Winter Is Over In The Lowlands

February 20, 2013


This winter has been the most boring and mild we have seen in about 10 years. By “mild” I mean a lack of extremes and weather action, not the actual temps.  I think the regular commenters on here most likely agree.

Other than some wet and windy systems coming up for the last 8 days of February, I don’t see anything too exciting in the foreseeable future.  Models the past 24 hours have warmed slightly again for this weekend and early next week, enough that I think ANY sticking snow below 1,000′ is unlikely.  I even think it’ll be tough to get sticking snow to 1,000′ in the West Hills early Saturday or late Monday night/Tuesday morning.  That is the last chance this month for lower elevation snow.

So I think it’s time to stick a fork in winter HERE IN THE LOWLANDS WEST OF THE CASCADES, although in reality our winter was probably really over back around the last week of January.  Generally, most real winter weather west of the Cascades occurs between November 15th and February 15th, especially the really cold and snowy/icy storms.

You see the details in the graphic below: 



Most windstorms west of the Cascades tend to occur November-February, but in the past we HAVE seen windstorms in March and October.  But the likelihood goes way down from here on out to spring.

A few questions you may have…

Should I take my studded tires off?  Definitely not if your travel takes you up into the hills or mountains.  In fact it’ll be very snowy in the Coast Range Friday night and Saturday morning.  It sure doesn’t hurt to leave them on for another couple of weeks; but that’s up to you.

Should I uncover my faucets?  Yes, no more significant freezing on the way.  If you didn’t put on your studs this year (like Wayne Garcia), you just saved about $120!

Wait, last year you said winter was over in mid February and then we saw several inches afterwards; why should I believe you now?  Good point, last year I said snow was unlikely below 1,000’…big screwup.  Notice I changed the wording this year to say wet morning snow is still possible (but still unlikely).  All the rest of last year’s “winter cancel post” was just fine.

For the geeks, I see the 00z GFS is around -5 to -6 with onshore flow Saturday morning and again late Monday/Tuesday, then it’s on to milder weather beyond that.  That means it was time to cancel winter.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen