Snowy system #2 this week is history and now it’s on to our next two “chances” for snow in the lowlands. Neither one screams SNOW STORM to me. By the way, the official total in Portland is 4.9″ from this morning’s snow and 1.2″ from Tuesday’s snow. That gives us a seasonal and February total of 6.1″. There were 15 consecutive Februarys in Portland with less than 1″ of snow (1995-2010). But now we’ve seen 3 (2014, 2018, 2019) with significant snowfall. Strange stuff eh? So much for “February typically doesn’t do much around here snow-wise”. I need to stop repeating that, apparently now incorrect, fact.
What’s ahead in the metro area?
TONIGHT: Everyone falls below freezing quickly after sunset. I think some snow showers will move back over the metro area from eastern Oregon overnight. The result is that ANYONE in the metro area could get a dusting to 1” of snow. That 1” is most likely east metro where roads are already ice/snowy so not much effect. Lows drop into the upper 20s
SUNDAY: Partly cloudy skies with highs into the mid 30s, then precipitation returns right around sunset. When it first arrives it should be in the form of snow, then a mild southerly wind should push sticking snow up to around 1,000’ during the night. So we don’t have a “snowstorm” coming for the Monday morning commute. I see a quick dusting to 1”, mainly in the hills and Clark county, tomorrow afternoon/evening. Then just plain rain or rain/snow mix overnight. Most likely the metro area will see temps RISE during the night, possibly as high as 40 degrees by sunrise.
MONDAY: For the Monday morning commute there will likely be plenty of snow in north Clark-Cowlitz counties where at least 2-4″ falls early tomorrow evening. and maybe a foot of new snow in the Gorge! But in the metro area that southerly wind should keep us snow-free and above freezing through this event.
WEATHER GEEK TALK
Tonight and most of Sunday are easy. Mainly dry, except “wraparound” snow showers from eastern Washington may cross over the metro area tonight; similar to what we saw Monday night. Models keep hinting we could get at least a dusting out of this. Obviously it’s plenty cold and anything that falls could stick. We bottom out in the mid-upper 20s tonight as the east wind backs off.
Sunday evening the forecast gets a bit tricky since a much wetter system is on the way plus we have cold air in place. However, this time we get the dreaded SOUTH WIND again, without the return to late night cold easterly wind. Since the surface low pressure center is headed to our north we sure aren’t getting a significant snow event this time around. Every single model is showing that’s the case. In fact check out the 00z NAM-MM5.
12 millibars southerly gradient Eugene to Olympia tomorrow. That means gusts 25-35 mph! Snow sure won’t be sticking long with that setup.
The GFS is going NO SNOW for the metro area through midday Tuesday
And the 12z ECMWF was similar, although showing that brief dusting chance with intial precipitation around sunset.
In the metro area we will avoid this next snow chance. So no, we’re not going to see 14″ of snow. And no, it won’t be the biggest snowstorm this century. But in the Columbia River Gorge and some spots north of Longview this will be a good snow producer, especially in the Gorge. That’s because the boundary of cold arctic air to the north and milder air south of it will linger quite close to the Columbia River Gorge much of this next week. I don’t see any big surge of mild air flooding into the Gorge through at least Tuesday, so ALL of that will fall as snow. I see 12-20″ falling from Bonneville Dam to Hood River through midday Tuesday. A big snow storm is on the way in the central/eastern Gorge!
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen