We have the potential for the most significant ice storm in the Portland-Vancouver metro area that we’ve seen in years. Unfortunately, many of us will see scenes like the one in this photo by mid-day Sunday.
And that means many of us will, later in the weekend and into Monday, lose power. Travel will be extremely treacherous much of the time.
Here’s how I see things playing out as they system arrives from the south:
Another freezing morning on Saturday
Saturday AM: Accumulating snow starts early for Eugene & Newport, and gradually lifts north. Flurries and light snow are possible in the metro area anytime on Saturday morning.
Saturday Afternoon: gusty east winds in the metro area, light to moderate snow, total accumulations by early Saturday evening are going to vary considerably in the I-5 Corridor: from only a dusting to about 3 inches. The Coast could even see an inch or two in places.
Saturday Night: many of us see a lull in the action, snow stays on the ground, temps remain below freezing and in the metro area many of us experience a breezy night.
Sunday morning: The Portland-Vancouver metro area wakes up to what sounds like moderate to heavy rain. Unfortunately, it will be freezing rain. A reminder about what freezing rain is: liquid rain falling from the sky onto a frozen surface (car, tree, street, etc.) that turns to ice.
I expect significant ice—possibly the worst ice storm in years—by the time moisture decreases later Sunday. This will be the real start of power outages. Travel options will likely be slim and none because of road conditions.
Late Sunday: I’m thinking the metro area is mainly stuck below freezing. Most things are encased in ice. The I-5 corridor south of the metro area may warm above freezing for a time Sunday but will you stay above freezing Sunday night into Monday? Still a question mark for me.
Monday: likely a dry but icy start, with temperatures warming slowly above freezing during the day. As temperatures warm, solid ice that has coated trees begins to crack. Now it is just as heavy but not as strong and the number of power outages sky rocket. If this ice storm is as widespread as it appears, it’s going to be a major job and take a significant amount of time to get everyone’s power back on.
Of course things can change – but we’d need to see a significant shift in the forecast to avoid this ice storm scenario. I’m headed to the grocery store to stock up…if there is anything left!!