I noticed, like many of you did, that precipitation briefly began as freezing rain or ice pellets in most of the valley and Portland area. That’s because there is warmer air overhead (above 2,000′), but it was quite dry to begin. Once that initial precipitation fell, the temperatures cooled below freezing up there and now most of us are back to pure snow. It’s snowing at a pretty good clip here at home (about to head to work). Roads are turning snowy/ice in much of the valley too.
So the general forecast is still on track…snow to freezing rain this evening. Here is an updated forecast for all the areas:
PORTLAND/VANCOUVER METRO HIGHLIGHTS
A Winter Storm Warning is in effect
- I expect a Trace-2″ snow before a changeover to ice pellets and then freezing rain around sunset (4:45pm) “Deepest” snow likely west and south metro, lightest north (Clark Co.) & east
- Temperatures have likely peaked for today and may drop a degree or two with heavier precip arriving
- Strong east wind continues central/east metro area. Gusts 40-50 mph = drifting and blowing snow.
- Then freezing rain is the precipitation type through Sunday evening.
- For much of the metro area, this means an ice storm begins this evening and continues through Sunday evening as the cold east wind continues to blow. Expect 1/2 to 1″ ice accumulation which will bring down trees/limbs/powerlines.
- I don’t expect temperatures to go above freezing in the metro area until Sunday night.
- A slow thaw (no real warm south wind) begins after sunset Sunday and continues through midday Monday. Many roads will still see lots of ice leftover even on Monday AM.
IMPORTANT NOTES FOR THE METRO AREA
- All roads will be frozen all today (unless they’ve been treated with gallons of some sort of de-icer) and most of them stay frozen Sunday. ODOT says they may finally be using salt in specific trouble spots on freeways from what I hear, so it’ll be interesting to see if it’s effective during freezing rain. By Monday afternoon I think main roads should be back to normal for most parts of the metro area.
- Probably still lots of school closures Monday AM
WESTERN VALLEYS FROM LONGVIEW TO EUGENE
The same general plan with snow to freezing rain today. Parts of the valley could see up to 3″ of snow, but I think Trace-2″ is most likely. It’ll be lightest to the north around Longview. Then freezing rain through at least Sunday midday. Expect up to 3/4″ ice accumulation by midday Sunday. This could be a damaging ice storm for many of you. The valley will warm up above freezing probably Sunday evening a bit quicker than here in Portland. Then the event will finally be over.
OREGON and SW WASHINGTON COAST
Temps will be slow to warm, but this will be a relatively minor event at the coastline compared to valleys. Temps will eventually go above freezing by this evening. So expect a Trace to 2″ snow by late afternoon with a wintry mix of ice pellets to freezing rain. Then just rain well after dark. The coastline should be all above freezing later tonight through Sunday.
COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE
As always, this area is the biggest problem because it’s the meeting ground of the Pacific moisture and cold eastside temps. It’s the only place between Canada and California where that happens. Today’s snow will be accompanied by the usual blizzard-like conditions at the west end due to the strong wind. By this evening the far west end (Corbett/Washougal) will transition to freezing rain like the rest of the metro area, but the east end stays as snow through midday Sunday in the deeper cold pool. The wind ends Sunday evening, but I don’t see a warming west wind; your snow isn’t going anywhere afterward for Monday/Tuesday. Expect a total of 6-10″ at the east end, and a big ice storm again at the west end. There will be some thawing Monday at the far west end. A second, even wetter storm arrives later Tuesday and goes into Wednesday as the cold east wind returns. This could be a real whopper with heavy snow east and snow or freezing rain west end. Details uncertain on this one 3 days out, but prepare for an extended period of difficult travel in the Gorge this afternoon – Wednesday.
CENTRAL & NE OREGON
More snow… Expect severe blowing snow and blizzardlike conditions again on I-84 through the Blue Mountains and Ladd Canyon. Winds are gusting near 70 mph on I-84 right now in Ladd Canyon. The Grand Ronde and Baker Valleys will be a mess with the blowing snow this evening. All areas get at least 2″ out of the storm, but many higher mountains will see 6″ or more.
We will likely be on-air much of this afternoon/evening on FOX12 so my time will be a bit limited for the blog.
Don’t forget to keep at least one eye peeled on those outside conditions!
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen