A Cold & Breezy Tuesday

10am Tuesday…

Everything proceeded according to plan last night as a very cold (for October) and dry airmass blasted through the Pacific Northwest.   This morning it’s cold and windy across the entire region.  In Portland the air temperature is 37, and the wind is gusting to around 40 mph.  Wind chill temps (what it feels like when you combine wind + temperature) are in the 20s in Portland!  You aren’t crazy, the morning commute really did feel the same as December or January.


What’s ahead?

  • Gusty east wind will continue today across the metro area and many other locations.  Not much damage because speeds will generally stay below 40 mph.  Just expect a few more limbs over powerlines and lots of leaves blowing aroudn. The wind dies down tonight away from the Gorge.
  • Temperatures slowly crawl towards 50 degrees.  If we stay under that 50 degree mark, it’ll be our coldest October day in 16 years.  Quite an impressively cold airmass considering it’ll be sunny all day!
  • Windchill will be an issue through the evening commute, not dangerous but annoying.
  • Areas that go calm tonight will see lows between 18-25 degrees west of the Cascades.  Windy areas stay in the 30s east metro and in western Gorge windy locations.
  • Wednesday turns a little warmer with wind confined to the usual east wind spots in metro area.


The “arctic front” passage was one of the best I’ve seen in my decades of forecasting here; both east and west of the Cascades.  A sharp shift in wind direction, big drop in dewpoints, and sudden increase in speed.  Plus it moved very quickly and didn’t linger. The Dalles gusted to 40 mph…from the east.  Very unusual.  It arrived suddenly at my home just as I was parking the car after work.  At PDX, the wind coming down off the Cascades arrived suddenly around 12:30am.  Models did a spectacular job (this time) portraying the sequence of meteorological events.  The midnight to 2am arrival time in metro area was right on.

Peak gusts have generally been in the 25-45 mph range, right on target as well.  The highest gust in the metro area is 50 mph on the I-205 Glen Jackson Bridge.  PDX is close behind with a 45 mph gust (click for a better view)


This is the coldest October airmass in our area since 2003.  Keep in mind the current metro temps are “well-mixed”, meaning this isn’t just the usual surface nighttime cooling.  It only gets colder as you go up.  If precipitation suddenly arrived over us, it would snow down to sea-level.  This is how we would get late October snow or freezing rain.  But no clouds or precip anywhere nearby so we are clear.


The mountains are frigid this morning; temps in the teens and windchills to zero or below.  Winter in October, but bright and sunny.

Current Conditions Mt Hood Temps with ODOT Cam

Because the wind hasn’t been TOO strong, I see there aren’t too many power outages.  Under 2,000 PGE customers out at 10am.  During the November 2014 downslope windstorm many tens of thousands lost power.  This one is quite a bit weaker.

Stay warm today!  See you at 4pm on FOX12 OREGON.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

31 Responses to A Cold & Breezy Tuesday

  1. W7ENK says:

    Wind went dead overnight and the temp dropped to 26 in Milwaukie when I left for work this morning.

  2. Roland Derksen says:

    Looks like a dry start to November: That’s not too unusual here, but if it lasts beyond the first week, I’m going to take special notice of it.

  3. david wilson says:

    low of 70 at flamingo lake in Fl. Glad i am not on Salzman any more, Hi Mark

  4. MasterNate says:

    What a difference the wind makes. 20 this morning at my place(no wind). Drove about 5 miles north on hwy 213 through Mulino to the top of Mulino Hill and the temp jumped to 37.

  5. boydo3 says:

    Looks like the whole pattern sticks around and the cold reloads in a week or so…
    So much for a normal wet fall!

    • tim says:

      Well only the 18z gfs is showing that none of the ensembles that i look at today are showing a reload and the cfs model has well above normal temps for November, well see.

  6. Roland Derksen says:

    28.8F for a low here this morning. That’s my lowest for an October day since Oct.31, 2006.

  7. Jason Hougak says:

    Anybody notice the strong NE winds creating the dust cloud blowing off Mt. Hood yesterday? That was some deep arctic air. Even up here in the foothills it was really windy from the NE. Timberline was in the teens throughout the day. My vacation property by Crater Lake is 0.9F right now while it’s a balmy 25F here in the foothills.

    • Jake in Gresham says:

      Has it really deepened that much? Here in Gresham near Fairview it’s been really uneventful. Breezy (10mph to some gusts in the 20’s). Really nothing that would ever wake me up.

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        Hey Jake, it’s been awhile since we talked. How are you doing? I was wondering if you go to PDX WX Analysis on Facebook?

        It’s a closed group but thought you may like this page (that’s if you are not already a member)

        Let me know if you are able to get in.

        • Jake in Gresham says:

          Aye! Not too bad. I’m not on there. I’m very much not on social media. I’ve been invited before but I just dislike that platform very much!

        • JohnD says:

          Hope to see more of you on the blog this winter Ken!

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          Thank you JohnD. I’ll try and post stuff here too. One thing I wish we could do more on this blog is being able to post pictures instead of having to go to another website to download the picture and get it’s code to post here. Maybe Mark could find a way to do that?? I think that’s what is a downer about this blog. I like posting pictures and letting people know what I’m thinking about what I see. That’s why I like the Weather page on Facebook. Just saying!!

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          Jake, don’t try and add yourself to the group. I was blocked from the group because Rob Grimes felt threatened by what I was talking about. It seems he does that a lot with other people too. It’s very one sided there.

  8. AS@SEPDX says:

    Whoa… single-digit dewpoints at the COAST. That’s not something you see every day.

  9. W7ENK says:

    It’s funny, NWS dropped the Wind Advisory, and not 15 minutes later we started getting some of the strongest gusts of the day here in Milwaukie. Wind gusts through my neighborhood now topping 30 mph. Wind chill is down into the teens, and DP in the single digits.


  10. ocpaul says:

    Reached 42.3 for a high here in Oregon City. Loving the cold, just not my power bill. Hope the trend continues.
    Denver had a record low high temp of 19 today. Tons of snow too.

    • Grizzly Bear says:

      Moved to the Kamiah area of Idaho last spring, mostly for the beauty and recreational opportunities, but also to experience 4 seasons, well after a very hot summer with high temps near 110 I got 1/2 of snow as the arctic front passed over and now this morning it is calm, clear and cold just 5 degrees above zero!

      I sure don’t miss all the Portland traffic and crowds, Idaho County is bigger than Rhode Island, Delaware and Connecticut combined with just a population of 16,000 and 1 traffic light!

  11. Evan -- Cedar Mill says:

    So if this happened in January and the air mass was even farther west, how cold would it have been?

    • Jake in Gresham says:

      If this arctic air mass had pushed past the Rockies better and West in January it would’ve given us upper 20’s for highs and mid teens at night. It’s all about it getting into the Columbia River Basin forming a deep cold pool of arctic air to push over the Cascades (rather than just through the Columbia River Gorge).

      We’re talking single digits then with windchill.

      With it being farther East and it still being Fall it is modified arctic air only coming through the gorge. So really not that chilly for what we can get in dead of Winter. Certifiably cold for this time of year though.

      This chilly pattern of the Jet stream allowing this the past month and a half is covering the Rockies and BC mountain ranges in snow does set us up for an interesting Winter.

      Any cold air from the North Pole really won’t warm now coming down South. That does depend however if we hold this pattern of North to South.

  12. oldwxwatcher says:

    Interesting, indeed. It was 33° at my home in NE Portland at 11 PM. When the wind shifted to the east with a sudden gust at 12:30 the temperature shot up to 42°. The temperature slowly fell throughout the night to a low of 33.3°.

  13. Lynn says:

    What’s the winter snow forecast for the metro???

  14. W7ENK says:

    Definitely chilly!!

  15. Roland Derksen says:

    The wind arrived here early morning: by 2am the temperature climbed from 39 to 44F. It died down about a couple of hours later and by dawn was back down to 34F. Intresting to see how wind (even from an arctic outflow) can affect temperature.

  16. Andy says:

    Imagine a repeat in December or January…that would we interesting. I guess I shouldn’t leave out November. Just saying.

  17. MasterNate says:

    Love the smell of the dry mountain air! Hoping for the teens tonight. BTW, first.

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