Winter Storm Watch and Flood Watch at the same time? Complicated 24 hours ahead!

11:30am Monday…

Are we going to wake up to a flood Tuesday?  And have a bunch of snow at the same time?  What?  Whew…weather fatigue!  Here’s the scoop


A very wet stationary front sits over us tonight and early Tuesday, then moves to our south.  It’s gonna pour between this evening and Tuesday morning’s commute, maybe up to 2″ of rain in 12 hours or so!  That’s the major weather story for the next 24 hours.

  • We’ll see localized flooding of creeks, low areas, basements, etc… for Tuesday morning’s commute.  Could be messy!
  • Then tomorrow’s rain will be more off/on
  • At the tail end of the system late tonight, temperatures MAY cool just enough that heavy rain changes to heavy/wet snow for a few hours in some part of the metro area.  There’s a relatively low chance of this happening (see models below), but obviously a big deal if it happens in your area.
  • The NWS has issued a Winter Storm Watch for that possibility.  It’s a WATCH which means it’s just a possibility.At this point this doesn’t appear to be a metro-wide snow event.
  • After evening models come in (around 8pm or so) we should have a much better idea if there’s going to be any brief changeover to snow.


All models agree that we’re getting a huge soaking tonight.  Check out the 24 rainfall from this afternoon to Tuesday PM on the WRF.  1.5 to 2.5″ in the metro area all the way down to Eugene!


So that’s the easy part of the forecast.  Snow levels climb up to around 3,500′ this afternoon and tonight; no chance for snow through midnight except in the central/eastern Gorge.

Of course the big question is whether we get an “isothermal atmosphere” on the back side of the front.  That means precipitation is so heavy that the column of air overhead cools right down to freezing from 3,000′ or more on down  It allows those huge snowflakes to make it all the way down to sea-level, or at least to your home.  All morning models are in and only the WRF and HRRR models are showing that happening in any sort of widespread fashion.  ECMWF says it may happen in western Washington county (Hillsboro westward to Coast Range).  Other than that, ECMWF, GEM, GFS all say forget about it.  All three models here

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I have seen this happen in the past, Halloween 1993 and November 2003.  Both those times it was the east/southeast metro area, spots like Gresham, Corbett, Sandy, Damascus, Estacada and south as the back edge of steady/heavy precip moved through.  IF it happens, I think that would be the most likely area as the WRF-GFS shows, although it shows temps cold enough for hills in the entire metro area to get in on the action


To wrap it up, there’s no reason to suspect we’ll have a white, snowy, hellish AM commute tomorrow.  But there’s good reason to think we’ll have a watery, messy, AM commute.  And keep a very close eye on this blog and FOX12 through the evening and morning hours tomorrow.  I’ll be on TV much of the time between 5:00-11:30pm tonight.  I’ve got you covered!

BTW, this entire time a huge snowstorm continues in the Cascades and to a lesser extent the central/eastern Gorge.  Possibly up to a foot of extra snow east of Bonneville Dam in the Gorge.   It appears 20″ have fallen since midday yesterday on Mt. Hood!  More “feet to go” up there.  Please be careful and ski with a friend, stay away from tree wells which can be dangerous during these massive snow storms.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


96 Responses to Winter Storm Watch and Flood Watch at the same time? Complicated 24 hours ahead!

  1. Jack says:

    Better get on the tech folks at KPTV. Blog still isn’t working correctly.

  2. K says:

    Huh, really weird. Seems my account was briefly compromised, I see a comment that I certainly did not make about “phone apps”.

  3. paulbeugene says:

    The baroclinic dynamo snowstorm not happening. Party cancelled. Looks like frontal boundary not going to stall

  4. Russell(Salmon Creek) says:

    The wind is REALLY starting to pick up. We’ve been having unusually strong gusts. I didn’t see anything about high winds this evening…?

  5. Kyle says:

    Oops I forgot to put my full name in thru frustratoin. Several times the comments wouldn’t go thru and this is my fourth time.

    It seems Mark only cares about his phone and apps.

    When you model ride and assume as a teacher once said you make an ass out of you and me. (Assume)

  6. K says:

    The comments are broken it seems. Mark only cares about his dumb phone apps.

  7. WEATHERDAN says:

    We got 1.5 inches snow total this past week. Now we have a flooding rain. My basement can attest to that. Another busted forecast. Well onto Spring in a few days. Spring training starts this week. Currently 45 and raining. Peace.

    • Kyle says:

      When you have bad modeling it’s no wonder. I didn’t think for one iota we would get anything more. The cards were stacked due to the things I mentioned before. Until that changes expect more of the same but we can use all the rain we can get!

    • Anonymous says:

      The models fail to produce the changes of our ocean so therefore they assumed the upper levels would respond normally to the flip. When you assume you make an ass out of you and me.

    • Kyle says:

      The models assumed and assumed wrong based on data no longer true. As a teacher once said when you assume you make an (ass) out of you and me.

    • Kyle says:

      The comments are not going thru.

  8. Tanis Leach says:

    For whatever reason, had a lengthy comment but my name and email weren’t attached by default like usual so this is a test comment

    42 in Corvallis with 20 mph S winds and holding. But had some chunky rain around 5 pm that actually stung me (no I wasn’t under a tree)

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      Yea, I had a lengthy comment awhile back and my name and email wasn’t in the attachment too. I think there is something wrong with the blog. I emailed Mark about it but he’s busy right now.

    • SortingHat says:

      Sounds like you went thru a brief hail shower? I wouldn’t be surprised with this weird weather.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’d like to mention Portland is at 38.9 inches for the decade, with a winter left to go. I know back in 2016 it looked like 30 inches would be tough (then we had 14 inches for the decade), but now its looking 40+ inches is likely. That could happen tonight (75% chance nope) tomorrow night (75% chance nope) or just a minor storm next winter.

    Decadal snowfall since 1960:
    1960s: about 65 inches (half fell in 68-69 or 69-70, I forget which)
    1970s: about 51 inches
    1980s: exactly 40 inches
    1990s: about 42 inches
    2000s: about 45 inches (half fell in 2008-2009)
    2010s: 38.9 right now. If next winter has our median 2 inches (rounded), that would be 40.9 inches.

    Everything (especially 1960s) is a little off which is why I did about.

  10. Jake in Gresham says:

    Snoqualmie Pass closed due to weather, crashes:

  11. Marguerite Perry says:

    Crown Point / Vista House has become an ice rink. Plus wind is up enough to push you around a bit. Caution up there.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Why doesn’t the NWS just outline the “watch” for areas where there is actually a chance of snow? In Wilsonville the lows will be in the 40s, so it is clearly not going to happen here, yet Wilsonville is still in the “winter weather watch” area designated by the NWS.

  13. JohnD says:

    Utterly amazing about the historic protracted winter event for Seattle. Also equally amazing (and depressing) that Portland was virtually shut out.

    • Seattle hit the jackpot in Jan 2012, Portland hit the jackpot in Feb 2014. Portland hit the jackpot in Jan 2017, Seattle hit the jackpot in Feb 2019. You can’t win ’em all. Even Bellingham lost out for a few years running by being well on the dry side of any outflow events.

      • K says:

        This is truly a jackpot. Even more so than any month mentioned. Not that I’m horribly upset anymore, this front is dynamic enough to be exciting.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah don’t get me wrong–I am totally glad for my brothers and sisters to the north! It is just that the regional pattern that we are in is extremely rare–especially for February! It may not come around again as such for 20 or 25 years! And to have our area virtually snuffed throughout it all is simply tough!

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes but this was a truly historic event–especially for February. Totally glad for you guys. But to miss out on a PNW weather pattern that may not evolve again for another 20 or more years is really tough.

    • Anonymous says:

      MY POINT:
      This pattern is EXTREMELY rare–much less in February–for the western PNW! It might not happen again for 20 or 25 years! How we here in Portland did not evolve inclusively is–simply–beyond my personal realm of understanding (weather wise or intellectually/emotionally!)

    • Anonymous says:

      MY POINT
      This is a once in 20-25 year winter weather event–especially for February–in the western areas of the PNW. How we here in Portland etc. we’re basically excluded is beyond my understanding–intellectually/emotionally, etc.

  14. 5” today so far, intense snowfall, 33F, 15” on ground.
    SeaTac 5” today, monthly snow for Feb 19.2”, 5th snowiest month SeaTac since record began 1945, and snowiest month SeaTac in 50 years (since the big snow month Jan 1969)!!

  15. Jake in Gresham says:

    Weather station is reporting a rainfall of about 0.07 inches per hour for the entire day. Nothing to sneeze at.

    Sitting at 0.57 inches of rain for the day and 1 inch of rain for the event since it started.

    Ground is completely saturated and snow is almost gone. Doesn’t look to be letting up.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Flood threat for the Mary’s river which is right next to OSU. Philomoth gague is predicted to go 18.5 feet which is bank full. If there is a little more rain, it’ll hit flood stage (20 feet). Don’t think there will be any damage as its a little ways in but goodbye 1/2 of my running routes.

    Personally I think the south Valley totals may be a little bullish as we’ve had many breaks in Corvallis. I think 1″ by the end of the day instead of 1.5-2 inches is more likely.

  17. Really dumping up here this afternoon. I’m now at over 20″ for the month.

  18. Ken in Wood Village says:

    I went and took a little nap cuz I have been trying to figure out how we could get snow when I see a temperature of 45 degrees at the Troutdale airport. I have my window open a crack and during my nap I grab a blanket not thinking anything of it. Now that I’m awake, I looked at the Troutdale airports temperature again. It’s down to 37 degrees with a East Wind and Crown Point is down to 30 degrees…hmmm 🤔🌨❄

    • Andrew V (Sandy) says:

      I noticed a nice gust of cold east wind at the Gresham Fred Meyer’s when I was grabbing my lunch. Only faintly seeing it on WU stations but it looks like it’s trying to get going again.

  19. Larry says:

    I went south of Eugene to Vida this weekend, and got to see a different mindset for snow. We got about the same amount as Gresham (where I live), but, the roads stayed clear the whole time. Snowplows went by on Highway 126 about 20 times that I saw (and many that I didn’t see, I’m sure). Power went out several times, but EWEB (their power company) was on top of it and got things fixed right away. Their TV personalities told it like it was instead of claiming “14 inches” when everyone knew it was going to be 1-4.
    Thanks, Mark, for being more like the Eugene mets and less like some of the attention mongers in Portland! 🙂

    • Larry says:

      South of Portland TO Eugene, then east, to Vida, that is. I don’t see a way to edit so I had to reply to myself.

  20. alohabb says:

    Nws still convinced the snow levels will be dropping.

    So we either get hammered by heavy wet snow , or need a boat to get down the streets.

  21. boydo3 says:

    My sister has 14″ in Oly. out by Evergreen St. College.

  22. Pgiorgio says:

    There will be no more snow in portland metro 2019. South winds are dominating for the foreseeable future. Now will you see sloppy flakes falling into mud puddles? Yes . This is brief and you had better be watching. Perhaps silver dollars falling from the sky a final time before the rest of frosty melts into oblivion. Dont worry kids….he will come again someday.

  23. Mike says:

    I’d be happy to get a normal month’s rainfall and a year out of the bottom 10.

  24. W7ENK says:

    EY (Oak Grove), I’d like to address your comments from a few postings ago.</a href>  I just got a chance to read them, and I think I can offer some insight, however strange it may come across.

    I totally understand your frustration.  “The Dome” is my concept, something I’ve used to describe all the times the Milwaukie area got screwed out of snow by 33 degree rain when I was growing up.  Countless times as a child, the TV weather folks would stand there and say “Snow will be moving into the Portland area around midnight tonight, we should all wake up to a good 3 to 5 inches on the ground by morning.”  I could hardly sleep, but I would resist the urge to peek out my window every 5 minutes.  I would fall asleep, and wake up the next morning excited, seeing images of glorious snowfall on the TV from all over Portland.  Field reporters standing by the freeways, next to parks, in neighborhoods all around the Portland area, showing views of cars on the shoulder, kids playing, sledding down hills and throwing snowballs, all the while big fat snowflakes are criss-crossing in front of everything, piling up several inches deep everywhere, and a long list of school closures is scrolling across the bottom of the screen.  But, 9 times out of 10 (or so it seems) the only school district absent from that list would be NC12.  We still had to go to school, because outside my window, in my yard, on my street, and in the whole of Milwaukie surrounding, everything was just green, brown and wet.  We were getting 33 degree rain, all the while in the whole rest of the city — not but a few miles in all directions — those kids got a snow day.  While this may be disappointing as an adult, as a child it was devastating.  Time and time again, it would play out just like this.  After a while, you just get used to it.  And growing up under “The Dome” where such disappointment becomes routine, it honestly has a lasting effect.  Now, in my adulthood, it’s that routine of repeated let-downs that has led me to become so skeptical of snowfall in Milwaukie, especially in these ridiculously marginal yet all too common setups, which has garnered me a reputation of being a “pessimist.” But in all reality, I consider myself a realist.  History has shown this realitly, more often than not… so that’s how I call it.

    Of course “The Dome” is merely meant to be tongue-in-cheek, never actually meant to be taken literally or seriously.  Though, I do believe that conceptually, there is some validity to the idea.  I can also tell you, “The Dome” is a tangible phenomenon that has existed since long before my time on this Earth began.  Larry in Cove can testify to the fact that “The Dome” has indeed existed, going all the way back into the early 60s, if not even before then.  Larry also grew up in Milwaukie — as a kid he ran and played through the rhododendron/peony farm that used to occupy the hillside my childhood home was built on.  Larry also knows the plague that is “The Dome.”  I simply did nothing more than give it a name and brought it to people’s attention, which perhaps has only strengthened and emboldened it, manifesting it even further into existence?  If you wish to blame someone, blame me.  I accept full liability.

    That being said, I’ve tried everything in my power to wish “The Dome” away, though nothing seems to work, at least not permanently.  There have been times, of course, that it has failed. Back in January 2016, I spoke of “The Dome” with a very good friend of mine, a Native American with blood ties to the Klamath, Modoc, and more broadly Nez Perce, and Navajo tribes.  I explained to him the phenomenon, and sought his guidance as to how I could rid myself — my home — of it.  What he told me to do made sense on some level (I know, it’s supposedly all voodoo magic BS and whatnot, but it was worth a try, nonetheless) and that very next Winter, a forecast of 1-2 inches of snow somehow, miraculously turned into a snow-laden thunderstorm that dropped a dumping of a foot or more, centered directly over “The Dome.”  Now, I don’t believe there is any such this as coincidence, but if there is, that was an awfully big one.  The following Winter, we had snow on Christmas.  Again, another “coincidence?”  There is no such thing as coincidence.

    This Winter was supposed to be a good one for us, regardless of “Domes” or “voodoo magic BS.”  Patterns are hard to break, but somehow, for some bizarre reason, it would seem “The Dome” is now back to disrupt a long established pattern.  To what end?  Who knows.  What I do know is, “The Dome” is real, and it appears to be back in place, and it’s probably all my fault.  I’m sorry. I’ll do whatever I can to again make amends, but it may simply be too late for this Winter.  Time is short, and quickly running out, but I’ll give it everything I’ve got.

    • Anonymous says:


      • W7ENK says:

        Longer than I expected it would be.

        Read it, or don’t. I don’t care.

        • wodream34 says:

          I liked it! Good explanation of The Dome background and legacy.

        • W7ENK says:

          When I started using the term here on Marks blog nearly a decade ago, I was just being cheeky, and people (except Larry) thought I was weird. And while I’m sure they still do, I find it somewhat amusing that the term has been incepted into local/regional vernacular. That’s probably because others do indeed recognize the effect, and it’s a somewhat accurate description for the micro-climate in and around Milwaukie/Clackamas/Gladstone/lower Oregon City. There’s something about this valley were in.

        • Anonymous says:

          I feel for ya dude, quite a catharsis. Hope it helps.

    • boydo3 says:

      It is as real as Portland is weird. And it’s a good name for the micro-climate that exists there. Another is the PSCZ.
      And this odd place where we now live on the south coast that is less foggy in the summer and windier in the winter than many areas down this way.

    • aventine says:

      Oh my the memories. I remember waiting for NC12 to appear on the cancelled. Do you recall the TV channel that was dedicated to NC12 that always had those inspirational quotes, such as “where is away when you throw something away”.. waiting for the cancel card.. We must have grown up near one another!

      • W7ENK says:

        Quite likely. I grew up just North of the railroad tracks, only a couple blocks East of the big empty field behind the Marketplace. I remember when that whole area used to be a wetlands and a celery farm, with an old swayback wooden barn, and the Milwaukie Public Works used to be just off Oak Street, where the Chevron station is now.

        • aventine says:

          Ah okay! I grew up over off Webster and Clackamas road. Fun times

        • W7ENK says:

          Still, same phenomenon applies.

          I have several friends that grew up over that way, that went to Bilquist what used to be McLoughlin Jr. High and the old Clackamas HS. They all concur, it’s a thing.

    • j2m says:

      My grandparents lived in Oak Grove….
      The dome IS REAL!!!

    • EY (Oak Grove) says:

      Definitely a good read, but I was more being tongue-in-cheek. No one’s to blame for a phenomenon like The Dome. As you said, it’s been around for a lot longer and it’s a perfect name for that phenomenon. Giving it a name doesn’t make you fully liable for any disappointment that may result from it. If that was the case, I feel really bad for the legacy of the person who first proposed the word “water” in English as water kills people each year.

      I’ve essentially lived in Milwaukie my entire life and yeah, it’s never not disappointing when you like the type of weather we dodge due to it. I was more upset that me taking things at face value had caused me to put money down on us (as in PDX metro) getting socked pretty hard with snow and when I woke up and saw only 1/8″ on fences only I was convinced that was most likely the case for everyone. Luckily I was wrong in my early morning assumption and was glad to hear many people got hit by it. I was peeved that I was relaying information being given out by other people to co-workers and family members and it wasn’t living up to what I was told. I’ve gotten the blame on bad forecasts before.

      But even with the dome we get some interesting weather. 2017 was a perfect example of that; I also had home thermometers during cold snaps saying sub-10 degrees in the Milwaukie area while other areas were slightly warmer than that, that’s insanely neat to me. Plus heck, we were right underneath that crazy thunder strike last night.

      Long story short; it’s not your fault, no liability… Don’t thrust it upon yourself to take liability for something that is more than 100% out of your control.

    • gildenjen says:

      Thanks for this history of the Dome. I’ve been following this blog for ages and I’ve started to use references to the Dome in my conversations with friends. I think we have a slightly less powerful dome over NE Portland.

    • Kyle says:

      Native Americans the ones that aren’t stoned and out of it have access to earthly powers as old as time itself that are used up very little. They have a lot of knowledge packed in.

      Modern Science is only one face.

      • Anonymous says:

        Please watch how you generalize when speaking and writing about the great people who land we stole.

    • JJ78259 says:

      Great explanation of the Dome! Milwaukie gets a lot plain old cold rain! 37-40 degree cold rain bone chilling! Throw another log on the fire!

    • Diana F. says:

      Thanks for sharing. I can imagine the disappointment as a child. Snow is magic plain & simple when we are kids! It means so many things to us! And you were left out of waking up to those magical moments. I empathize with your confusion and sadness.

      Super interesting also was the story of the how your Native American friend helped turn things around……with Christmas to boot…..!

      Hey, once you grew up, did you ever consider moving out of the Milwaukie area?

      • W7ENK says:

        I did, actually. I lived in Klamath Falls for almost 4 years going to college — Sept 2002 – July 2005. I was super excited to finally live in a place that was guaranteed to get snow every Winter, being at 4,400 feet. However, the first Winter I was down there, it didn’t snow until April, and it was the first year in roughly a quarter century (since the year I was born, oddly enough) that the lake didn’t freeze over.

        Imagine my disappointment…

  25. alohabb says:

    It’s 44 here. No way we cool to snow potential

  26. Anonymous says:

    It’s 44 here. No way we cool to snow levels.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Take off the snow tires – put on the stern drive…

    No one seems to be talking about the potential for mud slides. Seems like anytime we’ve had freezing temps – them warm up to heavy rains – we end up with mountains of mud chasing people down roads in the west hills.

  28. W7ENK says:

    My faith in the idea that snow reaches the valley floor, especially in the Milwaukie Dome, has been irreparably broken.

  29. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    Thanks, Mark. Expectations very low. Hope low.

  30. Diana F. says:

    Thanks Mark, great job this past week! You must be utterly exhausted! But loving the snow, THAT I know for sure!

    • Mark says:

      Indeed, prop’s to Mark getting on this fast! It is amazing, even in 2019, we don’t know what the weather may do tomorrow AM…

      But at least Mark laid out the odds if you will. 80/20 or so (is what I’m getting from this) heavy cold rain, but 20% part of the metro could get shocked with a couple of inches of wet snow. Interesting…

  31. Andrew says:

    Sounds like winter’s last gasp tonight. Seeing temps trending warmer in next week or so. Though it feels like an eternity ago, model runs as late as Friday night had this entire week and beyond filled with snowflakes and highs in 30s. Crazy how quickly that can go away. A good lesson not to get too excited by long term models that suggest historically abnormal weather.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the update, Mark. Expectations… very low. Hope… also low. Haha

  33. Ken in Wood Village says:

    I have a question, is anyone else having issues with posting comments on the blog?

    • wodream34 says:

      No issues posting through wordpress site with my account.

    • MasterNate says:

      Yes!! I can’t even find the comment link hole using my laptop since they revamped the blog link. 😡 Only way I can access the comments link is through a certain path on my Mobil devise. Very frustrating.

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        I emailed Mark about issues with the blog. I’m hoping he will see the email and find out what’s going on. It’s frustrating that my information doesn’t stay in the fill areas. It was ok just about 2 hours ago but now it’s not saving them anymore 😦

  34. Anonymous says:

    15″ settled snow in Hood River and still dumping.

  35. Jason Hougak says:

    And who posted Winter 18-19 was a real dud last month??? 😆

  36. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Mark. It seems like there could be something wrong with the blog. In the past post, when I did a comment, sometimes it would show the comment then sometimes it wouldn’t show my comment. Just thought I would say something.

    I was looking at the 18Z HRRR and now it shows 8 inches of snow for my area. This will be a very interesting night into tomorrow.

  37. wodream34 says:

    Thanks, Mark!

  38. Andrew V (Sandy) says:


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