Showers today, Significant Ice Event Starting Thursday P.M.

Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 3:34 AM PST
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Good morning & happy Tuesday!

Scattered showers are passing through the region this morning, mainly affecting the coast, Coast Range, Gorge & Cascades. Tricky A.M. in the Gorge with freezing rain on the west end & snow east of Multnomah Falls. Expect to see periodic showers through the early afternoon, with an uptick in the rain between the mid afternoon and evening. Today will be our warmest day of the next 5-6 days with highs reaching the upper 40s. We’ll also contend with a breezy south wind with gusts up to about 30-35 mph.

The rain & mountain snow today will be linked to a cold front diving southward out of British Columbia & the northeast Pacific. Once the front moves through tonight, cooler & drier air will settle in. Much colder air will be spreading across eastern Washington & the Columbia River Basin. Expect temperatures on Wednesday to start off near freezing in the metro area. We should only reach the upper 30s during the afternoon. By the late afternoon, the cold arctic air east of the Cascades will punch through the Gorge and across the metro area. As cold air spreads into our western valleys, temperatures will plummet. High resolution computer models are suggesting overnight lows in the upper teens Wednesday night – Thursday A.M. We’ve seen these models overdo the cold air before, so we are keeping lows closer to 20 degrees for now. It will be very cold outside though when you factor in the gusty east wind. Wind chills will probably be in the single digits, and likely below zero in the Gorge.

THURSDAY - FRIDAY: It looks like the first half of Thursday will be dry, but quite cold. Expect widespread temperatures in the 20s in our western valleys. A warmer weather system will arrive between the afternoon and evening, bringing a mix of snow, ice pellets and freezing rain. The bulk of the precipitation will fall in the form of freezing rain between Thursday night & Friday, so expect roads to turn icy rather quickly. This will lead to dangerous traveling conditions by the end of the week. We’ll also have a mix of freezing rain and snow falling in the Gorge.

THIS WEEKEND: Saturday is a tricky day because ice will begin to thaw out well away from the Gorge, but we could be near freezing all day in a good chunk of the metro area (exposed to the cold air from the Gorge). We might not see much thawing on Christmas Eve, but locations to the south & west should thaw out. By the nighttime, more of us will thaw out as temperatures gradually climb above freezing. Warmer showers will be around on Christmas Day.

If you haven’t done so, make sure you’re planning accordingly for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Roads will likely be a mess for at least a couple of days.

More updates to come.