Ice Storm Warning Metro Area: Freezing Rain For A.M. Commute

8:30pm Monday…

Evening models are all in and they are all exactly the same, which gives us pretty good confidence on the forecast.


What has changed this evening?

  1. All models push a band of light rain (freezing rain) across the west side of Oregon right between 4-7am instead of waiting until mid-late morning.  TIMING HAS SPEEDED UP
  2. This means most roads will have a fresh glaze of ice on them for the morning commute from Longview to Eugene.  I’d forget the morning commute if you live in the I-5 corridor.
  3. I’m increasingly confident that most areas on the 3 maps down below will see gradual melting in the afternoon and be pretty much “out of the woods” for the evening commute.  If you’re not in the blue area BELOW, things look much better by afternoon/evening.  Click through those 3 for a closer look.
  4. East wind is even STRONGER this evening!  Peak gust this past hour 89 mph at Vista House and 83 mph at Corbett.  In the past 18 years I’ve never seen winds up in the 75-85 mph range in that 2nd location for more than a brief blip.  Crazy.




  1. A major and possibly crippling ice storm is BECOMING LIKELY in the central/east metro area similar to the 1996 event starting tomorrow afternoon and continuing through sometime Wednesday AM/midday
  2. The Columbia River Gorge (all of it) is LIKELY to see a major/crippling ice storm tomorrow through Wednesday.  This on top of heavy snow/ice already could lead to roof collapses in that area.


  • The low-level airmass doesn’t change at all through Tuesday AM as frigid air keeps pouring out of the Gorge.  We remain below freezing in most of the Portland area.
  • A band of rain moves through most areas west of the Cascades between 6-9am, freezing on contact in almost all areas in the western valleys of Oregon/SW Washington
  • Roads in most of the metro area (that aren’t already icy) will turn icy within 15 minutes of the rain arrival
  • Then mainly dry for a few hours and temperatures everywhere except central/east Portland the Gorge rise to near or above freezing.
  • Temps remain in the 20s East Portland to around the Gorge entrance…solidly frozen all day there.
  • Heavy rain arrives around 3-4pm and it pours all night long into Wednesday AM as a brief “pineapple express” parks itself overhead
  • West and south metro plus Clark county should be slightly above freezing during this time, thus avoiding a big ice storm.
  • If models are correct, 1-2″ ice could form on all exposed surfaces, doing tremendous damage to trees/powerlines that we haven’t seen in 20 years.
  • Any precipitation through Wednesday midday/afternoon should be freezing rain in the Gorge.  1-2″+ is likely out there.


  • I’d say both should be skipped tomorrow
  • Check right away in the morning when you get up to see how temperatures are doing and where the precipitation is of course.  Maybe I’ll be totally wrong this time and we’ll get lucky!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


62 Responses to Ice Storm Warning Metro Area: Freezing Rain For A.M. Commute

  1. JERAT416 says:

    32 in Parkrose, no way will liquid rain stick to roads now. I’m optimistic that my drive home back to the west side will be OK.

  2. Vicki says:

    So far in Hillsboro in my apartment complex there is still a lumpy icy cover on the driveways and walkways are solid ice. Several people fell so we can’t walk to the bus stop. I’m not very hopeful of a complete thaw.

    We need above freezing temperatures, really above, and warm rain for the entire day and night because we are on an icy hill.

  3. gggcorno says:

    Now up to 33. DP has remained constant around 23 or so as temps have risen this morning.

    Yeah, radar shows rain coming faster than I estimated from satellite animation. Maybe the lower DP will bring temps back down when the rain starts, but I’m not confident of that.

    Wind vectors on Mesowest are pretty indistinct over much of the Willamette Valley, so the current warm-up must be insolation rather than south winds.

  4. Theoneandonly says:

    30 in Molalla and 29 in Oregon city on my drive to work. Frozen rain on windshield from earlier.

  5. Alohabb says:

    Rain appears on radar along coast now. Should be here by noon. Not sure what to think about freezing rain in aloha. My gutters are dripping all over the walkway causing a dangerous walk to the cars.

  6. gggcorno says:

    With the sun coming up and patches of blue sky, my temperature (SW Beav/Aloha) went from 28 to 30 in about 5 minutes. A quick look at the satellite loop suggested to me that we won’t see more rain until later this afternoon. I’m starting to think that my thaw will be uneventful – which I suppose isn’t a bad thing. It’s just sub-exciting.

  7. Alohabb says:

    I am now picking up a slight east wind in Aloha now.

  8. JERAT416 says:

    Here in Parkrose, we are at 30 degrees and not even enough precipitation to cover cars.

  9. Andrew says:

    This definitely has the feel of a major bust – at least in the Downtown area. Temps are warmer than I was expecting based on where we were last night with the howling East wind. Moisture this morning was inconsequential and didn’t cause any issues. Seems like we’re headed for mid-30s rain by this afternoon for most the metro. I can’t imagine temps are going to hold below freezing based on the hourly trends.

    • Paul D says:

      BUST in Hillsboro. Drove in to work at 6:30am and just a tiny hint of precip on the windshield.

    • Can’t call it a bust yet since the rain isn’t even supposed to hit until early-mid afternoon. By then, it may very well be above freezing, though. Time will tell.

    • Paul D says:

      Mark said 4-7am in this blog. It’s a bust.

    • Ash Qelon says:

      So with 5+ days 20’s temps, hard pack snows, thermal-frost type hard ground, rain coming in, barley above freezing, the combo yet to appear.
      Let’s se what is said in a few hours from now.
      PDX downtown can be just wet cold, but E county Gorge zone is obviously going to experiences the worst conditions as “Always does”.
      Dividing line 205 freeway, on Eastward.
      “Brace for Impact”

  10. Alohabb says:

    My phone app says Aloha drops to 26 by 10am? Hmmmm

    Just not sure if i should head in to the office for a quick few hours.

  11. Joshua Downtown PDX says:

    31.5 here now. Steadily warming all night. It appears that this morning’s precipitation has already passed. No appreciable precipitation for many hours. Bust for the majority of the metro area?

    • gggcorno says:

      Radar showed some good echoes farther south in the valley, but nothing on the horizon at the moment for metro PDX.

    • Joshua Downtown PDX says:

      Dropped to 30.4 now. Might be a close call for sub-freezing temps when the juicy stuff gets here later.

  12. Lee Wilson says:

    Well, this is us as of now…i spotted a glimpse of the moon! But didn’t get the shot lol.

    Microclimat..its a Nice thing.

  13. Alohabb says:

    KPTV just said Aloha had a 41 mph gust this morning,along with a couple other Westside locations? That’s a typo for sure. I recorded only a 4 mph gust so far.

    Well, thinking this ice won’t effect the westside. By the time the next band of moisture arrives, it will be plenty warm here.

  14. Lee Wilson says:

    We hit 29 last night and we’re at 30.
    I still have food alert popping up in conjunction with ice storm.

  15. David Foster says:

    Even if it gets a few degrees above 32 this afternoon, there is still 2″-6″ of snow everywhere, I don’t see how much better that will be, the roads are terrible now and a few hours about freezing is not going to clear that up

  16. Windsday says:

    Only one single comment all night. One would think with the premises of an ice storm marching on our doorsteps (maybe your door step as it’s warmed to 32F now down in the south valley) there would be a lot more comments.

    This blog is as dead as summertime when predicting if it will go 86F or if it will reach 90F at PDX for the XX amount of days.

    I am assuming people either don’t have high hopes for this ice storm to come to fruition or are too disgusted by ice to keep up on it.

    Maybe a little of both?

    • JJ78259 says:

      After a couple days of cooler rainy weather high of 60 today we get 10 days of mid 70s to 80 degree sunny weather in San Antonio. Nothing wrong with that!

  17. Ash Qelon says:

    In 50 + yrs experience in the same locale’,
    Part 1. The freezing ground, is Now hard-sub thermal temps last 5+ days, now deep in ground. Perfect condition causing any moisture falling on it to freeze as thermal condition mandate.
    Part 2. “Gorge Thermal deposit regions” will in classic form, once again deposit its traditional “flows” of sub freezing air , assisting the “Very cold” rains, to freeze – Silver thaw.
    Expect the Gorge affect patterns of its patented “micro climate” patterns in the local deposit areas.
    Part 3. The rains first impact, will make things slick & dangerous conditions of what ICE pack exists on all surfaces before it hardens into ICE.
    Part 4. For about 36 hours, the initial silver thaw eventually turns into wetted ice conditions in those GTDR zones, and will exist until Wednesday late.
    Frozen ground ice on roads will slowly melt into slush then water, Creating more slick driving conditions.
    Here is the bottom line to be aware of::
    Expect most areas road and low lying surfaces, inundated with standing water by late Wednesday as late surge of higher temperatures quickly creates melted snow / ice into a water surge condition.
    Down town Portland and out West of it, can see cold rain around its districts.
    While approximately 6 miles East, about 205 Freeway, is the dividing line where the temperatures have shown to be significantly different in our micro climate “GTDR”.
    Currently the snow / ice roads right now are characterized by this “fingerprint”.
    Downtown PDX is mostly clear while 205 freeway and all side roads & much of 205 freeway roads are still buried in 3+ inches of hard pack snow /ice.
    Last thoughts:
    GTDR will in its historical and classic fashion be the pockets of the worse hit for extremes and ice when rain begins.
    And as we have seen the last several snow / ice storms, Impacting a significant amount of traffic flows.
    I can confidently say will gridlock roads like as we saw several weeks ago.
    The pattern will simply repeat again.
    Stay safe evertbody.

  18. Wow, are we really going to make it through January without a 50+ temp at PDX? I wonder if Mark knows when that last happened.

    • Maverick says:

      December 20th was the last 50+ day at 53 degrees. Also had 53 degrees on December 3rd, so only 2 in the last 47 days.

  19. Jake-(Gresham near Nadaka Nature Park) says:

    Precipitation wall now starting to show off the Olympic Peninsula:

  20. Diana F. says:

    Thanks Mark! It’s all up to the weather gods now. Stay safe everyone, and keep your eyes 👀 and ears open.

    Gotta say Mark, your maps are colorful, but Cliff Mass has a few in his new post that are pretty striking too!

    He blogs about the major pattern change using some fantastic, illustrative maps and graphs, with an emphasis on Eastern Washington. I’m partial to the upper level and deviation map myself.

  21. Raging winds in the Gorge….84+ mph at Corbett….92 at CP….Seems like the CP sensor is a little rusty??

  22. Paul D says:

    The quote below is from an article on KPTV. com. I think they mean Tuesday.

    “On Wednesday, metro area roads will get another layer of freezing rain, and Portlanders say at this point they can only surrender”

  23. Andrew says:

    I’m a little confused why there seems to be this big jump in the timing of the warm up – it almost sounds like if you’re in an area that is still seeing freezing rain in the afternoon tomorrow when the heavier stuff comes, you’re likely to be in it for several hours and dealing with a full blown storm, potentially into Wednesday. Could we possibly see gradual warming into Tuesday evening too or will the darkness and heavier rain cool the air enough to prevent the warm up. It kind of sounds like a big all or nothing event the way it’s being described by Mark and others, with the freezing rain tomorrow morning being fairly light and inconsequential. Would love some perspective.

  24. Jake-(Gresham near Nadaka Nature Park) says:

    For those wondering about East county conditions. Yesterday had a high of 31F after a low of 23F with what a windy day (15~20mph with gusts to about 28pmh). Currently 25F after a high of 29F. I can hear the fir trees in and around Nadaka Nature Park, roaring.

    Wind gusts into the 30’s now, no question. Batten down the hatches folks!

    • Camas500 says:

      25 here after a daytime high of 32. East winds picking up.

    • Camas500 says:

      Freezing Rain Advisory has turned into Ice Storm Warning. Wonder if that will impact the school schedule. Now just a 2 hour delay here.

    • Jake-(Gresham near Nadaka Nature Park) says:

      Camas, I’d be shocked if those 2 hours delays don’t turn into school closes. I noticed the ice storm warning too. We’ve gone from a flood advisory, to a freezing rain advisory, and now an ice storm warning here. Pretty crazy:

  25. mtwhite06 says:

    “I’m increasingly confident that most areas AWAY FROM THE BLUE on the map will see gradual melting in the afternoon and be pretty much “out of the woods” for the evening commute.”

    I’m confused by the wording here. What areas are you referring to? I assumed you meant the area not shaded blue, but that would include the areas in “purple.” Those areas are the focus of the second half of the blog posting which suggest that the worst will hit tomorrow afternoon/evening. So, is the quote above referring to areas not shaded at all?

  26. Christiana says:

    Just got an ice storm warning from NWS. Guess that means hubby won’t be going to work on Tuesday. Good thing he has plenty of vacation time.

  27. High Desert Mat says:

    First. Crazy winter thus far.

  28. Alohabb says:

    Something weird here, first time all week snow is melting off my roof and dripping off the gutters, causing large icicles. Then the dripage lands on porch and driveway causing MASSIVE slippage, guess the Beaverton area is warming up?

    • gggcorno says:

      Four of the last five days we’ve had two to three hours above freezing at my place (SW Beav). I’ve got a bunch of icicles around my place. Some intersections that face SW in my neighborhood are terrible for pedestrians around storm drains now due to the resulting sheet ice. Even slippery with Yak Trax. (And one of my broke yesterday – but it lasted about 10 years.)

  29. Portland Metro Resident: “We have weak and mostly mild winters around here”.

    Winter 2017: “Hold my beer”.

  30. Paul D says:

    More fun!

  31. W7ENK says:

    Shiz’s gettn’ real, folks…

    836 PM PST MON JAN 16 2017

    • Christiana says:

      Just when I thought Forest Grove might just be out for this round of weather “Event extended (both time and area): Ice Storm Warning for Clackamas, OR, Washington, OR, Clark, WA, Multnomah, OR”

      Sent via Email at 836 pm PST, Jan 16th 2017

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