Blistering cold sends surprising and historic spring snowfall to East Portland – East PDX News

MAKE A VIDEO RIDE-ALONG WHILE WE COVER THIS STORM! Although meteorologists predicted it, the snowstorm that rolled through east Portland surprised many people. Take a look at our photos…

April 11 was a surprise “snow day” for students in the Parkrose neighborhood, including those attending Parkrose High School, after our heaviest-already April snow swept the area.

History and photos of David F. Ashton

After experiencing high temperatures in the upper 70s on April 7, it looked like summer would come early to our neighborhoods.

Even though local TV stations posted reporters in the West Hills for snow showers at higher elevations late Sunday evening April 10, most people in our area would never have guessed they would wake up to snow on the ground on April 11.

A a flurry of huge snowflakes descend here, along SE Holgate Boulevard in the Lents neighborhood.

For families with children, Monday was certainly an unexpected “snow day”, with all schools hastily announcing the closure of their campuses.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) meteorologist said he was not caught off guard by the historic snowfall. Read on to find out why…

Blizzard conditions cover outside East Portland

In Raymond Park in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood, a family braves slush for some outdoor fun.

Crossing Lent and Powellhurst-Gilbert to the south, through Hazelwood and north to Parkrose, every park, yard and street in the neighborhood was carrying a thick blanket of wet snow by 8 a.m.

The snow being heavy and wet, few children played there. But, some parents took their children for one last romp – perhaps “last chore” would be a better description – in the snow.

In the Midway Business District, the iconic Division Center clock tower displays the current temperature – just freezing.

Portland The Transportation Office clears slush from 82nd Avenue SE of Roses, Lent.

Overall the roads were passable. City of Portland trucks had blasted at least one lane on major streets — like 82nd Avenue in Roses, 122nd Avenue and busy east-west thoroughfares. Falling limbs caused scattered, checkerboard power outages across the area.

More treacherous than the muddy pavement were the drivers gleefully crossing intersections with dim signal lights – seemingly unaware that the law requires drivers to treat these intersections as a four-way stop.

Damage from fallen wires brings firefighters to Hazelwood homes

Firefighters go from house to house, checking circuit breaker boxes that have overheated due to a sudden jolt of high voltage.

As the snowflakes continued to fall that morning, at 7:31 a.m. seven units from three different Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) stations were dispatched to the 10300 block of NE Davis Street.

What firefighters discovered were several homes along the stretch of NE Davis Street from 102nd to 104th Avenue that had lost power and were reporting acrid smoke emanating from their basements.

These firefighters discuss their findings with the PF&R Battalion Chief.

“When their power lines went down, behind the houses, the power wires got kind of overexcited; it looks like some of their breaker boxes burned out or overheated,” said a PF&R Lt. at the scene.

“We checked all the houses, there is no fire in any of them. But, it is likely that they will need some electrical work before they can restore service,” he said. East Portland News.

Look what it was like to be outside,
report on this monster blizzard:

NOAA meteorologist not surprised

“This weather event is unprecedented – with measurable snowfall in late April – according to records dating back to 1940 at Portland International Airport and the 1890s for downtown Portland,” said Colby Neuman, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) meteorologist.

We can’t go inside, due to ongoing COVID-19 issues, but a NOAA meteorologist working inside the Parkrose neighborhood office explained the cause of this freak snowstorm..

“However, it wasn’t a surprise to us at all,” Neuman said. East Portland News. “As of Saturday, we saw the emergence of a favorable configuration for snow production, as we expected in January. Our only question was where it would happen.

Meteorologists were tracking a moisture-laden low-pressure system moving east over the Pacific Ocean. “What was unknown was whether this ‘low’ would dip southward, coming over northern California and southern Oregon; breaking north, becoming a blizzard in Seattle; or, do what he actually did – slip in, just south of the Portland area,” Neuman explained.

From SE Foster Road to NE Marine Drive, the length of 122nd Avenue was barely passable.

Covered in April snow, this is historic Rossi Farms.

“Then during the night, when cold, dry offshore winds [coming down from Canada, channeled east through the Columbia Gorge] encountered the moisture-laden low pressure front, it was the “perfect recipe” for snow in the Portland area,” Neuman pointed out. “Interestingly, while we were measuring snow depths of 1.6″ at the NOAA Parkrose weather station and 2″ downtown, the lowest temperature recorded at the airport was 33 degrees.”

As the weather conditions persisted, East Portland saw quite a bit of rain for several days. “A part arrived with graupel [a kind of snow]. Depending on the altitude, you could see snowflakes mixed in with the precipitation,” Neuman acknowledged.

Looking ahead, Neuman remarked, we should expect a “normal” spring season. “Here, our spring weather is longer than in most places; it starts in February and usually ends in May.

The storm is blowing out

As a finale to the historic April 11 snowstorm, a thundercloud with lightning and pounding hail rolled through East Portland on April 13.

Although the snow had mostly melted by the end of Monday April 11, the strange April weather continued for the rest of the week. Periods of clear skies and sunshine were followed by heavy showers and the occasional sleet.

After the afternoon sun of April 13, that evening, dark and ominous clouds arrived around 7:30 p.m.

Maybe we will see “normal” spring weather now, until summer rolls around.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

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