YouTube Weatherman Frankie MacDonald Says a 'Major Winter Storm' Is on Its Way to Portland

We called up the Canadian sensation, who told us we need to be prepared. Local meteorologists disagree.

By Shayla Norris-York February 1, 2019

While much of the country suffers through sub-zero temperatures, mountains of snow, and treacherous travel conditions, Portland has been blessed with the unexpected: mild (for winter) weather. We might be tempted to stash our beanie collection away for the season, but that’s all subject to change this coming Monday. At least, according to one amateur weatherman. 

Yes, Canadian YouTube sensation Frankie MacDonald has been kind enough to grace us with a dire warning in one of his numerous videos. In the video, MacDonald foresees “dangerous, slippery driving conditions” in Eugene, Medford, Salem, Portland, and Vancouver, Washington. He goes on to suggest that we keep hats, gloves, scarves, and ski pants ready and waiting, and that we do our grocery shopping this weekend. MacDonald encourages us to make sure all our devices are charged and ready, that our laptops and phones are equipped with portable chargers, and to have a stockpile of tea ready.

“Drink lots of green tea, white tea, red tea,” he told Portland Monthly over the phone (a piece of advice he also offers in the video). “Order pizza, order Chinese food. Do your grocery shopping. Don’t wait 'til the last minute—do it right now." (Here are some extra tips for Portland snowpocalypse.) 

Hailing from Sydney, Nova Scotia, the 34-year-old MacDonald has become something of a mini-sensation with his YouTube forecasts. He began studying weather models back in 2007, but has said he wanted to be a weather reporter since he was a little boy. His first video appeared in 2009, and between 2011 and 2012 he rose to YouTube fame, covering everything from Hurricane Isaac to a rainstorm in Nebraska. He now boasts nearly 188,000 subscribers and more than 33 million views. 

His videos are characterized by sparkling enthusiasm, concerns about global warming (which he says hinders his abilities to predict the weather), and, most of all, worries about people’s preparedness in the face of oncoming storms. Thus, his slogan: “Frankie Says Be Prepared."

In our phone call, Frankie offered a final word of caution: “Make sure you have your snow boots, shovels, snowshoes, and snow plows ready." 

Local meteorologists, however, are less panicked. “We may be cold enough around some point [to get snow],” says local NOAA meteorologist Jeremiah Pyle. “But there may not be much, if any, precipitation.” According to Pyle, we may see some snow mixed with rain in Portland on Monday, but the coast range will probably absorb the snowfall. currently predicts a partly cloudy but dry Monday. 

Still, depending on your situation, you may be hoping that Frankie's prediction proves correct. If you've experienced wintry weather in Portland, you know that even an inch of snow can bring the "city that works" to its knees. In that case, we recommend placing spoons under your pillows, going to bed with your PJs inside out, flushing ice cubes down the toilet, or whatever childhood ritual you think will encourage the snow to fall. And in the meantime, drinking tea certainly can't hurt. 

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