Cold East Wind Raging Tonight

9:30pm Tuesday…

It’s is really cold out there this evening.  Peak gusts have been in the 30-40 mph range across much of the metro area this evening.


Not only is cold air pouring through the Gorge, but this evening cold air is pouring right over the Cascades and down the west slopes into the foothills too.  That means just about all of us are getting the wind, even the normally calm areas.  The past two hours PDX has gusted to 41 mph.  The airmass has cooled a couple degrees in the past 24 hours too.

The strong wind is due high pressure east of the Cascades and an approaching low pressure system moving toward southwest Oregon.  Almost all the snow stays south of Salem the next 12 hours, but it’s quite a snowstorm right now from Roseburg all the way down into California.  Even Medford is getting a snowstorm!

Winds will back off dramatically after daybreak Wednesday and go almost calm by Thursday morning.  We’ll be left with sunny/calm/chilly weather for both Thursday and Friday.  As a result I raised high temperatures another degree or two and brought lows down to around 20 in the city.

Not too much has changed for the general transition this weekend from cold and dry to mild and wet.  What hasn’t changed is that I’m quite confident by late Sunday most of us in the metro area will be done with frozen precipitation.

What else do I see?

  1. Arrival of precipitation has been pushed back to later Saturday or even Saturday evening.
  2. The chance of snow has gone downhill dramatically.  All models are pushing a warm layer of air inland at the same time as the precip arrival later in the day.  The GFS is most bullish with this.  It says we only have a very shallow layer of cold air right in the immediate metro area only.  ECMWF is colder in general at the surface, more likely since east of the Cascades is snow-covered and that air will still be moving out into the metro area from the Gorge.
  3. There’s a significant chance of icy roads in the metro area Saturday night and into Sunday morning.  Even a big enough chance to get the FOX12 Holiday Party rescheduled!  Luckily I’m still employed…poor timing on that one.


I love this graphic from the ECMWF; it tells the story well.  It’s the forecast total snow accumulation through the period over Portland.  Each run of the model (it runs twice per day) over the past 5 days is shown as one line.  Oldest run is the top line, this morning’s run is the bottom line.  Look at Saturday/Sunday (hour 108 to 132)…as we’ve gone through the past 5 days the model has pushed more and more warm air aloft over us, dropping the snow chances very low.  Pretty good way to display 5 days of model information eh?

ecmwf_snowStay warm out there tonight and tomorrow, at least we’ll be slightly warmer, lose the wind, and keep the sunshine for Thursday and Friday.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


174 Responses to Cold East Wind Raging Tonight

  1. Pat -n- GardenHome says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I was looking at the enhance Infra red radar and I see a large area of clouds heading south along the Canadian Coast. The Southern edge is now reaching the Northern tip of Vancouver Island.
    Does this mass have a chance of reaching us before Saturday. Wishing everyone well during the upcoming event.

  2. boydo3 N Albany says:

    Freezing rain sucks! The damage to trees, power outages and car wrecks is just not worth wishcasting for.
    And how much fun is a snowstorm that is short lived and capped with ice, only to be melted away by rain.

  3. specialK says:

    Yo Mark! Blog it up! We need your expert opinion. As long as it agrees there will be a good storm this weekend! Otherwise, just let us keep making stuff up.

    • Alohabb says:

      He’s busy stocking his shelves and getting gas for the generator. Then when he says how bad its gonna be and mass chaos ensues at the stores, he will have already done his shopping.

    • runrain says:

      I like the wishcasting stuff better than reality myself. Like W7 says, more often than not we get disappointed with the actual event so the the wishcasting period ends up being the more enjoyable time frame. I think Mark will call for some brief snow, quickly turning to the other frozen stuff and then just rain, followed by falling cliff jumpers.

      All is not lost, however. For let the wishcasting commence for the NEXT potential winter weather event. Good times!

  4. WEATHERDAN says:

    For Salem I see 1-2 inches of snow Saturday afternoon followed by 1-2 inches of sleet with zr after about 9:00 PM. Then zr untill about 10:00 AM on Sunday with a high of 38. Another cool spell is likely for the 14th-18th. Highs this next week will be between 39-43. Peace.

    • W7ENK says:

      Dan, your estimate of “1-2 inches of sleet” far exceeds QPF over the Salem area for this incoming system. I think perhaps you may not realize that sleet accumulates about 2:1 with rain, since it’s not fluffy like snow.

    • Sapo says:

      Ya gotta agree with W7. Salem could see a brief period of snow (probably 1-2″ like you said, my gut feeling is more like tr-1), but probably won’t get 1-2 inches sleet. For that to happen you’d need maybe .75-1″ of qpf before sunday morning which is quite a bit over what models are showing, but who knows

  5. Stan says:

    I wish Mark would update with his professional educated weather opinion. The wishcasters that propagate this blog are turning it into fantasy land.

    • W7ENK says:

      Care to elaborate, Stan?

    • Oregon Photo says:

      I guess you would then call NWS wishcasters too:

      Area Forecast Discussion…Corrected
      National Weather Service Portland Oregon
      1013 AM PST Thu Jan 5 2017

      Main changes this morning centered around fine-tuning the snow and ice forecast for the upcoming transition event this weekend. Model soundings are suggesting a quick transition to freezing rain after a brief period of snow in the Willamette Valley south of about Wilsonville. As the low pressure system approaches from the SW, easterly flow will increase through the Columbia Gorge. The 12z GFS suggests snow may hang on at PDX as late as Saturday evening, but eventually the 40-50 kt S-SW flow at 850 mb will win out and push in a warm nose between 2000-5000 ft Saturday night. This will likely
      result in a significant and fairly long-duration ice event Saturday
      night into Sunday, retreating into the Columbia Gorge later Sunday and Sunday night as our air mass moderates. Amounts remain sketchy at this point, but at the moment it appears areas south of Wilsonville will see an inch or less of snow followed by up to 0.50 inch of ice, with 1-2 inches of snow/sleet in the PDX metro followed by up to 0.75 inch of ice before temperatures finally crawl above freezing Sunday evening. Several waves of precipitation are expected to push ice totals up toward 1 inch around Corbett, while the Central Gorge sees nearly all snow and possibly a sleet/snow mix near Hood River toward the end of the event Monday morning. This event could yield as much
      as a foot of snow in the Hood River Valley, adding to what has
      already been an impressive snow year there.

    • HAWKEYES23 says:

      Well WKRP in Cincinnati, Stan is simply pointing out that many people including myself are buying into the fact of a major winter event coming Saturday, with much of it being blown out of proportion possibly. And would like a real met to put some icing on the cake.

    • W7ENK says:

      No, no icing please. Icing causes power outages, massive tree damage, car accidents and death. We don’t want any of those things!

    • GTS1K' says:

      If wishes were fishes you’d have a tuna sammie.

  6. GTS1K' says:

    Oh great – my daughter and her fiance’ are arriving tonight from Oakland and have a return flight leaving Sunday at 6:30 or so.

    I have a feeling that’s not gonna happen…..

  7. Joe says:

    Alright mark, I’m excited to hear your input in your next blog hopefully tonight. Some of us sadly need a reality check…

  8. Marc (Brush Prairie, WA) says:

    Time to pull the trigger Mark…

  9. Alohabb says:

    1-2″ of snow then 3/4″ of ice for Portland is predicted by NWS. That amount of ice is not good. Oh my

    • W7ENK says:

      3/4 inch of ice would be devastating. I’d rather have another 3-4 inches of snow, I really don’t like ZR. It’s pretty to look at, but way more troublesome than it’s worth.

      Here’s to hoping the models are wrong and that low over the Pacific swings in South of Portland, dragging more cold air in behind it and keeping us all snow!

    • JJ78259 says:

      I lived on King Road in Milwaukie during the late 70s ice storm. Power out for 8 days! I can still remember standing on our King Road side walk and one of my high school classmates drove by in his 67 California Special Mustang and got on it in the ice and did 4 complete 360s down the center of King Road! Did not hit curb fun stuff! The weatherman back then said it would warm up the next day but miss judged the east wind for the next 4 days good ole Jack Cappell Channel 8. A lot of broken trees!

    • W7ENK says:

      Yup, King Road is just a couple of blocks from where I live now, and only about a mile from where I grew up. My parents have told me all about the twin ice storms of 1979/1980 — on the same date, one year apart — neither of which I remember as I was in-utero for the first, and not quite a year old for the second. They were without power for several days, both times. Lots of large branches came down from the several self-pruning Doug Firs on the property.

      Hoping we’re not about to have a redux…

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      Alohabb, I think the only thing that’s going to save East county from a deathly icebox is the fact that we had that ice event a few weeks ago. Trimmed the trees, so to speak. Hopefully, we don’t lose too many and keep the power outages at minimum.

      My family has fruit trees that my great grand father planted in our backyard. I will get livid if we lose those. I try my best to care for them.

    • Sapo says:

      I’d rather see more snow and less ice…Euro appears to be more along those lines with 3-4″ snow but still a pretty big ice storm, I’d like to see it trend even snowier

  10. Boring 550' says:

    Low of 11° here this morning.

  11. pappoose in scappoose says:

    432 AM PST THU JAN 5 2017




  12. W7ENK says:

    Temperature last night at my place dropped to 20 just before midnight. Light East winds returned and bumped us back up to around 30 or so for most of the night. Wind went slack and we dropped back down to 24 by the time I left for work.

  13. W7ENK says:

    Apparently, I am unable to comment now. 😦

  14. Lee Wilson says:

    Hey Mark, I knoticed thier is pattern.
    It seems were getting polar osculations .

    I also see much of the country is in a deep freeze..big time. With temps as low as -24 in areas not in relation to the Arctic.

    So are we getting the polart Vortexes as well?

    If this is it then I will step out on a.limb that we will continue to see this pattern until the beginning of February.

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      Lee, to my untrained eye, so far no. Also again to my untrained eye what appears after Tuesday looks be a possible polar vortex over the PNW.

      Didn’t want to state as such because who the heck wants to hype up for such an improbability!

    • Lee Wilson says:

      Yeah your right… will take that back…
      Say..we have an interesting phenomenon happening. Wish I had a super good camera…I am see something I only say in Spokane…It looks like glitter is floating in the air.

      The moisture freezing is making for quite the show.

      I can try using some sorts ware to over clock my camera on this phone..and see what happens.

      I am just thankfull for this weather.
      Like it or not we needed this to kill off pests.

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      Lee I’m talking mini vortex. The mountain ranges here would make it tough for something like what occurs in the Midwest but I agree. The cold weather does good for the cycle of life. Food ants, spiders, ect.

  15. Outflow wind has ended for me so the air had a chance to stratify last night. 23 ˚F this morning after an overnight low of 21. And that’s right up against the house so probably upper teens away from it.

    This should be the coldest night of the winter for me unless we get yet another outflow event.

    • Roland Derksen says:

      A low of about 16F here this morning. Sure have noticed what a difference a breeze can make in the temperature. A couple of nights before when we were down to 14F, the temperature rose up to about 23F shortly before midnight(a few hours before the minimum)then when the wind stopped it really dropped.

  16. Lee Wilson says:

    Our Cars Thermometer read out read 17 degrees as of 8 a.m.
    Any one with hybrids here? Kinda curiouser how well your Hester works on these cold days.

    I can say with out a doubt our hybrids heaters are with out a doubt great.

    That is to say…the definitely keep you warm on these cold days lol.

    Also directional Nozzles make for great hand warmers.

  17. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    12.7 for a low here in Battle Ground. Only 7 years of records at this location, but this is my coldest January low temp.

  18. EY (Oak Grove) says:

    PDX at 18 degrees, setting a record low for the date. Previous record for January 5th was 19 degrees set in 1982. The last time we set a record low in the month of January was January 6th, 1982.

    35 years since the last record low. @_@

  19. GTS1K' says:

    Yesterday at this time it was 23.6 – this morning it’s 17.6.

    No wind to speak of…

  20. Sapo says:

    00z runs indicated this could be a pretty big snow/ice storm…Good consensus on 1-2″ snow, more westside, before a switch to ice for quite a while. We really don’t lose the east wind much Sunday and the GEM keeps zr all the way through Sunday night. It will be interesting, but looking like a pretty big impactful storm at the moment

    • Lee Wilson says:

      That is what intellicast is reporting as well.
      I also see were scheduled for a before…its a freeze thaw freeze cycle. At least were not -17 or -24.
      I feel for those folks.

      I wasn’t joking about needing to.protect ones pet’s paws either.
      This weather can do some serious frost bite to them. As as well as seriously frost biting babies and kids and elderly if exposed to long.

      The way vlce on our window pane wasndunny to see though.

    • Lee Wilson says:

      That means…if we get snow….some of our areas will be getting ice on top of snow…not good…

      The snow has not melted above 300 feet
      If we get a rapid melt, this could get real ugly real fast.

      I hope we don’t get rapid melt then freeze

      That will really be fun…But hey…anything is possible… Right?
      All I can say..quite the osculation happening 🙂 . it seems to be well timed.

      Take look…and you will see the pattern.

    • HAWKEYES23 says:

      Sapo, Sapo, Sapo I knew I would find you on here spreading false prophesies about this weekend. Shame on you lol, ya we just might be in for one heck of a messy weekend. Stay safe.

    • W7ENK says:

      Sapo = Chris C?

      I get that impression…

    • Sapo says:

      12z/18z runs a bit more snowy and moved timing up. Lol hawkeyes..

      w7 idk who chris c is but I’m not him haha, I’ve been on here for a few years and it’s always been sapo

    • W7ENK says:

      I meant IRL… I thought you might be Chris Callais. Living in Tigard, your level of knowledge, your thought processes and writing style come across as very similar. He’s likewise a very knowledgeable “weather folk”, it would be nice to get his expertise and input on this blog once in a while. He would have a lot to offer.

      Alas, never mind, carry on.

  21. Scooter says:

    7 degrees near Barton Park, Clackamas County

  22. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    13 degrees this morning in Battle Ground. Wind is keeping it from going any lower.

  23. Lee Wilson says:

    Oh My. Get ready for coverage on the COWLITZ PUD again.
    People’s bills are soaring.

    Some are speculating that the PUD did another rate Hike, others are saying that our PUD is planning to vote on another rate hike in June.

    My mom just got her bilk and its no laughing matter

    The PUD also Taxes people that live out side city limits which can double the bill.

    Thank Heavens We Have Solar:

    This is how we track our usage.

    That big ole line at the beginning of the bill. Was from when we ran the furnace that one time.

    Our PUD has a usage tracker..

    We have solar so our PUD maxes at 76 killawatt hours.
    We tend to stay with in this area because we are running all of our electronics off of solar and battery.

    So guess what that means weather geeks ( hoping not to offended),
    It means that all them electronic gadgets you have co.biked with heating for dwelling unit is the cause for higher. rates on the power bill.

    Right now, were only paying the cost to heat this place.
    And to dry our clothing…oh and we can use our dryer as a source of heat as well.

    A dryer hose and a bucket can do wonders. Oh and a screen to prevent lint going every where..

    • Scooter says:

      Moderation in everything, including moderation. Way to go man, I heat with wood and have a heat pump water heater and a mini-split heat pump for ac and back up heat.

  24. JJ78259 says:

    San Antonio gets cold down to 39 for a high tomorrow low of 27 than back to summer next Tuesday thru Saturday 75 to 79. I love 1 or 2 day winters! Weather Dan would even like it.

  25. Max in Fairview says:

    Nice drop in temp for PDX. 19-20 degrees

  26. Lee Wilson says:

    We hit 15 °F . we have. Ice on window paanes! We are still warm…But man almighty… One Sure can see were. Ones heat is going to..

    Hope tonGod my brother and his wife are OK. There living in their RV.hope he got his heating situation taken care of.

    Normally I would find this amusing…but this kind of cold will cause frost bite on animal paws and will kill them if left out side for two long…and it will kill humans ad cause frost bite on babies too.

    So you got kiddos and they need to go out…turn them in to umpa lumpas….dress them warm!

    • Alohabb says:

      Stay warm for sure. This cold has kept us Hvac guys so busy we don’t have time to think.

    • Lee Wilson says:

      I hear ya on that were running an infrared heater. And two smaller heaters…sure can see dryer usage though lol.

      Furnaces sure are power hogs as well…big time..150 3 hours? For get that!

      I much rather spend 60 to 80 in fuel for the generator than to pay the PUD any extra next year.

      One or two time 100 vrs…12 months of an extra 100 a month… thanks.. We can run it during the day with out having issues with a noise complaint. It will run 10 hours on a full tank….

      But 5 hours is all we need lol.

      I hear some of the best pumps will work off of solar.Only if we weren’t renting lol.

    • Alohabb says:

      That’s awesome. I’m using hyper heat inverter driven Mitsubishi unit that can heat 100% to -5 and never see a power spike.

  27. Jake-(Gresham) says:

    I will say this. The GFS wants to make this interesting as does the Euro beyond Tuesday. The weekend may just be a ‘warm’ up before we see some more potential for Winter weather.

    Right now they are once again greatly disagreeing on both cold air potential and weather system trajectories beyond the 7 day forecast. Total mess.

    • Sapo says:

      yes it’s interesting

    • Lee Wilson says:

      I agree. We have so many micro climates we need a model designed specifically for us.

      If that could ever be done.
      I still wonder if these things are in their learning stages.

      With this data though I wonder if this will have the programmers tweaking anything?

      I wonder if the Pacific Northwest is the only area where the weather is the most difficult to.predict due to all the variables?

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      I say we have some of the most complex micro climates if not clime to forecast in the US. The PNW has the Cascade, gorge, Rockies, and multiple valleys. The Midwest, flat. The East coast, blue mountains (pfffttt. More like hills). I’d say the models are tailored to those regions and we’re largely in the dark.

    • W7ENK says:

      I agree with you whole-heartedly, Jake.

      And it really sucks, because more often than not, we draw the short stick.

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      W7ENK, I know you would agree and some of the other exp. people on this blog.

      What’s your take? The only other place I can think of as maybe more complex in climate is Northern Arizona?

      Its high elevation desert with an arid climate where it does snow sometimes come Winter and then can switch right back to hot days. Still, I vote we take that cake because of the population density and how many people it potentially effects. Can’t think of any large cities in Northern AZ. Beautiful country, from what I’ve heard however.

  28. Jake-(Gresham) says:

    Currently 29 after a low of 25. Rose quickly
    between 2am and 3am. Dead calm outside. Calm
    before the snowstorm this weekend?

    Hoping so!

  29. Max in Fairview says:

    TTD dropped to 22 from 27 within an hour once the winds went calm

%d bloggers like this: