5pm: Most of Metro Dodges Ice Storm

It’s become clear the past two hours the very cold air pouring out of the Gorge is very shallow, more so than we expected.  The result?  Even most eastern metro locations will NOT be seeing a big ice storm tonight (Whew!) Sub-freezing air is mainly confined to right along the Columbia River and doesn’t extend more than 1-2 miles north and south.  You can see that in the latest temperature map, blue temps are below freezing.


Where the temperatures are below freezing, the ice accumulation has been very thick so far:


That’s almost 1/2″ in Troutdale already.  If temps were 2-3 degrees colder eastside, this would have been the case for many more of you.

So only the areas right along the Columbia River will see additional icing tonight and of course it’s a big ice storm in the Gorge.

There will be no refreezing of roads tonight and the AM commute should be just fine (ice-wise) everywhere except right in downtown Troutdale and into the Gorge.

For the geeks like me…the Troutdale profiler shows us what’s going on.  The cold layer is VERY thin, less than 1,000′ deep over the west entrance to the Gorge!  Looks like abourn 50 degrees at the 2,000′ level.  Typically in a normal ice/snow event (even for east metro), the cold layer is around 1,500 to 2,000′ thick.  I thought it looked a bit strange this morning, but now we know what happened; something to remember for future storms.  A cold layer that thin, even with 10-11 millibars easterly flow,  will remained confined quite close to the Columbia River.  It is still 20-21 at Hood River and The Dalles, which typically would keep the entire east metro below freezing with the east wind.  This makes me think the current setup (cold air right along the river) could continue through the night and into midday Wednesday.  It’s still going to be a huge ice storm, but only in a very narrow ribbon along the Columbia River, both north and south.  I-84 will be close for a day or two I think.


Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

36 Responses to 5pm: Most of Metro Dodges Ice Storm

  1. ron says:

    First good wind event at the coast in a long time at the coast last night. It started blowing just before I went to bed and each time I woke up I listened for a few minutes as it roared through all the fir trees around our house. Fantastic!

  2. 1.37″ in the past 24 hours and still raining. Too bad it couldn’t have come last week as the Fraser outflow was going and fallen as snow.

  3. John says:

    The unplowed side streets in close in East Portland are more slippery now that they are pools of water over melting snow over ice . . . But everything is melting fast.

  4. JohnD says:

    Still air forecast low temp in Fairbanks tonight is -50′ ! After Thursday, our long range temps look to be at least 3-5 degrees below statistical average. Hard to believe–given the overall pattern this winter–that we will not see another “event” or two here in the PNW lowlands.

    • Dana says:

      Numbing! That dense frigid air has to sink somewhere (not near Beaverton!). Watch the development and migration of Arctic high pressure systems, and their circulation.
      Is the jet stream flow looking rather odd to you, as well?

  5. JohnD says:

    Interesting how the ambient temperature @ 32′ is the point where water both begins to freeze and begins to melt. How true that temps at that value feel COLD (when trending downward); but feel mild (when trending upward)!l

    • Lee Wilson says:

      I forgot to mention The water in our yard is flowing into our carport.
      I am being serious about possible flash-flood event happening .

      I think we all need to be very aware of our surroundings.
      Things are getting ugly very fast.

      wait until the ground softens and then high winds hit.

      There will be more than just downed trees .

      Oh yes, The great Pactfic NW .
      It will get you one way or another.

  6. …send some of that warmer air this way…it’s a mess in NE oregon, roads closed, blizzard conditions and the precip hasnt started yet in union county….going to be a wild ride for us tonight…

    • “STAY INDOORS! Due to numerous downed powerlines, tree limbs and roofing material blowing off of houses, the La Grande Police Department is asking residents to stay inside unless absolutely necessary for your own safety.”

    • JD says:

      I had to drive from Union to La Grande this morning. 20mph was probably too fast. I couldn’t see a thing from the blowing snow. The trip back wasn’t as bad, but at least I’m stocked up again. When I left I couldn’t leave out the front, as a drift was blocking the screen door. I shoveled it out when I got back, but it’s filled in again. I’m actually looking forward to freezing rain so that it will crust over the snow.

    • you folks in union are getting hammered worse than we are in cove….the drive this morning on the cove highway wasnt much fun, either…

  7. Ash Qelon says:

    It is a BUST!
    Hardly anything in the areas traditionally get ice.
    Some right in the Gorge but everywhere else.
    warming up as I type!
    It’s a BUST!

  8. Wendy-Silverlake, WA says:

    Well that was a quick snow melt. It’s currently 48 degrees here and the wind has been going at a good clip all day. Started at 27 degrees this morning.

  9. Camas500 says:

    From my experiences you really need temps in the 20’s (or lower) to have significant ice buildup on roadways during Freezing Rain events. I drove home to Camas around 5:30 and had no issues – probably my quickest drive home since the snowstorm of a week ago. Still 32 here, but I’m expecting to be nicely above freezing come am commute.

  10. chiefWright (Marquam, 375') says:

    Hmm. NWS graphical summary is saying ZR tonight for central metro & all close-in directions, not just Troutdale & the gorge.

    If true, it’s surely going to be much less severe in these areas, if at all?

  11. High Desert Mat says:

    Mark, time to update the zr part of the bottom of your homepage. It shows the snow part, not the zr.

  12. Mendy in Corbett says:

    31 and heavy freezing rain just before smith rd in Corbett lots of ice on everything but the yard looks more like a swap now. Will we drop in temperature tonight? Or remain the same.

  13. Lee Wilson says:

    Starting to see patches on the yard

    But the snow is soaking up a lot of water

  14. Sofia says:

    Any idea when things may warm up for us here in the Gorge?

  15. Jack in Corbett says:

    Here in the gorge at 430 feet it’s 27.0* which has been essentially static for several hours. New ice accumulation currently about 1/2 inch on top of old ice. Winds still gusting to 50s. Roads basically impassable.

  16. BruceInTroutdale says:


    So that layer must thin out more as it gets out of the confines of the gorge?? Case in point, sensors in Corbett @ 659ft are 29-30. But in Troutdale, up above downtown, I’m at 220ft and it’s now 35 here.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      This often happens right at the end of ice storms, not at the beginning. But the layer of cold air is much thinner this time. I’ve heard very little ice up by MHCC and the theater

  17. Lee Wilson says:

    Weather display just started flashing 00eamomg a stos a coming

  18. Lee Wilson says:

    Any one seen those high winds?

  19. Alohabb says:

    Plumbing and heating guys swamped the last few weeks, now it’s the roofers and gutter guys turn!

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

    Coming out of such a Winter event I never thought I’d see Eastern county dodge in this way. This is why I love weather. So cool.

  21. Couv Res says:

    Thick layer here currently 32 ..Vancouver Heights area

  22. Lurkyloo says:

    Thank goodness for the non-ice storm, but beware of the funky slush happening!

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

    Heh, that’d explain the major temperature fluctuations here. I’m right on that border.

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