Weather Blog

Blizzard warnings in Portland? No, but it sure looked that way

Blizzard warnings in Portland? No, but it sure looked that way

News of an impeding wind event has been prevalent for a few days, but a blizzard?

We had reports from several people around the Portland area that their cell phones and computers chirped to life Sunday afternoon with alerts of a blizzard warning issued for their area.

The blizzard warning is real, but unless you live in the mountains, it was not for "their area."

The National Weather Service issued a very rare blizzard warning for the central Cascades and Olympics from 6 p.m. Sunday through 6 p.m Monday. It's a very serious situation and that urgent level of weather warning meets criteria for alerts to get sent out.

However, many times those alerts are county-based. It works well in the Midwest and South when, for example, a tornado warning or flash flood warning issued for a county requires everyone in the county to take note.

But here, our counties span metro areas and mountains areas. Multnomah County, for example, stretches east into the Mount Hood foothills. So when this blizzard warning was issued for the Multnomah County portion of the Cascades, it likely got sent out across the entire county.

It was a similar situation in Seattle where residents across King County got the warning even though it didn't apply for many of their areas.

Blizzard warnings are issued when heavy snow is expected in combination with winds over 35 mph.