Some of us in lowlands picked up enough snow for sledding; plus another shot of colder air likely next week

Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 6:58 PM PST
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I’m fairly happy with how the forecast turned out today; there were areas of sticking snow from around 9pm yesterday evening through around sunrise today. And the Trace to 2″ forecast was reasonable in the end. These showery patterns are always very tough with respect to forecasting snow totals. That’s unlike what we saw in December when all us were well below freezing and a solid line of precipitation moved in.

Portland officially only picked up a TRACE of snowfall. That means the “big” winter total of 0.2″ continues to hold. And that 2nd 0.1″ probably wasn’t really snow (ice pellets).


So who DID get some “sleddable” snow? It was north and south of the metro area. The central/south Willamette Valley south of Salem did well, note that most of these numbers are near the valley floor.


Then up north; quite a strip of solid 1-3″ snowfall from around St. Helens across the river to Woodland, La Center, & Longview too


The bulk of the metro area didn’t pick up anything more than a dusting at best. During the coldest part of the night (midnight to 7am), PDX only picked up .04″ precipitation! So we just didn’t get the heavy showers here at the right time for a solid snowfall. This also points out once again that it’s not just about elevation; it’s about where the heavy showers roam. 3″ along the Columbia River north of Portland, but where it was colder in the West Hills, only 1/2″ to 1″.

Some models were too “wet” and as a result produced too much snow. The WRF-GFS did it to a certain extent and it has typically been a stellar performer. But it was beaten by IBM’s GRAF model. This is the graphic I showed on yesterday’s post



We are in a VERY slow weather pattern the next 5 days. An upper level ridge building over us now...


That trough offshore will split, then a stronger ridge builds just offshore for the weekend. Yep, that means mainly or all dry for a 2nd consecutive weekend


But here comes a change...the ridge backs up slightly the middle of NEXT week, about 8 days out. That allows another cold trough to drop south out of Alaska. That means a shot of cold air approaches the PACNW next Wednesday


That looks cold, but does it mean a close call for snow again? Could be. A very wet and windy cold front moves through the region next Tuesday. Then colder showers follow next Wednesday, the 22nd.

  1. Do we get cold/dry Canadian air coming in on a cold east wind late next week? Possibly
  2. Does Pacific moisture ride over that cold air for either widespread snow/freezing rain at some point? Also a possibility
  3. Or do we just have some 1,000′ hilltop snow showers and that’s it? I think we’re guaranteed snow at least that low

The chance for getting 1″ of snow in any one year drops to about 10% in Portland by early next week (the 20th). But this COULD be one of those years...we will see.

The good news is that the chance for an all-day long “shut down the metro area” event goes to ALMOST zero by later next week. Even when we do get snow in late February (or March or April), roads melt in the afternoon and life resumes its normal pace.


It’s too early to know exactly what’s up for late next week, but here’s your “FIRST ALERT” that we’re watching the last week of February closely. Last year we did have a brief cold snap also right around February 22nd/23rd. Similar events occurred in late February 2006, 2011, 2018, & 2019. These are becoming a popular thing lately...

This graphic I used on TV covers things well for now.


Enjoy your Valentine’s evening!