Our mild winter (minus one cold week in mid-February) has come to a conclusion in the lower elevations west of the Cascades. As I look into the first week of March on our various models, it's pretty obvious that
It's time to put a fork in Winter 2020-2021. This season is finished
So what kind of a statement is that?
It means I'm quite confident we're done with most of our typical winter weather events. But not all! Read on...
First, this winter (December 1st to now) is running 13th warmest on record at PDX. Those records extend back to 1940. Spokane is 14th warmest out of 72, and Baker City is experienced its 12th warmest winter. So not a record warm winter, but definitely at the upper end for many spots. This "La Niña Winter" will go down as warmer than average.
Looking at the models for the next 10-14 days...
- I don't see an outbreak of cold arctic air. For that matter I don't see unusually chilly air for this time of year. We have not seen a region-wide arctic air-mass descend across the Pacific Northwest since December 2013! Sure, some cold-air intrusions to some areas at times, but no big arctic blast.
- I don't see a setup for lowland snow west of the Cascades. Even a brief & wet morning snowfall.
Point #1 on the graphic below is most important; the chance of a widespread snow/ice event in the metro area is down to just about zero. I mean the type of event that shuts down our area for a day, or even part of it.
- Other than the cold spell with the snow/ice storm, we didn't have a major freeze this winter. Portland's low temperature was 24.
- Sure, we can still get a chilly east wind, but in early March we don't get long periods of the screaming cold easterly wind.
- As for flooding, for the first time in my career we DID see some significant April flooding in Spring 2018. But otherwise all of our big floods have occurred during the winter months.
What could we still see as we head into March?
We have seen March windstorms in the past and even one April event a a few years ago. And of course in recent years we've seen close calls with snow in March, including last year. Although it's still far more rare than December-February snow.
What actions can YOU take at this point? Get those snow tires off and turn on the exposed water line to the chicken coop (mine is back on).
There you go. Basically it's time to "de-winterize" WEST OF THE CASCADES.
We transition from late winter to early spring weather over the next 2-3 weeks as temperatures gradually rise.
In the short term, we've got big-time winter in the Cascades! Winter Storm Warnings are up for there and in Northeast Oregon.
The Mt. Hood area has the best snowpack since 2008 for late February!
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen