Are We Done With Winter?

February 15, 2017

10pm Wednesday…

It’s only February 15th, but this is the time of year folks often ask me if we’re “done with winter”.  If you have lived west of the Cascades for long, you know that yes, in general we don’t get big winter weather events after mid February (snow/ice/flooding).  I don’t think I’ve seen significant freezing rain, flooding, or day-long snowstorms after about February 20th while working here in Portland.  That goes all the way back to 1991!  BUT, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.


Lots of you took the poll in the past few days (previous post).  Looks like a majority of you think we’re either totally done with snow or we’ll only see a little in the hills.  63% of you say that there will not be any more measurable snow at the lowest elevations here in the city.  History says you are most likely right.  Take a look at what we’ve seen AFTER FEBRUARY 20TH in Portland during the past “generation”.  That’s considered to be 25 years.


Yes, we’ve only seen measurable snow (that late in the season) 4 out of those 25 years.  So the odds are very much against additional snow.  Keep in mind this is at the official observing location out at the Parkrose NWS.  Obviously if you live at any elevation above that you know we’ve seen 1, 2, or even 4″ during some of those events!  Remember March 2012?  Quite a few inches in mid-March that year, plus coastal and valley snow.  But that was the exception.  In March Portland has seen measurable snow in only 4 of the past 50!

There is a tendency to see late season cold events or late season snow in La Nina winters, which we are now in.  So it would be quite premature to pull out the fork at this point and declare winter over.  That said, I’m quite confident we’re well past the worst winter has to offer.  Don’t take the studded snow tires off quite yet…give it another couple of weeks.

By the way, February has been a big soaker, about 3 times our typical rainfall so far:


It’s the wettest February since I was just 30 years old…a long time ago.  More rain coming…

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen