Dry Wednesday, then bitter cold and ice/snow later Thursday

Expect ice storm conditions most areas west of Cascades Friday
Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 3:53 PM PST
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A cold front is moving across NW Oregon and SW Washington today, bringing us lots of showers, but also a much warmer southerly breeze. Today was just about the warmest we’ve seen so far in December with temperatures around 50. As the front moves south of us this evening, the rain shuts off, skies partially clear, and colder airmass returns. Expect temperatures down around freezing late tonight and any wet roads will freeze. There’s a good chance many roads dry though before turning icy. Still, be careful during the morning commute!

Tomorrow will be a pleasant, cool, and crisp December day with lots of sunshine and not much wind most of the day. Around sunset, cold modified arctic air will arrive on a gusty northeast wind. This will be the cold airmass that’s been bottled up in Washington the past few days. By Thursday morning the east wind will be blowing hard in Portland and temperatures will be the coldest we’ve seen so far this season…down into the lower 20s! That’s a windchill in the single digits, something we haven’t experienced in a few years.

Thursday will be dry until sometime in the afternoon as a few flurries start to fall. Then as we head into the evening hours the flurries change to ice pellets and finally freezing rain, depending on location in the metro area. By Friday morning the entire metro area and everywhere else west of the Cascades will be a frozen, icy mess. More freezing rain falls through the day Friday and that means we’ll basically be in ice storm conditions all day long Friday. Assume all roads will be frozen the entire day. Travel will be very difficult in the entire I-5 corridor.

Saturday should dawn with the same frozen conditions for just about the entire I-5 corridor and metro area. Freezing rain continues to fall at times Saturday in much of the metro area. But at some point later in the day a warming southerly wind should push all areas except central/east metro above freezing. As sun sets Christmas Eve, a general thaw should be in progress except in those areas. But many areas could be out of power due to thick ice accumulation in the 48 hours before that time.

Rain (or freezing rain depending on location) will continue at times Saturday night through Sunday. The cold east wind should be mainly gone by Sunday morning, so expect ALL of the metro area to thaw Christmas Day. Temperatures in some areas could approach 60 degrees…it’s a very warm airmass overhead through the weekend.

The Columbia River Gorge will be experiencing a major ice storm through this period…Friday morning through Sunday. Travel may be difficult to impossible during this time in the Gorge.

Next week the rainy pattern continues, but without the low-level cold air. Temperatures will be in the 50s most days as we start those 12 days of Christmas!

Portland's 3 Day Forecast
Portland's 3 Day Forecast(kptv)