Major Snow Storm In Cascades Begins Soon

4pm Monday…

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas!  Time to get updated on the latest weather happenings.  I see I didn’t miss much here…I was in Florida Monday AM through Saturday afternoon.  The morning my family and I flew out (Monday) it was COLD sitting in the economy lot with ice pellets/snow/rain pelting us along with a breeze.  But the south wind arrived as expected and the vast majority of the metro area made a quick switch to rain.

Today we’ve got a front moving onshore with lots of precipitation.  Due to strong westerly wind up around 5,000′ following the front later tonight through Tuesday, we’ll get maximum snow enhancement along the Cascades, and Blue Mountains in NE Oregon too.

This storm is going to be a major snow storm up in the Cascades:


What timing too…1.5 to 2+ feet of snow in the Cascades right during the peak of the ski season.  I’ve heard in the past that these two weeks of Christmas Break are HUGE for ski areas, accounting for a large part of their winter income.  So the good times with Ski Season 2015-16 will continue!

Also note the heavy snow for the Blues and Wallowas, mainly during the daytime Tuesday:


Eastern Oregon has been extremely cold this December.  In fact as of today it’s the 2nd coldest December on record in the Baker Valley (Baker City/Haines/North Powder).


The presence of snow cover allows any clear night to turn frigid.  Plus we’ve seen a real absence of moist/warm southwesterly flow to clear out the trapped low-level cold air in the Intermountain Region.  The average low at Baker City is 15 this time of year, so getting below zero IS quite cold.  This is a December to remember over there!

The cold air will stay entrenched the next 48 hours, and that means the strong south & southeast wind through the Blue Mountains will be here with this snowy system too.  The result?  Blowing and drifting snow with near-blizzard conditions again along parts of I-84 Tuesday from Emigrant Hill to Baker City.  There won’t be all that much snow in the valleys, but lots of blowing/drifting.

The storm leaves the area by Wednesday sunrise so Wednesday and Thursday look pretty tranquil across the Pacific Northwest.  A weak system will drop in over us Friday, lowering snow levels down below 2,000′ again.  There won’t be much moisture with that one though…just a few more inches in the Cascades.

What lies beyond for the first few days of 2017 sure looks interesting…more on that in a post later…

By the way, you are living through the coldest December (or any month) in 3 years here in Portland.  The average temperatures of 37.2 degrees is just slight warmer than the cold December 2013 and 2009.  Things have FINALLY gone back to normal (at least for now) after a long almost 3 year period of very warm weather.  We’ll see how long it sticks around.

One more quirky fact…December is the only winter month that has been getting COLDER over the years here in Portland.  January/February/March have definitely been going up, but December for some reason is going DOWN.  Strange eh?


Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


18 Responses to Major Snow Storm In Cascades Begins Soon

  1. Anonymous says:

    It’s snowing in Hillsboro right now.

  2. Jason Hougak says:

    January 2017 is gonna smash some records. We have not had a cold snowy January in quite awhile… Could this be a Jan. 1950 redux??? We’ll see.

  3. I want it to snow big on the valley here in Vancouver…

  4. GTS1K' says:

    South wind taking over. After dropping to 32, back up to 33 and heading “north”. Snow/rain mix with a slushy coating ~1/2″ on the decks but nothing on the roads

    Maybe in 10 days……

  5. …want to live some snow adventure vicariously?…listen to my world for awhile…

  6. I just received my gas bill and I’ve used 3 times as much gas already this year compared to last. Definitely colder around here.

  7. JERAT416 says:

    I love seeing a great ski season this time! Healthy totals and no major melting even. Now let’s hope this keeps up and there is no major pineapple express storms to melt and cause flooding. Let’s hope for a slow melt with lots of water for farmers who need it this summer. So far I’m optimistic for a good season without interruption.

  8. Alohabb says:

    Heavy snow/rain mix here in aloha.

  9. GTS1K' says:

    Snowing now here @ 1000′ – 33.2 degrees. The decks are turning white(ish).

    Fun to see for however long it lasts….

  10. Deer Island at 750' says:

    Trying to snow here.

  11. ….ive got 13 inches on the ground over in Cove, and while i dont have the records for here in front of me, i know this is the second coldest december i’ve seen over here since 1979…

  12. Deer Island at 750' says:

    Trying to snow here now

  13. Max in Fairview says:

    “What lies beyond for the first few days of 2017 sure looks interesting…more on that in a post later…”

    I can’t wait to hear your thoughts since I have been tracking the models into the first week of 2017 and the chance of something historic (cold and snow wise) is one of the highest in the long time.

  14. The cooling of December, at the same time January-March have gotten warmer, has effectively brought our winter seasonal lag to ZERO for many places west of the Rockies. Someday our coldest time of year will probably swing back toward mid-late January, however.

    I think it’s all about the random timing of those few West Coast arctic blasts, which since the 1980s have hit in December (or even November) with increased frequency. Perhaps the time has come to restore some winter seasonal lag to our climate region.

    The time has come, in other words, to “Make January Great Again” !

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