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Rare Snow Covers Portland
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
An unusually heavy snow storm blanketed Oregon’s Willamette Valley and much of the surrounding region, including the Portland metropolitan area during the 2008 holiday season. Snowfall that began December 14 continued over a week later, piling up nearly a foot of snow and approaching all-time records for the region. The severe weather intermittently shut down some of the local interstates, hindering travel throughout the region. This satellite image of the snow covering Oregon was captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on December 16. The highest concentrations are in the Willamette River valley and on the Columbia Plateau east of the Cascade Mountains. Temperatures above freezing kept the Oregon coast, the Columbia River Valley, and valleys in the Cascade foothills snow free.