First Snow In Foothills Next Week; Maybe Lower?

9pm Tuesday…

A quick post to let you know I’m watching the weather pattern very closely for early next week.  Right now our 7 Day Forecast looks like this:

7 day forecast graphic 2017

Notice there is no mention of snow.  I must be getting old and conservative (with respect to weather).  A few of your weather apps are showing even colder weather than this and snow/rain mixed next Monday and Tuesday.

What’s up?  The ECMWF model started the wishcasting train last night,


showing a cold upper-level trough swinging right down over us Sunday night through Monday night.  The morning run showed the same thing while most other models kept the cold air east.  Well now the 00z runs of the GFS and GEM have come around (at least a bit closer) to a colder solution for that period.  Now all three models show 850mb temps going below the “critical” -7/-8 degree threshold for sea level snow “stickage” from Sunday night through Tuesday morning along the I-5 corridor from Longview to Eugene.  If they maintain that plan for the next 5 days then we’ll see at least snowflakes in the air during that time for the first (and only?) time this season.  Of course that also gives models 5 days to back off.  Or it may just be dry and chilly!

By the way, maybe you’re unfamiliar with the term WISHCASTING?  The ONLY time I’ll ever quote The Urban Dictionary on my blog:



  1. This is not a “snow storm” setup with a cold Gorge wind and incoming moisture.  It’s onshore-flow showers with temperatures just barely cold enough to get sticking down into the cities west of the Cascades.  This is far more challenging to forecast and ALMOST NEVER A BIG SNOW PRODUCER IN THE LOWEST ELEVATIONS.  But hey, we’ll take whatever we can get this winter right?
  2. This is a GREAT setup for those of us around 1,000′-2,000′ to get our first snowfall of the season.  That looks very likely at this time.
  3. It’s still 5 days away; it’s very possible models back off in the next 2-4 days and we just end up with cold rain showers early next week along the I-5 corridor.  That’s why I haven’t changed the 7 Day Forecast for now.

portland snow look ahead

portland snow look ahead2

So again, there sure isn’t anything to “prepare for” in this case.  Just relax and keep a close eye on the forecast the next 3-4 days.

I’m off tomorrow for a family event (saying goodbye to Dad!), but back on Thursday.

Enjoy the next two mild and dry days; they should be great!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

78 Responses to First Snow In Foothills Next Week; Maybe Lower?

  1. No Snow says:

    Don’t kid yourselves. It’s definately not going to snow on the valley floor. Models are all going to shift on Sunday and ya’ll gonna be jumping off the cliff.

  2. Well, I hope all this call for snow doesn’t scare it away.
    the only issue I see with this set up, is a nasty commute.

    The snow will melt , then turn to ice. then we get more snow on top of that and then another melt in the day and then a re-freeze..its like a Melt,freeze,melt and freeze.

    this will indeed be a test to the evening commuters.
    I for one, would rather it snowed and stay cold.

    oh this is going to be a night mare.

    (see my spiky horns showing)
    (evil grin)

  3. Diana F. says:

    I got so excited by the talk yesterday, I had read Mark’s post really fast, in my quest to gobble up possible good news!

    In my haste, I somehow read this:
    “..for sea level snow “stickage” from Sunday night through Tuesday morning along the I-5 corridor from Longview to Eugene.”

    as this:
    “..for sea level snow “stickage” from Sunday night through Tuesday morning along the I-5 corridor from Longview to EUROPE.”

    And I thought “WOW this just might really happen and it’s gonna be HUUUUGE!”

  4. rmlounsbury says:

    12Z was pretty much a repeat of the 06Z for the short term. Long term it decided to go with another round of cold air but with offshore flow this time.

  5. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    The GFS operational is trending in the wrong direction. The ensembles are better. The GEM is still bullish. On to the ECMWF.

  6. Roland Derksen says:

    Well, it appears quite likely that we’ll see much colder temperatures by Sunday evening here, and a possible amount of snow sometime next week.(Wednesday). Figures- I’m off to Whistler that day! 🙂

  7. ocpaul says:

    I’d love to see snow, finally. But, I kept my reservation at the Heartbreak Hotel. (hard to type with fingers crossed)

  8. rmlounsbury says:

    06Z wasn’t great but the operational run was one of the warmer ensemble members.

  9. W7ENK says:

    Happy Birthday, Dan.

  10. cgavic says:

    Don’t be ashamed to refer to yourself as a conservative. I am and proud of it. I don’t watch fake news. It looks like mild winter

  11. alohabb says:

    My trusty iPhone weather app now has snow Thursday and Friday What is the world coming too

  12. alohabb says:

    Any dusting of snow is going to put this city to a halt. I can see the 24 hr breaking news feed now.

    • Jake in Gresham says:

      Such a slow and mild Winter very much agree. All major weather models are pointing to mid 20’s for Monday morning with a wind direction from the NW and 50% chance of precipitation.

      I hardly believe what I’m seeing honestly. For an El Niño warm ocean?

      The 528 line has now gone all the way into Northern California on multiple GFS runs. That’s trouble if we’re talking about morning commuters.

  13. Kristen says:

    Mark Nelsen…..
    You just made my day! No…my week. Noooo, actually…my year!!! What an honest, awesome blog! I’ve often wondered how the weather forecasters feel after they’ve forcast snow & it just doesn’t happen. And then, of course, there’s the other forcast situation… don’t predict snow & guess what? It freakin’ snows!!!
    Lol😆 Much respect to you, Mark!

  14. Jason Hougak says:

    The 00Z GFS with even a better run. Excited to see the next ECMWF run.

  15. NWS forecast now calls for snow showers for me Monday and Tuesday.

    • Larry says:

      Me too! I believe most of the metro area and valleys are going to see at least a dusting a snow. Higher elevators like 1000′ or above could see an inch or more of snow. Hopefully this trend can continue through February! 😀

  16. feistycat says:

    Channel 8 is also forecasting snow (possibly on the beach) on Monday. I (personally) find channel 12 is more often correct.

  17. runrain says:

    A tiny flake on the 7 day!

  18. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    Sorry to hear about your dad, Mark.

  19. rmlounsbury says:

    18Z is very nice. Thickness drops to 516 which is lower than anything else we’ve seen in the last few runs so the air mass is looking better. Hopefully, the trend keeps up.

    • Jason Hougak says:

      Yeah each run gets colder. I’m really liking the NW flow associated with the cold air. Lack of precipitation should not be an issue.

  20. Lurkyloo says:

    Mark, I hope your dad is heading off to a wonderful journey.

  21. W7ENK says:

    It’s so cold in Chicago, they’re deliberately lighting railroad tracks on fire to keep the rails from shrinking and breaking under the trains, particularly at switches.

    • A lot of that is just switch heaters, basically gas burners mounted under switch points. They light them so the switches don’t freeze in one position. In Seattle and Portland, snowy weather typically messes up rail traffic because we don’t have many heated switches.

  22. JohnD says:

    The afternoon Seattle NWS AFD very bullish for a winter event in W Washington–cold/snow later this weekend! Hopefully that will play into our zone!

  23. runrain says:

    NWS on board for rain and snow likely Sun night. There’s the kiss of death!

    • rmlounsbury says:

      So long as they aren’t on board for a full on snow event life springs eternal for some sort of event.

  24. Jason Hougak says:

    I like the 12Z ECMWF run.

  25. j2m says:

    Reads like your father passed away. If so, my sincere condolences Mark

  26. W7ENK says:


  27. Ashley Watson says:

    Here are my thoughts,
    I noticed about 8 or 9 days ago the GFS showed some cold air coming in around this weekend time frame then it took it away. Now it’s showing up again. I think that’s the one thing it’s got going for it if it happens. It seems though that these models play games alot.

  28. Jason Hougak says:

    12Z GFS looks like a colder run dropping out of the NW along the coast.

    • Andy says:

      I agree, looking good for a nice change to winter weather. How cold and snowy will be more clear as we get closer to the event. I think your guaranteed some snow down around a1000 ft level or a little lower. But if the colder models win out in the end and what was mentioned by the NWS the valley may see some snow also.

    • rmlounsbury says:

      The operational is just a touch warmer but has more moisture available. The ensemble mean did go slightly colder though.

      In general, it seems pretty well on par with the 06Z.

      The GEM is fun dropping us to -15C @ 850mb.

  29. Another clear, frosty night here. Been so sunny that my house has basically been heating itself via solar gain in the afternoons recent days.

    I’m not so sure I’d call forecasting a chance for at least some snow “wishcasting,” now that we’re inside a week and models seem to be coming on board for a shot of cold. That’s very different from claiming there will be an epic snow/cold event.

  30. rmlounsbury says:

    I’ll try this again…

    At least the entire GFS ensemble has come around for the idea of cold for a few days. Extra bonus in that the operational run is in the middle of the pack and not the coldest member of the group.

    It seems the EURO is still on the cold train this morning as well.

    In both cases, the main brunt of the cold is east of the Rockies with just some residual cold air coming west. Of course, we usually see these scenarios play out with most the cold air staying east of the Cascades and we get chunky rain at best.

    Onward, to the 12Z!

    • I’m really thinking something may come of this, and that all the voices confidently claiming it won’t are now the ones doing the wishcasting (wishcasting in reverse is still a form of wishcasting).

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      I replied to your post on my reply…lol. I think it gives you some of my ideas about a website and what I think is happening to the cold air. 🙂

    • runrain says:

      I really like reverse wishcasting!

  31. Paul D says:

    Snow? That doesn’t happen in Portland anymore. Move somewhere else if you want the white stuff.

  32. JohnD says:

    The Portland NOAA AFD this morning was encouraging–or at least not “discouraging”! We’ll just have to wait and see how the next few days evolve. We all know that Portland snow is virtually impossible to pinpoint with accuracy until it is right on our doorstep!
    Sure am hoping for a positive outcome this time. It has been such a long eventless winter.

  33. W7ENK says:

    Snow at the lowest elevations?

    • Runtmc says:

      Folks, this is a great sign for snow lovers. W7 made a similar “prediction” on—among other dates—January 9th, 2017, the eve of a nearly 12 inch snowstorm. So things look to be shaping up nicely for us. To be fair, he predicts no snow before every modeled event, so he’s smart with the odds. Gives him ample opportunity to chide us for our imbecilic naïveté after the fact.

      • W7ENK says:

        And likewise McRunt, I always appreciate how you never miss an opportunity to preemptively chide me and my “predictions.” Of course I’m sometimes wrong, that’s just the way it goes in this game of weather forecasting. But where my “predictions” stick to just that — weather forecasting — yours seem to always revolve around some sort of veiled ad hominem, which I believe is expressly against Mark’s rules of conduct? Oh, yup, there it is, Rule #3: “…avoid being rude or taunting others…”

        You need to work on that, son.

  34. pablo says:

    Condolences Mark.

  35. Larry says:

    Did anybody check the GFS model? Showing us some snow again in the valleys.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      I just looked at the 06Z GFS. It’s finally coming around. It’s cold but not as cold as the Euro (right now). I expect the GFS to refine what will happen in the next couple of runs and days. Let’s hope all the models that are showing the cold air stay to their guns and we get some type of winter precipitation 🙂

  36. alohabb says:

    I now have 3 days of snow on my iPhone weather. I’m running to the store for supplies now.

    • Diana F. says:

      No no, aloha, you have to wait a little longer, so that you can be stuck in line with every other Portlander that thinks we will barely survive the event, so surely giant amounts of bread, milk, and beer is called for!

  37. Kyle says:

    Anyone ever seen City Data Forums weather section? Lot’s of stuff about local climate knowledge of different areas and the fun Climate VS threads including fantasy climates based off of real knowledge of how dynamics/fluids work.

  38. Linda Schave says:

    Thank you Mark Nelsen
    God bless your family always.

  39. Ashley Watson says:

    If I understand that right you are saying goodbye to dad. I’m sorry to hear 😔😞

  40. Paul says:

    If the low comes down with the Bearing Sea vortex wont that be a snow event like we had a few years ago where the low just parked over PDX with the cold air pumping in from the NW and spinning around the low say down to Eugene and the up? That’s when we get good snow in Rockaway and Parkdale and in between. And no warm air from the south to scour it out.

  41. ocpaul says:

    I REALLY want some snow in this god-fore-saken temperate zone.
    Kind of a jinx, right?

  42. Ken in Wood Village says:

    Thank you for the update Mark. I did notice the Canadian model is on board to now. Not sure if you saw that? First

    • rmlounsbury says:

      Man, yet another weather model site I like to use went behind a paywall (Unisys Weather). This year I’ve had a bunch of sites go behind a paywall or just disappear from the web. Does anyone have a good place to go for the EURO?

      It does indeed look like the blind squirrel found a nut for the first time. Still seems more like a glancing blow and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the next few days show the cold air shunting eastward. But the good news is all the ensemble members are following suit on the GFS and the GFS operational isn’t the coldest run.

      Maybe we’ll get super lucky and things will evolve into a more favorable setup over the next few days.

      At least we have something to get excited about for once this winter.

      • rmlounsbury says:

        Ha, that was supposed to go on the main thread and not as a reply. Oops.

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        That isn’t right about the website you use. I was having issues with finding a website so I can see a better view of the Euro. I went to Marks website to see what he has. He has a link to WeatherBELL, I went there and spent almost 25 dollars to see what they had. I really didn’t like it because it was a little difficult to find what I wanted (at least to me). I went to and spent 13 dollars and found their website is much better to navigate so I have been using this website for almost 3 months. I like it but not sure exactly what you want. I like the price too 🙂

        The GFS is looking better. I know what you mean about the cold air shunting eastward but if you look at the models, the cold air actually goes out over the ocean and comes down the coastline to the PNW. I’m hoping this will bypass the Rookies and it will come to us. 🙂

        I hope I answered what you wanted. I know, it’s difficult to find a place where you don’t have to pay but if you do, I would like to find a website that doesn’t cost a arm and a leg…lol

        • rmlounsbury says:

          I just need to find a good EURO Spaghetti chart. has the GFS and the GEM but they don’t have the EURO (at least not for free).

 appears to not be around anymore though it may have been part of the site which has a combo paywall/ads interlaced with the data set. But the price isn’t bad at $5.99 a month. I don’t see a EURO spaghetti plot though.

      • Mike says:

        I like as well. Cost is reasonable–about $89 for a year, and there are a lot of ways to look at the data. The “City Charts” is good to look at 10 day temp and ppt from both GFS and Euro models. There is a lot of variability of course in what the 10 day shows. I don’t get excited–we are in a severe drought plus an El Niño year. This event will underperform here in the South Valley.

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