A Winter Wonderland New Year’s Morning? Mainly In The Hills

11am Saturday…

As mentioned in the previous posting, a very weak weather system moves over the Pacific Northwest tonight and New Year’s morning.  During much of the system’s passage, temperatures will be too warm at the lowest elevations for snow to stick.  But near the end, as showers are tapering off, snow may stick in spots all the way down to the valley floor.


  • Your New Year’s Eve plans are safe  There won’t be any snow on roads in the lowlands through at least 2-3am.
  • But any of us could see snow mixed in with the rain during the overnight hours.
  • Near/above 1,000′ (top of the West Hills), some accumulation is possible, but even then it may be a degree or two too warm for sticking snow.
  • 4am-10am a dusting to 1/2″ is possible anywhere, but I’d lean towards a dusting and not that half inch.  Many of us get nothing tomorrow morning.
  • The rest of tomorrow we’ll be above freezing, at least through 3pm, so I think roads will be clear.
  • An arctic front passes through the area tomorrow evening; that means a sudden arrival of cold east wind and all wet areas will freeze.  At that time we’ll be dry, or just a few flurries maybe.


  • Rain or rain/snow showers change to mainly snow showers above 500′ by midnight.  At that time some roads will start getting snow-covered above 1,000′.
  • Anytime after midnight and through Sunday any road in the Coast Range and above 500-1,000′ west slopes of the Cascades could get snow-covered.  That includes Sandy, Estacada, Beavercreek, Mill City etc…
  • Expect 1-3″ in these areas, more above 1,500′.


The NWS is going for a Portland snowstorm tonight and Sunday morning, but I think it’s unlikely.  They are forecasting 1-3″ in the metro area (3″ on hills) and have a winter weather advisory up starting at 10pm.

I feel that’s way overdone for several reasons.  The biggest is that we’re in mild onshore flow through around sunrise Sunday.  In fact southwest wind picks up this evening and continues until almost day break.  Freezing levels are above 1,000′ through 7am tomorrow, when almost all of the moisture will be falling out of the sky.  I’ve seen this many times here in Portland.  We’ll be too warm down at the valley floor until sometime after 4am to even think about snow sticking down here.  There is excellent model agreement on this as well.  That southwesterly breeze is a real killer (for snow) UNLESS the atmosphere is colder than what we’re expecting now.   Take a look at model snow forecasts from the ECMWF, WRF-GFS, & RPM and they agree.  Note the RPM snow is mainly after 4am:

rpm_4amsnow1km ecmwf_snow_18z rpm_snow_12z-1


None of those inspire a lot of confidence for a sledding day Sunday in Portland do they?

Now during the day on Sunday cooler air gradually filters in from the north, but we’ll be battling daytime heating (a little) too.  Leftover snow showers could dump a dusting anywhere during the day, but most areas will be slightly too warm still for stickage.  So we should stay above freezing through 3pm, then we plunge into a frozen abyss.  Okay, that’s a bit dramatic, but I don’t know when we’ll go above freezing again…maybe about 6 days from now?  We’ll see about that.

To wrap it up, I think many of us will wake up to a white dusting, but a frozen city with snow all over the roads like we had with the big fiasco in mid-December is unlikely.

Happy New Year!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen






99 Responses to A Winter Wonderland New Year’s Morning? Mainly In The Hills

  1. Diana F. says:

    Did somebody say something…..?

  2. Jake-(Gresham) says:

    Imagine having to forecast Seattle’s weather tonight, yikes:

    • Diana F. says:

      lol I saw that and thought the same thing!

    • So far, nada here, and that’s what the road cams seem to show for most places up this way. A dusting in some of the higher hills from Everett north. Main action is now forecast to start after 3AM. So we shall see if I wake to a white New Year’s morning or not.

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

    Snow rain mix and 33 here

  4. Ace in WoodVillage says:

    I really hope you get booted off this blog. I’m tired of hearing your useless mouth on here. This is a blog about weather and people’s thoughts not your ramblings. Grow up.

  5. muxpux (Longview) says:

    The point of this blog is also to provide info to others. If it is snowing at my location (castle rock/Longview, it is relevant info to people in Portland, if it’s snowing in Portland, that’s a good sign for me up here. If Mark says it’s going to rain, and everyone is reporting snow, that’s relevant information. It’s a community, that’s here because of the weather. Staying our conditions is what goes on around here. I’ve been here (on the blog) since 05 or 06 when it started and it’s been that way for 10+ years. Just cause people bitch about it on Facebook doesn’t mean it needs to be bitched about here. Just my .02

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sticking in Oregon City on asphalt driveway and slushy accumulation on the cement.
    Driving back from Brightwood about 45 minutes ago snow coated roads until Sandy with the initial moisture.

  7. Jake-(Gresham) says:

    Woah, I was just about to whine that we only have drizzle rain showers here with a few flakes here and there.

    It stopped with the showers about 10 minutes ago and just now a gust of wind came through and creaked the whole house and huge flakes started falling…

    Talk about Gorge effect! Yeah baby!

  8. Garron 1/3 of a mile from Hillsboro Airport says:

    Still snowing and 32 degrees in Hillsboro. Not sticking…

  9. Longview 400 ft says:

    Currently 32.4
    3/4 of an inch
    Lightly snowing

  10. Marc (Brush Prairie, WA) says:

    Heavy snow. Sticking to everything. Very wet snow. 32 degrees.

  11. Joel in Brownsville says:

    Snowing in Brownsville!

  12. Deer Island at 750' says:

    About 1/4″ here so far. 31.7

  13. Longview 400 ft says:

    It is so amazing you still do not understand what this blog is all about, all the comments you post really apply to yourself. This is a weather blog. Talk about the weather, not people!!!!

  14. Justin Rogers says:

    Snowing and sticking to elevated surfaces (deck, car, roof) in Molalla.

    • Justin Rogers says:

      Got a dusting with the 630 band. Nothing stuck to the ground, but elevated surfaces were covered. Now, with the second band that started around 8 it’s been all rain. The dusting we did have is all but gone. ~400ft

  15. Andy says:

    Just had a snow flurry pass through Jefferson, Or. Currently 34 deg.

  16. Sapo says:

    Snowing in Tigard…light dusting starting to accumulate. Supposedly we warm up in a few hours, then cool back down for Sunday morning, would be nice to just have some snow but we’ll see. Currently 34 here

  17. Longview 400 ft says:

    Currently 33.1
    A light dusting on the ground

  18. Marc (Brush Prairie, WA) says:

    Temperature peaked at 34 degrees today. Sitting at 33 degrees and just had the heaviest snow shower of the day.

  19. Lurkyloo says:

    4pm snowing @ Rose City Golf Course (or 2 blks away where I am).

    Happy New Year everyone! Be safe!

  20. Been having flurries in the hills and drizzle near sea level in the Seattle area since about noon. NWS has issued a winter weather advisory for “up to 2 inches… with locally higher amounts possible.” We will see if that materializes. Would be nice for once to get snow as the cold air is coming in, instead of as it is leaving. Been a long time since that’s happened.

    • “Thus, I have some concerns that we might see a switch to snow earlier than forecast over Puget Sound (which was around midnight) and during a period when precipitation is heavier (after midnight there are only a few snow showers).

      “I am also concerned that the upper level pattern (see 500 hPa heights below for 1 AM Sunday) looks fairly close to the canonical snow pattern.”

      “This is an extraordinarily difficult forecast because the temperatures are so close to the line for rain versus snow.”


  21. Ash Qelon says:

    Mall 205 – Gateway area nothing here as of 3:31PM. Dec 31st.

  22. Bonnie Decius says:

    Its snowing in Longview WA @ 300 foot.

  23. Ron says:

    light rain and 37 degrees in Astoria–no weather action likely here.

  24. JohnD says:

    We just drove through a mostly snow shower around the Terwilliger area. Maybe Mark’s no snow hedge: “UNLESS the atmosphere is colder than what we’re expecting now”. will play out to our favor!

    • Sapo says:

      yeah although this is cold air left over from last night/yesterday, the arrival of the system should warm us up at least briefly before a switch back to snow, but who knows? could be in for a surprise

  25. Anonymous says:

    Snowing in Troutdale

  26. Gene says:

    Snowing in east Gresham — all snow, no mix. Light, but sticking on grass and barkdust

  27. Jeni A Cross says:

    Big dry fluffy flakes at 2 PM Jan. 31st on SE 68th Ave.

  28. Marc (Brush Prairie, WA) says:

    No sight of rain drops today. All snow here at 300 feet.

    • sds says:


      You might want to adjust your forecast a little. It has been snowing out here in N. Clark Co. for over an hour at 250MSL and the trees and branches are turning white at 32 degrees. The snow flakes are floating down and show no sign of falling thru a warm layer above–where is the warm air?

    • Sapo says:

      sds thats impressive!! not a flake yet in Tigard..his forecast is probably fine, this is just light precip ahead of the front and heavier precipitation tonight/tomorrow morning

    • Sapo says:

      18z GFS says 1-2″ tonight though

    • sds says:


      You were right–it changed back to rain around 4PM–still white but not light!

  29. Max in Fairview says:

    Nice light snow coming here

  30. GTS1K' says:

    Yours? Promise?

  31. Alohabb says:

    Nice light snow shower now in Aloha.

  32. Marc (Brush Prairie, WA) says:

    Big flakes! No mix here, all snow.

  33. goducks09 says:

    Very light snow in downtown PDX.

    • Joshua Downtown PDX says:

      Yep. I was just going to post that. It’s really drizzle with some flakes mixed in. Snizzle for shizzle.

  34. GTS1K' says:

    All that astute observation notwithstanding, it started snowing lightly at 1:20 and continues as I type…

    …32 even,

  35. Paul D says:

    Light snow in Hillsboro

  36. Roland Derksen says:

    Pretty good snowfall happening here since 11am. Temperature has been falling slowly, now just above freezing. So if it keep up, we’ll be all white here again by evening.Happy 2017 everyone!

  37. Alohabb says:

    Very light snow is falling at 185th and Baseline.

  38. Leeateea says:

    What are we thinking for Stayton/Aumsville area?Im thinking 1-2″

  39. JJ78259 says:

    70° to 78° Degrees next 5 days in San Antonio not to bad. Great day to work in the yard today, got all the Live Oak leaves cleaned up. Start the new year with a clean yard! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  40. muxpux (Longview) says:

    Mom reported snow flurries this morning near Shelton, WA, and a friend on FB claimed they had a snow flurry in Rainier, OR. Some moisture moving in on radar and 34. Well see

  41. Katie E says:

    points for using the word stickage, ^_^

  42. Andy says:

    I guess we wait for next time…what a disappointment.

    • Sapo says:

      Not really a disappointment as this was never anticipated to big a snowstorm, NWS is pretty much the only place forecasting over an inch of snow, most mets are saying trace-1″

  43. JERAT416 says:

    650 ft on Bull Mtn = not that snowy at all. I’m not on board for a big snow storm this time. Gonna be cold for a week or so though.

    • Sapo says:

      ya this weekend was never our chance for real snow, end of next week seems more likely but that’s too far out to tell at the moment

    • Sapo says:

      ya i feel like the nws has been overdoing it with the WWAs this winter…like a couple weeks ago they put one out for light snow showers

  44. Jason hougak says:

    Pulling a 600′ well pump off Marmot in Sandy today… fun weather action day. Will we get done before the snow starts… we’ll see!

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