A Last Gasp Of Winter? A Snowy Gorge Likely Monday

10pm Thursday…

The next 3 days look very nice weatherwise…partly cloudy skies with just a few sprinkles likely on Friday morning.  There will be rain and snow to our north in much of Washington later Saturday and Sunday, but at this point it appears it’ll all stay to our north.

I had a grand plan for this evening since I’ll be on vacation tomorrow through Wednesday.  I was hoping to put the chance of snow/freezing rain in the Gorge and north central Oregon to rest this evening for the first part of next week and then (see previous post) tell the viewers that winter is pretty much wrapped up in the lowlands of Western Oregon/Washington.  But then the 00z GFS came in even a little colder with some “backdoor arctic seepage” Monday and Tuesday.  Ewww…what is that?  It’s cold air that gradually works its way down from Canada, into Eastern Washington, and then through the Columbia River Gorge and into the Portland metro area. That’s as opposed to an arctic blast that brings cold air across the entire region.

As a result there will be no “Winter is Over” proclamation for now.

Our RPM clearly shows rain approaching the coast quickly on Sunday evening, as does the GFS and ECMWF.  At the same time pressures are lowering to our west with an approaching “warm front like”  system, high pressure and cold air is building east of the mountains.  The result is a very strong east wind (8-10 millibars) through the Gorge.  850mb temps are below zero eastside and just a few degrees above zero westside.  It will be a very shallow cold air mass west of the Cascades as a result.  My current forecast even assumes the GFS/WRF-GFS is bringing down too much cold air eastside.  In fact take a look at the snow forecast from the WRF from late Sunday night through early Tuesday morning:


I think the snow west of the Cascades probably won’t happen as I mentioned, but look at the healthy totals in the Gorge!  A good 6-10″ from Bonneville to Hood River!  And snow all the way down into central Oregon too as the cold air pushes south.  You can also see with the east wind the WRF is trying to create the same heavier snow up against the Coast Range and in Columbia county that we’ve seen a couple of times this winter.   Again, I’m assuming it’s bringing too much cold air down at that time.  Note the 2 day rain totals from the same model:


IF the air is cold enough in the Gorge, which it appears to be, that’s plenty to support those snow totals.  The reason is that moist and mild westerly flow is undercutting the upper level ridge over us.

So it boils down to this:

MONDAY IN METRO AREA:  A cold and rainy day in the Portland metro area, instead of high temps around 50 or so on Sunday, temps will hover in the upper 30s to around 40 all day.  A gusty east wind 20-30 mph will make it feel colder!  Could see freezing rain as close as Corbett and the hills above Washougal in the Gorge.

TUESDAY IN METRO AREA:  Still chilly and breezy eastside.  Showers taper off, temps creep into the mid 40s.

MONDAY/TUESDAY  IN THE GORGE:  Some sort of snowfall is looking more likely this evening.  Depending on how cold the air mass is, could be just 2-3″ or if it’s as cold as these models show and with plenty of moisture, could be two days of snow with 6-10″ with freezing rain at the western end.  Extremely slow warmup Tuesday/Wednesday with cold easterly flow continuing.

Now keep in mind if models warm Monday/Tuesday significantly, none of this will happen.  Keep on top of the latest forecasts!  And the 00z ECMWF was significantly drier than the GFS.  The 00z GEM would be just barely cold enough for that snow too.  So still up in the air for sure.  Maybe LIKELY is too strong of a word.  We’ll see.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

149 Responses to A Last Gasp Of Winter? A Snowy Gorge Likely Monday

  1. Jake at the Lake says:

    Cant blame 7 though, he is just just in charge of Nelsons wet blanket till he returns. !! LOL

  2. W7ENK says:

    Da’fuq? Wow, are you f’king serious? I try and play nice, only to have you and your little troupe of cult followers bash me every chance you get. What the hell is wrong with you, anyway? I even paid you a slight compliment, and this is what I get? Go piss up a rope. I have just as much weather knowledge crammed in my silly little head as you do, every bit as much know-how and understanding of the way things work here in the PNW — which is certainly more difficult than elsewhere on this planet — rarely am I wrong, though I’m the first to admit when I am, and yet none of you clowns take me seriously. Maybe it’s because I like to joke and keep things light hearted, but is that really a reason to throw my arse under the bus at every turn? Really??

    Get off your trip, you jerk. And your little entourage better keep off my back, too. You stepped over the line with that tripe. It was completely unwarranted, and extremely unprofessional. You want to tout yourself as some pseudo-wannabe-quasi-professional meteorologist? Well, crap like that is only going to tarnish your image, pal. And you know it’ll get around.

    For the love of God, get real…

    Alright, let’s have it from the peanut gallery now. Should I take roll call??

    Mat, why don’t you start.

    Germantown Coilhead, you’re next, then McRunt. Jesse, why don’t you chimo in, just for good measure? Who else??

    Eff off.

    • W7ENK says:

      Don’t know why that posted at the top… intended for Rob down below.


    • marinersfan85 says:

      Either way. There was no harm in what you originally said. Rob just tried to “wiggle” out of it by being an arse. Very unprofessional if you ask me. Especially for someone who claims to be a professional.

    • Lauraholic says:

      I don’t know why everybody picks on you. I suppose because you point out the cracks in their “rock solid forecasting” skills. True Professionals don’t resort to calling names, except the false professionals who merely dream of the title….

    • Rob - Southeast Portland says:

      I am very lighthearted and easy going. I found this post and comments amusing and an enjoyable read.

    • W7ENK says:

      Well good, I’m glad you take such joy in pushing my buttons. How childish of you.

      Your track record is anything but easy going.

      Hey, at least I didn’t challenge your “analysis”. Your light-hearted reaction to that is always hilarious.

    • Rob - Southeast Portland says:

      LOL I literally picture you blogging with a binky in your mouth.

    • High Desert Mat (Model Rider) Redmond Or says:

      Erik, your the one that needs to eff off. I bet if I was standing in front of u, you wouldn’t dare say it. If any one needs to get a life its u, look how many times u post a day about trying to be a pessimist. Pu$$y!!!! And Laura, shut your pie hole, really.

    • W7ENK says:

      A binky. Yeah, real classy.

      Mat, I’ll run my mouth to your face if you want, I’m not a coward. Take a swing, we’ll see how well that works out for you in the end.

      Fact of the matter is, I made a perfectly innocuous comment, and Mt. St. Grimes blew his stack for absolutely no reason, other than he was looking to incite an argument. Mark is going to be pissed when he gets back, and I hope you get banned again, both of you. He’s a smart guy, the evidence speaks for itself, I said nothing even remotely provocative, and you went straight for the childish name calling and inflammatory rhetoric. No respect.

      You’re toast. Good luck to you.

    • Dringus says:

      Well the important thing is that everyone is obeying the no profanity and no drama rules. I’d like to point out that there is very rational behavior occurring here, and it is definitely reasonable for grown up adults to behave this way on a weather forum.

      I also very sincerely doubt you ladies are going to get together and fight it out with your handbags, but for the record I would LOVE to be there if it happened to film it. Pretty sure it would go viral and I’ll be happy to officiate and make sure nobody scratches one another.

  3. alohabb says:

    Nahh…my purely un-scientific thoughts are winter is done..even went and had the studded tires taken off( along with so many others!!). I am so ready for spring/summer. Next please.

  4. Sapo says:

    Latest WRF-GFS hasn’t changed much, and it’s also looking like precipitation is very possible in this cold period coming up.

  5. paulbeugene says:

    Looking interesting as we close February and enter March. Possibility of arctic air intrusion into interior Pacific NW looking rather likely at the moment.
    The mother of all March arctic/cold outbreaks in modern Pacific Northwest weather history was in March 1951. In that outbreak, there was 498dm 500mb low over Vanc Is/SW BC. As currently modelled, this won’t even come close but could approach March 1955, January 1971, March 1960.
    The transition out of the cold air would likely be the much more interesting event rather than the transition into the cold air mass.

    At this point I like the idea of arctic air getting as far south as Long Beach/Hoquiam-Woodburn-Bend-Snake River plain in Idaho.

    GFS and Euro suggest overruning snow event as we quickly transition out of the cold air, with 6-12 inches over SW Washington (more than 20″ over S Washington coast?) suggested by mm5 GFS 12km.

    Still long way to go..4-7 days, but this looks good. I mean for Seattle, Bellingham, and probably PDX, Olympia.

    It was 63F here in Eugene yesterday, spring weather has arrived and I think winter won’t make it this far S. If winter does return to S Willamette Valley I would be amazed.

  6. WEATHERDAN says:

    Headed towards 60 today. Maybe 60-65 by Friday. The weekend looks cooler. I’m not ready to go for an Arctic blast yet but the way this Winter has been who knows. Right now it looks to me maybe 40-45 early next week with some snow on the hilltops. The sun angle is just getting too high for much colder. Having said that I really respect Rob and he might indeed be right. I will study this matter further before deciding. One thing in Rob’s favor is 1971. There were two Arctic blasts in January of 1971. The first one was a dry cold with lows in the 10-20 degree range and highs 25-35. Two weeks later a 2nd blast gave the Valley a foot of snow. Then in late February a 3rd Arctic blast with snow so heavy the KOIN TV tower was knocked down and was out of service for two weeks. On March 1st Salem recorded its coldest March low temperature ever with a low of 12 degrees. It’s rare but it can happen. Meanwhile no matter what happens I will enjoy the warmth this week. Peace.

  7. Rob - Southeast Portland says:

    How did everyone like the 12z WRF this morning? Amazing. The most impressive arctic outbreak I have ever seen before. I have NEVER seen the [Brown] – [Purple] color shading before on a WRF map. This represents 925mb temps of -23c to -28c! Incredible values over the Columbia Basin and eastern Washington! 7:00 AM Sunday(Coldest frame so far) 925mb temps: PDX -12c, DLS -21c, PDT -21c, MWH -23c, GEG -26c, Northeast corner of Washington -28c!

    1:00 AM Monday. 2nd surge! with perhaps a damaging downslope wind storm! WOW look at that gradient with the depth of cold air!]

    Wow 4:00 AM Monday. IF this verifies High Wind Warnings for Multnomah, Clark, north Clackamas, and Washington County will be issued.

    4:00 AM Tuesday. WOW another unbelievable blast of east wind. PDX-DLS near -15mb!

    12km Extended Time Height. 45kts scraping the surface, 50-55kts just above us! Damaging winds LIKELY(Keep in mind 4km resolution is often and likely will be stronger) That’s the strongest Time Height I’ve ever seen for East wind. Now, IF this holds once we’re into 4km range I will bet $ we’ll start seeing 60kt wind barbs!

    Let me strongly reiterate that we truly do not want to see 00z WRF tonight show the same thing in terms of easterly gradient. That will guaranteed produce damaging east wind for many folks. No power with that cold of temps and wind? No thanks. Not to mention the chance of trees down into homes, etc.

    Snowfall? How about 6-8″ PDX metro and over a foot for Astoria.

    Importantly 12z EURO has come around to the GFS too. This all begins in only 72 hours. There isn’t much time for things to change. Let’s see if 00z runs tonight show more continuity with model camps.

    • JohnD says:

      Thanks for sharing your views Rob–as always!
      An unprecedented historic event in the making?
      We’ll see. But–as you say–with models
      lighting up in pretty close range, it looks
      “promising”–although certainly not pulling
      for any “damage” in the equation!

    • Rob - Southeast Portland says:

      All I can say or any of us can say at this point is we need to keep a close eye on things. I mean the cold is one thing, some snow is okay, but the easterly gradient is concerning. IF this all holds together on future WRF runs.

    • Ted Berry says:

      Thanks for all the info Rob, but Mother Nature will do as she pleases!

    • Garron near Washington Square says:

      I just got some serious chills reading this. Umm, Mark any thoughts, or maybe an update on the 7 day with a snow flake? Or maybe just a shot of Crown Point being blown off into the Columbia? I might still need the firewood I’ve got left for this winter. Crazy!

    • Dringus says:

      Some pretty fun outliers on the 12z spread.

      Looks to me like Euro is more in -2 -3c range – still fun but not quite the weather porn GFS is with outliers dragging down that mean a bit.

    • Rob - Southeast Portland says:

      EURO is -6c or so PDX. GFS mean around -5c. It may not seem impressive over PDX, but don’t be misled, it’s all about the historic blast represented Gorge eastward. 925mb temps depicts a much colder low-level atmosphere than from merely gauging the mid levels 850mb.

    • Rob - Southeast Portland says:

      EURO also shows 850mb temps -15c Gorge eastward with -19c Spokane.

    • W7ENK says:

      Mark is on vacation, but no worries, he comes back on Thursday. That should be perfect timing, as this epic arctic blast of biblical proportions (only the third time this winter Rob has said “…the most impressive arctic outbreak I have ever seen before…”) will be crossing into the 60-72 hour range, which is historically when these things tend to collapse in on themselves. Personally, I think it’s too good to be true and we’ll likely end up with 41 degree rain, although this winter has been different, so we shall see.

    • Rob - Southeast Portland says:

      This is the first time I’ve said that and it’s valid. That is exactly what is shown. Also, did you even look at the WRF maps? That would be the coldest outbreak we’ve ever seen since UW site was born and maybe well before(probably) So, how about not trolling posts? If you’re going to do so, find another Blog.

    • alohabb says:

      Thanks for posting Rob….come back and post updates on this every once in a while for us who cant follow you on Facebook. Please and thanks!

    • High Desert Mat (Model Rider) Redmond Or says:

      Rob, Erik is a troll and we all know that. But yes, please keep the posts coming about this cold snap as alot of us on here dont do the Facebook thing. I for one hope it verifies and we get a third arctic blast of the winter. This would be unprecedented. Anywho, socked in fog all day over here and hasn’t been above 28 all day. The Mets here forecasted a high of 47 for today. We really need some new Mets for ktvz Bend.

    • W7ENK says:

      Jeezus man, relax! Unruffle those feathers, I wasn’t trolling, for God’s sake…

      I remember you saying that in December leading up to our pretty epic cold snap, and I remember thinking “Wow, he’s been at this a long time, so this must be a pretty good model run.”

      You said it again leading up to the snowstorm at the beginning of this month, and I remember thinking “Jeez, he said that in December, so this one must be even better!”

      And you just said it for a third time this winter, which makes me think that if it tops the last two, then this one must be something pretty incredible.

      You’re either too quick to misinterpret what I say (whether it be intentional or not), or you’re fabricating an argument for sake of arguing. I’m not picking for a fight, so calm thyself, please.

      And Mat, knock it off and stay out of it. You’re even worse.


    • Rob - Southeast Portland says:

      You’re a horrible liar and how you just tried to save face wiggling out of that was awful. Simply awful. 99% of human population reading your comment towards me also would have interpreted it that way with a snotty tone. You’re kind of a worthless turd sometime, but even poo can be buffed and shined to become something worth value? Can you? I have no idea what that mean. Enjoy.

    • marinersfan85 says:

      That wasn’t very professional Rob.

    • Lauraholic says:


    • MasterNate says:

      OK, after a couple of beers, that was kind of funny. C’mon immature weather nerds, lighten up already.

    • Jake at the Lake says:

      Thanks Rob you’re awesome. A great asset to Marks blog!

  8. boydo3 N Albany says:

    Got up to 61 here yesterday. Forecast in the mid sixties today! Yay!!

  9. Jack in Corbett says:

    Gorge pressure gradient now -9.6. Had gusts overnight to 77 mph. Winds this morning gusting in the 60’s.

    Appears Crown Point instrument currently not working.

    • Garron near Washington Square says:

      I at first thought they’d somehow received some freezing rain, but it looks like the sensor has FINALLY given out this winter.
      Scottie, we need an emergency fix for the wind transducer!!! I’m tryin captain, but the ion flux generator has been blown off burrito wrapper mast capacitor! I’m given ‘er all shes got!!!

    • pappoose in scappoose says:


      Amazing it took this long, it was flopping around wildly.

  10. Andrew (Beaverton, OR) says:

    Winds are really rocking out there this morning, here in the Fox Tower we have a decent sway going now, first time this winter i have seen the building move this much with the wind.

  11. cgavic says:

    29 yesterday at 6 pm. 7 am it is 43 with east wind propelling in sandy.

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