Christmas Weekend Weather & Road Conditions Update – KPTV.com

8:30pm Wednesday…

I’ve got a short update to let you know what’s up weather-wise as we head into the busy Christmas Weekend. I’m planning on a longer post early afternoon tomorrow. Just about everything I mentioned yesterday evening is still valid. Here’s what I’m seeing right now:

  • The next 4 days (Thursday through Sunday) we will be in the “showers and sun breaks” weather pattern.  There are no “storms” headed for the lowlands west of the Cascades through Sunday (the 26th).  But the airmass will be cooling each day, and by Christmas Day it’ll be cold enough for sticking snow at night even at the lowest elevations.  During the daylight hours on Christmas Day, we’ll see mixed rain/snow showers, but sun breaks too.  Most or all accumulation of snow that day should be in the higher hills around the metro area and mountains.
  • By Christmas night (Saturday night), there’s a better chance snow showers stick all the way to sea level and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of us wake up to at least some “white” Sunday morning.  More showers follow that day before we dry out a bit Monday.
  • Just about all of our models are saying cold/dry Canadian arctic air gradually works south into the Pacific Northwest Monday through Wednesday next week.  If that’s the case, the lower elevations will freeze up with daytime highs only in the 20s!  Now that WILL be pipe-busting weather. Will it be something we haven’t seen in many years? Or just regular cold? TBD.
  • If you see a snow total forecast or graphic showing “X” inches will fall in Portland in the next week, ignore it. We can’t forecast specific snow totals more than maybe 3 days ahead of time…at best. Especially in a showery pattern like what’s headed our way this weekend. We can say “it looks like many inches”, that’s reasonable. But anything specific 4-6 days ahead of time is silly.

At this point we don’t see a “snow storm” in the Portland metro area through Monday, but multiple chances (in showery form) for sticking snow from Christmas night through Monday.  We’ll be keeping a close eye on the rest of next week though. Some models are trying to produce a “shut Portland down” type snowstorm Monday night & Tuesday. Yes, an “all hands on deck!” sort of event for Portland’s local TV stations. I have vacation scheduled for next week as do lots of other people…we will see.

Wondering about driving in the lowest elevations from Eugene to Longview? Just fine tomorrow, Friday, and daylight hours Christmas Day

Road Condition Forecast.png

Key point…

YOU SHOULD BE COMFORTABLE DRIVING ON SNOW/ICE BEGINNING SATURDAY EVENING IF YOU PLAN TO HEAD OUT ON THE ROADS IN THE LOWLANDS

I’m not saying that will happen everywhere, but by sunset Saturday it’ll be cold enough for snow showers to drop sticking snow with accumulations anywhere, including the coastline.

Traveling elsewhere? Really tough through the Cascades from tonight through the weekend. I-5 through the Siskiyous could be treacherous at times. The Columbia River Gorge doesn’t look all frozen and messy Saturday, but some snow could accumulate at times Sunday as temps drop.

Holiday Road Conditions2.png

Coast Range highways will turn snowy for the first time Friday evening and that continues through the weekend, especially overnight hours.

Holiday Road Conditions3.png

That’s it for now, I’ll take a look at next Monday/Tuesday’s possible snow “event” on tomorrow’s blog post. Plus, we’ll see how cold we’re looking for the last few days of December. I’m on TV right now and will be through 11:30pm tonight. You can always find that at www.kptv.com/live

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

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