Slow Warming This Week, Lots of Cascade Snow

8pm Sunday…

Today was a perfect example of what I call “conversational snow”.  That’s a snowfall that either does or doesn’t stick, gives us plenty to talk about, but doesn’t have much effect on our lives.  In the lowest elevations of the metro area the old rule held out for the 3rd or 4th time this winter…cold showers coming in off the Pacific with a southerly or southwest wind don’t give us significant or life-altering snow.  Hillsboro, Portland, Vancouver, & Troutdale all stayed above 36 degrees during the morning fun…too “warm” for snow to stick.  IF the showers/airmasses are cold enough…I think it was March 2009, then it’s possible to get heavy/wet sticking snow right down into the city, but the atmosphere overhead has to be colder than today.  In the hills around the metro snow stuck briefly in heavy showers.  This is from Timothy Rotter in SW Portland around 4pm near PCC Sylvania:


And if you went up at any elevation (well below 1,000′) and got under heavy showers, you likely saw more than this.  That includes the Coast Range and foothills of the Cascades.  Our John Hendricks got this image during the morning hours in the West Hills.  I think this location is somewhere around 700′.


The next 48 hours we transition from the cold northerly flow into a slightly milder westerly flow of air coming more directly off the Pacific.  Remember this is the 2nd system that has dropped in on us from the north, the previous one was Friday.  IF there are any leftover showers tomorrow morning, there’s no reason snow couldn’t stick down around 1,000′ or even a bit below, but in the case of tomorrow AM the showers look very scattered = mainly dry.  Best chance will be along the west slopes of the Cascades and foothills.  That includes the hills in the west end of the Gorge.  The sticking snow level gradually climbs from around 1,000′ or just below tomorrow morning to around 2,500′ by Wednesday afternoon.  Between now and Wednesday we’ll see LOTS of clouds (especially Tuesday/Wednesday) and occasional very light rain showers in the valleys.  Meanwhile the westerly flow overhead means the mountains will scoop up LOTS of moisture.  Powder alert!  Take a look at snow forecast through Tuesday…a very heavy snowfall with quality snow due to the cold air.  12-20″ likely on Mt. Hood


With the clouds and light showers, it’s pretty obvious March will be coming in like a lamb, not a lion.   The saying of course refers to early March sometimes starting more like winter, but always ends on a calmer spring note.   Regardless, I think the fork is coming out this week, I don’t see much winter left!  Maybe something like this morning again, but that’s about it.


Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

36 Responses to Slow Warming This Week, Lots of Cascade Snow

  1. bertie munds says:

    It is not ‘in like a lamb’. March is ‘in like a lion, out like a lamb’.

  2. WEATHERDAN says:

    Let me stick my two cents in. That is all it’s probably worth anyway. But i don’t see a long cool Spring ahead for us. I feel we will have it wet and cool for an indeterminate period of time. Then a big switch to a warmer and drier pattern. With another warm to hot Summer on the way. This is based on just a gut feeling I have. More low level cold and snow for maybe another month or so then a quick warm up. We will see. Peace.

    • JJ78259 says:

      Yes weather Dan you are Correct the Weather Channel yesterday for March said cool to cold Northwest and warm to above normal for the southeast! They even hinted April could be the same way! Right on the money!

  3. MasterNate says:

    Models trending colder for the future. The northern jet seems to have a tight hold on us. To early to get the fork out yet IMO.

  4. Roland Derksen says:

    We’re seeing a pretty intense snowshower here as I write- this time we’re bound to see some snow accumulations on the ground.

  5. Dusting of snow on the ground here this morning.

  6. Garron 1/3 of a mile from Hillsboro Airport says:

    So glad I’m heading to Atlanta for a couple of weeks to “HOPEFULLY” enjoy some milder weather! They’ve had one of the warmest winters’ in a long time. Just hoping the trough forecast for the middle of the country lifts out a bit, or it’ll be almost the same pattern we’re in…45-55 and rainy!

    • JJ78259 says:

      Today San Antonio hits 85 and it has been a very wam winter. Haven’t seen my jacket for a long time. Very nice indeed!

  7. Jason Hougak says:

    Mark that fork should be a shovel for the Cascades. GFS run looks great for building mountain snowpack.

  8. ocpaul says:

    Is that fork for cleaning up after some ‘upcoming event’? It looks a lot like a spork. (snow levels dropping again I hear)

  9. JohnD says:

    All snow–big flakes–shower as I was heading out this morning. Fun to see while it lasted. This coming weekend may be similar to this past one that way(?) Seems like the consensus is that we may have a cool/wet protracted late winter/spring. Wouldn’t be the first time. Oh well.

  10. Getting graupel showers this afternoon. Ground starting to turn white. Might even see some actual snowflakes if it continues, but it won’t last. These showers almost never do.

  11. High Desert Mat says:

    Surprised those cars don’t have chains on inthose pics above ^^^

    • Jack says:

      Could have snow tires. True snow tires, the ones with the mountain snowflake symbol. They are now so good you can drive in pretty deep snow and even sheer ice. Nokian Hakkapeliitta R2s or Michelin Ice-X Xi3s are all you would need, even in pretty steep hills, so long as you’re on maintained paved roads.

  12. Registered Nerd says:

    Went for a hike in Forest Park off Germantown road this morning around 10am….pleasantly surprised to be hiking in snow and not rain! The snow was sticking on the higher elevations of the hike, just “conversational” snow down near the trailhead.

    As far as the fork, I can believe no more major snow events for us lowlanders; but the long range GFS looks to be troughy and cool/cold with no warmth or extended dry period in sight. Methinks we are in for a long, cold, wet spring, AKA until July 4th this year.

    I don’t mind, other than the fact that it just means high country hiking is going to be a no go until much later this year. 😦

  13. Surprise snowfall on the east side of the Salish Sea this morning, but just a little cold rain here on the west side. PSCZ was making heavy showers in the favored areas.

  14. Snowed again in Mac this morning. Almost the exact same thing as yesterday morning.

    I see the fork and I welcome it.

    I am ready for some sun and warm weather.

    Baseball, BBQ’s and Beer!!!

  15. Roland Derksen says:

    A period of snow this morning between 9and 11am. No real accumulation, however. I’m expecting this February to have about average precipitation for the month, but March looks like it’s going to be wet again.

  16. Longview 400 ft says:

    Just had a nice snow shower pass by, a little slush on the deck.
    Currently 36.2

  17. Lee Wilson says:

    when you said Fork, I though you were talking about Linux there for a sec.

    Well, I for one will be very happy when this winter is over.

  18. Ken in Sheridan 300 feet says:

    Awoke to another nice dusting of snow, 33 degrees.PTL!

  19. Paul D says:

    Put the fork down, come out with your hands up and nobody will get hurt.

  20. Boydo3 N. Albany says:

    Talk softly and carry a big fork!

  21. pappoose in scappoose says:

    “I think the fork is coming out this week,” he said.
    “I don’t see much winter left,” he said.

    But he hasn’t stuck a fork in it!

  22. Jake-(Gresham near Nadaka Nature Park) says:

    I will bury the knife of Winter properly. It will be my honor. If someone could please let the choir know to be on time for the funeral. Thank you.

  23. EY (Oak Grove) says:

    That’s a huge fork.

  24. oldwxwatcher. says:

    Bring it out, Mark. This has been a winter to remember but I’m ready for some 60° temps.

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