Turning Colder Later Today, Ice Storm Thursday Night - Saturday

Here is the weather forecast for the afternoon of Wednesday, December 21, 2022.
Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 3:36 AM PST
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Good morning! We’re kicking off our Wednesday with partly to mostly cloudy skies and chilly temperatures. Our western valleys are gradually falling through the 30s. Considering surfaces are still pretty wet from yesterday evening’s rain, patchy black ice will be possible as we head into sunrise. Watch the temperature on your car thermometer and approach roads with caution. Bridges and overpasses will freeze over first. Today should turn out to be a pretty calm day weather-wise (at least the first half of the day). Expect to see partly cloudy skies with high temperatures near 40 degrees. Between the mid to late afternoon, cold air will begin to surge through the Gorge, increasing wind speeds and causing temperatures to plummet. By this evening, temperatures will fall below freezing across the metro area. Modified arctic air will spread across the lowlands west of the Cascades tonight.

That cold air will set the stage for the upcoming winter storm. Expect surfaces to be dry for the Thursday morning commute, with scattered showers arriving between the late morning & afternoon. Toward the end of the day, we should be dealing with widespread snow/sleet/freezing rain along the northern Oregon Coast, southern Washington Coast, western valleys & foothills. Roads conditions will go downhill fast since temperatures Thursday will only make it into the mid 20s or so. The east wind will make it feel MUCH colder, with wind chill factors in the single digits.

Most of the interior lowlands will deal with freezing rain overnight Thursday into Friday morning, with on & off showers throughout the day. Temperatures will warm up along the coast thanks to a wind reversal, so conditions will thaw out Friday A.M. This will be a significant ice storm though for the Coast Range, interior lowlands and Cascade Foothills, with widespread ice accumulation across population zones. By midnight, there could be anywhere from 1/10-1/4″ of ice on the ground. Greater totals up to ½” can’t be ruled out. This will likely lead to power outages, so plan accordingly!

Temperatures will begin to warm up for locations well away from the Gorge between Friday night & Saturday morning. Unfortunately, a large portion of the metro area will still be under the influence of a cold east wind, so additional precipitation coming in will lead to more ice accumulation. Our hope is that midday Saturday will bring some thawing to the south & west sides of the metro area. Eventually, warmer air should erode the cold air away, leading to more thawing Christmas eve into early Christmas Day.

The Gorge won’t be as lucky. We’re expecting about 3-6″ of snow accumulation between Thursday night and Friday, with a major ice storm playing out Friday night through Saturday. Many locations will be iced over through Christmas Day.

More updates to come!