January 1, 2004 A cyclone moves across Southern Oregon, and Northrn California. Has peak wind speeds of over 70 MPH in some areas Spreads cold winter weather across the area
Setting The Stage Cold air was pushed through the Gorge and into the Willamette Valley, causing a short spell of heavy snowfall over the region that would set the stage for the ice storm. Temperatures were below normal as cold air pooled in the area. These temperatures would remain low for the next several days. Areas of Southern and Eastern Oregon experienced blizzard like conditions and heavy snowfall.
January 3 and 4 A strong Arctic Cold Front begins to move southward towards the area. The already low temperatures drop drastically and set record lows on January 5 th and 6th. Highs for those days were in the mid to low 20's
January 5 The cold, dry, air mass from the North kept temperatures cold, and on January 5, a large system of moisture arrived from the Pacific. Forecasters expected the cold temperatures and snow to stick around for a day, then leave. They were wrong.
January 6-9 Warm air aloft from the Pacific begins to override the cold, dry, air. As moisture falls, freezing rain forms, and the low temperatures at the surface blanket the region with a sheet of ice. Forecast models expected a quick warming, but it took several days (until January 9) for this to occur on a large scale.
The Results Portland International Airport was closed for 2 days. This was the first time in the airport's history that it was closed for that long. Kids were kept out of school for days Unprepared road crews could not keep roads safe for vehicles. Many people were forced to stay in their homes and life slowed to a crawl in the area. Large parts of the two states were without power for days.