Winter is Definitely Over, But Some Mountain Snow

11pm Thursday…

Snow has been very slow to show up in Cascades today, with only a dusting at Meadows and Skibowl.  As a result I lowered tomorrow’s forecast to 4-8″ as a cold surface low pressure center tracks right over us.


Beyond that, very little precipitation through the end of next week as upper-level ridging moves up close to the coastline.

Long range, the pattern is not very wet and models have gradually been moving towards some warmer upper-level ridging over us in the 8-12 day period.  Take a look at the 12z ECMWF ensemble chart, showing chilly air around Tuesday, then warming again.


Same thing on the GFS, although not as cold early next week.


This plus last night’s 32 day run of the ECMWF tell me that calling off winter 10 days ago was a good choice.  March weather is here and will continue.  Check out the 4 weekly maps from the monthly run:





Looks like the 3rd week of March may be wettest/coolest, but otherwise heights are near or above normal the rest of the month.   That ridge to our west or northwest doesn’t want to give up.

I’ll be going to the annual Pacific Northwest Weather Workshop in Seattle tomorrow.  I haven’t gone for a few years and it’s time to catch up.

If there’s something really good I’ll recap in a posting early next week.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

63 Responses to Winter is Definitely Over, But Some Mountain Snow

  1. Muxpux (Castle Rock 175') says:

    NWS changed their graphs. Not a fan. The relative humidity graph has been replaced by a wind graph, which I’m fine with. But I liked the old precip graph better, and putting the relative humidity on the same graph as temp and dp makes it too cluttered and messes with the scaling.

  2. Joshua says:

    It’s looking more and more likely that we will enter a somewhat extended period of cool and wet weather starting mid/late next week. Let’s hope this sticks.

    • Benjamin (West Salem) says:

      Agreed!!! We could totally use some good mountain snow. I’ve also noticed that the GFS has advertised a couple of cold troughs starting around the 12th.

  3. JJ78259 says:

    Iditarod race was moved again it is now starting Boston due to lack of snow in Alaska!

  4. WEATHERDAN says:

    52 and partly cloudy in Salem this early afternoon. Nice stretch string of early (meteorological) Spring coming up this week. Petunia volunteers from last year are starting to green up in my garden. Should be lots of great gardens going by Easter this year. Had a whole .02 of rain last night. Salem broke a record that goes back over 100 years for the warmest February ever. We averaged over 57 degrees for a maximum in February. That would still be nice even for March. All time maximum for March day in Salem is 80 set in 1947. Last two years we have hit 77 in March so 80 wouldn’t surprise me. Although at this point I see nothing to indicate that it will achieve that Mark. Maybe 66-70 over the weekend. So Karl might see 70 for his birthday on Saturday. DST in 6 days. Peace.

    • W7ENK says:

      Dan, you keep beating on this “warmest ever, warmest ever, warmest ever, warmest ever, warmest ever, warmest ever, warmest ever, warmest ever…” drum awfully hard.

      I’m curious, did you pound so hard on the “coldest ever, coldest ever, coldest ever, coldest ever, coldest ever, coldest ever, coldest ever, coldest ever…” drums this hard two or three years ago when we were experiencing all those negative anomalies?

      I don’t recall…

      It would seem we’re pretty close to a net zero by now, if you average the two periods.

    • High Desert Mat says:


    • Brian Leroy says:

      Sunny and warm all week, gonna have to start watering the lawn and flowers soon, my neighbors already started today, weird.

    • JJ78259 says:

      By the end this coming warm weekend the snow will be just about be gone at the ski resorts low level, the warm bias is taking hold. It has been wet and cold this week in San Antonio we are officially out of drought this winter alot of rainy days to come with storms moving across from California missing Oregon! San Fransico and Salt Lake City have had record warm winter also. 118 inches of snow this winter in Bangor Maine incredible. The west is winning with nice weather or is it the east with Snow and cold! It all depends on your perspective?

  5. buffedman says:

    Meteorological winter has given way to spring in the Northern Hemisphere as of March 1.

    • W7ENK says:

      Which is an extremely peculiar claim, considering annual polar sea ice records (measured by satellite and kept since 1979) have shown that Southern Hemisphere sea ice has been growing at a rate that is equal to the reduction in sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere.

      Something with this article is amiss…

    • W7ENK says:

      The other problem I have with this article is their talk about how melting sea ice will cause sea levels to rise. This is flatly untrue. Sea ice is already displacing ocean water. Melting ice that is already displacing water will not displace any more water.

      For example: place an ice cube (or several) in a glass, then fill the glass all the way to the brim with water and walk away. As the ice melts, it won’t cause the glass to overflow. That’s because the ice is already displacing its allotment of water. The same is true with the oceans, sea ice, and ice shelves. What should be of concern is the ice SHEETS that rest atop the land. That ice isn’t displacing any water. However, this article focuses more on the melting, thinning and breaking of sea ice and ice shelves from below due to warming and changing ocean currents, and makes nary a mention of the ice sheets resting on land.

      Their logic is fatally flawed.

    • gidrons says:

      Erik, kindly don’t confuse the issue with facts.

    • jakeinthevalley says:

      To make it even more of a farce, ice actually has expanded it’s volume compared to being in it’s liquid state.

      Fill a bottle with water to near the top, put a cap on it, put it in the freezer and wait to see what happens.

      It’s not a perfect, as floating ice still has a percentage that is clear of the water it is floating in, and thus, not displacing water with it’s entire volume, but……..

    • Boydo3 N. Albany elev. just under 500' says:

      Scroll down to where the NSIDC discussion concerns Antarctica…
      Still above average sea ice extent despite the current melting.

    • Boydo3 N. Albany elev. just under 500' says:

      Slightly off topic but the ice coverage on the Great Lakes is once again near a record.

    • MasterNate says:

      I would be interested to see how warm our winters were during historic lake ice coverage going back at least 50 to 60 years.

    • MasterNate says:

      historic “record ice coverage” or near record

    • Amen W7ENK. 🙂

    • MasterNate says:

      Um, just saying interesting article. Not taking sides since I wasn’t there to actually verify there findings. I’m sure they are lying.

    • Dringus says:

      Logic=not fatally flawed. You’re forgetting about salinity and other things as well.

  6. schmit44 says:

    3/1/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:67 at Brookings (US 10( 150 ft)
    Low: 49 at CW0356 Seaside(13 ft)

    High:27 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft)
    Low: -12 at CROW FLAT (5172 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 49 degrees
    Horse Ridge (US (44/-5 ) (4160 ft )

  7. Chris s says:

    The ensembles today sure have been screaming at hopefully a solid week of typical valley rain mountain snow starting in about 10 days… They haven’t looked this good as far as consistency in a long time. Not gonna get my hopes up though, as this relentless ridge just won’t go away!!!

    • W7ENK says:

      10 days ago, models showed winter set to begin in 10 days.

      Now, it’s set to begin in 10 days.

      In 10 days, it’ll be set to begin ______________* …

      *I’ll give you a hint: It begins with “in 10 days.”

      Meanwhile, my sister is set to get married at Timberline on Sunday. She’s been planning her “Winter Wonderland” wedding for almost a year at this point. March, being (statistically) the snowiest month up in the Northern Oregon Cascades, she thought it was pretty much a shoe-in for this to happen. Even if the weather is warm, there should still be plenty of snow on the ground/mountain, right?? Yeah, not so much. Mother Nature has been plotting this failure since before Christmas, if not longer, it would seem…

    • gidrons says:

      Maybe that’s a sign about the wedding. I wish that I had gotten more signs…

  8. WEATHERDAN says:

    26 this morning. Coldest since January 2nd. 46 at 11:00 AM. So will probably top out at about 56. Looks like 60,s return by Wednesday or Thursday. Next good chance of rain looks to be after the 10th. February 2015 was not only the warmest February in Salem since the start of records being kept in 1892, but also the first February in which every day reached at least 50. Brilliant sunshine this morning. Looks like Winter just like an old soldier just faded away this year. Very weak system dropping down from the North should increase clouds this evening and may even bring a sprinkle or two inland with a little light rain along the coast. Then it looks light more sun and warmer temperatures for the rest of the week. Seeing more trees and shrubs leafing out now. Last time I saw it this early was in 1967 and maybe 1992. Those two years are two of the hottest Summers in our recorded history. I suspect the lack of snowpack this Winter now past will be an increasingly big story as we move into Summer. Sunset in Salem today is 6:00 PM. Next Sunday it is 7:09 PM. SAD sufferers we made it through another Winter. Peace.

    • Garron near Washington square says:

      Well put Dan. I hope that the frosty nights don’t cripple what would otherwise be a spectacular spring start. I’ve had the lowest heating bills EVER this year as well since 1988, when I first moved out on my own. I’ll be real curious to watch our summer unfold, and thanks for your insight!

  9. David B. says:

    28 this morning on Bainbridge Island. Colder than it got all February (and for that matter, all January, too).

  10. schmit44 says:

    2/28/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:62 at BROOKINGS( 79 ft) & TILLAMOOK(11 ft)
    Low: 46 at LINCON Lincoln C(187 ft)

    High:21 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft)
    Low: -2 at CROW FLAT (5172 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 31 degrees
    DW6048 Lebanon (57/26 ) (575 ft )

  11. Purplehaze says:

    The way the Western Weather forums seem to be so close knitted if that’s the right word I can’t help but wonder if they use sock puppet accounts for their arguing?

    Those forums are pretty much dead except a few users that seem to act different but have the same kind of attitudes to each other and any new member tends to not be there for long.

    I can’t help but wonder if the more intense users are using sock puppet accounts to fake arguing back and forth to artificially keep the forums alive?

    Is that possible on forums for desperate mods to use sock puppets to make it seem like there is activity?

    • Dringus says:

      Seen those same posters for a very long time. Highly unlikely they are fake accounts unless it’s an incredibly long con. Western gets tons of hits just like this blog when weather is exciting. I’ve seen 90+ members logged in at once.

  12. Recorded my first (and only) freezing daily minimum temperature for the month this morning: -1.3C (29.7F). It’s certain that this will be my warmest February ever- like anywhere else in Cascadia.But the next few days in March look frosty as well.

  13. G. Carich says:

    Kyle Waring of Boston ( is selling snow. Mt. Ashland, Cooper Spur, others-here’s your last chance to save your seasons!

  14. Chilly morning up here. With clearing skies temp fell to 28.

  15. schmit44 says:

    2/27/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:58 at DW9370 Portland( 98 ft) & EW2298 Portland(180 ft) & DW2058 Sherwood(177 ft)
    Low: 49 at BROOKS(187 ft) & EW1135 Yachats1(32 ft)

    High:27 at Rim(7050 ft) & CROW FLAT(5172 ft)
    Low: 12 at CROW FLAT (5172 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 27 degrees
    Ontario Municipa (54/27 ) (2188 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    1.47″ at CEDAR(2220ft)
    1.45″ at SIGNAL TREE(3294ft)
    1.45″ at CHARLOTTE RIDGE(1220ft)
    1.42″ at HEBOWX Mt. Hebo(3160ft)

  16. Any hope for more mountain snow just before Spring Break? Maybe that will be the ski resorts’ saving grace this year!

    • Garron near Washington square says:

      It appears to me any actual accumulating ski resort snow will be up to the operators to make it…. I can’t imagine the 2-4″ will do anything to mitigate a lousy months’ long snow drought. At least it will be cool enough to make snow overnight.

  17. Boydo3 N. Albany elev. just under 500' says:

    NWS needs to change the winter storm warning for central OR to a wet pavement warning.

  18. WEATHERDAN says:

    warmest Summer ever, warmest or almost warmest Autumn ever, warmest Winter ever since 1892. I spot a trend. How long will this continue. I don’t know but I wouldn’t bet on a cool Spring though. Looks like the old moss forecast (more of the same stuff). 52 and cloudy this afternoon. Less than a tenth of an inch of precip the last 24 hours. At least a few inches of snow up in the Cascades but not nearly enough to make a difference though. Happy birthday Karl. You may be right on about your birthday, looks more like 62-65 though. Either way looks like you should have a sunny and mild birthday. Sad about Leonard Nimoy dying today. He was a great actor. When I was a teen my nickname was Mr. Spock. Peace.

    • runrain says:

      Leonard Nimoy was my cousin, by marriage. He was a heavy smoker in his Star Trek days. I remember seeing his briefcase full of Parliment packs.

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      Sorry for your families loss runrain. Both my parents died from smoking related illnesses. I’m glad I never took up that habit. 34 under clear skies for a low in Salem this morning. Up to 53 now. Looks like 56-58 today. New incoming system looks very weak. Probably less than .05 total precip for Salem. Then a drying and warming trend. The RRR strikes again. Peace

  19. Mowa says:

    At Bend, OR. Thank heavens. I was wrong about the snow. We had three inches overnight at Bachelor and it’s snowing up there right now with temps in the 20s.

  20. W7ENK says:

    0.17″ of rain yesterday.
    0.11″ of rain since midnight.

    This is the wettest it’s been in two weeks.

    Sad to be saying that in February…

  21. JJ78259 says:

    In Dallas for a meeting and More Snow Today! Denver last week 8″ of snow although Vail was fun, Indianapolis 2″ of snow yesterday! Can’t wait for the mid 90’s to get here to get warmed up.

  22. Maybe 70 degrees on my birthday this year???? (March 8)

  23. Jake-(Gresham) says:

    Raining pretty good right now.

    Currently 51F.

  24. Purplehaze says:

    Not surprised one bit based on what’s going on in the atmosphere. I knew it wasn’t going to give up but nobody likes to hear the reasons for it so let’s all pretend nothing is wrong.

    • W7ENK says:

      Are you referring to your mythical underwater Oregon sea volcano thingie, Kyle?

    • Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls, OR) says:

      Oh boy…..

      What do YOU think is wrong? O_o….

      Chemtrails? Haarp? Just a heads up, we don’t discuss stuff like that here. But we do love to joke about it though….

  25. I guess I might as well start setting up the spreadsheets for the coming season of fire weather. :/

  26. schmit44 says:

    2/26/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:60 at EW6045 Prinevill(2884 ft) & Arlington(449 ft) & Chinook(399 ft) & John Day River B(305 ft) & RUFUS(185 ft) & ECHO(683 ft) & CW2710 Maupin(1040 ft) & ROWEWS(104 ft)
    Low: 51 at WYETH(102 ft) & LINCON Lincoln C(187 ft) & PATSY Eddyville/(1210 ft)

    High:24 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft)
    Low: 14 at CROW FLAT (5172 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 31 degrees
    EW6045 Prinevill (60/29 ) (2884 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    1.30″ at SOUTH FORK BULL(2630ft)
    0.93″ at FLYNN PRAIRIE(1543ft)
    0.80″ at MT. HOWARD(7910ft)
    0.80″ at HIGH RIDGE(4980ft)
    0.78″ at CW2654 Corbett(1050ft)
    0.77″ at DW4118 Sandy(1250ft)
    0.75″ at LOG CREEK(2800ft)

  27. WEATHERDAN says:

    Mark of course the 3rd week of March would be the coolest and wettest, that’s Spring Break in Oregon.Peace.

  28. Eugene Dave says:

    I really hope the the reservoirs are being filled right now.

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