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

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!

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

  1. Donna Raagas says:

    I had a miserable time going from Hillsboro to Forest Grove down Baseline from 10th. My drive from Allen and Murray in Beaverton to Quince/Masonic Way in FG took 3 hours 45 minutes from 4:15 to 8:00. I don’t blame it as much on the weather conditions as I do the close-set traffic lights that are synced to the speed limit in Hillsboro. It seemed that since traffic was slowed way down to navigate the icy conditions, no one could move until the lights cycled about 5 times to a point where 3 were green at the same time so people could inch along. I’m suggesting that the glut in Hillsboro could have been alleviated by adjusting the traffic light programming to the traffic’s actual optimum speed for the conditions. Anyone else feel that way?

  2. Anonymous says:

    After a few light flurries earlier today, moderate snow is occurring in Brownsville again. Any bare areas on the roads from tires are now getting white again.

  3. Deby Ellis-Alfsen says:

    I ALWAYS trust Mark Nielsen forecast! We came up from our house in Grant’s Pass, we left EARLY to make it home before the roads got bad…

  4. mackin says:

    In case you missed it: Zaffino took a snowball to the thoat on live TV last night:

  5. Alan S Shole says:

    The incompetence of drivers in the PDX metro area is incomprehensible… It took me over 4 hours from my office in downtown Portland to east county. The majority of the idiots causing problems were driving a Prius.

    • Dave in South Salem (500') says:

      Here’s a funny thing I noticed on my street this morning. A prius slid off a driveway and fell into some bushes. The owner could have parked on the flat street and walked up the 10 feet of driveway into the house and instead caused themselves a big mess.

    • GTS1K' says:

      I’d have guessed that someone who is as smart, self-important and experienced as Mr. Shole would have made better plans based on his foreknowledge of these sorts of incidents in P-town and their likely fallout, traffic-wise. That he would not have better prepared is difficult for me to comprehend – as is his inability to comprehend his sad lack of comprehension.

      Some people would rather b*tch than learn, I guess.

    • Dave in South Salem (500') says:

      I learned enough to get out of Portland years ago when they decided they will never allow more lanes of roads/freeways to be opened lest they encourage the evil of driving. 500,000 people later (and same roads) it’s insane now, the smallest city in the world with that kind of traffic and it is self imposed. I suppose they are saving the planet with all that stop and go.

    • Ash Qelon says:

      So here it is, nearly 4PM, temps 32ish, Mall 205 area above freezing but mushy roads on 4 lane roads and side streets still covered packed mainly.
      With this said I am going to do kptv12 weather, there work for them and forecast freezing temps will turn tonight, turning the roads into a worse condition of mainly ICE frozen snow!
      Anticipate staying home, enjoy hot drinks while watching perry mason reruns.
      What else is there to do ?

    • Alan S Shole says:

      GT1SK…. You can’t comprehend the important business responsibilities I have to my clients and staff… One cannot just pick up and go in my chosen profession… I would suggest that you stay in your mummys basement and enjoy the Hot Pockets she brings down whilst you play “bad hombre” on the http://www...

  6. Jennifer Collins says:

    So it is snowing right now in Gresham at 11 am for about 15 minutes…i thought snow was done?

  7. W7ENK says:

    Another TriMet fiasco again this morning. First bus was 3 hours behind schedule!! I’ll spare you all the rest of the details. Let’s just say that the next time it snows, I’m not even going to try getting to work, I’ll just roll back over and sleep in like I should have done this morning. TriMet simply cannot get their act together!

    Snowing lightly in Milwaukie at 8 this morning. Added another 1/4 inch overnight, bringing my snow total up to 2.75″

    I love this, and I’d enjoy it so much more if others weren’t so incompetent when trying to drive in it!!

  8. Sapo says:

    Well it looks like there is some flurry potential this weekend. Nothing to get too excited about, but models vary on this. GEM is definitely the most bullish with the moisture, giving us an inch or two late Saturday night/Sunday morning. GFS, NAM, and WRF are all somewhat dry (still light flurries possible) so I’d lean towards those.

    As far as Sunday, GFS, GEM, and WRF keep us mainly dry all day, while the NAM brings in some moisture Sunday morning that could start out as snow or freezing rain. GEM does give us some zr Monday morning though.

    Definitely some uncertainty ahead, but nothing to get too excited about.

  9. Ann Merklin says:

    3-4″ at my house in SE Salem. I know what this is about, so doesn’t bother me, but, as above, the one’s who have NO idea how to drive in this are all over! Be careful folks!

  10. Andrew says:

    I’d love to hear thoughts on the upcoming trends. Several of you have commented on more exciting weather potential to come but I’m not seeing that reflected in the long term forecasts and discussions from the local people. Is this cold stretch officially coming to an end through the weekend?

  11. Scooter says:

    Well, all the fools showed up yesterday on the roads, unprepared and throwing caution and good sense to the wind. I couldn’t drive out of the valley to pick up my neighbor at the airport since all the hilly roads were plugged with cars crossways and in the ditches, even though I had no problem with my all wheel drive Subaru and studded tires. I realize I’ve been in the Portland metro area way too long to keep experiencing this kind of mass stupidity. Time to move to Idaho where folks have not had their common sense bred out or their brains fried by video games. Keep Portland weird, I’m out of here.

    • BeaverDreams says:

      Hah, generalize much? Yeah have fun in Idaho…they’re so much smarter there.

    • GTS1K' says:

      Promises, promises…..

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      It was indeed a mess and I can relate.

      My Dad works in the business district near the Columbia river district (all those businesses off NE Airport way). Everyone that’s native to Portland, left early (after lunch). My Dad is one of the main engineers at the company there (small private company) so he decided to stay and get some more work done.

      In my defense. I warned him. keep in mind we live just 5 miles away from that district and as anyone knows from NE Airport way to Sandy Blvd up out of that area to the main roads (Halsey or an I-84 entrance).

      There are only two lane roads for the majority of options. You see where I’m going with this…..

      Hill embankment out of the Columbia river area + 2 lanes = Trap.

      My brother took the Honda odyssey. No Winter tires, no chains, nothing. He spent 2 hours with my Dad behind school buses, semi trucks, and other cars with at one point nothing moving for almost a hour. Why? 2…3…. 4 and sometimes 5 cars spinning out because they didn’t know how to climb the hill to get out of that district blocking, everyone.

      When my brother got to the front of the line. Rather then get stuck and become another slip and slide show he went on the opposing lane and gunned it (relatively speaking). Everyone followed suit.

      My family has lived here for 40 years (I’m in my 20’s). It’s my conclusion that the people that cause this mess are usually those who just moved into town a few years ago or are here for business / visiting family. I plan on moving my folks to Bend, Oregon later on and I have a good friend that lives out in Idaho (Boise).

      Solid choice.

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      I.e. Watching and asking why won’t they just turn around and let someone else go? Went to frustration and anger quite quickly.

    • BeaverDreams says:

      I hear the frustration, but really, this happens so rarely. And again, that’s ridiculous to blame it all on newcomers, tourists, etc…..I’m in my forties, and have been here 20+ years…I was fishtailing all over the place….it was bad.

      Yelling and blaming people and getting angry is one approach. Or, you could take the approach of looking for ways to help out. I saw a lot of examples of this, even right out front of my house.

      Some poor gal spun out into the ditch….4 or 5 of us helped numerous people get untangled and on their way…no shaming, no anger….just being good people.

    • Ash Qelon says:

      You’re describing californians whom have made the roads what they are, in mass, who until last week never heard of the word snow or ice in their lives.
      Some of us in PDX know better, stay off the roads, one day rest won’t kill us or our cars either.
      Another foreign concept to californians in PDX.

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      BeaverDreams the frustration and anger for my brother was that it was too dangerous on that hill to do that. Yet they still tried to climb that hill, from dead stop. I get it was bad. You calculate and take the risk but what I’m trying to state is my observation which is that?

      The majority of the issues are new people that move into town.

      To put it this way. Every few years we have these storms. By then, let’s say 100,000 people move here from places not used to snow or ice. The majority of roads are two lanes.The gridlock cycle repeats.

      So when people express their frustration that Portlanders don’t know how to drive in snow or ice? It’s actually that we have the right city geography for gridlock when we get ice plus new people that have just moved into town, are visiting or are here for business.

      In short, I don’t have any family or friends that have issues 99% of the time in these type situations. Again, more just venting here because yesterday just, sucked (in that regard).

    • Dave in South Salem (500') says:

      I lived in Denver and some snow storms would turn into similar kinds of messes to be honest. The locals would blame all the Californians too.

  12. High Desert Mat says:

    Presently 14 here in Madras. Lots of snow on the ground and brutal to drive around in, especially an 18 wheeler. Redmond tomorrow night is predicted to be -8. Brrrr

  13. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone think that Portland should just start using salt on the roads. The one or two times a year that it would be needed does not seem like it could cause that much environmental damage, and we can just wash our damn cars after the event.

    • W7ENK says:

      It is illegal to use salt on the roads in Oregon. It changes the salinity of streams which is harmful to protected native Salmon habitats.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree what little salt would be used would not make much of a difference considering most parking lots and businesses already put down salt.

  14. Jason Hougak says:

    Talk about quiet outside. It’s so quiet you could hear a pin drop. The snow is amazingly dry for the PNW. Great snow to ride on at the resorts. The NWS discussion sounds exciting with a lot of twists and turns possible. Only time will tell how it all will unfold. I for one will enjoy this snow as much as anyone.

  15. Jake-(Gresham) says:

    Snowing moderately heavy here at 30F with small / medium flakes near Nadaka Nature Park. Light East wind of 5/8 mph.

  16. Bonnie Decius says:

    4.5 inches of snot total this AM in Longview WA at 300 foot elevation.

  17. JJ78259 says:

    The Increased Traffic over the last 4 years in the Portland Area is bad enough on a rainy day. Why people waited to call it day is just beyond me. It is really nice to see colder winter weather returning to the Northwest! Or should I say colder late fall weather. Looks like more fun this weekend. This colder weather may bring a white Christmas! We are heading to the Bahamas on the 22nd so my Christmas will be a sandy one!

  18. Diana F. says:

    12:54 am, Wednesday going into Thursday, and as I sit here in East Vancouver, the sky is still precipitating.

    It’s 27 degrees & cloudy with an occasional soft breeze. I can’t really tell what’s falling from the sky, even when I’m standing in it. Yes, it is dark outside.

    The precip has changed over the course of the day, evening, and night, but something has been falling continuously since 1:53 pm Wednesday, tiny though it may be.

    Teenie snow flakes ❄️, ice pellets 🌨, not sure what it is exactly.

    Accumulation per takes forever, but it sure makes for a shiny, heck, a downright glistening neighborhood.

    Perfect backdrop for watching a new episode of “The Vikings” on the History Channel!

    Stay Safe #FellowWeatherGeeks

    Mark, get some sleep and thanks again for maintaining one heck of a blog!

  19. Ellem says:

    Thanks to your forecast our family was safer today. 🙂 You are awesome!! So now, what’s the melt looking like? Will Saturday snow be significant ?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Too bad the schools didn’t heed your forecast, Mark! It would have saved many of our kids and their parents a lot of grief today.

  21. Had mostly stopped in Clackamas between 9:30 – 10:30. Snowing heavily again, but with small, icy flakes, for the last hour. As soon as it started again, the wind kicked in. It’s been sideways the whole time, hard to gauge depth.

  22. moosieman says:

    3.5-4 inches in Castle Rock now. It seems like we have been in the sweet spot a few times. Back in 2008 we never did change to rain when we were suppose to. A few years back a deformation zone formed over northern Cowlitz County for hours. Its probably just coincidence but its pretty cool regardless.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I can’t believe you danced around like you killed it today. This was the worst forecast I have ever seen This was a DiSASTER. I had to stay downtown tonight. People should have ben warned. I have lost all respect for your forecast. ability. This was awful. It’s 11:00 pm Thanks for the help. This was bs. I would be ashamed of your worthless forecast

    • W7ENK says:

      …says the moron who can’t even follow directions enough to fill in their own username on a WordPress blog…

      If you’d have been PAYING ATTENTION, you would have known better. I left downtown at 3:30 and didn’t have any problems at all until I reached Milwaukie.

    • Dave in South Salem (500') says:

      He said snow starts at 2pm. Did you leave by then?

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      In that case do us all a favor, leave.

  24. Longview 400 ft says:

    3.5 inches
    Snowing lightly, according to radar, snow about to end.
    Wow! What a night here in December of 2016!!

  25. Claudia says:

    Son in law has been trying to get from Hillsboro to Saint Helens. He left work at 3…as of 10pm he is just halfway down Cornelious Pass road! Turned around to get motel room at 1 point…everything was full!

  26. Deer Is at 750' says:

    Mark nailed it again. Went a bit farther north, but for my guys working in pdx, he nailed it.

  27. Ryan says:

    For the majority of the valley, you absolutely nailed the forecast! Your posts from earlier today (and all week) were spot on (be home by 3pm). Thank you for the continuous updates as you saved me from a disastrous commute and a repeat of 09. Keep up the great work!

  28. Wendy-Silverlake, WA says:

    2.5 inches and counting. Not bad for a day that we weren’t supposed to get a single thing!!!

  29. Joe says:

    3 inches in North Plains

  30. Jason Hougak says:

    Entire Estacada area is out of power. My wife saw it may be an estimated 2 days for it to be repaired. Not sure what happened but we lost power at about 7:30. Still snowing in the foothills down to 26 degrees.

  31. Bonnie Decius says:

    3 inches in Longview and still snowing hard.

  32. AlecT97 says:

    I got 2.75″ here in Bethany. Flurries. I don’t think I’ll be getting much more.

  33. Tom says:

    You said leave Portland no later than 2. Did I listen. NO. Left at 3. Couldn’t get a bus out of town because there were none. After an hour and half waiting I went back to the office to warm up and tried again at 5:30 and was able to get a bus across town. Miserable time. Let this be a lesson. If Mark says leave at 2:00 you can take it to the bank.

  34. Dave in South Salem (500') says:

    It was the national weather service! Those jokers pushed the snow arriving back to 5pm. It’s there on twitter. Blame them.

    BTW still snowing here for 9 hours now

  35. Tracy Chicks says:

    You missed the forecast totally for Silverlake WA…north of Longview. I just measure 3 1/2″ & it’s still coming down at 8:40 pm.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Oh yes we sure did! The northern edge of that snow band was about 40 miles farther north than expected. Glad I could screw up that part of the forecast and give you an early White Christmas

  36. AlexQS says:

    Molalla, OR

    I think the snow here is done. We have at least a good 4″. Maybe 4.1″

    I wish I could attach a pic

    • AlexQS says:

      It’s exactly what I was expecting, being south I hoped for 3 to 4. We got 4

    • Diana F. says:

      Hey Alex, it would be great to have a “photos” section on the blog.

      Yo, MARK? Can we have a photo section? You can trust us!

      No nekked snowmen! They promise!

  37. BeaverDreams says:

    Still seems to me that this system made it much farther north than forecasted…and heavier.

  38. Justin Rogers says:

    4.5″ in Molalla. CS-136 (east end of Molalla)

  39. Paul D says:

    I’m on MAX almost to the airport. The traffic is a disaster. The train is doing just fine!

  40. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    I think overall this is a win in the forecast bucket. It was called out days ago by models, even the timing was spot on. I only managed just over 1/4″ here in Battle Ground, we are often dry in this set up.

    • Kim says:

      I am curious what causes BG to be dry during a big snow event like this. I’ve definitely seen it before, and it’s a bummer. (Although I live in Yacolt so because of elevation we get our fair share of snow–so I can’t complain!). Just curious what setup causes this. Thanks!

    • Diana F. says:

      I’m curious too, hopefully Tyler will see your question, Kim!

  41. JohnD says:

    I have to say that yeah–as always–Mark did a good job. BUT!!! I do believe that he–and all the mets–definitely under billed this event! I realize that part of this is due to Mother Nature. But none-the-less. This aspect definitely contributed to traffic issues, you have to believe.

    • chiefWright (Marquam 350') says:

      I think they called it by the book with accuracy better than average for this region. Winter weather advisory, timing , temp & precip were all plenty close enough for Stumptown.
      My guess is we’ve all gotten so used to too many “SNOWPOCALIPSE!!!” alerts that a reasoned forecast gets underestimated.
      If we didn’t pay attention to the neutrally-hyped, but accurate alerts, not the mets fault. Remember Mark said better be home by noonish.
      Bottom line. Nature wins.

  42. Boydo3 N. Albany says:

    Pretty darn good call. Our area saw lots of sleet and freezing rain before it turned back to snow in the late afternoon. NWS had forecast a bit more for this area but hey, it’s the Willamette Valley after all! Now in the twenties and freezing up the roads big time.

  43. Diana F. says:

    Great Job Mark, thanks for everything. And it IS pretty, isn’t it? Snow causes such a hush, once everyone is home safe and sound~!

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