Forecast On Track; Cold Rain Metro Area Through 7pm, Snowy North & West


It’s nice to see a forecast end up correct…so far.  There is a very clear line that runs from around Gaston to Forest Grove and then over to Scappoose and Woodland, WA.  North and west of that line it’s snowing bucketloads.  South and east (95% of the metro area) it’s generally all rain or a rain/snow mix.  You can see it with all the surface observations plotted…it’s not pretty but it tells the story.  The numbers are current temperatures; 33-34 means it’s probably snowing and sticking.


Radar also shows the snow/rain line well:


This setup should continue through the Super Bowl and probably through 7-8pm.  That means roads for just about all of us in the metro area remain clear.  Of course that doesn’t include water flowing over some roads due to the heavy rain.  Speaking of heavy rain, it has been really dumping from the metro area south the past 6 hours, although it has let up south of Wilsonville which is good news…approaching 2″ today in Salem.  Lighter rain (snow) has been to the north and west of the metro area.  The band has shifted a bit north, but there will still be minor flooding in spots the rest of the day.  Watch for water over roads…but at least we’re used to that!


I still think we’ll get that Trace-3″ in the lowest elevations of the metro area late this evening and into the overnight hours.  Stay tuned…

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

70 Responses to Forecast On Track; Cold Rain Metro Area Through 7pm, Snowy North & West

  1. Still snowing lightly. Been at it 3 hours now, not even an inch on the lawns yet. Roads are finally starting to accumulate slush. Eastern suburbs really seem to be getting it with this event.

  2. Wendy-Silverlake, WA says:

    9.5 inches here and still coming down. Although looking at the radar there appears to be an end! Hopefully!!!!!

  3. Jack says:

    Rain only in Camas, WA at 600 feet. Hardly any snow this day.

  4. John says:

    Here in close in East Portland at 250′, raining steadily and not particularly cold. I’m hoping to see white in the morning but . . .

  5. W7ENK says:

    2.45″ of liquid water rain since midnight here in Milwaukie. Temperature has been hovering between 35 and 37 degrees since about 10am.

    This has to be one of the biggest, most epic busts in Portland weather history, or at least in the top 3 perhaps. It’s on par with January 2012.

    This thing is basically over with folks, this rain is not going to transition to snow in Portland metro. How it is out there right now, that’s exactly how it is going to be when I get up and leave for work in the morning — 35 degrees and still raining, not even a splat on the windshield. Time to hang it up and go to bed!

    • john.fairplay says:

      Yep, 18 inches reduced to zero is definitely the biggest bust I can remember.

    • W7ENK says:

      I was wrong about one thing. When I got up to leave for work, it was still raining (sprinkling), however the temperature bumped up to 38. We actually saw a 3-4 degree temperature RISE after the COLD front passed. Oops!!

  6. boydo3 N Albany says:

    NW Washington is getting the goods.

  7. Wendy-Silverlake, WA says:

    We’re gaining about an inch of snow every 30 minutes. Power was out for the last couple of hours. Now it’s back on. Yippee!!!

  8. Scooter says:

    Mark, thanks again for your excellent weather forecasts, and providing this blog, you are obviously skilled & passionate about weather and providing a venue to discuss it. I apologize for making this more difficult and will refrain from making outspoken or inflammatory remarks from now on. I will say what is on my mind but in a more constructive manner.

  9. Deer Is. at 750' says:

    8″ here. It is as cold as it has been all day, 32.1, and now it has turned to light rain. Go figure. Temp is according to my alarm clock, Oregon scientific.

  10. Lee Wilson says:

    Just couldn’t resist

    • Lee Wilson says:

      Special note, heard an explosion in the distance as the lights flickered.

    • So, rain changed over to snow, pretty much as advertised, maybe even a little earlier than advertised, nice big precipitation shield in place, well I’ll be… looks like this event is actually going to materialize for me. 3-6″ forecast. We shall see.

  11. Now snowing lightly here. Lawn getting slushy.

  12. John says:

    Wife has to drive from Portland to Yakima tomorrow mid morning. Mother in Yakima declining and probably dying. Anyone have a sense of likely road conditions?. She has snow tires, has driven over Sadis Pass in fresh snow, leading a caravan of 18 wheelers. But ice would not be good.

  13. JohnD says:

    Not quite ready to lick any wounds yet. Although I do have to say that I never was a believer for this one. It was–and is–still, however, somewhat fun following the event/non event over the past couple of days. And some of us DID get the goods! For myself, if I wake up to an inch of slush on the car tomorrow morning, I will be happy. Perhaps a final signature to a fun lowland winter overall!

  14. Sapo says:

    00z WRF soundings indicate we could switch over to snow by 10 PM, heavy/steady precip continues through about 2 AM it would appear. 2-4 inches from this…I kind of doubt it, but who knows.

    Also, heavier showers tomorrow could lower snow levels back down to the valley floor briefly, probably just some accumulations in the hills as we usually see with onshore flow.

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

    I’d have to say this event shows yet another example of computer model inadequacy. Oh yeah, it had total precision of 12 to 18 inches of snow. Just not in PDX as it showed for multiple runs.

    This is something I stringently learned as an undergrad. in lab. You can have precision with no accuracy with your results. To give an example, envision an archer hitting the same spot on a target but it just happens not to be the bulls-eye.

    Impressive in it’s own right maybe watching him at a tournament.

    Probably would get a podium finish.

    But, it won’t save him when the bear or enemy solider is charging him….

    Put into our situation of circumstances. Only the Euro held on with some accuracy consistently stating the Sound area should be expecting this snow. Everything else, not so much. A lot of people are lulled into the fact that we have a lot of computer models. I was too for this weather system. It looked exceptionally progressive toward snow. So, I failed to realize that the most accurate weather model (the Euro) was saying this was a no go for PDX.

    Overall, my observation this Winter of having to witness multiple events where the computer models only knew with some percentage of degree of accuracy 12 hours outside of a major event is totally unacceptable. The current tools challenge the integrity of the meteorologists far too often. It’s what caused the largest traffic jam in PDX this Winter back in December – not the meteorologists.

    A lot of people think that in this “modern age” we don’t stifle progress by hanging scientists by their bootstraps back like in the medieval ages when things go wrong. Wrong, we still do it to meteorologists. So big thanks to meteorologists for this Winter’s work. You guys have a tough job and I appreciate it (I know we could still see some action this February). Cheers.

    • john.fairplay says:

      We’re in real trouble if the models can’t “read” the Gorge-effect events AND they can’t read the other kinds of events either. We may as well decommission them, save our money and read tea leaves or goat entrails.

      Honestly, I’ve lost count of the number of times snow was forecast for the Portland Metro and never materialized. I can’t say it’s stopped being disappointing, but it’s no longer any surprise. Absolutely no question in my mind this is the toughest place in the country to forecast wintry weather.

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

      Yeah I agree on the gorge and I speak out of countless Winter’s too seeing close calls and total surprises. The Euro is the only one I’ve seen run “okay” this Winter. It boggles my mind how many computers must be running all these models every 12 hours or so. It speaks a need for a major overhaul that this science field sorely needs.

      Climatology should be at the forefront with the prospect of wanting to put people to colonize Mars. How can we effectively say we can do that? If we don’t even know how to build models for our own weather. Much less the prospect of transforming another planet via terraformation! Let’s not even mention our most pressing matter of climate change.

      Instead, we have meteorologists working daily with inadequate tools on daily weather. Not acceptable.

    • Scooter says:

      Jake, I also wanted to add in reference to the snow traffic jam in December, the blame lies with those folks that drive the roads without proper skill, gear and tools to handle winter weather situations…. we are in an era of mistaken over confidence and a delusion (provided by auto makers) that our sophisticated automobiles can handle any adverse road condition, and which can be handled with ease provided with the wonderful technology you purchased with you car.

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

      Well said, fully agree on that as well. Lot’s of new people moving into P-town. Not properly ready for our climate!

  16. Jack says:

    I wish that in my job I could predict all possible outcomes and then pat myself on the back when I’m magically correct. In the old days forecasters used to predict a small range such as 3-5 inches about a certain elevation such as 500 feet. Either they were right or wrong. Now we just hear some useless nonsense like 0-18 inches possible. Thanks for nailing it down! Then the forecasters blame local politicians and infrastructure for traffic issues trying to cover themselves for missing the forecast. Thanks!

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Actually no they didn’t. This exact same pattern 20 years ago without our current suite of models? We would have just forecast rain through all areas west of the Cascades. We would have missed all the snowy areas to our north and west. And the big snowstorm in mid-January? We probably would have called for flurries. Of the 7 events since early December, only this one and the mid January snow were a miss (for amounts only, we forecast 1-4″). The others were well-advertised ahead of time

  17. Alohabb says:

    Time to stop thinking we’ll have another day off and time to get ready for a Monday. Ugh

  18. I suspected from the beginning of the model ride that this event would not happen in the lowest elevations of the metro area. It is a lot harder to get sticking snow when there is no east wind involved or an atmosphere that has already been cooled. It was 50 degrees yesterday and low 40’speed starting this morning. I am still holding hope that at least snowflakes will be in the air at some point late tonight but it is 36 degrees now in Aloha but hasn’t budged there in quite a few hours. Not sold on the temp lowering any more than 1 or 2 degrees through the night but you never know. Definitely not getting the 18 inches the models forcast a few days ago. That aside, it has been a great and exciting winter with many “twists and wrinkles” as Mark would put it. Mark has done a great job. Too bad the weather models have seemed to be particularly bad figuring out cold weather events this year. Must have been way too many variable to factor in this year.

    • Windsday says:

      I’ve kept up since 2003ish and every time they think it will snow at 35F it doesn’t happen or it is a 1,000 foot event at best.

      When they don’t forecast it then it is usually a surprise.

      Will it Snow? Noooooooooo! Not at 39F it won’t.

      However the barometer is really low.

    • Windsday says:

      Oh and climate change has decreased our chances even further regardless if mankind is involved or not.

      If this were the 1950s I can guarantee this would’ve been a quick 1-3 incher.

  19. Alohabb says:

    This is not gonna happen. The computer models were more correct than the human element in this round.

    • Joshua Downtown PDX says:

      A lot of the models for the 12z suite were still showing a few inches for PDX. I never looked at the 18z ones, and I won’t bother with the 00z. Point is, we are ending up on the very low side of probability based on the model and human forecasts.

  20. Redland450' says:

    Only rain in Redland

  21. Dave in SW PDX (235') says:

    What a soaker. I’ve picked up 1.88″ of rain so far today; at this rate I’ll easily top 2″ before midnight. Lots of yellow & orange on the radar, not enough blue. Currently 36.9°/DP35°.

  22. marinersfan85 says:

    Snow should increase in the next couple-threw hours. It wasn’t forecast to switch over until later tonight. The warm air advection was expected. Calm down everyone.

  23. K. PacificNW says:

    I live in Vancouver, WA. No snow. Didn’t think there would be any. Too warm. Even when that “foot of snow” forecast came in 48 hours ago, I thought, I doubt it. Lived here all my almost 50 years.

  24. Anonymous says:

    3 to 4 inches Castle Rock 10 miles above Longview. 400 foot elevation. 1 mile east of I-5

  25. oiler_head says:

    To say bucket loads is an understatement. Just drive to Tualatin from Lynnwood, WA. Snow showers just south of Tacoma and then stead, wet snow all the way to South of Kalama. Amazing how quickly it went from snow to rain as I got closer to the metro area.

    Saw multiple spin outs north of Chehalis and two rollovers. Hopefully everyone is OK.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Currently 32.7
    2 1/2
    Continuing to snow hard

  27. Scooter says:

    Good day!

  28. BeaverDreams says:

    I trust in Mark….he still says up to three inches of snow tonight. 😉

  29. Alohabb says:

    What do the Patriots and Portland have in common?

    It’s over. Your event is done.

  30. ron says:

    Steady snow all day in Astoria, but all of that snow is offset by the fact that it remains above freezing. Still, it is fun to watch it come down!

  31. flurball says:

    Trending south…………the Patriots

  32. Alohabb says:

    NWS is backing off. Several more hours of rain so by the time it snows little to no accumulation.

  33. JERAT416 says:

    Is there any point tonight when it’s safe to say that if any particular location hadn’t gotten snow, they aren’t going to at all?

  34. Been running errands in Silverdale and Bremerton this afternoon and its changing over to wet snow on the Kitsap Peninsula as of half an hour ago. Still just chunky rain here in Bainbridge Island; we’re surrounded by salt water so we’ll probably switch over last. But good to see that the changeover is under way, and beginning earlier than forecast.

  35. Lee Wilson says:

    Just wanted to share with you the last 4 hours.

    It has changed fast.
    This snow is wet and heavy.

  36. Paul D says:

    Uh oh. just dropped below 36 in Hillsboro…. the plot thickens!!!

  37. Longview 400 ft says:

    Currently 32.9
    Snowing hard
    1 1/2

  38. anonymouse says:

    Really glad this mess missed Portland. We’ve had enough this year and it’s always a fiasco once anything frozen is on the roads. Let’s get to spring!

  39. john.fairplay says:

    So is that snow/rain line forecast to move Southeast more? Or is it normal later-day temperature drop that will bring snow throughout Metro?

    • anonymouse says:

      That snow/rain line should hold steady even through the night, it looks like Portland is safe. We got the 20% chance scenario of all rain that was forecast.

  40. Deer Is. at 750' says:

    Up to 4.5″ here.

  41. flurball says:

    wind directions on that snow line are mainly NW while below they are variable. Starting to get a measurable NW wind here in far east Milwaukie and temp starting to drop again.

  42. Joshua Downtown PDX says:

    35.2 here now. Dropping. All rain. No snow mixed in.

  43. Penni says:

    Super Bowl = Suoer Bust for Miwaukie! Ugh!!!

  44. Paul D says:

    FRESH BLOG! Woohoo

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