Final Storm Totals & Cold Nights Ahead

There has been some confusion over the official snow total here in Portland.  Of course to meteorologists and weather stat geeks this is IMPORTANT stuff!

The official snow total that will go in the record books for the Portland observation will be 1.5″ from yesterday’s storm


The official observations between 1940 and 1996 were taken at the Portland airport, but when the Portland NWS forecast office moved, the observations moved as well.  At that time most of the time snow observations stopped at the airport. So for the past 20 years our official snow reports come from the Parkrose area, a few miles SE of the airport.

Around 2008 (during that big snow event) I noticed observers started occasionally reporting snow totals at the airport again.  As far as I’m aware they have not been required to do that but they do from time to time.  Someone from the FAA/NWS can correct me if I’m wrong about the observers out there.

Snow depth is also recorded at KGW which is part of the official downtown record.  They had 1.5″ as well.  Now today the observer reported 2.3″ AT the airport, so that may be a number you are hearing.

Here’s our final snow map then which includes those totals:


Obviously the downtown and NWS office numbers seem a little low, although they fit well into the 1-3″ range I mentioned in the previous posting.

Now we’ve seen 2, yes 2 measurable snowfalls this month…how exciting.  That means it’s the SNOWIEST DECEMBER SINCE 2009.  Very dramatic I know, but it’s Portland.


Let’s briefly talk weather…it’s gonna be real quiet the next few days.  Pretty much dry Friday-Sunday unless we get flurries, mainly on Sunday.

Skies will at least partially clear tonight, so I’m going for a 21 at PDX with our partially snow-covered ground.  IF we get total clearing by midnight, these forecast temperatures will be on the high side:


Tomorrow night should be colder with drier air and NO cloud cover.  I expect to see widespread teens even in the urban areas.  Friday night should be the coldest we have seen in 3 winters:


By the way, I got very lucky last night.  My commute (43 miles this time) was only 20 minutes longer than normal due to light traffic, a good 4Runner, and new studded tires.

Only 2″ snow for me, but enough to run my new (used) toy.  A Craigslist snowblower!  I bought it from some guy back in August.  He moved here from Fairbanks, lived in Gresham, and didn’t use it for 3 years.  Fun times, but it would get really old if you have to do it every other day for 4 months!

Stay warm!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

13 Responses to Final Storm Totals & Cold Nights Ahead

  1. Kitty wehage says:

    I think u guys are doing wonderful job an thank u for doing what u do.

  2. Diana F. says:

    Mark the snowblower video is AWESOME!! 👏🏼

  3. Deer Is at 750' says:

    Looking forward to the next post and the educated comments on this one. The next transition could be good too??

  4. Keep the temps low for another month or so, add a few periods of light snow then it would feel like 1978-79 again.

  5. Scooter says:

    Our society is so out of kilter of the real meaning of existence. Yesterday foolish greedy people plugged up the roads for the majority because of their selfish deluded desire to try and drive home through conditions that were physically impossible, but are convinced by the auto industry that their car could somehow defy physics. This disconnect from reality is getting to be prevalent in our technologically seduced community of superficial existence.

    • Andrew says:

      Conditions that were physically impossible??? hahaha. It was dry powdery snow lol. I had absolutely no problems driving in it. It’s all the people that don’t have the right vehicles or not have the proper equipment (chains, etc). There is absolutely no reason that someone with 4 wheel drive couldn’t drive in yesterday snow, outside of a real steep hill, etc.

    • marinersfan85 says:

      Conditions were hardly impossible. Please, be real.

  6. Diana F says:

    Mark I don’t know how you have the amount of energy you do…you take the time to keep us up to date in such a detailed format. Between you and Cliff, I feel like I learn something literally every day.

    But where DOES all the stamina come from? It’s not like you’re a teenager…I mean, I think you have kids that are teens! Maybe that’s where you get it : )

    Hope you got to pull out that snow blower this week!

    THANK YOU for sharing the talent, Geek Master!

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