A Snowy Day but Warming Temps = Clear Roads Most of Portland Metro

10:30am Wednesday…

Our forecast worked out well last night and this morning.  Just VERY light precipitation, in the form of flurries, sleet, and even a spot or two of freezing rain.  And for most of us the commute was pretty typical.  I remember saying in each of the 5 newscasts yesterday evening  “good chance you look out the window and see nothing on the ground”  Of course with the sleet and freezing rain there were a few spots of icing early.  Here’s a shot from Gresham.  Pic by Jesse Kerr


Radar has now “filled-in” with light-moderate precipitation, mainly snow, as models had advertised.  By the way, when you see one of these radar images (whether on TV, app, or web), the “snow/rain/freezing rain” is not what the radar actually sees, but a “mask” put over the radar based on observations and modeling. Just because it’s green doesn’t mean it’s actually raining over you.  An algorithm is just taking a guess based on those observations/modeling


From now through late afternoon expect gray skies and snow falling most of the time.  That said, we’re talking “conversational snow” again, it may even be “dumping” at times. But air temperatures stay above freezing through this evening, gradually rising close to 40.  That limits accumulation on ground, lawn, trees, etc…  Yes, your neighborhood could turn white under heavy snow showers, but roads shouldn’t.  In fact at 10am road surface temps on US26, OR-217, I-5, & I-205 are already well above freezing, up around 40 degrees.  It would be different in December or January.  But the sun is as strong as early October now!



The best chance for getting accumulating snow the rest of the day and this evening will be in two locations:

  1. Near/above 1,000′.  That’s in West Hills, Mt. Scott, Powell Butte, etc…  Could see up to an inch, even turning roads white up there.
  2. This evening possibly in far eastern suburbs up around 500′ or so.  Hills of Camas/Washougal, Battle Ground, Boring, Sandy, Estacada.  Maybe, but snow will need to come down at a moderate/heavy pace for that to happen.

Otherwise your evening commute should be just plain wet with temps in the mid-upper 30s.  Snow will come to an end sometime after 6pm.

TONIGHT & THURSDAY (All areas west of Cascades)

I see a typical showers/sunbreaks pattern, but a cold one.  That means mainly snow showers late night and early morning hours, but rain showers 10am-10pm.  We have a southwest breeze blowing much of the time so that makes it extra tough to get significant snowfall.  More “conversational snow” like we see in March some years.

LOWEST ELEVATIONS:  Nothing to a slushy dusting for the Thursday AM commute.  Snow showers early transition to rain showers midday/afternoon.  Lows 33-35, highs 42-46.  MOST OR ALL ROADS STAY CLEAR

UP AROUND 1,000′:  Dusting to 2″ for the Thursday AM commute, best snow up north in Clark/Columbia county foothills.  Snow showers all day, snowy roads possible early in the morning, then wet.  Lows near 32, highs in upper 30s


Good news!  It’s appears that Friday morning will likely be our last close-call with snow in the lowlands for the season.  Spring weather will finally arrive.  No, not 70 and sunny, but 50s and showers.  That means highs moving back to normal as we head into the weekend and next week.  Check out the ECMWF 15 day outlook; a nice upward trend.  First time in 5 weeks we’ve seen that!


And the ECMWF ensemble snow forecast for Salem shows the next two days are likely it for snow to lower elevations


Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen



49 Responses to A Snowy Day but Warming Temps = Clear Roads Most of Portland Metro

  1. Evan -- Cedar Mill says:

    Barring a few snow showers the next two mornings, it looks like were done with snow.

    Hopefully we can get a la nina pattern and pull in some cooler air earlier in the winter.

    Although thankful for the late season snow I have two dissapointments:
    1. Literally anyone about 100 miles from us has had at least a foot of snow on the ground (due to unfavorable storm tracks that were either too far south or too far north of us)

    A lot of this cold has been wasted due to sun angle causing multiple borderline opportunities for sticking snow (including today where just 2-3 degrees cooler would have left a widespread coating of 6 inches). Storm tracks have also wasted the cold.

  2. Andrew says:

    Yeah I’m actually up a degree since getting home around 6:30. I’m also seeing nothing on radar but I suspect that’s expected to change overnight. With the next round of showers coming more off the NW than South I was thinking the air might be cooler but in the end it’s all about the onshore flow. Still fun to track and follow. You never know…

  3. JohnD says:

    Plenty cold enough to support overnight snow for sure. Just hope things materialize as it appears they “could”. Maybe Thursday night re dux as well. Fun stuff for March!

  4. rmlounsbury says:

    Much to my surprise in the Vancouver Heights area everything is white. Not more than a half inch of snow but enough to make everything white.

  5. ocpaul says:

    It’s dropped 2 degrees in the last hour. 37 to 35. Nice steady snowfall here at 349′ in OC. The grass is turning white. I’m sure this is going away soon, but I’m lovin it now!

  6. Pgiorgio says:

    Happy valley 2 to 3 inches. Looks good for my prediction.

    • anonymouse says:

      I believed from the beginning! nice call

    • Evan -- Cedar Mill says:

      Did you actually get 2-3 in??

      • Pgiorgio says:

        I received 2.2 inches on grass. Some snow started to accumulate on road near back edge of snow band. Other areas within 5 miles around me looks like 1/4 inch or dusting to 3.5 inches.

  7. Jason Hougak says:

    Snowing steady on east side of town. Snow baby snow!

  8. Ryan Lounsbury says:

    Per standard… As evening approaches the main band of moisture is about to exit the area.

    I really hope we don’t manage to dip to freezing tonight and wake up to a skating rink in the morning.

  9. Ken in Wood Village says:

    It’s been snowing all day here and nothing was accumulating until now. It’s snowing really good. Not really big flakes but not small either. It’s sticking to the grass, bark dust, trees, cars and the carports. I took some pictures which I’ll upload later cuz I’m using my phone and don’t have the website to upload them to. It’s pretty to see at the beginning of March…lol 🤗🌨❄

    • Ryan Lounsbury says:

      Swan Island started with some accumulation on the bark dust but that quickly melted off. That is still about where we are at down here.

  10. Heinrich Lippschitz says:

    Heavy snow here in Vancouver. 1-3 inches expected

  11. W7ENK says:

    Steady (non-sticking) snowfall has switched over to light rain in Downtown Portland.
    Temperature has bumped up to 35 degrees, after hovering at 33 all day.

    • Evan -- Cedar Mill says:

      Same here but it’s more of a r/s mix

      • Jake in Gresham says:

        Yea this was over before it started with the late arrival of the moisture. Sure it was more but the sun is too intense. This would have been 4 to 6 inches even at my place with the dry cold gorge. Winds have calmed here a lot btw

  12. Andrew says:

    GFS seems to want to give us a little accumulation overnight (1-2 inches).

    I’ll trust Mark’s analysis over my own ability to interpret models but nothing I’m seeing suggests we turn to all rain any time soon.

    • Jake in Gresham says:

      Professor Mass seems to think the same:


      “Going back to the snow accumulation maps, by 7AM Thursday, the UW WRF has some very light snowfall over central Puget Sound (this is snowfall, NOT accumulation)…perhaps a few tenths of an inch, with a bit more over Portland.”

  13. rmlounsbury says:

    It’s been snowing all day here on Swan Island… Obviously everything melts on contact so in effect we have snow rain.

    If only we could get this pattern in late December or January. We’d have a crap ton of snow on the ground.

    • Evan -- Cedar Mill says:

      100% agreed

      Also, if this had happened overnight I think we would have had 4+ inches

      • rmlounsbury says:

        If this moisture hit overnight when we where hovering around 32 I’d be we’d have more than that. I didn’t see the QPF but I’m guessing it would be in the 6″+ range.

        • W7ENK says:

          That’s awfully optimistic, considering only 0.12″ of rainfall equivalent has fallen at Portland Airport so far today. At a nominal 10:1 ratio, that only translates to 1.2″ of snow. 😂🤣😂

        • Ryan Lounsbury says:

          Which is why I included the caveat of not seeing the QPF forecast. It seems lie more than that.

  14. JohnD says:

    It would sure be nice if the steady precip would sustain into the evening hours and then maybe get a couple hours worth of accumulation when temps fall off a degree or 3.
    I was joking earlier–without accumulation, we are just a couple of degrees and a sunbreak away from like any other day around here.
    Fun to see the flakes falling though too, for sure.

  15. paulbeugene says:

    Freezing rain turned to rain now mixing in with sleet in Eugene. Weird mixed bag of precipitation today

  16. Beaverdreams says:

    Been snowing all day in Beaverton…imagine if this moisture had come in during the night, we’d have 4-5 inches on ground. Frustrating….seems like forecasts underestimated this a bit.

  17. GTS1Kft says:

    Approaching an inch here but that’s only in areas which would be shaded from the South. It appears that enough solar radiation is penetrating the cloud cover to minimize any accumulation, especially on dark surfaces, Trees and shaded areas are continuing to stay white – if not still accumulating. 32.0 at the moment – hasn’t been above 32.4 all day

  18. Kenz says:

    Watching it snow all morning and not stick feels like a mean joke lol.

  19. Mokihana says:

    Sticking snow in Damascus. It is so pretty but I’m glad it will not be staying long.

  20. Evan -- Cedar Mill says:

    Rain and snow battling here while temperatures rise.

  21. Jake in Gresham says:

    Snowing heavily hear all late morning to noon. Not sticking anything major. Looks like the air is gradually moderating and the weather models are indicating rain for tomorrow instead of snow. On to Spring I say!

  22. Af says:

    Coming down pretty good happy valley. No sticking

  23. Roland Derksen says:

    I’m predicting snow for my locality this evening and overnight. The air has been very dry and it’s cool outside (upper 30’s) presently.

    • Evan -- Cedar Mill says:

      One problem: south wind

    • Roland Derksen says:

      Snowflurries have been falling since about noon, but the temperature is above freezing by about 3F, so I doubt there will be much to see this evening.

  24. Andrew says:

    Any rational scenario where we get sticking snow later tonight?

  25. Gene says:

    We’ve been getting fairly steady snow out here in Gresham for the last hour — not sticking to streets, as Mark noted, but it is starting to stick on barkdust, lawns, roofs, etc. Pretty cool to see, especially this time of year, but it would have been nicer to get it in December or January when chances for accumulations would have been better

  26. MasterNate says:

    Ready for Spring!

  27. Diana F. says:

    I need to slow down. I thought you said YOUR NEIGHBOR MIGHT TURN WHITE, and I thought, well if it’s snowing, why would my neighbor be standing outside….?
    Warning: Excess weather excitement can cause vision changes!

  28. W7ENK says:

    Snowing but not sticking in Downtown Portland.

  29. Ken in Wood Village says:

    Thank you for the update Mark. I see that you think temps will be warmer probably the following weekend. As everyone knows, it’s so far out there that I wouldn’t say it’s set in stone. I think a lot can change between now and then. I still think we will be in a cooler pattern. Just my thoughts.

  30. Ken in Sheridan says:


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