Ice Storm Through At Least Part of Saturday

Thawing Will Occur Earlier if you live Away from Metro Area (West of Cascades)
Published: Dec. 23, 2022 at 3:32 AM PST
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Good morning! It’s a very cold and icy morning across a large portion of northwest Oregon and southwest Washington. Snow, ice pellets, sleet & freezing rain have been turning roads & other surfaces icy/snowy overnight, and that should continue for many of us today. Our wind direction (and speed) will dictate who begins to thaw out first, and who stays iced over longest. The main source of cold air is pouring through the Gorge and across the metro area. Obviously that cold air reached all valley locations and parts of the Coast, but things will begin to change today the farther away you live from the Gorge. As I write this discussion around 3:00 A.M., most of the central Oregon Coast is climbing above freezing. That trend will continue to the north, so you folks along the northern Oregon & southern Washington Coast should begin to thaw out later this morning. Between the late morning & afternoon, a southerly wind should spread across the southern Willamette Valley, beginning the warm up there. It’s possible the south wind could reach the central Willamette Valley late this afternoon, but it may not be enough to thaw conditions out. Temps should gradually warm up late today (close to Salem), hopefully above freezing so ice starts to melt. Any showers should start to switch over to rain (as opposed to freezing rain). Points to the north won’t be as lucky.

The Portland/Vancouver metro area will still be under the influence of the east wind, and that should persist through at least Saturday morning. Our largest population zone will be locked in by ice through today as multiple waves of freezing rain pass through. Showers will be scattered though, and should wind down this evening. We’re going to need a pretty stout southerly wind to punch those temperatures up on Saturday. Our hope is the south & west sides of the metro area will begin to thaw out as we approach midday, but the central and east side will probably still be too cold. The most challenging part of the forecast comes later Saturday. We’re expecting an additional 0.25-0.50″+ of precipitation. It’s possible that half of the metro area will deal with cold rain, and the other half will deal with freezing rain. Be prepared for the possibility of frozen surfaces all day Saturday, and more power outages.

Most signs point to temps warming above freezing between Saturday night and early Christmas Day. Hopefully by that time frame, the east metro will be thawing out. I-84 through the Gorge will be iced over all weekend. There will be a layer of fresh snow (about 4-6″) with significant ice accumulation on top of it. Travel will be near extremely difficult along I-84 until at least early next week.

Next week will be entirely different than this week. Expect a lot of rain & high snow levels. Temperatures across the metro area will be in the upper 40s and 50s each afternoon.

Stay safe out there!