Snow In Lowlands? Unlikely, But a Slight Chance

11pm Tuesday…

Over the past 5 days or so there have been strong hints that several very cold weather systems (for late February) will drop into the Pacific Northwest this weekend and early next week.

Over the past two days models have been very gradually warming up the pattern (slightly).  This may very well be enough to eliminate the possibility of lowland snow.  As of this evening it appears too warm to get snow much below 1,500′ Saturday and Sunday.  We’ll see about Monday-Tuesday next week.  Even that looks very marginal…I’d assign the possibilities these percentages based on current info:


Big Picture

We haven’t seen measurable snow this winter and I don’t see a real good chance for measurable snow in the next 7 days.  The chance isn’t gone, but it’s looking slim right now.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

129 Responses to Snow In Lowlands? Unlikely, But a Slight Chance

  1. Ryan says:

    Mark, about how much snow do you think zigzag(~1500 feet I think) gets this weekend? And will it dry out Saturday am or pm?

  2. *BoringOregon* says:

    Oh boy, mark is calling of winter we will see we will see !!

  3. Jordan (Raleigh Hills, 420') says:

    Still hanging onto the idea Monday night has our best shot at seeing snow in the are for the pdx metro area… sure hope it works out. Seems like it’s going to be our last best bet for the season.

  4. pappoose in scappoose says:

    National Weather Service Portland or
    824 PM PST Wednesday Feb 20 2013

    The big event comes Friday. The models are pretty similar with the
    general details. A strong low pressure area develops over the Gulf of Alaska Thursday night…causing a potent secondary low to develop just off Vancouver Island. This system will be much more dynamic with a strong cold front associated with it. Water vapor imagery shows it nicely at 53n 137w…with a fairly long fetch of moisture along 45n. AMSU total precipitable water values are around 0.8 inches at 50n 150w. The GFS modeled water vapor product off the atmospheric river detection Page indicates just over an inch into the Washington and north Oregon coast 12z Friday. Snow levels climb to near the Cascade passes Friday in
    the warm sector…but plummet Friday afternoon and evening. Models indicate a tight 700-mb Theta-E gradient with this front and pretty impressive 700-mb Omega at 15-20 microbars per second. The European model (ecmwf) shows a 500mb cold pool of -36c air with this front. Middle-level lapse rates may be steep enough for isolated embedded thunderstorms with the front. A winter weather watch has been issued for this system. Strong wind will accompany this system…with High Wind Warning criteria possible along the coast along with localized blizzard conditions in the higher Cascades. The NAM produces 25-40 knots westerly 850
    mb flow into the Cascades Friday night…a healthy orographic
    component…for heavy snowfall.

    Strong Post-frontal cold advection Friday night will drive snow
    levels to around 1000 feet. A rain/snow mix or brief wet snow showers may occur near the valley floor late Friday night and early Sat morning…but by then the bulk of the moisture will have passed.

  5. germantownsummit1000' says:

    Starry, starry night…


  6. runrain says:

    So is that Euro showing 70’s or something in the first week of March?

    • Ben T says:

      70’s is Not gonna happen.

    • Sifton says:

      Neither is valley snow.

    • Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

      Low 60’s at best… But thats still some decent temperature!

    • runrain says:

      Gidrons mentioned recordbreaking temps first weekend in March possible according to the Euro so wouldn’t that be around 70?

    • AdamInAumsville says:

      Hour 240 of the Euro is close. March 2005 redux?

    • JJ97222 says:

      77 in San Antonio tomorrow should feel good! Lots of sun! Found our house down here today making offer tomorrow.

    • Marcus says:

      I would say 65-70 at this point! Especially if we have an offshore flow:)

    • Punxsutawney aka HIOPHIL in Hillsboro says:

      00z GFS says wet and no warm weather for early March. It’s been fairly consistent with this. Will be interesting to see what the 00z Euro thinks.

    • karlbonner1982 says:

      Looks like 65-72 to me!

    • W7ENK says:

      Record high temperatures at PDX, first 7 days of March (year of record):

      1 67°F (1981)

      2 69°F (1986)

      3 65°F (2005)

      4 70°F (1987)

      5 68°F (1984)

      6 69°F (2005)

      7 70°F (2001)

    • Punxsutawney aka HIOPHIL in Hillsboro says:

      Well the Euro and GFS are still very much at odds at days 8-10. GFS has zonal to sw flow and Euro has a big ridge right over us so very big differences.

      I haven’t been that impressed with either models longer range accuracy this winter, though the GFS has been pretty good on MJO forecasts.

      I guess I’ll go with recent climatology for March 1st. Meaning the start of winter around here. 😉

  7. karlbonner1982 says:

    If Mark sticks the forks on TV tonight, I hope he follows it up by mentioning hour 240 on today’s 12z ECMWF!

  8. vernonia1 says:

    where is wwm from?

  9. *BoringOregon* says:

    Well I’m still thanking about a epic end of the yr snow storm, and at least where not in Boston there going to get over a foot of snow again this weekend

    • o.c.paul says:

      Yes, at least we are not in Boston where they are ENJOYING over a foot of snow, AGAIN!

    • Josh in Sherwood says:

      After this winter we deserve a Boston snowstorm. If we got over a foot of snow over the weekend, that’s perfectly fine. And your end of the year snowstorm? HAH! It’s not going to happen. I’d be willing to bet on it 100% not happening.

  10. wwm says:

    rain has changed to snow, heavy wet flakes, temp has dropped off nicely to 33*. too bad moisture is limited.

  11. Ben T says:

    You know things are unexciting around here when the majority of the discussion is about if a picture is photoshopped or not. Please for our sanity Winter give us something to talk about and let this not be an episode of Housewives of Blogsville.

  12. Lurkyloo says:

    Well, all I have to offer is that I think Spring is on the doorstep. I see that ants and other bugs have come to visit again. My dogs have randomly started shedding really bad. And (this is special) raccoons were fornicating on the roof of the building in our backyard last night. Twitterpated …

    That’s all.

    • germantownsummit1000' says:

      No frogs yet – at least here.

      That’s my sign.

      Can’t come to soon after this sad excuse for a winter.

    • W7ENK says:

      Ooooh, so close!

      That’s gotta sting… 😆

    • Heisson Rob says:

      Already have frogs in the BG lowlands. Not in full song, but enough…

    • Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

      I had to kill a few spiders in the bathroom and kitchen already. Its begun!!

    • Ron says:

      Frogs have been on the money for the twenty years that we have lived by our pond. Febuary 1 rain, shine, frost, it doesn’t matter. They are phototaxic. Phototrophism drives much of nature. It’s a beautiful thing to listen to. I can set my watch to them starting to court. Pacific tree frogs do it the best.

    • bgb41 says:

      I heard a frog too Rob

  13. pappoose in scappoose says:


  14. gidrons says:

    According to the latest Euro run, our area could see records fall the first weekend of March.

  15. gonna be chilly here this weekend.

  16. Ben T says:

    Let’s hope for some heavy showers Friday and Saturday get some snow in those showers!

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Yes! I’m happy with snow in the air/snow on dark bark-dust/mashed potatoes snow dumps! Hahaah!

    • Sapo says:

      NOAA says 1,000-2,000 ft Saturday morning when the snow level drops “dramatically”, so maybe we could see some flakes in those showers.

  17. runrain says:

    Well, the Phoenix area is getting their snow:

  18. Marcus says:

    12z euro….March 1st 2nd are looking very very spring like I hope that trend continues.

  19. WX Ninja says:

    I’m starting to think that perhaps once we see a decent spring we may just see a decent winter follow it. Just a thought….

  20. yevpolo1990 says:

    Yep completely agree with Brian, looks can be deceiving in weather, and yes micheal did clarify that real well, pointless to even argue if he was RIGHT THERE!


  21. Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

    Now if these can occur during summer; that’d be different!

    • Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

      Uhh wrong post. Meant to be a reply to funnel cloud. haha never mind me

  22. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    Nice little shower moving through right now, but it appears off to the west there is some clearing on the visible satellite.

  23. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    Looking at the now infamous funnel photo. I see the “funnel” is clearly behind the powerlines.

  24. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Even insignificant snow is fun!
    “should limit the possibility” Love the CYA statements!

    National Weather Service Portland or
    852 am PST Wednesday Feb 20 2013

    There should be a burst of heavy precipitation
    with this system…latest GFS/NAM estimates show easy 1-2 inch per hour snow rates in the Cascades with strong wind…possibly bringing localized blizzard and dangerous travel conditions as low as the Cascade passes Friday. Overall with orographic enhancement…12 to 24 inches are a good bet for most of our Cascades Friday unless something significantly changes.

    For The Lowlands…it will be blustery with rain…occasionally heavy
    especially for the coast. Gusts 50-60 miles per hour are not out of the question for the coast and higher terrain Friday-Friday night…with 30-40 miles per hour gusts possible inland valleys.

    Long term…Saturday night through Wednesday…
    There appears to be a prominent onshore influence with each system which should limit the possibility of these systems producing significant snow below 1000-1500 feet elevation.

  25. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    Made it down to 28 with the clearing last night. Currently 34 with cloudy skies.

  26. Ben T says:

    It looks like our best chance is to buy snow makers guys. Anyone up to taking any days off from work or school to cover the towns!?

  27. alohabb says:

    This place is starting to sound so much like my 2 kids bickering at each other. Ugh.

    Put a fork in it and lets move on to Spring. Beer and BBQ is waiting.

  28. SNOW! says:

    Kgw is the first station saying at least some wet snow showers Saturday morning with the sticking snow level around 500 feet.

  29. Sapo says:

    If we do see any flakes in the air or a dusting, winter is still over, so stick a fork in it.

  30. bgb41 says:

    2/19/2013 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:58 at WH6KO-10 St Hele( 36 ft) & Hood River(571 ft) & KD7RJ Bethany(279 ft)
    Low: 41 at BROOKS(187 ft)

    High:21 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft) & CW7477 Lostine(7002 ft) & Rim(7050 ft)
    Low: 5 at ANEROID LAKE #2 (7300 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 34 degrees
    ALLISON (42/8 ) (5320 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    1.05″ at AGNESS2(247ft)
    0.83″ at LONG PRAIRIE(1093ft)
    0.82″ at RED MOUND(1753ft)
    0.67″ at BANDON(79ft)

  31. Mountain Man says:

    I’m sharpening the forks even up here at almost 1,200 ft. What a pathetic winter! I had sticking snow up here on May 1st just a few years ago, but I feel a wet and generally mild early spring coming on after perhaps a few wet dustings over the next week. It was a feeble year for snow and cold even in the foothills of the gorge this year. At least there is an average snowpack a little higher up. So far the my winter snow total is 11.5 inches and deepest snow at one time 7 inches and coldest low 15 and wind gust 59. In the same order over 7 years I average 45, 19, 9 and 68. So much for our exciting neutral year! Maybe next year.

    • gidrons says:

      In the hills above Scappoose, I’ve had measurable snow 4 times so far this year for a grand total of 10″. Even with the expected snow coming up, this is shaping up to be the least white winter since the last el nino.
      Fortunately one of the snow events was on Christmas Day, so I’ll put this one down in my books as a good winter.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Sure feels like an El Nino winter doesn’t it, especially if March ends up or starts mild.

    • karlbonner1982 says:

      In March, above-normal temps are “warm,” not “mild.”

  32. I think I have lurked here 3 or 4 times the past month. I am only posting regarding the funnel cloud picture.

    It is attached to a cloud base and actually it is well away from the hail shaft. Also, you can see the condensation within the funnel. Based upon this, it’s smooth appearance and cylindrical shape it is definitely a funnel.

    -You might want to brush up on your home work, Erik.

    • W7ENK says:

      According to an NWS meteorologist who is also a member of another local weather group that may or may not necessarily be associated with this one, the windshield reflection of the burrito wrapper and what also appears to be either straw paper or a cigarette say no, it is likely not.

      -You might not want to make your first post after coming back from being banned an attempt at inciting an argument, Rob.

    • Ben T says:

      Miss your weather analysis…

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Good to see you Rob.
      Had the same feeling about the appearance and shape.

    • germantownsummit1000' says:

      Ditto what pappoose said.

      I think Erik’s assuming everyone has trash all over their dashboard – he can spot a burrito wrapper at a hundred paces.

      Oh, and being the little deputy sheriff with some heartfelt advice…

      …as usual.

    • W7ENK says:

      You missed some important words, namely the first 5 (one of which is an acronym, I know, just go with it). Not my assessment, though I do agree with it, if that’s okay with everyone else? Mainly because the bottom of said “funnel” can be seen in front of the street lamp a mere 50 or so feet away.

      Sheesh, I think I’m just going to stay away from here today, three trolls in one day? Stinkin’ up the place! What ever happened to the second half of Rule #3? Oh, never mind, it’s still there, I see it clearly. There’s a Rule #4 now, too. Go brush up.

      See ya…

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Can’t resist this…

      Sure glad the guilty party only left one burrito wrapper laying there. We’d have a full blown funnel cloud outbreak! Hahaah!

    • Benjamin (West Salem) says:

      Which NWS meteorologist?

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      Kids, kids, kids…

    • Josh in Sherwood says:

      Heh, wow.

    • bgb41 says:

      Michael Trofimov is a very reputable source on my group. He was outside observing that cell during the event. There was no funnel.
      He took lots of pics to prove it.
      Anyone who thinks it was is being fooled by the reflection of the windshield.

    • yevpolo1990 says:

      Yep completely agree with Brian, looks can be deceiving in weather, and yes micheal did clarify that real well, pointless to even argue if he was RIGHT THERE!


    • Maybe it was CycloGenesis or CycloAerosmith or CycloDefLeppard that made that burrito, who knows. I still say that the tail end of that “funnel” is in front of the street light, as I’ve said all along. And not one other picture of it has been produced. Pretty easy to decide.

    • Greg Carstens says:

      An employee at the National Weather Service in Portland clearly outlined it for us Rob and it is NOT real. It is a reflection off a dashboard of some sort of wrapper and a straw. Zoom the picture on your screen several times and you will see it pretty clearly or at least should be able to. I zoomed it quite a bit and you can tell it is nothing more than a reflection.

      • Mark Nelsen says:

        Of course the person that took the picture also explained that they watched it for a little while. I doubt he/she didn’t move her head for a few minutes. The reflection would have moved.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      I’m gonna try and start a trend.
      How many folks vote to stop the funnel/wrapper discussion?
      I’m in!

    • germantownsummit1000' says:

      I’m in!

    • W7ENK says:

      This should settle it once and for all…

      There, y’all happy now???

    • That’s a photoshopped image per the creator.

  33. karlbonner1982 says:

    THEN AGAIN…the end of the 00z ECMWF operational has “Severe False Spring Advisory” written all over it…

  34. Greg Carstens says:


    I’m not off the fence just yet. The ridge is sitting well enough offshore and systems are lining up from Southern Alaska to west of the Kamchatka Peninsula and are getting ready to round the bend. Jeff Renner has made mention of some hilltop snow in the next 7 days, I am at 465 feet. It is now 32.0 degrees at 11:40 PM. The next 7 days should be interesting to say the least. 🙂

  35. Heisson Rob says:

    Anyone know how much snow has fallen at PCC Sylvania this year? Just wondering for next Winter Weather meeting…

  36. karlbonner1982 says:

    Could this be one of those rare years where the ONLY measurable snow of the season at PDX comes in March?!? We aren’t really out of the woods until at LEAST March 15, at least not fully…

    But with the first few days of March looking balmy, even I will probably start sharpening my forks…

  37. Better dig out the chains for the Wishtrain. 😉

  38. Marcus says:

    00z euro no good if you wanted snow anytime soon I’m throwing in the towel on winter I’m usually very optimistic but this winter is different!!! Light rain, split flow ridge. Snow and cold is just 10 days out how many times this winter I’m done with it bring on warm weather and let’s play ball:))) go mariners!!!

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      And now we’re talking 5-7 days out with no hope beyond that time. Forks are coming out tomorrow I think.

    • Forks have been out for quite some time and into the ribs that Larry has been grilling at the bottom of the cliff. Also on the menu are some very tasty beverages. Shall I say……spring ales? How ’bout a Thunderhead IPA? A toast to the end of Winter,.. or a toast to the beginning of Spring!
      Lamb on the spit seems in order as well, slathered in a morel mushroom sauce.
      I’m all in!

    • gratefulduck says:

      I havent bothered to put my fork away for the last 3 yrs..I dont even bother to model ride anymore!!

    • Chuck on Mt Scott says:

      Think? If flakes are floating and you brandished your fork, I think folks will say that you were wrong. Better to be safe and wait for your return 🙂

  39. momof2kiddos says:

    I’d be happy just to see flakes in the air 🙂

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