Snow Arrives Early…Snowy Day Ahead

10am Tuesday…

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′

web_metrotemps (2)

So here’s what I see from this point forward:

  1. 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.
  2.  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.
  3. Temperatures stay ABOVE FREEZING through late afternoon as well…that will help with #1.
  4. 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.



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

49 Responses to Snow Arrives Early…Snowy Day Ahead

  1. Tony DeMicoli says:

    What are snow levels this weekend?Please

  2. W7ENK says:


    Wouldn’t you know it, KRTX Radar just went down!!

    Oh, I should have put money on that bet…

    😆 😆 😆

  3. W7ENK says:

    New NWS map with updated snow totals.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Just want to say thanks for doing what u do we ajust are day acording to are weather family at Fox 12 we been watching good day oregon seince it started way back when it was Kim any an Ken come a long way seince then we love are good day team now but always miss Pete’s awsone laugh make me laugh just wanted to say thank to all at are foxy 12

  5. Lee Wilson says:

    Well car temp says Road temp is 33 while the thermometer is in the air is stating 37 it was 38, but it is still snowing? so I am tending to beleive my car temp lol. How ever, if that is the case, then were not very far from freezing. and I know cold air sinks. and I know that the ground tends to freeze faster… oh this is going to be such a joy for the commute if it freezes..oh such a joy.

  6. geo says:

    Solar radiation sure is doing it’s job on the surfaces.

  7. Joshua Downtown PDX says:

    It looks like rain is mixing in with the snow now. In fact, it might be mainly or entirely rain. I know it’s temporary.

  8. GTS1Kft says:

    Just came up Cornell from Cedar Mill and left on Skyline – roads just wet ’til just after Thompson then snowy even in the tire print area. UNTIL, just as Skyline dips down maybe 100 ft to meet the top of Springville Rd. where, for about 1000 ft, roads just wet again. Goes to show that we’re right on the cusp up here at 1Kft.

  9. Now snowing lightly on Bainbridge Island, WA. Expecting it to last several hours based on radar. Expecting it to not amount much based on the (lack of) strength in the incoming radar echoes.

  10. Diana F. says:

    Hey Fellow Weather Nerds–Lola’s doing a 3rd grade, snow-related school project on “Data Collection”. They’ll analyze numbers, and create graphs. It’d be great if we could get some replies to the following!

    1) What are your TWO favorite activities to do with family or friends, when a snowstorm comes to the Vancouver/Portland area?

    3) If you have an animal, do they enjoy going outside in the snow?
    **please include TYPE of animal, and “yes” or “no”.


    (All answers kept anonymous of course!)

    • Allison says:

      make angels is my favorite activity and then go for a walk and listen to how silent it can be …
      my dog molly (207 lbs) is a mastiff she likes to go out and throw snow around with her nose while wagging her tale back and forth

    • katrina Bruland says:

      Sledding and going for a walk in the snow. We have a cat with nice thick fur who loves to go out in the snow. She sometimes tries to catch snowflakes.

    • Slavik Lungu says:

      1) Take the family/friends in the Jeep out into the gorge for beautiful white-out views accompanied with incomparable serenity.
      2) My cat doesn’t necessarily love the snow, loves to stay warm inside. Though, she does love the outdoors in general.

    • tbanders says:

      1.) We love to go sledding and for walks. Then come inside for hot coco and a warm blanket.

      2.) Yes we have 2 black labs, they love love love the snow. They run and play. They love catching snowballs.

    • W7ENK says:

      1) I love watching it fall and pile up, and frolicking in it!

      2) Was there supposed to be a #2?

      3) My (late) dog Oliver — although I’m not sure he quite understood what it was — absolutely loved snow! He would bite at the snowflakes as they fell past his giant ears, and he’d root his nose around in it! In short, yes.

  11. ocpaul says:

    Hey, where’s the digital snow on the borders of this page?

  12. Ken in Wood Village says:

    Has anyone looked at the NWS Area Forecast Discussion for the Portland area? I’ll copy and past a part of it that I really like.

    “The fcst models are in good agreement that another shortwave diving south through the interior British Columbia will spin up a secondary surface low near the mouth of the Columbia River this afternoon. Looking at 12Z NAM model cross-sections, it appears that this secondary low will strengthen low-level frontogenesis this afternoon from around KPDX northward, with a layer of potential instability above this frontogenesis. This should be when snowfall rates really start to increase, starting in the 21Z-00Z window. There will be additional upper level support arriving as well as the upper level shortwave rotates through this evening. The band of heavier snowfall is expected to remain over the northern portions of the CWA through the afternoon, then drift south through the region this evening and early in the overnight hours. Based on the 12Z NAM and GFS runs, we have ramped up snowfall totals for many areas and upgraded advisories to winter storm warnings for the northern interior lowlands, Cascade foothills and coastal mountains. We have also added advisories for the coastal zones. It appears that snowfall rates should be high enough to overcome marginal surface temperatures and lead to accumulating snow all the way down to the beaches. Travel during the evening commute is likely to be highly impacted over the northern half of the CWA. Snowfall rates of an inch per hour are expected, with potential for 2 inches per hour in the heaviest band. This appears to coincide with the prime commute time for the PDX/Vancouver metro area, and possibly Salem as well. Snow looks to wrap up over the northern portions of the CWA by later this evening, with the back edge of precipitation moving out of the CWA to the south by early Wed morning. Pyle”

  13. Scott says:

    Boy, I sure hope the wind changes direction sooner than expected down here in Salem……. otherwise it sounds like we will just have cold rain again…… Come on north wind, let’s go!!

  14. Joshua Downtown PDX says:

    It’s pretty watching it fall, but it’s not even sticking to trees, buildings, or anything else. Let’s get the east wind going and the precipitation rate up!

  15. Like a Kid in Snow says:

    😝 Blah South Wind! Portland, enjoy the snow for all of us! We’ll sure be jealous down here!

  16. W7ENK says:

    So beautiful and exciting!!

  17. Hazel Dell Mole says:

    Light snow here in HAZEL DELL by the way Mark is da Snow MAN why go anywhere else for coverage of this late winter event!

  18. Diana F. says:

    And boy has the NWS upped their Vancouver totals.

    Here’s the latest discussion:

    And the specifics:

    (for new peeps, it works by opening links in new tab or window)

    I’ve got over an inch of snow on my balcony and hummingbird feeders! We are socked in, and it’s been snowing since about 8 am.

    Canceling Lola’s gymnastics lessons that start at 5 tonight. HA! But let’s hope she can make her 3 other classes this week because we pay either way!

    Oh well, actually that’s a small $ price to pay for a Rare February Snowstorm. Heck it’s a rare Snowstorm Period.

    Thanks for the updates Mark, it’s one for the record book!

  19. Andy says:

    According to Mark it looks like Albany will get very little snow? Currently snowing.

  20. Jesse-East Vancouver says:

    We saw a big February snowstorm as recently as 2014.

  21. Slavik Lungu says:

    What’s a good time to head back to Troutdale from Hillsboro in order to avoid the evening commute chaos?

  22. JERAT416 says:

    Question, what is the chances that it will turn to rain in the lowlands until it cools again? Thankfully the roads are good so far.

  23. ocpaul says:

    Uh,YEAH!!!!! This is MY kind of forecast adjustment!

  24. No complaints about a missed forecast in this case.

  25. Daniel B Meier says:

    Early PPS School release today (2:00)

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