Ice Storm: Worst Conditions Central/East Metro & Hills

10am Sunday…

It’s pouring outside and for much of the metro area temperatures are below freezing.  Over the next few hours the areas that get heaviest ice accumulations will be where temps remain well below freezing (instead of 32-33) and exposed to the cold east wind blowing out of the Gorge.  That means lots of ice buildup in the West Hills, East Portland, and areas around the Gorge; not too much elsewhere.  Expect IMPROVING conditions in Clark county, south metro & west metro.  This is perfectly normal for an ice storm.  Biggest impacts are always in the city and closer to the gorge.


  • Freezing rain continues through mid-afternoon, then turns to lighter showers for MOST of the metro area
  • A few spots that have gone above freezing (mainly IN Portland and eastside) will go back below freezing for a few hours
  • Areas ABOVE freezing (westside and south metro) will likely stay above freezing through the rest of this event.
  • 1/4 to 1/2″ is likely by sunset in the areas mentioned above
  • Roads west & south metro and up in Clark county should improve from this point forward.
  • Roads central/east metro turn a bit icier, but even they improve once the east wind stops
  • Temps in all areas, except east of Bridal Veil in the Gorge, warm above freezing this evening and ice slowly melts.


Our ice storm is transitioning into one in which the usual areas get hammered.  That includes the hills and all areas exposed to the sub-freezing air pouring out of the Gorge.  Away from those areas temperatures are gradually creeping above freezing.

A couple big meteorological notes this morning:

  1. The easterly strongest gradient I’ve ever seen in the Gorge (pressure difference from DLS to PDX) is occurring right now.  15.6 millibars!  The peak gust at the Corbett sensor hit 85 mph this morning before the freezing rain hit.  Of course now it’s slowing to a stop.  That’s the highest gust at that location since at least the January 2009 damaging wind event.
  2. Even more interesting is a mixing of some “warmer” downslope type wind with the colder Gorge wind the past few hours.  Wanderer’s Peak at 4,000′ SE of Estacada had warmed to 35 with southerly wind at midnight, but has dropped back to 21 with cold air coming right over the top of the Cascades again.  That would also explain why we’ve seen a few spots go back to snow near the Cascades.   PDX warmed up to 34 with a straight east wind gust over 40 mph.  The usual wind direction for the gorge outflow is ESE.  It’s some geekery, but the point is that downslope wind warmed some areas up a couple degrees and now it should be back below freezing the next few hours east of I-5 in the city.

The east wind and sub-freezing temps should suddenly disappear right around sunset as the cold front passes overhead.  Then we all thaw in the metro area.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen






37 Responses to Ice Storm: Worst Conditions Central/East Metro & Hills

  1. joe says:

    Remember all those slushy “Faults” snow predictions we grew up in during the1980’s when we hoped we would get snow, but nothing below 2k feet? Seems colder is the way to lean ever since 2008

    • Dan says:

      We have had about 20 days so far with highs below 40. Assuming we get 5ish more, when was the last time that happend?

  2. ATP Research (Eugene, a hundred yards from I-5) says:

    Just went to clear off my car, which has been parked in the open for over 24 hours. Found a snow sandwich, 1/4″ if ice under 2″ of snow under another half inch of ice. Measured in the center of the car roof in a clean trench.

  3. Diana F says:

    OMG check out the ice-cam at University of Oregon! Thanks NWS Twitter! Excellent viewpoint!

  4. Diana F says:

    Wow, I just glanced outside and noticed the wind, which has been blowing & gusting allllll day today, is just GONE. Like a flipped switch. On. Off. It’s so still!! (NE Vancouver)…..boy do I love winter weather!

    • geo says:

      30 degrees here in sw Gresham @~300ft. east wind blowing but not as hard as earlier. my road here is a sheet of ice.

  5. gggcorno says:

    It seems to be remaining at borderline freezing in SW Beaverton. My thermometer reads 32, but it doesn’t provide tenths. None of the icicles that I can easily see are melting yet.

    I might still need to use my Yak Trax to walk around tomorrow.

  6. JLPDX says:

    A little short of a 1/2 inch of ice buildup, near Mount Hood CC in Troutdale – 291 ft elevation, 31F, no precipitation falling,wind 10 mph, gusts to 15mph

  7. Lee Wilson says:

    Well our heard is iced, but roads are thawed however areas are icey still were at 38.

  8. Scooter says:

    This is for all of you that keep saying that the forecast is
    was a bust:


    predict or estimate (a future event or trend):

    To calculate or predict (some future event or condition) usually as a result of study and analysis of available pertinent data; especially :  to predict (weather conditions) on the basis of correlated meteorological observations

    synonyms: predict · prophesy · prognosticate · foretell · foresee · [more]

    a prediction or estimate of future events, especially coming weather or a financial trend.

    ~Not a fact etched in stone~

    • Leroy says:

      Its not so much the actual forecast bust… It is that the local media caused unnecessary public panic along with the economic costs to businesses….

  9. Alohabb says:

    Not even close to the amount of ice as predicted here. But had the forecast come to fruition, we would have had major problems city wide, so I like the fact this was a “bust”.

  10. Deer Is. at 750' says:

    It was right about noon when it creeped above freezing. Looks like it will be slow melt.

  11. Roland Derksen says:

    No freezing rain or snow here. Just light rain and 37F. As I said, it’s very unlikely around my area. But snow is expected to return with colder temperatures this week.

  12. chiefWright (Marquam, 360') says:

    Now above freezing and slowly thawing. Occasional sprinkles. Markum Inn opened last night. We walked down in the snow to a fabulous steak dinner.

  13. Just wanted to give a shout out to my Grandfather. If he was still around he would have loved this weekend weather we are having! I loved discussing weather with him.

    /Users/danielburroughs/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary/Thumbnails/2017/01/08/20170108-193137/McjKFO1YR462YV75L9tJfg/thumb_safe_image.php_1024.jpg

  14. Gene says:

    Currently at 28 degrees in East Gresham with the east winds still howling. Freezing rain continues with ice coating everything and getting thicker

  15. JERAT416 says:

    34 degrees up here on Bull Mtn. at 650 ft. Rain, slow melting, still slick though. Should be fine when I leave for work early tomorrow morning.Nothing like wet ice!

  16. Paul D says:

    Raining in Hillsboro. Slushy mess. Maybe it’ll be clear later today, or will it freeze again and make another skating rink?

  17. West Linn 500' says:

    ice is melting off of the trees. There wasn’t a whole lot of accumulation, just enough so that you would notice. Winds very light, no gusts

  18. Max in Fairview says:

    No sign of any thawing here. East Wind raging.

  19. Jake-(Gresham) says:

    Freezing Rain Hits Portland with a Threat to WA Passes (Sunday, January 8, 2017):

    Currently still 29F here since 5am (low of 27F). Freezing rain coming down in sheets of drizzle with some flurries mixed in. Big mess out here.

    Another hour and I expect we’ll start getting reports of all kinds of mess. I cannot relate to the reports of thawing West counties at all. Totally different story here. Winds still gusting 30+ mph.

  20. bjvanwash says:

    32.1 in SE Vancouver. The snow and ice on my deck is trying to melt slowly but still very slick. The parking lot in my complex looks to be a little slick still too. Big wind gusts here and there(peaked around 40-45 I think)

  21. JLPDX says:

    A little over a 1/4 inch of of ice buildup, near Mount Hood CC in Troutdale, 28.19F, steady freezing rain, 291 ft, wind ~10mph w/gust to 25

  22. Raging Easterly Wind 20 – 30+ mph
    28.9° F
    Ice is accumulating.

    That’s enough.

  23. Garrison-Aumsville says:

    Still 32 and light freezing rain in Aumsville 10 miles SE . 2 inches of snow and about a quarter inch of ice. Although other apps say 33 it is 32 according to house thermometer roads a little slushy. Have heard trees cracking about 8am this morning

  24. GTS1K' says:

    It’s been 26.6 since 5:30 AM and the wind, if anything, is gusting harder this last hour than it did all last night. Some ice accumulation on trees, etc. but not bad yet.

  25. W7ENK says:

    The Dome is working overtime this weekend. Got up an hour ago to 35 degree rain, and nearly all of yesterday’s 1/2 inch of snow has washed away. No ice here this morning, just looks like a regular old rainy January day out my windows.

    • JJ78259 says:

      The Dome! 35 degree rain is not fun! We are coming out of some cold overnight temp 3 day in the 20s not fun! 75 to 80 returns Tuesday can’t wait!

  26. Prairiedog says:

    I was at 31f at 5:30am and in a matter of 30 min shot up to almost 40f. Little wind at that time and no precip. When the precip started and winds started back up I dropped to 35f now sitting at 37f and rain showers. down sloping and the infamous warm runny nose of warm air always kills me here between Redland and Estacada at 315f. I’ve mixed out so it’s done for me!

  27. Jerry says:

    Heavy snow, and wind (obviously) in Carson. 20 degrees.

  28. Alohabb says:

    Coming down hard here and have puddles in street and streams of water, but I think that’s because it’s just not freezing as fast as it’s falling.

    And I swear I’m seeing chunky rain and am occasional snow flake.

  29. Longview 400 ft says:

    Currently 34.9

  30. Scooter says:

    A nice thaw is underway here at Barton, I sure hope we don’t drop back below freezing today, I’m ready for an afternoon nap and more regular NW weather.

  31. Sapo says:

    Roads out here in Tigard are still a sheet of ice, east wind blowing still too. I’d say still a pretty big ice storm.

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