Winter Is Over In the Lowlands; What Does That Mean?

Winter 2017-2018 is done; time to stick a fork in it!

What kind of a statement is that?  It means I’m quite confident we’re done with most of our typical winter weather events.  But not all!

First, a quick look at “winter” shows we have been a bit warmer and drier than normal; definitely not a typical La Niña winter.  Only in the 2nd half of February did things finally kick into gear.  Take a look at the temperature anomaly the past 90 days in the West

Precipitation anomaly since late November shows most of the West has seen a very dry winter:


Looking at the maps ahead, I don’t see an outbreak of cold arctic air.  For that matter I don’t see unusually chilly air for this time of year.  That plus the calendar turning to March tells me we’re done with most of these weather events for the season

Sure, we can still get a chilly east wind, but in March we don’t get long periods of cold easterly wind.  As mentioned I don’t see a setup for an all-day type snow event that would keep roads frozen/snowy.  It’s too late to get a damaging arctic blast; and nothing is seen on our models.  I’ve never seen widespread flooding in March, although I remember the flooding around Salem a few years ago in March.  Again, that was localized.

What actions can YOU take at this point?

There you go.  Basically it’s time to “de-winterize”.  Now if you live in the foothills like me, I’d leave the snow tires on a bit longer to see what’s ahead next week.  Same thing if you regularly go up/over the Cascades.

What might we still see in March?

Of course in any year we can still get a brief wet morning snowfall even at the lowest elevations in March, but in these La Niña winter/springs the chance of that happening is higher.  Remember March 2012?  That’s an extreme version of what can happen, but we saw significant sticking snow overnight hours several times, including at the coastline.  In fact even later this week (mainly Friday) we could see brief snowfall in the overnight/morning hours.  That’s assuming we have enough moisture when it’s cold enough.

Obviously we still get freezes in March, but they become milder and a temperature below 25 is unlikely for most of us.  And we can sure get a windstorm in March!  Remember last April?  Gusts 45-60 mph in the metro area in the first week of the month.  That IS the latest I’ve seen a windstorm; it’s more common in March.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

71 Responses to Winter Is Over In the Lowlands; What Does That Mean?

  1. Sprayandpay says:

    I hate how the scroll bar is so wonky on this. It’s clearly designed with smartphones first. 😦 On a PC it displays retarded though on tablet it’s nice but on a PC when the comments get long no go.

    As long as they keep spraying we are going to keep praying for snow. We are being held back in the snow department. There is SO MUCH potential wasted by the media monsters and those higher up in charge with gag orders but as long as the west coast is droughted out the farms bought up.etc. We get fed the crumbs. We have used up our (quota) for the winter if you can call it that. The spigot is off.

    Drain the swamp my butt. The only thing drained is the American dollar to China but we get what we deserve so we only have ourselves to look into the mirror as to why we keep electing monsters for those of us who are part of the vote..

  2. Roland Derksen says:

    Definetly a feel of spring this afternoon: Under sunny skies a high of 52F. Haven’t seen it that warm since February 8th.

  3. Nahtalkin says:

    Just dropped down to 24 degrees with sunshine streaming in through the windows.

    • Sprayandpay says:

      The temps dropped to 29F at midnight then rose back up to 33F by 2am. Don’t know how much further it rose but by 9am it was almost 40F.

  4. Paul D says:

    WARNING! Bad case of spring fever coming to town on Tuesday! You have been warned….

  5. Jason Hougak says:

    Mark maybe post something about how the Cascade snowpack has doubled in the past 2 weeks?

    • Nahtalkin says:

      I think you just did? Also me thinks he’s way too busy to take personal requests from the minions.

      • Boring Rain says:

        Jason isn’t in the position to reach out to thousands of people. That’s why he’s requesting Mark do so because he has that ability. This is the same pattern with media, politicians, etc… Seems like a very basic pattern like that should be easy for such a wise man to pick up on. Go plant your weed and relax, man.

    • MasterNate says:

      As a farmer relying on mountain snow pack, I would love to know where we sit and outlook for the remaining spring. We sure needed the past few weeks of winter in the mountains.

  6. Roland Derksen says:

    Not quite ready for the fork here yet. We’ve been on the cool side lately, with some mixed precipitation .

    • Paul D says:

      29 this morning in Hillsboro. Definitely not spring yet.

      • I’ve already had more frosts in March than I recorded in January!

        • Roland Derksen says:

          I recorded a frost yesterday, but I doubt I’ll see more than 3 before spring officially starts. (3 was the number of days I had with freezing minimums in January). Still, I could be wrong; This date (March 5th) a year ago, I woke up to over 3 inches of snow on the ground.

  7. Nahtalkin says:

    What a great end to winter, I still have snowdrifts left on the ground. Started my spring spray and fertilizing program and hope to get 10 yards of composted horse poo spread next week. Just a perfect transition into spring, couldn’t ask for more…..I feel so blessed by all the surrounding beauty of nature. Peace to all.

    • GTS1Kft says:

      1) You don’t have snowdrifts anywhere near your benighted, swampy, property – maybe a pile of dirty slush..

      2) You should be an expert on spreading “poo”.

      3) Trolls gonna troll……

  8. slaviklungu says:

    All clear in Troutdale, looks like spring is knocking…

    • Sprayandpay says:

      Models don’t reflect actual conditions. Models are what people program. Always take them with a grain of salt. Maybe several. 🙂

      Remember a week ago when they were forecasting 16F weather that didn’t happen? The airmass was never there to begin with.

      • Nahtalkin says:

        I had 16 degree low and three snowfalls for 13 inches total just east of Clackamas at 300 feet. Maybe you live in a “parallel universe”?

        • GTS1Kft says:

          Wow, is this for real, do you really care about low temperatures and snow depth totals? It snowed last week OK? Life is more complex than all of this smoke and mirrors. I just don’t get it. Time to turn off the computer and go outside until next winter…

          Ironic, isn’t it???

        • W7ENK says:

          The mental illness is strong with this one…

          I’m still undecided if it’s BPD or full-on DID. To be honest, I’m leaning toward BPD since grammar, sentence structure, and the overall underlying personality behind Ted’s words all remain relatively the same, it’s just the demeanor and thus his delivery that change. DID would also likely manifest itself in multiple different aliases — similar to someone else here we know…

        • GTS1Kft says:

          Not coincidentally. they seem to get along…

  9. Jake in Gresham says:

    I think it’s safe to say I’m not seeing any risk of snowfall here.

    Currently 40 degrees. Yea no. NAM and GFS wanted to show potential but it’s not happening with the disagreement I see. Let the mountain snow pack continue!

    Going gangbusters for a Summer with no fires! I want to summit Mount St. Helens and South Sisters gosh darn it.

    • Jake in Gresham says:

      Ahahaha! Eating my words. Currently 32F with snow showers just rolling through PDX. What the…! Expected low was 35F according to Weather Underground app for my weather station. Way off.

    • W7ENK says:

      If you didn’t get your permit to climb St. Helens, then at this point you’ll have to push those plans off until 2019. All 20,000 permits sold out within just a couple of hours after going online Monday morning.

      • Muxpux (Castle Rock) says:

        That isn’t true. They sold out from late May-mid october, but have permits available outside peak times.

        Go in early May or later October. You may get lucky with the weather…

      • W7ENK says:

        Ahh, thanks for the clarification. The article I read on Monday made it sound as it if was a complete shut-out at this point.

        Personally, I would recommend the later season over the earlier. Most years our weather holds out through October — the snow doesn’t usually start piling up until November — so you won’t have to contend with snowcover like you would in the Spring, which makes the trek up a bit easier.

        • sds says:

          Personally I’ve always enjoyed going up and sliding down on snow rather than loose pummy in the fall.

        • JohnD says:

          Doing Mt. St. Helens–or any mountain–over a snowy traverse enhances the “alpine experince”; at least many would suggest that. Some kind of traction devices–such as crampons or “Microspikes” are the difference maker for a safe and steady climb. Btw the “summer route” for Mt. St. Helens is shorter both linearly and elevation gain. The winter route longer with more elevation gain. I would definitely recommend the latter for a complete experince!

  10. W7ENK says:

    It’s way too freakin’ warm for this ish…


  11. Not quite the winter I hoped for but it did include a white Christmas, and the latter half of February at least was La Nina-like, so definitely not a total bust, either.

  12. W7ENK says:


    Snow possible to the valley floor tonight and Friday AM.

    • Jason Hougak says:


    • Sprayandpay says:

      It all went to the UK dubbed “Beast From The East” which the lowlands of Scotland for a brief time had red warnings top of the line! now it’s amber ones but still very disruptive and the Scottish are normally tough bunches of people that laugh at the rest of the nation.

      Everything up there is closed day 2 going onto 3.

  13. Lee Wilson says:

    it is icey out there…..

    • Muxpux (Castle Rock) says:

      Interesting That the castle rock area dipped to freezing at sunrise, yet Kelso, just a few miles away never got below 39.

      I wasn’t awake at the time, but I’m guessing some well timed clearing took place. I’m sure I missed a great sunrise dammit…

  14. Jason Hougak says:

    The ECMWF model is showing a giant pool of cold air in the Gulf of Alaska. This pool was the one that was over Hudson Bay all winter. Moves west and splits but reorganizes and sets up shop over the Gulf of Alaska. Could be a big Cascade snow producing month with lower snow levels in our region with cold NW flow. Hopefully this will show Mark not to prematurely stick his fork in winter.

    • Richard K. says:

      Well, Mark was speaking of lowland snow, widespread arctic blasts, etc… if you count flakes in rain and sticking above 1,000ft, that winter is not over that’s fine – but Mark (I’m pretty sure) is saying the low land events, mass population centers, winter is done.

      • Jason Hougak says:

        A lot of people are not very smart when it comes to weather and planning so I think Mark posting winter is over gives a false sense. Getting March snow falling here currently. Still have large patches of snow from last weeks barrage of storms… keep them rolling!

  15. Ken in Wood Village says:

    Did anyone see the 00Z GFS on Next Generation Weather Lab? I try to look at it and there is no data.

  16. Lee Wilson says:

    Wow, Weather coming in from the south winds howling and I just checked the radar and it looks like the coast is getting clobbered with Thunderstorms? March is roaroring like a lion tonight. winds are howling as they hit the building.were hovering at 45 sometimes dropping to 44., I normally don’t get spooked easilly, but when systems come in from the South that can create some intersting weather. I wouldn’t be suprized if there is a tornado some where.

    • Lee Wilson says:

      Remember, there is more than just snow, there are Thunderstorms and windstorms, that can make things exciting, but deadly.

      Perhaps we prefer Arctic Blasts as they are less disruptive to us?
      I can always use Propane…

      PS…this wind storm is making me a tad nervous …and that rarely happens…

      The clouds are lit by the Moon, and as it’s rays filter through it dimly lights the dancing tree shadows.

      They creak and moan as they sway to and fro,

  17. Lee Wilson says:

    I see we got some nice winds kicking up, any one got some kites?

  18. John Liu says:


    I wanted more from this La Nina.

    But I’m grateful for what we got and for Mark keeping us well prepared for every twist and turn

  19. Boring Rain says:

    Watch him have to follow this post with one about snow tomorrow night😂

  20. Mountain Man says:

    Hmm I don’t know if Mark jumped a bit early on this. Many models runs continue to indicate a stationary deformation band in the wraparound of this big low pressure system somewhere between the cascade foothill west slopes and the coast range foothill east slopes. Somewhere in the valley (or foothills) this could course a major but narrow band of very heavy snow. Despite the coldest air off shore, this is the kind of thing where if under this band, hours of steady precipitation, no ocean air influence or wind and mixing of any kind really and an isothermic atmosphere could cause a huge dumping of wet snow. We’ll know soon enough. Either way, March long range certainly looks like it will be different than last year with the overall pattern indicating lots of cold developing over Alaska and troughs digging down in the far NE Pacific. This would lead to some foothills snow chances and cold convection west of the cascades like thunderstorm / hail. Yes that’s early springtime weather not winter weather. Definitely looks like very active spring weather though overall. Just my two cents on the fork.

    • Mike near Clackamas Town Center says:

      Even with a deformation band setting up, late morning to late afternoon temps are still gonna be too warm. And even such an event in the overnight and morning hours likely wouldn’t cause a traffic nightmare due to major amounts of solar energy hitting the road. Even with cloud cover and precip. Just too late in Winter for that now.

      • Mountain Man says:

        Could somewhat dissagre, that’s not how it works in this case, not under a deformation band like this, but I’m thinking it’s unlikely it actually sets up in that unlikely perfect way anyway. It’s just an outside shot anywhere gets that lucky. Yet after my post, it was there again on the 18z runs? Friday afternoon or evening is the time to watch for some crazy band of snow somewhere over the western valleys… maybe, probably not. This would be a weird, like sprung break 2012 thing, just dumps so hard along the band, day and night wouldn’t make much difference. Yeah probably not really going to happen, but it keeps showing up on many runs or several models if you look close. Time will tell.

        • Mountain Man says:

          Sprung break lol, um spring!

        • Mike near Clackamas Town Center says:

          March 21 2012 happened during night hours. We had tremendous precip all day, but it wasn’t til the sun went down when temps took that dive toward freezing. 😉

  21. Roland Derksen says:

    I hope this doesn’t mean we’re getting another soggy March!

  22. Nahtalkin says:

    A little early I think to turn on the water and open the vents. Of course outlying areas do get colder nights than the heat islands do.

    • GTS1Kft says:

      I thought sure you carried water up in buckets from the river…

      • Lee Wilson says:

        No, that was me…and I use a pump lol. Just kidding, I would do that in an shtf….how ever planning to get one of them..Berkly water Purification units….

        With all the rain we been getting I could easily fill the thing.

        It even filters out lead…but they are not cheap.
        They range in prices. To 299 on up.

        So…put that river water to good use lol….

  23. “Winter is over, but we could still see snow.”

    The most hilarious seasonality argument I’ve ever heard.

    • Jason Hougak says:

      X2 😆

      You see the ECMWF panels with the cold air that basically breaks down over Canada but redeveloped over all of Alaska… very interesting Mark. Don’t choke on that fork you may have to swallow. Interesting winter may lead to an interesting spring🤔

    • pappoose in scappoose says:


  24. JohnD says:

    Interesting–over and against today’s afternoon NWS AFD about Friday. Whatever, I guess. Mark is virtually always right and that is for sure. Our weather Guru. Sometimes annoyingly so though; except, of course, when he is saying what we want to hear!
    Happy Springtime All!

  25. Justin says:

    The worst flood in Portland was the flood of June 1894.

  26. Paul D says:

    NO!!! 😦 Not the fork!!

    • Lee Wilson says:

      Ok..Then the wooden 12 inch have home made bread with real butter..Yum...Oh and honey spread all over it .._yum.

  27. Larry says:

    Hope Salesky sees this lol.

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