It Finally Snowed In Portland; In March

2pm Saturday…

It’s very nice to see the snow forecast turn out as close to perfect as it can get.  That’s rare.  Last night (see previous post) we forecast Zero to 2″ in the western valleys.  We expected little impact on lowest elevation roadways plus snow showers continuing through the day as temps rise to around 40 degrees or so. That’s pretty much what happened.  It appears most areas saw at least a dusting, and a few spots even in the lower elevations up in Clark County picked up 3″.  Areas around 1,000′ or so have see up to 4-5″.  Temps at 2pm…higher as sunbreaks pass over, lower under snow showers.

web_metrotemps (2)

Sure enough, a steady band of snowfall developed after midnight and temperatures dropped close to freezing, bringing sticking snow down to the valley floor in many spots.


0.5″  < The Big Total

Yes, the NWS (in Parkrose) picked up 0.3″ leading up to 5am, a trace from 5am-11am, then 0.2″ just after that time.  That adds up to 0.5″, our only measurable snow of the “winter”.

Are you thinking March snow (even a little) doesn’t seem too unusual lately?  It isn’t.  Actually through the first 10-15 years of my career it was pretty much a no-show.  We’ve only seen measurable snow in March 6 times in the past 50 years!  Only once in the 30 years from mid-70s to mid-2000s.  Now we’ve seen it three times in 10 years.

Portland Snow Last Few Times In March

Today’s snowfall also ties for the 4th latest on record in Portland.  Official records go back to 1940 at PDX/NWS forecast office locations.

Portland Snow Latest 2

The latest is the 0.3″ on March 25, 1965.

Portland Snow Latest

There had been some “later snow events” (one in 1968), but the NWS cleaned those up and decided they were hail and not snow.  And the old downtown records show an April 1st snow back in the 1930s.

We have LOTS of sunshine ahead, after a couple of cold nights.  I’ll be back at work tomorrow afternoon

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

15 Responses to It Finally Snowed In Portland; In March

  1. Congrats on finally scoring some measurable snow this season!

  2. Tanis Leach says:

    Something I’ve been noticing, and this might have affected our winter:

    This is the 3rd three month period in a row where the ENSO 3.4 index is .5C above normal. Prior to this, it was predicted to stay below the threshold at all times, but now it seems to be stubborn. Upper Ocean Heat Anomalies are also currently slowly increasing. We may have lived through an El Nino winter without realizing it yet if this happens for the next 3 reports. The only piece of evidence not supporting that I’ve found an el nino is that the tropical atmosphere is more in an ENSO neutral state instead.

    Any thoughts on this? Knowing me, I missed something.

  3. I knew it was too early to count out snow in March! I think this could be the last gasp of solid winter-like snow though below at least 1,000 feet. So now bring the forks out Mark. You will probably be safe to go the rest of this season.

    • Tanis Leach says:

      Mark did mention in his forking of winter that a brief morning snow is still possible, but would be less than an inch. I think this meets that definition. Therefore the fork is still valid. If you have a problem with the definition of the fork, bring it up with him.

      Going back a while, the only fork that I would consider not valid was last year (2019 flood, widespread flooding is considered done when the forks are out).

  4. Diana F. says:

    I could watch the snow while sitting g on my lovely covered balcony, drinking a caramel macchiato, left over from the day before…….and it was BEEEEEAUTIFUL Clark… I mean Mark! Thanks for the absolutely spot on wishcast forecast ! I bet the FB group was poppin’ lol … hope everyone got a lil of whatever they were wishing for!! Stay healthy my fellow nerdy weather friends 💪🏼!!!

  5. flakes gently falling
    garden shoots reaching skyward
    local march madness

  6. Rick says:

    This is the 3rd morning in a row I have crawled out of bed only to see it’s snowing. This morning it looks like a small band slipped over the Washington cascades and landed over the top of us. This makes 7 inches of snow for the three days. If anybody wants to know , we sit at 1000ft between Rainier and Clatskanie.


  7. Gene says:

    Here’s a question now that we’ve had our first official snowfall of 2019-20: when was the last time Portland had a year when the only measurable snowfall for the season came in March?

  8. Ken in Wood Village says:

    Now that we had the excitement of the snow. Looks like we are having some thunderstorms. I think we could see a funnel cloud or two today too. Just my thoughts.

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