Biggest Snow Storm Since 2008 In Portland

4pm Wednesday…

It appears the final numbers are in now since we’ve only seen flurries since 10am or so.

The big question…

How does this storm compare to previous snow storms in Portland???

It was the biggest snowstorm since December 2008, just over 8 years

The official total at the Portland National Weather Service office in Parkrose was 7.9″ 8.0″


Here are lots of other totals from around the metro area:


Most interesting about last night’s storm was the convective nature of the precipitation.  Very heavy bands of rain/snow moved north right along I-5 from 7-11pm.  So the big dumping was straight south to north from Lake Oswego through the middle of the city (that’s rare!) north through Vancouver and Hazel Dell.

West of Hwy 217 and east of I-205 it was more of a “typical” Portland snow storm.  By that I mean 4-8″ for most of us away from that big dumping in the middle of the metro area.

Here’s a look at the past few storms…these numbers are the official numbers from the NWS Office:


So what happens now?  We have thick snow cover, clearing skies Thursday, and a cool/dry airmass overhead.  That means cold nights and cool, but sunnier days.  It’s pretty obvious that we have the potential for single digits in the coldest outlying areas Friday and Saturday mornings, assuming skies remain clear.  We will likely not get down below 10 degrees here in the city.

To summarize…the snow on the ground isn’t going to suddenly melt, it will compress the next few days and gradually melt off roads.  Another snow day for the kids tomorrow, and possibly Friday too!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

112 Responses to Biggest Snow Storm Since 2008 In Portland

  1. JERAT416 says:

    It’s never gonna warm up, forget this.

  2. Mark, is the Pearson Airport temp sensor working ok? (KVUO)
    Said 12° this am. Earlier it said 10…..well now it says 16…all over the place……

  3. Jake-(Gresham) says:

    So looking at the long range model. As Mark has forecasted the cold gets extended into the weekend. Past that a pretty good low pressure system strikes Alaska interacting with a cold air mass up there.

    We kind of get whatever low pressure systems play off that dynamic. In short, general trend is pretty solidly toward typical Northwest weather, wet – followed by more wetness.

    • JJ78259 says:

      That is normal pattern till July 5th in a La Niña year! About the time kids get out school with all the snow days added on. Juneary may make a come back this year.

  4. Alohabb says:

    Forecast for me of 6?! Holy smokes.

  5. John says:

    The forecasts I’ve seen say Portland temps below freezing until Monday and then it rains an inch a day for three days


    Is there much chance of that coming down as snow or freezing rain?

    This is an invitation to wildly wishcast. Don’t disappoint me.

  6. Alohabb says:

    This massive amount of water on the roads will freeze later making dangerous roads.

  7. Lee Wilson says:

    Who else here has sun!
    What a beautiful day.

  8. Lee Wilson says:

    I finally found something useful out of all that snow..

    And after adding a couple of more small containers.

    So..I been melting it for snow cocoa .

  9. W7ENK says:

    KATU is claiming we had thundersnow on Tuesday night.

    I was in and out, mostly out wandering the neighborhood, marveling at the snow from about 8pm to a bit after midnight.

    I didn’t see any lightning.
    No one I know saw any lightning.
    No one on Facebook reported seeing any lightning.
    No one here on the blog reported seeing any lightning.
    There weren’t any lightning strikes shown on any of the online products.
    This is the first I’ve heard of it.

    I mean — I get it — torrential convective precip and all, but if it doesn’t actually produce any lightning, does it really count as a thunderstorm??

  10. W7ENK says:

    You know what’s funny? That map I was posting on Tuesday, marking the areas I thought were most likely to get screwed out of snow? Turns out, I basically marked out the areas that saw the HEAVIEST snowfall through Portland Metro — below the hills and South of the Columbia River, anyway. lol 😆

    Maybe that was the Universe poking at me?

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      That sir is some nostalgia weather to mull over for sure. I noticed that as well from your posting on Tuesday to the totals documented yesterday. Well said. 😀

    • pgiorgio says:

      You’re in an alternate reality right now. If you want to go back to your old reality follow my instructions. But first, never forget the improbable does happen. Click your heals 3 times…. wake up…wake up now..

    • W7ENK says:

      Naah, I’m not ready to wake up yet… I’m having far too much fun here in Polar Portlandia!

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      Please do take your time. You and many of the other older folks make this blog what it is for people like me. Even if you guys sometimes fly off the handle hehehehe! 😛

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      Oh now I’m being a cheeky b@$&@$#. I will take my leave lol!

    • W7ENK says:

      “Older.” Ouch! 😥

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      Trust me when I say I’m being a monkey. I work off and on with people from WWII.

      I’m just poking fun at generation x. It’s what we millennials do. 😉

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you think we Milwaukieans finally got a fair shake in the snow dept? I’m fairly happy about. Always want more though.

  11. pgiorgio says:

    I wanted to address a few things I’ve seen on the blog. First, flooding shouldnt be too big of a concern next week. We have a brief warm up with a few inches of rain likely. That, however; should not be enough to cause major flooding like some instances in the past. I dont see a sustained period of heavy rain along with very warm temperatures. Temps should cool back below normal and refreeze the higher elevations later next week. Also it would take an enormous amount of rain to drive severe flooding along with warm temps from a subtropical jet for a longer period of time than I expect. Some of the minor flooding that occurs in the northwest from time to time is likely however brief it may be..

    Second, I don’t think Port metro is done with snow this year. Given the current setup for the remainder of the winter I feel its likely that there a few more snow events in the future this year.

    • JohnD says:

      I would have to agree. Instinctively it would seem that the overall pattern that has been in place for many weeks now, is still conducive for at least another round or two. And like all of us, so much enjoying the protracted ambience of the current one.

    • I agree that there will be at least more flirtations with snow. That’s based more on a gut feeling than anything else, as well as the consistency of the pattern we’ve been locked in for the past 6+ weeks.

  12. John says:

    For what it’s worth, I drove I84 and I5 from East Portland to Vancouver for work today at 6:45 am and it was okay – some slick spots, some bumpy/rutty spots, but as long as you’re not trying to drive 40 mph those are okay, and much of the route was otherwise pretty clear.

    However, I can’t say the same for the side streets.

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      I’m pretty upset here in East county near the DMV Gresham.

      Went driving out last night and I saw nothing in the way of gravel being put down. I didn’t see a single plow truck on any major street even in the business district by Airport way.

      The city counsel consistently said they’d now be putting salt on the most dangerous locations like exposed overpasses and on ramps yet I don’t see them anywhere doing the general maintenance?

      There is now sheets of ice and ruts developing everywhere here. Totally dangerous.

      The 2008 snowstorm it took a week to get equipment down from Mount Hood. I understand that. It takes time. Where the heck are the snowplow trucks from the city in the mean time to at least set the gravel?

      There are abandoned cars under I-84 overpasses. Still.

    • runrain says:

      Yes! I’ve seen no gravel anywhere. I’m guessing it was all used up and they’re not telling us they don’t have any more.

    • Gene says:

      In fairness, this was an extremely rare event, and I’m sure people are doing the best they can with the situation at hand. From watching news reports on TV, I’m seeing many people putting in lots of hours to help the community manage this unique storm

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      Yeah no Gene I get that.

      I’ve lived here all my life (granted I’m not like 80 or something – 27 years old) and I appreciate the effort put forth.

      I’m just thinking we need to call for a petition here?

      Something like if, “A great amount of snowfall of 6+ inches falls on the greater PDX area a request of snow equipment from the Cascade range must be implemented to the scale deemed by the Mayors of the counties.”

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      “6. How many plow trucks does the City have?

      A total of 55 trucks are fitted with snowplows and sand spreaders.”


      “The Portland metropolitan area grew by 111 people a day from July 2014 to 2015, the Census Bureau estimates.”


      I’m really thinking with the worst traffic jam ever recorded in Portland last month should constitute some kind of coordination on this that wouldn’t hurt? The current snowplow trucks of 55 is not enough for 2.4 million people in my honest opinion.

    • John says:

      But if we had 200 plow trucks, they’d sit idle for 9 years out of every 10 . . . I think this is just too rare an event to expect or demand the city divert money from other pressing needs.

      I’d rather have more signalized crosswalks in East Portland, saving lives 365 days/year, than a fleet of unused snowplows.

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      The cheekiness – it’s real. 😛

  13. W7ENK says:

    Anywhere from 10 to 13 inches in my yard, depending on where I measured, and that was immediately after the last snowflakes stopped falling around 10am yesterday. Average 11-1/2 inches, so I think I can in all fairness call that 12 inches. A whole foot of snow in Milwaukie!!

    WOW!!! :astonished:

    Not a breath of wind since it started dumping on Tuesday evening, the trees are still holding onto their snow. Downtown Portland is so beautiful this morning.

    I’m still in disbelief. I’m not entirely sure this isn’t some crazy-vivid lucid dream, or perhaps I died in my sleep and woke up in Heaven?
    I gotta know…

    • Gene says:

      Cool pics. I was at the Rose Garden (sorry, MODA) last night for the Cleveland game, and the snow scenes on the drive in and in the areas around the arenas were amazing. Truly a spectacular sight to behold

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      Great pictures and that video hahaha! Saved the pictures on my desktop with proper reference to the author. Thanks!

  14. Better enjoy this epic winter while we can. Will probably be a LONG time before we match it. Very similar now to Jan 1979 or I should say 1978-79. That was an incredibly cold winter. Only thing really missing is a major Metro wide ice storm.

  15. runrain says:

    Stay off of I205! The overpasses are covered with large mounds of ice. If you’re comfortable driving over boulders in a Jeep/Subaru (I have an Outback), then fine. Otherwise, it’s crazy. The traffic at 5 mph was literally dancing side to side traversing these mounds. Never seen anything like it!

    • runrain says:

      Specific overpasses are at Foster, Powell, Division.

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      Are you getting clearance with your outback over the ruts and snow? I’d be livid if I was ramming my car into blocks of backed icey snow.

      Where the heck are the plows? I was out driving last night and saw nothing on Glisan, Halsey, and major roads to I-84 like 181st street.

      What the freak? No gravel. Nothing. Why was no equipment called off Mount Hood?!

    • runrain says:

      The ’15 Outback can clear a street curb, so, no, no issues. Amazing control in that thing. The biggest danger is to not get overconfident!

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      Okay I just wanted to ask because I’m a big fan of Subarus.

      Really want a WRX STI. Bad. 😛

  16. Jeff - Whidbey Is says:

    After Pineapple Express models hinting a return of arctic weather. Maybe a push down the NW passage this time.

  17. Lee Wilson says:

    Just curious is that spiral low looking thingy the thingy in the Pacific Ocean that is going g to be responsible for all that rain next week?

    I do not like what I am seeing if that is the case.
    Rapid melt.. Is coming…I hope and pray is am wrong.

  18. Lee Wilson says:

    OK, what are they hiding?

  19. Jake-(Gresham) says:

    Major Snow Post Around Portland (Cliff Mass):

  20. Lee Wilson says:

    It fi ally stopped snowing. Now were freezing out there.
    I await to see if the day will truly be sunny.

  21. Jason Hougak says:

    Mark the High Resolution Rapid Refresh worked extremely well last night. In the hours leading up to the event I ran the snow accumulation loop and it showed what exactly happened. I was sick seeing that eastern Clackamas county was pretty much going to be missed. I was hoping it was going to be wrong. NOPE… We got an inch during snowmaggedon last night. Snowed from 7 til 10 this morning picking up another 2″. Decided nobody was going to go up skiing. Went skiing at Timberline with family and the runs almost empty. Perfect day on the mountain. Got home to about another inch. Been a good snow season here with over 21″ now for the winter. Coming up on 4 weeks with snow on the ground. This Saturday will break the 2 straight week mark for snow on the ground. 2017 has been white here before the ball even dropped in Times Square.
    I would have loved to get a foot plus last night on top of the snow pack but this snow year and so many snow days is getting to my wife. She snowboard today but in a week she’ll be basking in that Hawaiian sun. Aloha

    By the way the moonight on the snow outside is amazing right now. Going out to get firewood and it was bright enough to read. Beautiful!!!

    • Lee Wilson says:

      I can agree as well.
      It literally lit up,the night .

      I could even see the hills across I 5.
      And I could see definitions of the trees…well sorta.

  22. Measured 10 inches of snow today where we live close to the base of Cooper Mountain in Aloha right around 209th Street. I am being conservative with that measurement since there was compression as well so maybe even an inch more. We sit at about 200 feet and noticed the snow sticking a bit earlier than other spots in Beaverton due to being slightly colder. Always a notch or two colder here which attributed to a few more inches than other locations in our area. Definitely well surpassed the Beaverton 8 inch total.

    • Alohabb says:

      I’m in the same area and agree. Always abit cooler in winter and warmer in summer. Not sure what it is about this little area but, the snow was great.

      But I’m good now. Can summer come back and play please!!!!

  23. April 20th 1992. Omaha, Nebraska.

    I was running weather models on the Cray XMP for Air Force Global Weather Central (AFGWC). My wife was a AFGWC forecast verification specialist. The forecast for the day was cold rain. Around noon it switched over to snow and snow it did! 12 hours later we had a foot of of the white stuff and four foot drifts. The forecast verification specialists taped the errant forecast to the forecasters dorm room doors.

    2 days prior it was 75f and nine days after the blizzard we hit 91f. Talk about extremes!

  24. Theoneandonly says:

    No way did Molalla get 6 inches. 2 inches at best.

  25. brucie555 says:

    Interesting if you click on Mark’s “La Nina Winter 2016-17” button up above and read down, you will see this comment…

    What I find interesting is that no La Nina in the last 30 years has produced a major snowfall here in Portland. Of course you couldn’t say the same thing about 1989 down the Valley and up into Washington, but I’m just talking about right here in the metro area. I should point out that the “cool/wet” La Nina winters (such as the last one) often produce little freezing rain because we don’t get as many inversion episodes to our east, which means less east wind in the Gorge.

    So all of that went into the bust bucket this year??


  26. John Fairplay says:

    Too bad they measure the snow depth in the place with the least LOL.

  27. GKW says:

    I’ve heard that there was Thundersnow in Portland with this recent snowstorm, but there is no mention of Thundersnow on the channel 12 weather reports, so I was wondering if there really was any Thundersnow?

  28. Lee Wilson says:

    I am going to go out on a limb and state, we are going to get some serious flooding.

    • Hmmm, you could be right. There doesn’t look to be much melting until Monday, so the rain + melting snow combo could produce some major flooding.

    • Lee Wilson says:

      I am only going by what I expierenced in my 45 years of living.
      I just hope I am wrong..because if of I 5 will be….underwater…

    • Lee Wilson says:

      I have seen a lot..and I am sure mark has been around long enough to see this .

      I remember well the.slides that occurred with rapid melting group d as well. Seeing the image on TV of mud coming down that road hasn’t made me forget what we could be in for.

      I just hope we dont get will winds either…as much as I want wind power…that would not be a good thing.

      One thing about the Pacific Northwest… We get our own severe. Weather capable of great destruction.

    • Lee Wilson says:

      It could be worse…we could get a flash freeze on top of the flooding.

      Maybe Mark could take the time to see how many times we had a rapid melt in the last 30 owed up by a refreeze and then followed up with a second rapid melt?

  29. Diana F says:

    Vancouver School District closed Thursday. Surprise!

    Said no one lol.

  30. marinersfan85 says:

    I love it when the forecast busts this way!

  31. High Desert Mat says:

    Just goes to show everyone that snowstorms are still a surprise. No one thought a foot was comin and I read a lot of posts saying bust at 4pm. So, the best storms are surprises still.

  32. esmewwax says:

    Hey Mark- Any chance someone can get up to Vista House and un-freeze the wind gauge?

  33. Lee Wilson says:

    Just a reminder folks..
    Tree branches are getting weighted down.
    I was practicing my flying when I seen two points of interest.

    Second point of interest were power lines getting close to trees.
    The first point..well that is how people lose their cable internet.
    Trees on lines:

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Maybe the branches were getting close to the power lines instead Lee?

    • Lee Wilson says:

      They are resting on the cable lines . Them things are surprisingly strong.

      By the way…I stayed well away from those lines.

    • Lee Wilson says:

      Oh I see what your saying…hmm I’ll go with both..

      The one tree all the lines have to do is sag a bit more and they will meet with the tree branches..either way..the trees need to be trimmed.

  34. JJ78259 says:

    Wow Matt said 3 to 4 inches of Rain next week! That will get rid of the snow!

  35. Lee Wilson says:

    It is still snowing and now I just got this.
    January 11, 2017:

  36. Don says:

    7 inches in Sherwood. 200 feet.

  37. Ann Merklin says:

    We had just moved to Salem in Oct ’08. Felt like the storm was saying “Welcome to Oregon!” I LOVED it! My grandkids came over and we “ice skated” up & down the street! There ended up being about an inch of ice underneath! Perfect for what we were doing, and had a blast!

    • Diana F says:

      Wow Ann, that itinerary does indeed sound like a blast! I love that this event has created a winter wonderland the kids will remember forever.

  38. Mike Hinnant says:

    I’m in Wilsonville. The official snow total for here says 2″ but we had 4″ at our house. Boeckman and Canyon Creek Rd.

  39. Ev in The 'Couve (Lakeshore, 150' msl) says:

    I’m guessing it’s much better than even money that the kiddos are going to have Friday off too.

    The arterials here are in better shape, but the neighborhood collectors — and especially the residential streets — are still a mess. Many, many areas in neighborhoods are nearly impassable for 2WD…

    I suspect they’ll grow even nastier once the forecast sub-20 degree lows turn our nice snow into Cascade Concrete…

    The amount of tree damage up here NW of Vancouver is amazing. I’d say it’s at least as bad as 2004, and likely worse.

    I can’t recall ever seeing so many trees simply snapped in two…

  40. Jake-(Gresham) says:

    Got real dark cloud cover here. Snowing heavily with blowing snow everywhere!

  41. Mountain Man says:

    Out here in western Skamania county, there is now the discussion I heard today… about a 4 day weekend for the kids for 4th of July where they return to class the 5th of July to finish the school year. Unbelievable! No early summer plans I guess. A lot of winter yet to go. Only 7 inches from this storm by the way, but new and base gives me 20 inches on the ground. 10 make-up snow days already. Crazy!

  42. Wendy-Silverlake, WA says:

    It has not stopped snowing here the entire day today, but it did warm up to 33 so it wasn’t accumulating at all. Now that the temp has dropped to 31, it’s snowing bigger and sticking like crazy.

  43. John says:

    Hmm, my high schooler’s summer job requires. report for training at a certain date in June . . .

    Maybe PPS will not try to make up every listl snow day on a 1 for 1 basis. Just hoping.

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