Arctic Blast: Winter Weather Advisory in effect

The cold will stick around for most of the week

A snowball (Public Domain Photos, Petr Kratochvil)
A snowball (Public Domain Photos, Petr Kratochvil)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Models are in agreement that the first significant arctic blast in several years will spread across the entire Pacific Northwest beginning New Years Day and will remain in place for most, if not all of the upcoming week.

Temperatures will not likely rise above freezing during the day in the Portland/Vancouver metro area for most of next week, with overnight lows in the teens across the valley and even the northern Oregon coast. Wind sheltered valley locations that still have snowfall on the ground may approach single digits for overnight lows by mid-week. Overnight temperatures will be well below zero on the east side the state this coming week. Temperature records are likely to be broken at some locations this coming week.

Snow flurries were spotted around the Portland area on Saturday afternoon. The National Weather Service said there could be up to 3 inches of snow accumulation over the weekend.

The National Weather Service in Portland issued a Winter Weather Advisory for snow, in effect from midnight until 6 a.m. Monday.

For historical reference:

— The last time the Portland airport recorded an overnight low below 10 degrees was in February 1989. — The last high temperature below 20 degrees was in December 1990.
— The coldest overnight low temperature ever recorded at the Portland Airport was -3 degrees set in February 1950. (Period of record is 1940-Present.)

At the present time this event does not look at cold as the above referenced dates.

Residents will want to wrap outdoor spigots and exposed pipes by no later than Sunday evening as the very cold air settles in. Dew points are forecast to fall below zero by mid-week. This will be a very dry and cold air mass!

The forecast for the first week of 2017 calls for very cold weather. (KOIN)
The forecast for the first week of 2017 calls for very cold weather. (KOIN)

 

A more significant snow / ice event late next week is possible as moisture from another system dropping down from Alaska moves in over the top of the cold air already in place. The exact details of this system are not clear at the present time.

Timing

  • New Years Day (Sunday) – Colder air begins to move in. Chance of light snow to all valley locations overnight on New Years Eve. Light accumulations of a Trace to 1″ are possible.
  • Monday – Dry and very cold air continues to flood into the region. East winds will increase through the Columbia River Gorge.
  • Monday through Friday – Very cold air remains in place. Mostly clear skies. Daytime highs in the valley will be 25-30 with overnight lows 15-20. Some single digit low temperatures are possible in the valley in wind sheltered areas that have snow cover.
  • Friday – Sunday (next weekend) – The potential for significant snow / ice event. Exact details will come into better focus this coming week.

The PDX Weather app — everything at your fingertips

Bottom line

Coldest weather in several years arrives Sunday into Monday. Some light valley snow is possible New Year’s morning.

Very cold and dry air pours into the region most of next week. Daytime highs at or below 32 degrees for several days in Portland / Vancouver metro area are likely. Overnight lows well into the teens at most valley locations by mid-week. Wrap exposed pipes by Sunday evening. Prepare for the cold to continue all week. Exact details on the possibility for a more significant snow / ice storm late next week will come into better focus this coming week.

City prep

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is getting ready for another cold snap and potential snow in the metro area. Spokesperson Dylan Rivera said they have extra staff prepared to handle dangerous conditions outside.

PBOT is encouraging New Year’s Eve revelers to take TriMet, which is offering free rides after 8 p.m. They say if driving is necessary, be aware than it may not be snowing in lower elevations like downtown, but once you get into the hills you could find a more dangerous situation.

“We want everyone to just be aware of their surroundings and know there is cold weather in the forecast, know what that means for how you are going to get around,” Rivera said.

Rivera also says it’s important to have an emergency kit in your trunk if you’re driving. It should include warm clothes and chains for your tires. If you’re driving an experience trouble on the road, pull out of the travel lane so you don’t block traffic.

The KOIN 6 weather team is tracking this arctic blast and will have forecast updates both online and on the air 24/7. Updates will be posted as needed.