A Typical March…So Far

6pm Sunday

Time is flying by!  We’re already in the 2nd half of March, into the 3rd week of the month.  So what’s ahead?  First a look back; temperatures across the USA so far this month have been cool in the West/East and warm in the middle.  Here in the metro area we’re right at the average temperature so far.


Precipitation has been lighter than average again this month in most of NW Oregon and SW Washington.


We had one brief “wind storm” on the 8th, otherwise nothing real significant has occurred in our area during this first month of Spring.  We haven’t seen a lot of new snow in the Cascades.  But near average temperatures and occasional light snowfall have kept the snowpack on the ground from melting.  Note it’s still quite a low snowpack year with very little time left to catch up now.  Only the NE mountains and Mt. Hood area are reasonably close to normal.

Snowpack Oregon Plus Facts

The next two days look dry as most action heads into SW Oregon and California.  But later this week a cold upper-level low settles in just offshore.  That gives ALL of the West Coast a nice soaking.  Note the hefty totals even down into Southern California; this is a forecast from the ECMWF model for the next 7 days:

ECMWF Precipitation Accumulation

This also means Wednesday through next weekend will feature lowering snow levels with lots of cold lowland showers.  Considering it’s late March, most likely we’ll get some sort of hail/thunder action with the showers at some point between Thursday and Sunday.  We’re overdue for a funnel cloud pic too!

ECMWF Snow Level From 850mb Temps LONG TERM

Notice the sticking snow level may go below 2,000′ at times.  That’s why your weather app may be showing snowflakes mixed in Friday/Saturday.

Can we get sticking snow this late in the year in the lowlands?  YES!  It’s extremely rare but it does happen.  The latest measurable snow at either the Portland Airport or Portland NWS forecast office (the past 80 years) fell on March 21, 2012.   0.5″ was recorded that night as a steady/heavy & wet snow fell throughout the Willamette Valley.  It was only 1-2 days away from Spring Break, but it didn’t feel like it.  The pic is from a viewer


I don’t see that coming later this week, but those of you in the hills might see snowflakes mixed in at times.

The ECMWF model shows rain backing off AFTER this coming weekend.  Note the drop off in precipitation intensity around the 26th-27th.


The blue lines in the bottom section are the ensemble average, and each horizontal line in the top section is one of the ensemble members.  So there may yet be hope for some dry weather part way into Spring Break…we’ll see.

Enjoy the next two mainly dry days!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

13 Responses to A Typical March…So Far

  1. Sprayandpay says:

    It amazes me people still even pay attention to Drunken GFS most likely hype-casting. The Euro (pay model) has been far superior and if they do miss they fix it and they have to they are a private company and don’t want to go out of business. Weather Bell.

    GFS is free but not really so as a result no incentive to change or grow until things get REALLY bad.

    When something is tax payers based the cost is hidden from the public more and they don’t see how expensive it is and with it being government ran nobody can really get fired for doing a bad job. Unless they get caught doing sexual assault or something equally serious. Even then they have government unions protecting them from having to deal with their problems.

    When you have total government control less incentive to change and you get a new wardrobe of the evil bankers only if you don’t play you go to jail for another day.

  2. Roland Derksen says:

    While this march has been relatively normal for temperatures, I have noticed a chill in the air in the mornings. So I’ve checked and found that daily minimums (for me, anyway) have so far averaged 2.2F lower than that of this past January.

  3. Lee Wilson says:

    Just a wierd random question, Have any one here ever mode there lawn when it was frozen? so would the grass cut better or would it dullen the blade faster on the mower?

    • JohnD says:

      I was born and raised in Albany, Oregon but have spent the bulk of my modern life with wife-family in Portland/Metro. When my Dad was still alive we went down to a Albany frequently to help him out–including mowing the lawn. Because time was short, I remember more than once mowing his lawn in the rain–and even rain and snow mixed–showers! I am pretty sure that mowing in such conditions did/does dull the blade more than in dry conditions! Laws of physics/friction do apply!

      • Muxpux (Castle Rock) says:

        I wouldn’t mow while it’s rozen. Theoretically it will dull the blades faster, as well as the wheels from the mower will damage the grass more. Any sort of traffic on frozen grass tends to snap the blades as opposed to bending/smashing them down, and they don’t recover well from that. Also, wet grass is heavier, and will dull your blades faster than dry grass, because water acts as a solid when impacted by high speed blades.

        If you keep for blades sharpened (not razor sharp, just a nice clean edge) regularly, it shouldn’t make much difference but I’d wait til the grass at least thaws out. This time of year it doesn’t take long

  4. Lee Wilson says:

    We made quite a bit of power for the last 2 days.
    and last week we got our estimated usage in the negative range for the grid power 🙂
    But alas, my weather thing is forcasting rain. I guess all god things must come to an end to enjoy the new good things to come 🙂

  5. ocpaul says:

    30.2 this morning. Heavy frost on my freshly mowed lawn. Yeah, typical March.

  6. Roland Derksen says:

    So far, i’ve counted just a third of the amount of rain I had compared to last March, but it looks like we’ll get closer to a half (or more?) by the end of this week. Snow is a possiblility here too, (mixed with rain). Not too unusual- I’ve seen measurable snow in April a few times.

  7. Tanis Leach says:

    Snow is love, snow is life. Just not like what New England is getting. But when spring is here, let it just be here

    • JohnD says:

      Wow! Awesome poetics. Spoken like my ex-hippie girlfriend from way “back in the day”! Poetics timeless/universal! And so is snow/weather!

  8. Larry says:

    Glad you’re being the voice of reason, this is a 2000′ + event. I’ve already had people message me asking how many feet to expect in Portland 😉

  9. Jason Hougak says:

    I bet Mark has that Bikini girls spring break snow picture plastered in his weather center 😆
    I wonder if they get paid for each time they are posted 🤔

  10. Paul D says:

    Snow! Bring it on!

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