How Portland’s 2017 winter storm compared to 2023′s storm

Car stuck on a snowy road in Jan. 2017 in Portland, Ore.
Car stuck on a snowy road in Jan. 2017 in Portland, Ore.(KPTV)
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 4:52 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - It’s been one week since an historic snowstorm brought almost a foot of snow to parts of the Portland metro area.

It’s rare to see more than 6 to 8 inches of snow fall in this area in one day. The last time we saw something similar was in January 2017.

On January 11, 2017, we woke up to an official report of 8.0 inches from the National Weather Service office in Parkrose.

In comparison, last Thursday February 23, we woke up to an official total of 10.8 inches.

One similarity between last week and the 2017 snowstorms is the varying snow totals across the area.

Last Thursday we had reports of snow from 1 to 11 inches across the metro area. In 2017 the range was a bit more from 1 inch in Molalla to 15 in the West Hills.

Another major difference between the two was the path of the systems.

The 2017 storm made a rare move straight up I-5 from Lake Oswego through the middle of town, continuing north through Vancouver.

Comparably, last week’s system dumped the heaviest snow on the east metro area each snowstorm is different and it would be unusual to see all parts of the metro area get the same snow depth.

Another difference was the time of day. The 2017 storm moved through between 7 to 11pm, not impacting commuting traffic nearly the same as we had last week. The January 2017 storm was, however, the second fiasco we had that winter.

While the accumulation was not as much, just one month earlier in December 2016, the snowstorm begin early enough in the day to give commuters the same outcome we saw last week. Cars struggling to make it through the snow, some eventually being abandoned on the side of the road, children stuck on school buses and trees down blocking roads.

The biggest snowstorm prior to 2017 was 1 to 2 feet over a three-day period in December of 2008.

Last week’s record snow fall ranks second for the snowiest day on record.

January 21, 1943 still holds the record with 14.4 inches in one calendar day.