Today has been mainly dry across the area, with just a few light showers.  Officially in Portland we didn’t get measurable rain.  That means we’ve entered a 5-6 day dry spell!  We haven’t seen a setup like this since Christmas Week back in December.  During the 7 days starting Christmas Eve we only saw .03″ in Portland.  Actually we have not had five consecutive days without measurable rain since the first week of November!

Most likely there will not be any rain in western Oregon and SW Washington until Saturday evening.  Enjoy your 5+ dry days!  I have plans to clean up the yard, prune some fruit trees, go skiing, and get some sun on my pasty white skin. Oh, and work too.  A busy week…

The dry weather is due to weak upper-level ridging moving overhead tomorrow through Friday.  This keeps storms away.  Increasing offshore low level flow means a period of gusty easterly Gorge wind tomorrow afternoon through Thursday too.

Mark Jet Stream

Rainfall has been near to below average across much of Oregon and all of California the past 30 days


Of course Washington has been wet and NE Oregon as well (the last 30 days), much of that due to the atmospheric river event the first week of February.

Snowpack is running near normal, averaged across the state


This cold season (November to now) has ranked as just about the most boring I’ve seen in my 29 years forecasting in NW Oregon and SW Washington.   Last year was similar, but then a cold/snowy February made for some fun weather times.

No windstorms & no stormy periods.  Do you realize we haven’t even seen a southerly wind gust to 40 mph at PDX this winter?  That’s very rare, in fact it hasn’t happened in the past 5-6 winters.  We’ve seen upper-level heights above normal over the eastern Pacific for large chunks of the winter (right now).  That keeps storms weak.

No widespread flooding.  Just some minor flooding in the north Coast Range.

No hard freeze/arctic blast.  PDX only dropped to 26…in November!  Outlying areas dropped as low as 19-22 at the same time during Thanksgiving Weekend.

No cold daytime highs.  We didn’t have even a single day where the daytime temperature stayed below 40 degrees.  An entire winter with no days in the 30s…that’s very mild.  That only happens every 10-20 years.

No measurable snow.  We’ve seen it close three different times, but nothing measurable at PDX so far.

No long periods of cold easterly Gorge wind.  Likely no one is complaining about this one, but we’ve escaped with no long or strong east wind episodes.

Winter So Far Intro

What’s Ahead?

Meteorologically we only have two weeks of “winter” left.  We consider March the first month of spring in the northern hemisphere.  The sun angle is now as high as it was just before Halloween, you have likely noticed that it feels warmer in the sunshine the last couple of weeks.

We sure aren’t going to have any hard freezes or widespread snow events in the next two weeks, so what #Sad winter we had around here is pretty much over.  I considered putting the fork in winter today, but we’ve got one more close call with low elevation snow in our 7 Day forecast.

Models are insisting a cold upper-level trough will drop through the Pacific Northwest late Sunday/Monday early next week. 850mb temps go as low as -8 to -9, plenty cold to get mixed showers or even all snow to sea level.  It appears we’ll get scattered showers during that time with onshore flow.  This isn’t a “real snow” setup for us, especially in the last week of February.  But it does mean, for the 4th time this winter, we could see patches of snow on the ground.  That is next Monday morning…if everything lines up JUST RIGHT.  At the least most of us will see some flakes in the air either late Sunday or Monday.

So in reality (just like the last three times) this won’t be affecting your life early next week.  But it would cause what we call “message confusion” if I put a fork in winter, then lots of us see snow in the air (or ground) 5-6 days later.

Enjoy the sunshine this week!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

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