Cold Showers & Foothill Snow Ahead

7pm Wednesday

Weather was pretty boring today with light rain moving north out of California.  Thursday and Friday should be more interesting as we get into a typical spring “showers and sunbreaks” pattern.

A strong cold front moves inland tomorrow morning, lowering snow levels quickly from around 5,000′ to 2,000′ by afternoon.  Cool showers follow the front tomorrow night, Friday, & Friday night.  During this time models are advertising 850mb temps (the temp in Celsius around 5,000′) between -5 & -6 over us.  This isn’t a cold enough airmass to get sticking snow to sea level, but vigorous showers should at least get us a mix of rain/snow during the coldest times of day.  I think it’s unlikely we even get sticking snow down to 1,000′ in the metro area; although that could easily happen in the Coast Range and Cascade foothills (nighttime hours).  More likely if you live at/above 1,500′ you’ll get some sticking snow at times.

Snow Spring Headlines

This is not a real wet pattern.  Check out total snowfall through this entire event, forecast by RPM model

RPM Snow Accumulation

Now beyond Friday night we dry out once again with weak ridging in place for much of Oregon’s Spring Break.  Note the ECMWF model ensembles showing a drier pattern beyond Friday.  Many of the individual members give us several days of dry weather next week.


And of course that means temperatures will come back up above normal for the last week of the month.  Pretty good ensemble agreement on that, showing quite a rise after Tuesday.


By the way, with snow coming down into the foothills again, you might wonder how late in the season we’ve seen snow at PDX?  It was on THIS date, March 21s, 2012.


Those records just go back to 1938.  Downtown records go back much farther, but it gets trickier since hail/graupel was added into the “snow column” for observations back then.  I see a 0.3″, 0.1″, & 0.1″ on April 9, 1933, April 14, 1903, & April 14, 1924.  On all of those dates temps didn’t drop below 35 degrees.  On April 7th, 1933 there was a 1.4″ total.  But again, the low was 36!  Must have been deep hail or graupel.

Portland Snow Latest

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

22 Responses to Cold Showers & Foothill Snow Ahead

  1. Longview 400 ft says:

    Snowing like crazy here at Clatskanie and turning white. Sea level that is.

    • Longview 400 ft says:

      The snow shower came made everything white and now all is back to normal. But it was fun to watch!!!!

  2. W7ENK says:

    So, just for reference:

    Not accounting for seasonal lag, seeing snow at the tops of the hills and mixed with the rain on the Valley floor this morning would be the “Solsticial” equivalent to seeing the same thing happen on September 20th.

  3. W7ENK says:

    36 degrees, and splat test was quite positive in Milwaukie this morning. So much so, I could see it in my head lights!

  4. Andy says:

    Snow mixing with rain in Albany. 36 deg.

  5. JohnD says:

    37.7′ here at the moment in inner SWPDX. A significant hail shower earlier but dry at the moment. Sure wouldn’t be surprised to see some slush on cartops in the a.m. amid vigorous showers showing upstream!

  6. W7ENK says:

    Nice little flash/crackle/boom over Milwaukie about 20 mins ago.

  7. ocpaul says:

    44.2 for my high today. hmm

  8. WEATHERDAN says:

    Looking warmer and drier next week. Hooray. Peace.

  9. Jason Hougak says:

    Snow mix in Sandy

    • Longview 400 ft says:

      How nice that would be to see all snow one more time before the air really warms up.

  10. JohnD says:

    That front this morning has really ushered in a change to a wintry feel! Cold and blustery out there now. Will be doing a splat test later!

  11. oldwxwatcher says:

    It’s a pity that the official weather recording site in Portland is in a relatively mild location because other parts of the city often see more extremes. I remember waking up early on April 20, 1963 to find snow on the lawn. At that time I was living just south of Mt. Tabor. I went outside to check and it really was snow, not hail or graupel. A cold rain was falling and continued most of the day. The official high that day was 41°.

    • JohnD says:

      Agree! The PDX NWS recording location will always be a frustration. Plus the various location changes that skew historical records.

  12. Hmm… some models are saying I may wake to a dusting of white tomorrow morning.

  13. W7ENK says:

    That comment was supposed to go here…

  14. W7ENK says:

    As long as that hail/graupel comes with “abundant lightning”, I’m happy!

  15. pappoose in scappoose says:

    I really like deep hail and graupel!

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