The Portland metro area could see more freezing rain Thursday morning
PORTLAND, Ore. — Parts of the Portland metro area got an extra dose of freezing rain Thursday, but the impact appeared to be limited until late afternoon. Most major roads were already clear Thursday morning, with side roads still icy.
It wasn’t cold enough for a new layer of ice to form on major roads, according to KGW chief meteorologist Matt Zaffino, but it was enough to keep many side roads icy throughout the day.
“It’s like taking a frozen turkey and putting it in your refrigerator – it takes a long time to thaw, doesn’t it?” He said.
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a new blizzard warning for the western Columbia River Valley area Thursday morning, warning of high winds and the potential for new ice and snow accumulation. Some of that cold air was expected to extend into the metro area, prompting a winter weather warning for the region, and officials advising Portlanders to continue to stay off the roads during the day.
This new weather threat comes as Portland continues to deal with the impact of nearly a week of severe winter weather that has left at least 10 people dead, hundreds of thousands of people without power, hundreds of trees downed and roads blocked across Portland. and Metro Vancouver area.
There is also a winter storm warning for the central and eastern Narrows calling for 5 to 10 inches of snow. Snow levels over the Cascades above State Camp will remain at 4,000 feet.
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East winds from the Columbia River Gorge increased Thursday morning, causing temperatures to drop in the east metro area, KGW Meteorologist Rod Hill said. Weather model guidance is beginning to show that much of the Portland metro area could drop to or below freezing temperatures, especially in the afternoon hours on Thursday.
“Plenty of moisture is available with persistent rain falling across the area Thursday morning. Areas that refreeze may see significant ice,” Hill said Thursday morning. “Your best bet at this moment is to cancel today’s plans and stay home or drive home to be careful. If temperatures drop, the roads will see new ice.”
Both Troutdale and Gresham reported freezing rain Thursday morning, and temperatures in Portland were hovering between 32 and 34 degrees as of midday, Hill said.
“Thursday will be close (in the Portland metro area) with temperatures…either just below 32 degrees with freezing rain for most of (Thursday) or holding steady at 33-35 degrees with rain,” Hill said.
Temperatures warmed slightly by the afternoon, with Portland International Airport reporting 35 degrees, though it wasn’t uniform, with Happy Valley seeing 28 degrees, Zaffino said.
Hill shared some weather graphics (see below) to illustrate the threat: Future forecasts show strong winds from the east blowing cold air across the North Valley at 1 p.m. Thursday and freezing rain in Portland and across Washington County at 3 p.m. Hill explained that the color is the freezing rain, and the blue is the snow in the valley.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) reported Thursday at around 8 a.m. that the National Weather Service (NWS) told them that “more freezing rain could be on the way, starting at 10 a.m., with the best chances for accumulation after 4.” evening”
“Avoid non-essential travel,” PBOT said. “Be prepared for worse-than-expected conditions, as the forecast comes with uncertainty about the timing and amount of freezing rain.”
It looks like things will finally start to improve in the metro area on Friday, with drier weather, slightly warmer temperatures and a chance of rain. Warm winds will blow through the weekend, bringing temperatures into the 40s. Next week, Portland will see a return to highs of 50 degrees.
“Confidence is very high that we will return to the same weather pattern we saw in December,” Hill said. “I’m talking about temperatures reaching the 50s by the middle of next week and continuing for some time, it seems.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.