Ice Storm #5 in Gorge, Cold Rain Metro Area Wednesday

10pm Tuesday…

A very wet frontal system arrives over the Pacific Northwest tomorrow morning, with the heaviest rain moving through tomorrow night and very early Thursday morning.  For most of us it’ll be just rain west of the Cascades.  But once again cold air is getting dragged back into the central/eastern Gorge (the part of it east of the Cascade Crest) due to an approaching storm out in the Pacific.  In other places this is called “cold-air damming” and that’s what is really going on; cold air is dammed up east of the Cascades.  This time the airmass isn’t as cold as previous events, so even in the western Gorge (west of Bonneville Dam) the airmass will be marginally cold for freezing rain.  Regardless, an Ice Storm Warning is up for very heavy 30-32 degree rain Wednesday AM  through Thursday morning.  A lot of ice can form on objects even at just 30-31 degrees, especially when the sun goes down.  Believe it or not, this is the 5th ice storm we have seen in the western Gorge!  Wow, typically I’ve only seen 1/2″ or more every other year on average.  It’s not too unusual to have freezing rain 5 times in one winter, but not actual ice storms with the heavy accumulation.  Total ice thickness could exceed 1″ this time again.

Once you get into the Central & Eastern Gorge (Cascade Locks to The Dalles) the cold air is deeper to start with so precip type will be snow…maybe 3-6″, then as the cold air thins tomorrow evening it should go to freezing rain out there too.


There won’t be any real warming west wind on Thursday to get the cold air out of the Gorge, but the gradually warming airmass should go above freezing that day.

Will there be freezing rain in the metro area?

I don’t think so…it probably won’t get cold enough even at Troutdale.  Just expect a very wet day tomorrow.

There IS a  flood watch out for all areas west of the Cascades due to about 2″ rain expected tomorrow morning through Thursday afternoon.  Expect more isolated areas of flooding tomorrow night and early Thursday.  Plus a few larger rivers may reach flood stage again.

These first 7 days of February have been the 3rd wettest start in Portland’s weather history.  The number will sure climb with another 2″ on the way!


Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen



21 Responses to Ice Storm #5 in Gorge, Cold Rain Metro Area Wednesday

  1. umpire says:

    Well, that was an interesting drive to Corbett to ref a basketball game. Took 84 to the Corbett exit, then up the hill, with chunks of ice blowing off the trees hitting the car. Also several tree limbs down on the road. Power also briefly went out twice at the start of the second game. Think I’ll take the back way home!

  2. Are we done with snow for the rest of the season?

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

      I’d say it’s pretty safe that we won’t have any long term snow events. A snow day or two might sneak in but no arctic days after days in the long range that I can see.

      Short answer, yes.

  3. Aleta-West Gresham says:

    You know it’s been a good winter when we’re breathing a sigh of relief that we have 34* rain and not snow!

    • Windsday says:

      Most of us got screwed though. Salem and south got almost zippo and places north got the red carpet treatment of naught inches of snow.

      Hint. Stay away from blogs/forums up there as it’s very depressing.

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

      Yeah Windsday I got whiff of Cliff Mass’s blog and that was enough (I-90 getting closed, etc). Nope nope blah blah I can’t hear it! 😛

  4. John says:

    Uh oh. I’m supposed to drive from Portland to Yakima tomorrow afternoon/evening.

    AWD car with all weather tires. Had no problem getting around in Portland during the snow and ice, but that was driving short distances at 20 mph.

    Don’t much want to be on an icy freeway, nor to drive all the way to Yakima at 20 mph, nor to drive that distance with chains.

    It is an important trip – mother in law’s funeral – but not a life or death trip – the guest of honor being already, um, you know. Wife is in Yakima, she obviously desires my attendance but doesn’t want a second funeral.

    Your collective advice? For Thursday pm? Route is I84 then Satus Pass.

    • boydo3 N Albany says:

      I’ll bet it’s gonna be fine by tomorrow PM. The warming blast is on its way. But you’ll know by checking up with Trip Check.

    • W7ENK says:

      Ehh, no. You’re not making it to Yakima today. The ice in the Gorge isn’t going to simply disappear that quickly, and all the Cascade passes in Washington State were closed last night.

      Your only bet would be to avoid the Gorge altogether, cross over the mountains in Oregon, head East — I mean WAAAY East — then cut up toward Yakima. But, that will make for some seriously long distances at 20 mph.

  5. FOVH says:

    3:00 Just Left Vista House – it’s got almost an inch of ice again (roads, walls, buiding) and wind is blowing with about 40-50MPH gusts, makes walking very tricky. Wind gauge is frozen.

  6. W7ENK says:

    0.36″ of rainfall in the first quarter of the day, and this before the really heavy stuff started!

  7. umpire says:

    Mark, remember all the past winters when you were hovering with the fork by early February?!! I wonder how long our winter will go this year.

  8. Roland Derksen says:

    We’re not off to a particularly wet start to February here- yet. But once the warm wet air gets in here overnight we could see some significant precipitation totals over the next 2 days.

    • Roland Derksen says:

      Snow began here shortly after 1pm, but it’s stopped again. I wonder if this is just a lull or are we going to see a transition to rain earlier than expected? The temperature about an hour ago was 30F.

  9. Paul D says:

    Please secure yourself after you sit down in the weather roller-coaster. Thank you.

    • JJ78259 says:

      Buckling up the Life Preserver would be more appropriate with all the rain moving thru! The Valley is getting dumped on shows the radar image! All day rain again looks like.

  10. Kimberly Apple-Deinlein says:

    First time since moving to Felida Moorage I have seen our part of Lake River included in a flood watch. This could be one of those times having a house that floats could be a blessing and a curse. Have been watching entire trees coming off the shores of the lake float by for a couple days hoping they miss the houses. Those of us with boats pull them to the shore to stop them from making repeat runs at us on the tides. After shoveling a foot of snow off the roof at 4 AM to keep the river out of the living room I’m done with Mother Nature already in 2017! Time to tightened the moorage chains!

  11. Daniel Lee says:

    The weather around here has short circuited! #5 is alive!!!! we need more input Mark more input!

  12. First.

    I was just viewing past weather data for Hood River and it seems they’re going to enjoy average temps for the first time since December. How did January rank for that city and other places in the gorge?

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