Three Chilly Days Ahead; Plus Sticking Snow For Some of Us

8pm Thursday…

Today has been another fantastic early spring day; sunshine with temperatures reaching into the 50s.  That will change tomorrow as a cold upper-level trough drops down along the West Coast.  The result is a wet & cool Friday.  In fact you may even see some snowflakes mixed in.  The sticking snow level will be around 2,000′ tomorrow.

Models have come into better agreement on what happens beyond.  A surface low lingers off the Oregon coastline through Saturday, pulling cool/cold Canadian air south into the Pacific Northwest.   At the same time lots of moisture in the form or snow/rain showers will be rotating around the upper-level trough overhead.   This is what I’m thinking for Saturday in the Portland metro area; some “conversational snow”.  I doubt any snow Saturday will affect your life.  Certainly far less than the current COVID-19 cancellations.

Snow Spring Headlines


Saturday night and Sunday almost all the moisture pulls south and skies start to clear out.  By Monday/Tuesday we’re back into a nice spring weather pattern; sunshine with afternoon highs into the 50s or even 60.

Sure, models agree on the basic progression of weather the next 4-5 days.  But how much precipitation shows up?  And how much cold air comes in from the east?  Those are the big questions.    Trends the past 24-48 hours suggest less precipitation than earlier expected.  More obvious is models getting warmer and warmer as we approach this event.  2-3 days ago the GFS/ECMWF were at least down around -8 degC at 850mb (or much colder in the case of the GFS).  Now they both bottom out around -5 to -6!  Without cold air coming in from the east, that doesn’t produce lowland snow.

Some models have backed off on precipitation totals for Saturday.  The ECMWF was very wet last night but ensemble average shows less than 0.50″ now.  Of course if temperatures were below freezing from tomorrow night through Saturday afternoon that could produce 5″ of snow.  But that’s not happening.


All of our modeling shows very reasonable (for mid-March) temperatures between 36-42 degrees during the daytime Saturday.  That’s cold enough to see snow in the air, but definitely not any significant sticking.  Basically a non-event in the lowest elevations.  If you live up around 1,000′ and above, I think a Trace to 2″ is very likely at some point between Friday night and Sunday morning.  Still, even up there it’ll be tough to get any snow on roads during the day, it would only stick at night.

Put this all together and I feel the latest NAM-3KM is a pretty good representation of what to expect Saturday.  Some white on the hills, and maybe even briefly in the lowest elevations, but this likely ends up similar to our other 3 “close calls” this season


I know it’s a brief post, but as you can imagine it’s been a crazy day in the news business.  I’m off work Friday and Saturday, that’s my “weekend”.  But if something more significant (widespread snow) shows up I’ll be on Facebook and Twitter and possibly shoot out another blog post.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen


31 Responses to Three Chilly Days Ahead; Plus Sticking Snow For Some of Us

  1. Tanis Leach says:

    2 am. 32 and snowing in Corvallis

  2. Jason Hougak says:

    35F down from high of 36F and low 29F.
    Still snow on the ground. Feels like winter.

  3. Jake in Gresham says:

    I’m curious what late into the night brings briefly. And by the feel of it this morning hiking in the Cascades. There does really feel like a chill in the air for those in the foothills. I would not be surprised if a few spots up in the hills get 4 inches plus before it quickly melts midday.

  4. Evan -- Cedar Mill says:

    Tonight and tomorrow morning will be interesting to watch.

  5. Ziggy says:

    Windows are getting cleaned thanks to all of the lickers have a freakout about rain/snow mix.

    I love this, apparently mixed precipitation kills coronavirus 🤣

  6. Jason Hougak says:

    1/2” of snow in Damascus and snowing steady

  7. Jason Hougak says:

    1/2” of snow in Damascus and snowing steady

  8. Anonymous says:

    Damascus 750ft elevation

    Snowing and sticking

    Everything is white but the road is slush

    Almost 1inch on deck railings


  9. Tanis Leach says:

    40 and really chunky rain in Corvallis

  10. JohnD says:

    Sure hope the precip hangs on as the colder air works in. Nice to see the flakes coming down! Long time coming!❄️

  11. JohnD says:

    Just hoping precip holds on as colder air works in. Sure nice to see it falling! Long time coming!❄️

  12. Jason Hougak says:

    Steady snow 36F starting to stick to grass just east of Carver. Elevation 268’.
    Where was the weather forecast for this. Large dime sized flakes now.

    • rmlounsbury says:

      The GFS has been forecasting this the entire time. Everyone discarded it and ran with the NAM/EURO. Not necessarily a bad call given how poorly the GFS has performed this winter.

      But it appears to have called it correctly this time.

    • Evan -- Cedar Mill says:


  13. Ken in Wood Village says:

    Having big flakes here. Cool 🤗❄

  14. Hal Johnson says:

    34 and snowing slightly for the last hour……

  15. rmlounsbury says:

    Starting to look like the GFS is going to be right. I’ve had multiple family members text me saying it is snowing in different parts of Clark County including areas as low as 250′.

    The blind squirrel found a nut.

    • rmlounsbury says:

      As of the current run of the Operational GFS it has the heaviest precip when temps get down near or just below freezing.

      If this does turn into a bigger deal it be brief but fun.

  16. Reeves says:

    Snowing in Orchards 35 degrees

  17. Jason Hougak says:

    It’s snowing above Carver 😆🤣😆

  18. Ellen says:

    Currently it’s 33* and snowing. We’re about 500′. Small flakes and sticking on things – road is slushy at worst.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I really like “conversational snow”.
    Quite fun to talk about it while it’s snowing!

  20. W7ENK says:

    Getting to the airport on Saturday morning is going to be a total disaster. I should just go tomorrow after work and camp overnight. 😥

  21. ocpaul says:

    Early April Fool’s joke. Pretty funny, ha..

  22. Scott Reeves says:

    Another BS non event

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