We’re into early March now and no maps/models show any real stormy weather, or cold. In fact they look quite mild through the first two weeks of the month. So it’s time to put a fork in winter:
What does that mean? This applies to anywhere west of the Cascades (including the Coast and Columbia River Gorge below 500′ or so).
1. You can take your snow tires off IF you plan to stay in the lowest elevations (below 1,500′) for the next few weeks.
2. You can unwrap your pipes, or any plants that need to be protected from temps below 25-28 degrees.
3. We won’t see more school snow days or delays in these lowest elevations.
4. Strong and cold east wind episodes are finished in the Gorge. Still windy at times, but not the winter stuff.
5. Dense widespread fog is unlikely now until October.
Here’s a good idea of what we won’t see again until next winter and what is still possible:
Note we could still get in a pattern (like March 2012) where we get some wet snow in the morning at 32 degrees and then it’s 45 in the afternoon. Even that is unlikely once we get past mid March. Sure, there have been some real freak events in the past, but the chance of that occurring again in any one year is extremely slight.
And what a weird winter it was…2 months of absolutely nothing sandwiched between two arctic blasts with snow/ice. Those two months included drought conditions with sun and fog from early December through early February.
The only “normal” part of winter was the last 3 weeks of February! A horrible ski season (the first 3/4) with several ski areas not opening until the early part of February and the others limping along on minimal snow through mid January.
We finally had some decent snow this winter.
PDX had 8.0″ total, most of that during the 3 snowstorms in early February. Of course those of you from Albany to Eugene had TWO big snow events…better than anything you’ve seen in decades.
There has been one other oddity so far this winter: A total lack of snow in areas that typically receive far more snow than Portland. Those areas from 1,000 to 2,500′ in the hills, foothills, and lower Cascades. Almost every time we’ve been wet, snow levels have been 3,000′ or higher. At my home at 1,000′, I have seen the same total as Portland and less than many other lowland locations. When is the last time you heard us say “snow down to 1,000 to 1,500′ tonight and tomorrow”??? I think I may have said that once this winter. It has either been mild and wet or cold with lowland snow when we have precipitation, an absence of chilly onshore flow behind fronts. An example is at 2,600′ northwest of Mt. Hood at the South Fork Bull Run SNOTEL site. Even at that “high” elevation, no more than 9″ of snow has been on the ground since the 16″ accumulated during the arctic blast in early February. Highly unusual to have only a few inches on the ground at that elevation in late February or early March. As of today there is no snow on the ground.
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen