Back to a White Christmas

7pm Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas from the FOX12 Weather Team!  Today has sure been a challenging day for us.


  1. Cold air remained in place.  Temperatures stayed near/below freezing in most of the metro area as cold east wind kept coming out of the Gorge.
  2. 1st band of light precipitation came in as freezing rain/sleet/snow mix 9am-Noon.
  3. 2nd main band of precipitation arrived in mid/late afternoon as expected.
  4. West Hills and east metro roads remained frozen as expected.
  5. Typical west and south metro life resumed since roads turned mainly wet.  The shopping center near the station here on the westside was a zoo at 2pm.
  6. All roads central/eastside remain a frozen mess this evening as freezing rain has returned for many spots.  With the cold air we knew that would happen and I mentioned that this morning.


  1. The 2nd band of precipitation was mainly snow instead of a mix.  That’s because  warming wasn’t as much as expected a few thousand feet up; the snowflakes didn’t melt into rain drops on the way down.  A trace to 2″ snow fell across most of the metro area (lightest west and heaviest east).
  2. I figured some snow would fall in north metro (Clark/Columbia counties), but not that much.  It was snowy all day up there with 2-4″ on the ground now.

Of course hardly anyone would complain about getting frozen precipitation in the form of snow instead of freezing rain, especially on Christmas.  As of 5pm the official snow total was 0.6″ in Portland, I’m guessing that will be higher when they measure later.

Latest temps show almost all the metro area is below freezing and it’ll stay that way tonight with no change in the low-level airmass.

2017 Current Temps PDX Metro Area Earth Scene

We’re into light off/on showers the rest of the night with a mix of freezing rain, snow, & sleet.  South of the Columbia River with thinner cold air above I think we’re mainly done with accumulating snow.  Once you get south of Wilsonville it’s a little too “warm” for anything frozen tonight.

MarkWarningsWinterWeather Polygons

North of the Columbia River more than likely it’ll remain as snow.

MarkWarningsWinterWeather Polygons2

The ice/snow that is on roads now isn’t going anywhere and will still be there when you wake up Christmas Morning.  With precipitation ending after sunrise, it should be a quiet weather day with temperatures gradually rising into the upper 30s.  That means a slow thaw with decent road conditions AFTER the noon hour.  Plan to visit friends during the afternoon/evening hours, not in the morning.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


29 Responses to Back to a White Christmas

  1. Lee Wilson says:

    I dont get mad,i post video lol.

  2. In terms of accumulating snow that fell on the 25th itself (NOT total snow on the ground, I believe that was 2008), yesterday was Seattle’s whitest Christmas in over 100 years. Now on to my next chance for lowland snow, which seems to be tomorrow, then that’s probably it for this cold spell.

    My experience with PNW winters leads me to believe there will probably be at least one more cold and potentially icy/snowy episode this season (won’t happen super-soon, probably February or the 2nd half of January). Late November to late February is the prime season for such events, and we’re only about 1/3 of the way through that window.

  3. Lee Wilson says:

    Tthe snow was great at least we could get traction..
    But what I see coming in in the next few days and hours
    Looks like natures way of sayin who really is in charge.

    Any who we have an appointment to morrow at 9 am..if ihave to ill chain up.

  4. JohnD says:

    Looking at the snow totals bulletin on the NOAA site–1″ was recorded both at the NWS location as well as downtown. Plus a couple tenths of an inch of ice. Not hugely impressive as such but we take what we can get here in the lowlands when it comes to snow! And especially so on Christmas Eve no less! So all in all a nice little event! May there be many more this winter!

  5. Paul D says:

    So does this go down in the record books as a white Christmas for PDX?

    • Gene says:

      I’m pretty sure that it does — there was snow on the ground on Christmas Day, even if it was only an inch or two and most of it fell on Christmas Eve

    • Paul D says:

      I’m wondering what the rules are 🙂 Maybe Mark will tell us.

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        The rule of being a white Christmas is that there needs to be 1″ of snow on the ground at 7am to be called a white Christmas. At least that is what I heard. So, yes…it was considered a white Christmas this year 🙂

  6. Watching it get light on a white Christmas morning. Always.enjoy the color of light at dawn and dusk on snowy days. Got a tad more overnight after the main event ended, so 2″ total for me.

    • In fact, a snow shower just moved in, so now it’s both snow on the ground and falling snow as the day breaks.

    • And a question: what’s the best technique for dealing with the situation when there’s a wet sticky snow that clings to the edge of the gauge instead of falling neatly in? I tried to push it straight down and split it on the edge of the gauge, but I’m pretty sure more ended up out than in.

      I measured 2.25″ snow, .18″ SWE (which given how wet the snow was is almost certainly low) this morning. Light snow showers are continuing but no significant accumulations since daybreak.

  7. Jason Hougak says:

    Merry Christmas Mark and family. Have a great white Christmas everyone. Drive safe if you must travel today.

  8. Jake in Gresham says:

    Oh yea – oh boi!

    The GFS shows offshore flow at that hour but little to no arctic air behind the Cascades. The Euro, shows that PDX goes at or bellow freezing during that time-frame and has done so for at least 3 runs. It also holds arctic air of in the 20’s behind the Cascades and in the gorge.

    I think it’s possible with the snow and ice in the hills and gorge that it will be another very interesting period (we will most likely hold onto something here in PDX as well – let’s not forget the Northern valley is heavily snowed in).

    Click the NWEST button -> Click the MODEL SNOWFALL button -> FORECAST HOUR (click) 36 and 42 and 48 😀 😀

  9. Andrew says:

    I heard some rumors about a repeat Tuesday night into Wednesday but not seeing any indication of that in future forecast. Thoughts?That said, seems as though forecasts are practically useless when this type of pattern emerges.

  10. Diana F. says:

    It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!! However, the price for my Christmas in Connecticut ambience was guests deciding to not take a chance at coming over, only to have to be driving home at midnight tonight! Let me tell you, having a prime rib dinner, including a pot of mashed butter, I mean potatoes, and a pumpkin crunch pie, literally all to myself has been an experience I won’t ever forget! Just me and the cat, and all the ice and snow needed for my very own Christmas Story. Here in east Vancouver near (164th and SR14), it’s been snowing and/or dropping freezing rain almost non-stop, all day!!! Just a very short break early afternoon, and that’s it. We now have plenty of white, and it’s easy to see, even in the dark, partly because of the streetlights lining our entire street, BUT mostly because everything is coated with glistening, reflective ICE!! It’s thick and rock hard, not breaking when walking in many spots. I must say I am quite confused when checking the very latest weather online, because I’m seeing forecasts for temperatures to moderate ABOVE freezing by 10:00pm tonight??? Saying it will continue to warm significantly overnight??? How can that be? It can’t IMO!
    ANYHOO, and in any case, Happy Holidays to MARK ……AND to ALL my interesting blog friends as well, from the cranky, to the endearing, to the funny guys, and the brainiacs, I look forward to reading the information presented here (we are very fortunate that Mark is just as nutty as we are about the sciences behind our weather, AND that he’s a prolific writer too!), and I enjoy the comments very much. This surely has been one for the books, the kind of thing to share with the grandkids! Just think, it will be so pretty in the morning, greeting children all over the city, many of whom will be jumping and hollering with JOY because they’ve gotten a White Christmas! And even though it’s meant a solitary Christmas Eve for me personally, it’s also meant I am eating like a Queen, binge watching the tv series JUSTIFIED, and drinking my own bottle of sparkling cider while looking at old family photos…’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!!

  11. Nahtalkin says:

    I plan to visit my friends whenever I choose, thanks for the hand holding dude.

  12. JohnD says:

    Yeah likewise. This has been a fun ride. May there be many more! And are you kidding: Measurable snow in Portland on Christmas Eve?! How awesome is that?!. (In deference, of course, to those who suffered holiday encumbrance because of it!)

  13. Made the change to rain here in Vancouver. It was fun and at least we should be white on the morning still.

  14. Ken in Wood Village says:

    Thanks for the update Mark, it turned to FZ here in Wood Village. I’m guessing we have at least 2″ of snow here. The city closed 238th from Halsey to Glisan. There is a big hill and normally has a lot of accidents when there is snow or ice on it. At least we have snow on the ground for Christmas. 🙂

  15. JERAT416 says:

    I’m definitely not complaining! Thanks the update Mark!

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