Snow Keeps Piling Up…

SnapshotI’ve just been amazed at the numbers this evening.  The snow depths and snow water increases just today.  Looks like Mt. Hood Meadows has had 3 feet of snow in less than 2 days…16" of that just since 5am today!   That graphic down below, from last night’s post?  I notice Saddle Mountain now has over 28" of snow water.  That’s about 3" of precipitation since last night at this time…all falling in the form of snow.  By the way, ever wonder how they measure precipitation at these remote sites with no electricity to warm the gauge?  It’s an open container/gauge that uses an anti-freeze type solution.  The snow falls into it and melts, gradually filling up the thing as the winter goes on.  That depth is then measured (or it might be by weight, I’m not sure).  Either way they go up there and swap out the fluid each summer.

Our weather?  Rainy and breezy this evening…with the trough moving through.  Snow levels have fallen a bit below 2,000′ again and probably bottom out around 1,500′ tomorrow under much lighter showers. 

Our model indicates steady stratiform precipitation arrives from the next system by midnight tomorrow night.  00z models are a bit more similar on the Saturday low pressure placement.  They seem to agree on a strange "double-low" setup that brings a negative-tilt front up towards us from the southwest early Saturday morning.  WInd turns a bit more southerly behind that feature as we then get a secondary low that moves almost directly over us late Saturday.  Since we don’t have really cold air already in place, I think it’s going to be tough to get sticking snow down to the Valley floor.  This MIGHT be a good time for a quick snowfall up against the Coast Range.  It’s a brief easterly flow ahead of that first wave, and southeasterly flow around 2,000-5,000′.  That pattern in the past has produced "unexpected" snowfall at Forest Grove, Banks, and Gaston.  We’ll see.  In general I’m just not too excited about any "event" Saturday.  Just not quite cold enough.  There IS one more day to take a look at things, so no need to make any prophetic announcements on the air.
It IS going to be a great snowstorm in the foothills and Cascades though…just what we need, more snow…Mark Nelsen

234 Responses to Snow Keeps Piling Up…

  1. ORCityKC, the heavier precipitation is what is lowering the snow levels in some places and not others. If you are in an area that is getting heavier precip, you are seeing snowflakes (even at low elevations).
    We will get widespread snow, IMO, tonight if the precipitation gets heavier. I don’t know if the precipitation is forcasted to increase or not (I’ve asked and nobody answered) but this fact is very important and will impact what we wake up to in the morning.

  2. …32.4 here…and it’s still snowing hard, and it’s not big wet flakes, looks to be more of a powdery type…something i’m used to seeing when it’s a lot colder than this….

  3. Marc ( Orchards, WA ) says:
    That map looks to show good snow in the metro. Steady snow for at least 12 hours into hour 36

  4. ORCityKC says:

    I am @ 750ft in OC & have yet to see a snowflake tonight…35.1 right now. Temp bottomed out there a couple of hours ago. Obviously, seeing snow levels lower in places right now with heavier precip.

  5. Luvrydog (from home in Beaverton) says:

    Yes, I’m very surprised at the snow level and as that low comes closer overnight we could see the drier air begin to get sucked out of the gorge and lower our dewpoints, at the same time, the steady moisture overnight, drops the snow level gradually…hmmmm, maybe a slow turnover…I really don’t know right now. Guess we’ll all have to keep our GOLU models on high alert tonight.

  6. Nof near Carlton says:

    Rodney Hill (BOB the weathercat reincarnet) said the SL was gonna be 515′ and would rise later in the day to 2056′.
    For more scary footage see

  7. Marc ( Orchards, WA ) says:

    Luv, I was just thinking that too. It always seems to be when the mets don’t bite, we get a surprise. With the snow level already down to around 500 feet (thanks cmom) without steady moisture, i’d say the snow level keeps dropping throughout the night and into tomorrow as moisture increases.

  8. Camas~Mom says:

    btw 32.1 DP 30.4

  9. Luvrydog (from home in Beaverton) says:

    Marc, you are right, sorry I forgot to specify…when I said event..I meant moisture…as far as snow goes, it may be a little to warm after the first low passes N in the mid to south WV…it’ll be close I think. The devil will be in the details. BUT! Keep in mind, these models have been alllll over the place with these lows, we COULD wake up to a white blanket in Portland…it’s possible with this setup. With the Mets not biting…could be a surprise…kinda has that feeling.

  10. Jesse-Orchards says:

    I say we all get screwed tomorrow.
    If by screwed you mean widespread snow for Clark County…..

  11. Camas~Mom says:

    Snowing hard here and everything is very white! Just came home from dinner – the snow level is right at 500 feet and beginning to accumulate there. It’s clearly been snowing here for probably 30-60 minutes. With that huge patch coming in we may end up with quite a bit. Of course, we have a soccer game at 8:00 at the bottom of the mountain tomorrow morning. What a joy to get to! Looks like hubby will be tractoring the road around 6:30 am.

  12. Marc ( Orchards, WA ) says:

    I am just responding to someone who said south valley may get a snowstorm.

  13. -100F says:

    I don’t know Marc. PDX will be colder, but we really need steady and heavy precip to keep the snow levels low. If the precip cuts off so early, we are gonna have a hard time getting snow.
    There is also a decent chance that all of us on the valley floor (PDX and Central valley) will get screwed. PDX may not get snow due to lack of heavy precip and central valley because they are not cold enough. Its looking like we will most likely just see a mix.

  14. Matt aka PrivatePilotWA, Castle Rock WA says:

    I was just reading the KATU forecast, 2,500 foot snow level tomorrow….come on now…u serious?

  15. Matt aka PrivatePilotWA, Castle Rock WA says:

    Just took a side trip on my way home from work, I went up to about 1,000 feet I believe and WOW. 1,000 feet in Cowlitz County has some snow and it was snowing once again while I was there. Roads were all white and light snow falling.
    Well we are colder tonight than last night, 35.

  16. Could it be? Finally a real shot at snow in the central valley?

  17. Marc ( Orchards, WA ) says:

    I don’t know, the south valley may just get rain. The first low might bring too much south winds to areas Salem south depending on where the track of the low is.

  18. -100F says:

    Luvry I agree. Looks like PDX is once again gonna get screwed and the central valley may actually have the best chances.

  19. I’ll take it that no one knows. Thanks guys!

  20. um….ive got an inch of new snow, after the slush quit absorbing….is the snow level going down further than where i am at?

  21. -100F says:

    My forecast for tomorrow
    Valley floor – Rain/Snow mix changing to all snow during heavy precipitation, local accumulations of up to 1 inch (mainly in areas such as Forest Grove)
    500ft – 2 – 5 inches
    1000ft – 4 – 8 inches
    Snow level will generally be around 500ft.
    If the MM5-NAM is right, the Valley will have MUCH more snow than this forecast predicts. For now, I will ignore the NAM. Everyone should at least see snow in the air tomorrow.

  22. Luvry (at home in Beaverton) says:

    Looks like both MM5 NAM and GFS are pushing this low to far south for us to get a real snowstorm guys. OUr dreams come true with the low south…but I think’ll be to far south to give us any type of prolonged snowstorm in the Metro area. GFS cuts moisture off by 2pm tomorrow, NAM gives us a little light moisture until about 10PM. We may actually want to start rooting for a farther north track if you want a real snowstorm here. If we don’t get heavy sustained precip out of this, kiss your PDX snow goodbye…This may again be a mid to southern willamette valley event. ARRRRGHHHHH

  23. Stevo in Mill City says:

    It’s been snowing here in Mill City (829 feet) – 30 miles ESE of Salem, since 4:30….it’s been off and on with light accumulations. Current temp is 34.6 degrees. I know the consensus was that even with the southerly landfall of the low, the existing air may not be cold enough. I’m starting to get some hope now though that maybe we will see something tomorrow. I agree with you guys that the snow level forecast for tomorrow may be a bit too high. We’ll see.

  24. Luvry (at home in Beaverton) says:

    one thing I REALLY like is THIS!!!

    and THIS!

    Come on NAM, pull through.
    GFS shows NOTHING…man, can’t they just get along…ONCE!

  25. -100F says:

    Matt, I’m quite sure I noticed those snow flakes a few hours ago when I checked the 7 day. Could be wrong though.
    Anyway, this event is just boiling down to NAM vs. GFS. I pick GFS, so chances of snow are not looking too good.

  26. Mat-ne portland says:

    -100, he never had any snowflakes on there all day. Its fairly new.

  27. Marc ( Orchards, WA ) says:

    I am not saying were going to get a bunch of snow, I am saying I don’t think the snow level will be at or above 1000 feet. Because as of current, the temps are already cooling within 3 degrees of freezing and its 8 PM and already rain/snow mix reports across the area.

  28. Luvry (at home in Beaverton) says:

    Also, if the MM5 NAM does come through…the low almost goes to far south to give us any real precip tomorrow night…hmmmm.

  29. Does anyone know if precipitation is on the increase tonight?

  30. Grant L. says:

    So it’s mixing right now in McMinnville you can see a lot of wet snowflakes hit the windsheild. 10 miles west of McMinnville about 700ft they had 4 inches on the ground in the Coast Range. Is it supposed to snow here tonight because its 36 and mixing.

  31. Luvry (at home in Beaverton) says:

    One thing I’m worried about with the NAM…The low pressure in the columbia basin as the second low comes in…may negate any easterly flow that we would expect…I could be wrong…If I am, please do tell as there will be no high pressure over there to force that dry air west into Portland even if the second low takes the track of the NAM.

  32. -100F says:

    Matt, thats not new. It has been there for a while now.

  33. -100F says:

    I’m not at all impressed with the MM5-GFS. The track of both of the lows look pretty similar on both of the MM5 models. Of course all of the low stay to the south of Portland, but the MM5-GFS keeps insisting that it will be too warm. It shows 925mb temps warming as the first low approaches and we never get below freezing at the 925mb level again, even after the second low.
    Unfortunately, I think the MM5-NAM will be wrong.
    Look at this forecast

    The NAM predicts that by 10:00PM (today, yes thats under 2 hours away), Portland should have .5 inches of snow on the ground.

  34. Mat-ne portland says:

    New 7 day. Mark isn’t impressed.

  35. Mback (TTD) says:

    Maybe Mark should just let us write the forecast for once. But no Mark, we won’t take the heat if the forecast doesn’t pan out.

  36. Marc ( Orchards, WA ) says:

    I agree -100. I just thought he would have changed it when the reports of rain/snow mix were being reported in the valley. The KPTV 10 oclock news commercial keeps having Mark saying “no snow below 1000 feet and just snow in the cascades and east of the mountains” .. I know its recorded, but its probably giving everyone in the area the idea there is no chance for snow here in the metro. Gonna be a lot of angry people tomorrow if it does snow.

  37. Wet snow…mixing with some rain here right now. Temperature is 34.5 degrees and is starting to fall again.
    Does anyone know what the precipitation is expected to do tonight? Increase or decrease?

  38. 00z GFS shows the 1st weaker low moves in near Astoria appearing to move ESE taking it south of PDX.

    I actually think the initial low may move a bit further south that this….
    The 2nd stronger low moves onshore Sunday south of Newport.

    Surface gradients as of 8:00 PM
    OLM-EUG -4.3 Decreased
    PDX-EUG -2.0 Decreased
    PDX-DLS +1.2 Decreased
    TTD-DLS +1.1 Decreased
    Be back later

  39. -100F says:

    Marc, I think he will change it soon. He will probably analyze the models soon, if he hasn’t already done so. I think he will lower the snow level to AT LEAST 500ft now.

  40. Marc ( Orchards, WA ) says:

    I am really surprised Mark Nelsen is still saying snow level at or above 1000 feet. He does have the degree in Meteorology so I should believe he has the upper hand, I just don’t see why his snow level is above 1000 feet still. Models seem to suggest otherwise, maybe he will finally change it after reading our blog 😛

  41. Mat-ne portland says:

    Ya I agree, check out the GFS. Its looking like Newport will get the landfall and only one low……hmmmmmm

  42. -100F says:

    hmmm, MM5-NAM looks great. The fact that the first low comes in south of PDX GREATLY increases our chances of snow. I won’t get excited yet though, I have to first see the MM5-GFS.
    I must say, that I am surprised at how the NAM seems to have beat the GFS in predicting the track of this storm. A few days ago the GFS kept trending north but the NAM was very consistent and later the GFS trended back south.

  43. Jesse-Orchards says:

    Just got back from snowshoeing in the Eastern Gorge, near Catherine Creek, so thought I would give a little temperature profile regarding the drive home.
    It was 38 at Catherine Creek, 8 miles East of Hood River, down from 43 when we got there.
    36 in Stevenson, Rain/Snow mix.
    33 over Cape Horn, Snowing heavily and sticking.
    35 in Washougal, Rain/Snow mix.
    37 at the SR 14/I-205 interchange. Dry.
    36 at my house in Orchards. Dry.

  44. Marc ( Orchards, WA ) says:

    At least the mets should care to notice there is a rain/snow mix in the area and to take note that in their forecast. Still raining and snowing now. Temp 36.2.

  45. Kay Bradley, TTD says:

    We just came back from dinner (in NE Gresham, ~400 ft elevation) … thick rain and 39 degrees on the car thermometer when we left about 6p (and found myself logging in via iPhone for dew point I was so surprised) … coming back heavy precip rapidly turned to a wet snow mix, and car temp reading down to 35 degrees by the time we hit home (SE Troutdale, elev. 320 ft.). I know heavy moisture brings the freezing level down. Just reporting what we saw.

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