A Few Snowflakes While You Sleep Saturday Night; But Snowy & Icy in the Gorge

November 29, 2019

6pm Friday…

A quick blog post this evening; busy on evening newscasts.  You can find me there.


  1. Saturday will be just like today, although clouds thicken a bit in the afternoon and a strong east wind starts blowing out of the Gorge by sunset
  2. If you live west of the Cascades in the lowlands, I don’t expect snow/ice to have any effect on your life this weekend.  95% of us will see bare roads
  3. The Columbia River Gorge could be a real mess late tomorrow night through at least midday Sunday. 1-4″ new snow, followed possibly by some light freezing rain.  That’s most likely (freezing rain) at the western end


Friday was a nice day once again…after a very chilly start!  It was the coldest morning so far this “winter”; only 26 in Portland.  The cold east wind has backed off as well.  Tonight will be similar with coldest metro spots down into the upper teens again and mid-upper 20s in the city.

Saturday starts sunny, but then clouds show up the 2nd part of the day.  The only other change will be a noticeable (chilly) east wind strengthening in the late afternoon through the evening.  Highs top out in the low-mid 40s once again.

Tomorrow night a very weak weather system passes overhead, dropping light precipitation sometime after 10pm and that continues through early Sunday.  The first few hours it could fall as snow, but I doubt temperatures will drop down to freezing in most of the metro area.  That means a dusting at best for a few spots while we sleep.   After 1am or so, warming air overhead would change most snow to rain.  BUT, near and in the Gorge that cold wind could lead to light freezing rain on top of a few inches of snow .

Regardless, roads in the metro area should be fine during this little event for 95% of usSUNDAY DRIVING WEST OF THE CASCADES WILL FEATURE BARE PAVEMENT ONLY

Snow Tonight Forecast 1

Snow Valley Salem Coast Forecast

Snow Valley Salem Coast Forecast2


A few points:

  • WRF-GFS soundings don’t inspire much confidence for snow.  See the “warm layer” develop sometime after midnight on a southeast wind.  The three soundings are 10pm, 1am, & 7am

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  • No model is showing any significant accumulations (beyond a dusting in spots.  Check out the WRF-GFS snow forecast


A closer view…


Hot off the presses…the 18z ECMWF, maybe a little in the Eola Hills west of Salem?  And cold air pushed up against the east slopes of the Coast Range could give a little snow to Yamhill, Forest Grove, & Banks…if everything works just right:


The pressure gradient through the Gorge jumps to around 10 millibars by Sunday morning.  It’ll probably be a 70 mph east wind night in Corbett and around Mt. Pleasant.  The airmass is cold enough that when the west end of the Gorge goes to liquid rain during the night, it’ll likely be freezing rain as far west as Troutdale or Camas.  This may be one of those situations with icing on objects but not pavement…we’ll see.

This is the only interesting weather I see in the next week, very mild weather continues with no sign of a long wet spell…yet.

I’ll have a fresh blog post up late tomorrow afternoon or early evening.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen