Ice storm in progress as metro area remains frozen through Saturday morning
Unfortunately the forecast is working out as expected this morning.
WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW
- Cold air is stuck in the lower elevations of NW Oregon and SW Washington with temperatures below freezing anywhere inland from the coastline.
- All of the coastline has warmed above freezing
- The Cascades are warming quickly and even Government Camp will warm up to around 40 the next few hours. Santiam Pass jumped from 20 to 40 between 6 and 7am! Cold air is becoming shallower. Silver Falls State Park is in the mid 40s at 1,600′ elevation.
- Roads are covered in glaze ice in most of the metro area, except far eastside where they are mainly dry or covered in ice pellets
- Freezing drizzle or rain showers are roaming around the area
The metro area is locked in the cold air
This setup continues through the evening hours as showers taper off. Tonight should be mainly dry, except for spots of freezing drizzle.
Last night and this morning wind in the western Gorge and extreme eastern part of metro area was about the highest it ever gets. Troutdale airport gusted over 50, which is rare. I see a gust to 88 at Corbett school, which I think is the highest observed there in the past 15 years
Yesterday the Vista House wind sensor disappeared. I mean, it really just ripped off the building. You see the observations suddenly go to zero. R.I.P.
- All areas from Salem to Longview (including metro area) stay locked in ice through sunrise Saturday
- During the day, temperatures warm above freezing EVERYWHERE except areas from about I-205 eastward to the Columbia River Gorge, from just north of the Columbia river down to about Powell/Foster road areas. This will be the last place to thaw...most likely not until sometime after 3pm
- Warming will be dramatic in the valley, west metro, south metro, and SW Washington tomorrow midday and afternoon. Your location could jump from 32 to 55 in an hour or so as south wind arrives! In these areas, road conditions should be MUCH better late in the day and into Christmas Eve (after sunset)
- This means that much of the metro area will be finished with the ice storm midday/PM tomorrow
- Moderate to heavy rain falls tomorrow morning through early afternoon. The result will be the heaviest ice glazing so far in the areas still frozen. That’s most likely central/east metro and into the Gorge. But even in those areas, temperatures should rise above freezing at some point Saturday evening. Assume roads will stay iced over through much of the night tomorrow night out there.
- Finally, Sunday we’ll just see light showers and temperatures above freezing all day. A cool easterly wind returns, but with temperatures warm enough to avoid more freezing rain
- Columbia River Gorge remains frozen east of Troutdale through Sunday, then a thaw commences (slowly) on Monday.
The next 24 hours is crunch time for weather forecast models. They’ve been pushing warm air in tomorrow and most even think we are above freezing by later tonight in the entire metro area. That’s not happening. As long as easterly flow out of the Gorge continues, we stay frozen. Here’s one example. GRAF short range model thinks we’re around freezing by this evening in Portland
The Euro has been very insistent pushing southerlies into the metro area by midday or early afternoon tomorrow. I do see about 4 millibars southerly gradient from Eugene to Olympia by 4pm, with easterly gradient supposedly down to 3 millibars through the Gorge. That COULD get rid of the metro cold. It’ll be quite a battle between the retreating cold airmass and surging southerlies, but I’m playing it conservative and assuming it won’t happen for east metro until evening. That’s why we’re forecasting significant ice glazing east metro tomorrow.
If we get lucky, it’s right. Who’s going to complain that it warmed up “early” if that’s the case? So maybe we’ll get a little Christmas miracle tomorrow evening in the form of warm temperatures and southerly breezes!
That’s it for now, we’ll be on the air at Noon, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm, 8pm, 9pm, 10pm, and 11pm this evening so you can catch me there.
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