What a Snow Storm!

I’m just getting going at 10am after the craziest night in my 23 years of doing this.  We forecast a snow storm (1-4″).  But, sorry, I missed a digit on the upper end.  Instead we got 1-14″!!!  Parts of the south metro at the edge of the cold air only saw very light snow at the end of the event.

The OFFICIAL total (as of 10am) at the NWS office in Parkrose is 7.9″  I don’t know yet if that one-day total is greater than the 2008 snow storm.  So officially it’s our greatest one day snow since at least 2008, but possibly back to 1993 or earlier.

At the airport (which is no longer the official observing site), through midnight 6.5″ fell, making it the 7th biggest one day snowfall in P-Town.  If you read that at face value, this was our snowiest day since 1977.  BUT, big issue, 2008 doesn’t show up in the records because the airport location has seen observations come and go the past 20 years.  Without 2008 in there we don’t know how this one ranks at the airport.


Regardless,  this event is winding down and we’ll just see flurries the rest of the day and then go clear and cold for a few days.

The center of the metro area got the most snow with less to the east and west.  When I got home (at 1:30am), there were only 3″ of fresh snow…so sad.

Here are the totals as of 6am:


Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

66 Responses to What a Snow Storm!

  1. Gary Siegberg says:

    Mark, I have seem pictures of cars driving on the frozen Columbia River. They looked like old Model “A”. Any records of the river freezing over?

  2. Diana F says:

    A good natured, snow/winter weather competition between Seattle and Portland~article by Scott Sistek!

    Jealous much > ❄️ ?


    • W7ENK says:

      Wow, so much butthurt in that article! What he fails to account for are all the times over the last decade that Seattle’s cashed in big time and we’ve been left with either glorious 33 degree rain or a paltry skiff. In that comparison, we were overdue. This was our turn, they’ll get theirs again soon, I’m sure.

      Oh, and where is he getting that “…both Seattle and Portland having essentially the same five arctic outbreaks…”? Five? Really?? I can count 2 thus far. Technically three, if you count last weekend’s ice storm as one and Tuesday night thru present as separate. But where the hell does he get FIVE???

  3. I would have not come to work yesterday had I known that there will be 4 inches of snow when I have to come past 10 pm. First time I have to drive on the snow. It was the longest 11 miles I’ve driven. I was just happy knowing that there are no other vehicles around me. Thanks to my co-worker Cody. for bringing my car under the Costco cover so I can warm up my car while I remove the snow all over my car. Otherwise, they will be melting in my garage. Oh, yes. It was the first time my car had been covered with four inches of snow.

  4. Jake-(Gresham) says:

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

  5. Alan PDX says:

    Snowing for past 30 minutes in SE Portland!!

  6. BeaverDreams says:

    Thought the snow was over? It’s coming down hard again in West Slope.

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      The forecast was for snow flurries throughout the day. I’d agree it’s a bit more than that. More like light snow showers (at least here).

    • Diana F says:

      We had a fair amount of snow on Wednesday as well—it clung to the small patch of my car that had been freed of all snow earlier in the day. I meant to do the whole car but 2 minutes in, I was done : )

      Snow is just so dang miraculous! I just wish it wasn’t quite so cold—my fingertips and toes are STILL painful from my walk Wednesday! A walk I thought I was well prepared for.

      I also have now come down with the flu bug that’s been rampant on this end of the city. G-R-E-A-T. I’ve got chills, a fever, a headache and I’m sick to my stomach….but the worst is the DIZZY feeling. I am blaming myself as I should not have played outside for so long…..!

      I just asked the 8 year old to make her own breakfast! I’ve never done that! My Mom is going to come and pick her up at 4:00, at which point I can fall into bed and not move for several days!
      💊 😷

  7. Jake-(Gresham) says:

    I will say this looking at the computer models. It’s a La Niña Winter and while the future weekend looks wet and above freezing. Who knows 72 hours from now.

    Plenty model runs left and consolidation shifting can occur. Temperatures have already been lowered in most local forecasts.

    Waiting till this evening to see what trend is revealed.

    • Anonymouse says:

      Could you imagine another weekend of snow? Not sure how Portland metro would handle that.

    • Diana F says:

      A dream come true to true snow fan-atics! But I don’t have to go anywhere–I work from home! So I know my comment is selfish…!

  8. John Fairplay says:

    One of the other Portland stations has dramatically higher low temperatures (still below freezing).

  9. Jake-(Gresham) says:

    Currently 31F here. Oscillated between 30 and 32 till the high of 32 a hour ago. Just had a snow shower go through. Shoveled the driveway. Light East wind out of the gorge with random gusts to 10mph.

    So happy. ‘_’

  10. Sam Harris says:

    Wow!!! Congrats to all of the PDX Metro on this epic event. I lived in Vancouver for 10 years from 1990-2000 then back to the Seattle area. I now live in SE Auburn. So I watch your weather often. Watching the radar last night me drool in envy!!! To see that heavy of snow for a prolonged period of time was quite amazing. The kind of storms we often dream about especially since it over performed in such a big way. The painful part was watching the moisture move north then literally stop just shy of our area.
    We got snifters for about 12 hours and that is all… Are you kidding me??? North winds, temps in the upper 20’s, low dew points but NO moisture! Brutal for us snow lovers, but very happy for you. Enjoy it for me! Hoping our time will come before this amazing winter is over. 😉

    • Diana F says:

      I would think your area would get more snow than it does, if for no other reason than you are so much closer to Canada!

      I am sure there are meteorological reasons, I just don’t know what they are. I’m just going by the idea that you are much more North than we are : )

      Thanks for the snowplows—Seattle sent some down yesterday, along with some salt~! How nice~!

  11. Don Wechter says:

    Mark – SW Idaho St.; just E of Alpenrose; 9 inches. Think we’re @ 290′ elev.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think we are getting sleet freezing rain right now on 185th

  13. Diana F says:

    Oregon Live 1/11/17 regarding our snowstorm:

    “Yes. We under forecast this event. We saw 6” as the very max possibility. This storm wayyy over-performed. https://t.co/ZyV728NLTk

    — NWS Portland (@NWSPortland) January 11, 2017

    “It was a major bust,” said Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Washington. “One of the worst failures we’ve had in a long time.”



    Personally it bothers me to see people gloating that the professional weather folks didn’t forecast this storm accurately,

    Those of us that are truly interested in the science of weather, and that enjoy this blog, don’t get caught up in this sort of foray. Trolls, however, exist everywhere.

    But no worries, we appreciate the long hours and hard work. The detailed blog entries are the frosting on a very big, yummy cake. Hugely entertaining and informative!

    AND, this Blog is largely responsible for Lola’s current goal of becoming a “scientist”. She wants to study ICE and how and why the Earth “needs it so much…..OR she wants to be a cat detective. As in, she’s a CAT with a private detective license : )
    Straight up, Mother Nature does what she wants when she wants to. IMO, this seemed to be, meteorologically speaking, an unusual event that defied well-established patterns!

    • John Fairplay says:

      It’s not a “bust” unless there is a forecast for snow/ice that doesn’t arrive. I’m thrilled to get 10 inches when no more than 4 inches were forecast.

      Not sure what different decisions people would make if there were “only” 4 inches! Get home! Stay home!

    • Jake-(Gresham) says:

      Great post, and very well said.

    • JJ78259 says:

      Great Post!

  14. Lurkyloo says:

    Snowing again now? WTH??

  15. In Ridgefield, it snowed from about 6 pm Tuesday until noon today. We are about a foot! We took the kid sledding down our hill in the nearby green space. We’ll be stuck here for awhile, snow plows don’t go down our cul de sac and we are at the bottom of a hill! No chains and no 4WD. At least we are stocked up on coffee!

  16. Paul D says:

    Mark’s gonna be feeling pretty smug when he gets out that snowblower!

  17. Only 6 inches in St Helens. 😦

  18. cgavic says:

    The latest most impressive impulse of the upper level. only buried the areas that are impacted by the air coming out of the gorge. Most of the areas with 6+” were in the area still under freezing due to the gorge. It wasn’t based on elevation.

    Yesterday at our location we got 2″ snow within an hour and a half.

    Under this sporadic upper level low we only received 4″ of snow. Just outside the gorge affect areas.
    This was not a textbook cold air snow event (i.e., based on elevation.)

  19. boninepaul says:

    A shocking 11.5″ at my house in Kenton, North Portland. Not as much as the 14″ in 2008 but the most I’ve seen in that short of time possibly since February 1993. Epic.

  20. Diana F says:

    It was nice to hear Mark say, on his tv segment just now, that although he was offered a hotel room last night, he preferred to drive home, which is 37 miles away. And he did it because he “really wanted to drive through a snowstorm”, plus he has a great car for that (4 WD, traction tires)…..! Mark is just like us, crazy for snow!

    • Craig D. says:

      This isn’t historic.Counting only the 2000’s is very short sided. WE had big storms in the 80’s and 90’s. As a native to the area, this is normal, just not regular

  21. WEATHERDAN says:

    2.3 inches of snow from last nights storm gives us a seasonal total of 12.6 inches. This week looks cold. Next week looks like a flood and then the week of the 22nd looks like another cold blast with more snow. Here’s hoping for a dry and mild February. Peace.

  22. Diana F says:

    Seems to be a fair amount of “melting” going on here in NE Vancouver. Although there are icicles hanging from the eaves, and 8 to 12 inches of snow on the ground, I can also hear large amounts of H20 running through the drains, and LOTS of snow falling off branches, etc. HHmmmmm……

    • Diogenes says:

      Most likely its a mixture of solar radiation and heat from the house. I think the ambient air temperature is still below freezing in most of the snow affected areas

    • JohnD says:

      I would sure think that snow will be very much in evidence through the coming weekend–especially in areas that received a foot! Temps ranging from teens to low to mid 30’s. Some dissipation, evaporation and minor melting, of course. All part of the process. I always like it when the “messy” phase is over–streets and walks mostly cleaned up but plenty of snow still around. Nice ambience. And by then easy to get around!

  23. Diana F says:

    Ok so Lola and I just went for a walk in the neighborhood, in 8 to 12 inch snow….we walked for one hour. I THOUGHT I was properly dressed, and apparently I wasn’t. The tips of my fingers and my toes are actually cold and BURNING. They hurt terribly!

    But of course the 8 year old is literally rolling in snow and eating snow and jumping in snow and running in snow. And not cold AT ALL!!!

    Where’s my liquor!

  24. Marc (Brush Prairie, WA) says:

    Looks like Camas, Gresham and east metro did fantastic. Dew points were just not low enough to eat away at the moisture.

  25. Michelle says:

    Cornelius recieved 8 inches so far!

  26. Marc (Brush Prairie, WA) says:

    It has been awhile since there was a happy forecast BUST.

  27. Roland Derksen says:

    Congratulations to you snow bound folks down there- Up in my area we simply had clear skies, and heavy winds out in the Fraser valley. Yes, get ready for the warm(and wet ) change coming. All that snow is going to have to go somewhere as water.

  28. Jake-(Gresham) says:

    Yeah I’d say this was a pretty wide spread event.

    Floodwaters Threaten Sacramento Area:

  29. janice says:

    Forcast right on!! Great job Mark! for Newberg there for a while I thought it was going to pass all together! almost 3 to4 inches!

  30. marinersfan85 says:

    Forecast busted in the best way!

  31. GTS1K' says:

    depth varies but here’s one spot not in a drifted area…

  32. W7ENK says:

    Finally stopped snowing. Ended up with almost exactly 12 inches here in upper Milwaukie.

    I’m so glad I was wrong!! YAY!!! ^_^

    • JJ78259 says:

      I was wrong too I said 8-10 but who’s counting. Enjoy the white stuff. My neighbor just sent me a picture of my old Milwaukie house snowmeggedon. A winter wonderland!

  33. Jane says:

    Would love to hear some analysis about why the forecast snow totals were so low, compared to the actual event. No blame, just curious!

  34. Lee Wilson says:

    We are at 34 and it is still snowing lol.

  35. JERAT416 says:

    Any idea how my commit home from Parkrose to Tigard at 2:30 this afternoon?

    • Lee Wilson says:

      May need snow shoes or skis ..or a quad or snowmobile.
      In some circumstances a Snowmobile or ATV would be appropriate if city is under wide spread closure.
      It really happened in Lomgview.
      A person was using an ATV, officer stopped him..man pulled out a white bag with a red cross and said..Pharmacy… Officer let him go…thought for sure it would have been a ticket but nope.

      Plus I don’t think officers will do much in a snow storm.

      If you got em use em snow mobiles and ATVs..better than a car.

  36. Given the forecast Pineapple Express next week, the thaw may well turn out to be at least as disruptive as the snowstorm for this event. I speak from experience, having been in Seattle for the December 1996 snow which ended in a Pineapple Express.

    My advice: Start shoveling off carports ASAP. Start making channels to drain gratings as soon as the flakes stop.

  37. Diana F says:

    “I’m just getting going at 10am after the craziest night in my 23 years of doing this”.

    Wow that says it all! A 23 year high point! That’s awesome but what a bummer about having JUST 3″ at home!

    Hermit for the duration

  38. John says:

    Who thinks the accumulated snow will stick around through most of the weekend?

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