conditions and snowfall totals in the comments. Don’t forget to tell us your location.


2pm: Snowstorm Beginning

December 14, 2016

We’re all seeing the snow now in the metro area with the storm getting started.  Hope most of you are home!

I see a few school districts didn’t release the kids at noon…that could be a problem.

We’ll be live on FOX12 likely the rest of the day.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


9am Wednesday: Snow Arrives This Afternoon

December 14, 2016

Everything is still on track forecast-wise this morning.  Yes, it’s always good to see the forecast train hasn’t flown off those tracks and into a deep meteorological ravine…

Eugene has seen freezing rain since 5am, but the precipitation has not progressed much north of that area.  But we didn’t expect to either.  Radar looping shows very little northward movement of the band so far.

So with respect to start time for snow in the metro area, it still appears significant “travel-impacting” snow (other than a few flurries) will hold off until around 2-3pm.

Temperatures and the airmass pouring into the metro area definitely scream “something frozen is on the way“.  Compared to last Thursday’s east wind event, this airmass is slightly drier and colder down here at the surface.  When precipitation arrives, the temperature will easily fall right back to freezing (after going to 35-37 early afternoon) and then below after dark.

Up above, the morning sounding at Salem is all snow with below freezing temperatures all the way up through the atmosphere.

Morning models are marginally “wetter” with some showing the potential for up to 3″ of snow.  Our RPM has moistened up a bit showing more like 2″ of snow instead of a trace to 1″.  So we MAY get lucky and see a solid 2″ in much of the metro area…maybe.

rpm_rain_nworegon

Again, as mentioned in previous postings, the central Willamette Valley has a snowstorm about to begin.  A solid 3-5″ (maybe more?) is likely Salem/Albany/Stayton areas.  We’ll see how that turns out.

To wrap it up, I’ll bring back yesterday’s highlights:

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Light snow arrives by mid-afternoon (2-3pm) and continues through the evening hours as temperatures drop back to & below freezing
  • 1/2″ to 2″ snowfall is most likely, with that heavier total likely south metro (Wilsonville/Oregon City) and maybe even as low as just a dusting up in outer Clark County & western Washington County.
  • Whatever falls will be pretty much finished by 10pm.
  • Freezing rain is NOT expected, Great news!  Too cold overhead for snowflakes to melt into raindrops

METRO COMMUTE HIGHLIGHTS

  • At some point beyond 3pm roads will likely turn snowy/icy in the metro area
  • Evening commute could be a real mess, especially if we get more than 1″.  All roads will likely be frozen after 5pm.
  • IF YOU WORK A REGULAR SHIFT, I’D SUGGEST A HALF DAY.  NO NEED TO SKIP THE WHOLE DAY.  Leave Noon-2pm.  Plan on being home by 3pm.
  • SCHOOLS:  Half day would be perfect.  Get the kids on the busses around noon or 1pm.  No models show snow before 2pm.  Doing a full day of school would be risky.
  • Thursday AM:  Roads remain frozen with snow on them (assuming it snows tomorrow)

VALLEY

  • Snow will start falling in the next 2-3 hours in the central valley.
  • 2-5″ likely Woodburn to Albany, heaviest south
  • Frozen roads for Thursday morning
  • Kelso/Longview only get a dusting, or just stay dry

COAST

Looks dry, but maybe a rain/snow mix from Newport south, I don’t expect any road impacts.

GORGE

Same as metro, but 2-5″ totals likely.  Strong wind at the west end will create rough driving with sideways snow this evening

CENTRAL OREGON

  • This is the bullseye of the storm
  • DON’T TRAVEL INTO CENTRAL/SOUTHEAST/SOUTHCENTRAL OREGON TODAY!
  • 8-14″ possible Madras to La Pine, 3-6″ elsewhere

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen