Icy Tuesday PM Commute Expected as Freezing Rain Precedes Arrival of Warm Southerly Wind on Wednesday

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Preparing for the Transition from Cold to Warmer Weather

Today in Portland, the temperature reached 30 degrees under sunny skies. However, the strong east wind blowing out of the Gorge made it feel much colder. In the windy areas, the windchill temperature has been in the single digits for most of the day. Peak gusts have reached 35-50 mph in areas near the Gorge, East Portland, and the West Hills. The pressure difference from The Dalles to PDX is at the high end of what is typically seen in winter, at 12.7 millibars this evening. While this isn’t a major windstorm like Saturday, it’s still causing outages and challenging work conditions for utility workers trying to restore power. Additionally, many homes have been without power for two days, resulting in temperatures in the 30s and 40s inside. Despite these challenges, progress is being made, with 48,000 PGE customers still without power compared to 160,000 on Saturday afternoon. It’s important to note that some people were skeptical earlier in the week about the severity of this weather event. Check out the peak gusts today with the windy areas highlighted in blue. There are still sensors, including those at Crown Point and Corbett, that don’t have power.

The Transition to Warmer Weather

The good news is that for most of us, this cold, windy, and icy period will come to an end between tomorrow night and midday Wednesday. The only area that will still be stuck in the cold air is the Columbia River Gorge, where residents are accustomed to these conditions. However, the transition to warmer weather won’t be smooth sailing. The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued an Ice Storm Warning for tomorrow. Here are the highlights:

  • All areas west of the Cascades will remain cold and dry until midday Tuesday.
  • Liquid rain will begin falling around Eugene around noon, spreading northward to the Portland metro area around 3pm, and reaching the Gorge and Longview. This will cause an icy glaze to form on all objects and roads.
  • Before temperatures warm, up to 1/4″ of ice glazing can be expected along most of the I-5 corridor, with up to 1/2″ in east Portland metro locations that stay below freezing longer.
  • A much warmer southerly wind will arrive in the valley tomorrow night and into the metro area by sunrise Wednesday, bringing temperatures well into the 40s.

Commute Road Conditions

Tuesday evening’s commute and Wednesday morning’s commute will be very icy in the metro area, while roads south of Portland should be wet since they thaw overnight. In East Portland, there will be plenty of ice on roads until midday or afternoon on Wednesday. The graphic below illustrates the classic setup for the thawing process, which starts in the valley and gradually moves towards east Portland metro areas.

Thawing Process Graphic

Did you know that the phrase “Chinook Wind” was initially used to describe this warm southwest wind before it became associated with westerly winds off the Rockies? Now you do! By noon Wednesday at the latest, the entire metro area should experience the warmer southerly winds. However, the Gorge may remain frozen until Friday or Saturday.

Precipitation Arrival Times

Models are in agreement on the timing of precipitation. It is expected to arrive around 1pm in Salem and by 3-4pm at the latest in Portland. There may be a period of dryness in the evening and early overnight hours before another round of freezing rain. This will further contribute to the freezing of roads.

Precipitation Arrival Times Model

That’s all for this evening. On Thursday, the leftover cold air will return to the metro area, resulting in a chilly and rainy day. Freezing rain will mostly be confined to the western Gorge, but the eastern metro area should still prepare for cold rain. Stay safe!

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Read More of this Story at www.kptv.com – 2024-01-16 03:21:00

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