What a crazy day. As expected the light morning showers turned to steady snowfall. Most of the day it didn’t accumulate much because we were a few degrees too warm. But a good burst of snow between 4-6pm across the east metro area dropped a coating of white just about everywhere east of I-205.
First the snow. Officially 0.5″ fell at the Portland NWS office. That makes it the 5th measurable snow event in Portland, all in the past 4.5 weeks of course.
- It’s the first March snowfall (measurable in the city) in 7 years
- This is only the 5th March with measurable snow in my lifetime. All of them except 1989 have been in the past 14 years. Interesting don’ t you think?
- Looks like plenty of 1/2″ to 1″ totals eastside, with up to 2″ or so up around 1,000′ far eastern edge of metro area
- This is the first time since the late 1970s we’ve seen 3 consecutive snowy winters. Around 7″ these past two winters and then 11.2″ in 2016-2017
Now as of 7pm, Portland’s high temp has only made it to 35 degrees. That could change in the next 4 hours now that the wind has gone westerly through the Gorge (we’ve lost the cold source of air coming at us from Eastern Oregon). And we’ve now got 3 millibars southerly gradient west of the Cascades from Eugene to Olympia. We’ve completed the transition to weak onshore and mild air flow. It’s possible we rise to 36-38 before midnight.
Assuming we don’t…this is the latest we’ve seen a sub-37 degree day in Portland. We easily broke a record for coldest high for the date (41 was the record). IF we don’t go above 35, it’ll also be the coldest day of winter! That’s crazy and I’ve never seen it happen in March.
The forecast is much easier now, brief clearing this evening in spots could lead to some icy roads. OR, we just remain mostly cloudy with snow showers returning after midnight. The chance for widespread sticking snow in the lowest elevations has gone downhill. More likely the next two nights/mornings we’ll see at least a dusting up on the higher hills around town. Then each afternoon we’ll change to rain showers with daytime “heating”. Friday morning should be our last brush with low-elevation snow.
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen