Surprise! Just like the rest of you I looked out the window this morning and saw snow falling…about 8 hours ahead of schedule. Meteorologists don’t like that.
Obviously moisture has arrived earlier than expected, although so far it has been light. Most models DO seem to have caught on and it appears the heavier snow projections from yesterday will end up as reality.
Current temps are right around freezing in the lowlands, but below freezing in the Gorge and near/above 1,000′
So here’s what I see from this point forward:
- Light snow will fall during the day, then pick up in intensity (possibly quite heavy) during the evening commute. I think heaviest snow will still be somewhere between 5-10pm.
- Roads are mainly wet in the lowest elevations and WILL LIKELY STAY THAT WAY THROUGH THE LATE-AFTERNOON. It’s late February and unless snow just starts dumping out of the sky, the increasing sun angle gives just enough “heat” to keep roads ice-free during daylight hours.
- Temperatures stay ABOVE FREEZING through late afternoon as well…that will help with #1.
- During the evening commute, an increasing easterly wind (cool air) plus heavier snowfall will turn all roads snowy in the metro area at some point. For sure by 8pm or so.
SNOW STORM TOTALS
This is the first late February snowstorm (extremely rare) we have seen in the metro area since 1995.
How much snow will fall? We forecast 1-4″ last night. With the earlier start plus more moisture, that forecast needs to go up, especially in the hills where snow will accumulate all day long. Temps a few degrees above freezing during the day will limit how much we get in the lowest elevations between now and 5pm.
- 2-5″ should be a good forecast for most of the metro area up to Kelso/Longview,
- Up to 8″ could fall up around 1,000′ in the West Hills, Chehalem Mtn, Mt. Scott, and the west end of the Gorge. Actually anywhere above 500′ or so in Clark County could see a solid 6″
Check out the morning model forecasts…all give us a solid 2″ (or more)
AT THE COAST: Expect light accumulation during the day, then maybe 1/2″ tonight as temperatures cool. A little above freezing out there until after sunset
COAST RANGE: A snowy day…2-6″ likely
WILLAMETTE VALLEY: Right now a southerly breeze has pushed everywhere south of Wilsonville up above freezing. So little or no accumulation during the daytime. After sunset a wind switch should drop you down to around freezing, so expect TRACE to 1″ Woodburn/Salem/Albany.
Enjoy this rare late February snowstorm!
I’ll be at work all afternoon and evening and of course we’ll be on the air regularly
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen