Powerful Spring Cold Front Plowing Through Oregon This Evening


This afternoon/evening we’ve seen a classic spring cold front pass through the region. Ahead of the front, in the warm airmass, temperatures soared into the 60s & 70s east of the Cascades. Ontario even hit 82!

But with the clouds and afternoon rain we didn’t make it much above 50 west of the mountains

Meanwhile, Government Camp hit 50 degrees at noon, but now it’s SNOWING and 24 degrees! Now that’s what we call a cold front kids…

The front is a dividing line between a warm spring airmass and a much colder airmass that’s pouring inland now. Snow levels have dipped to around 1,000′ in the Coast Range. We’ve been mentioning for days that there could be a dusting of snow on the Coast Range summits Monday morning and that will be the case. But there isn’t a lot of moisture behind this system; it’s more like a “continental” cold front you’d see in the middle of the USA. Just some scattered showers tonight and Monday. In fact take a look at the evening GRAF model precipitation forecast. Very little between now and Wednesday…almost all of that before noon tomorrow.

But we should be able to get 8-12″ Cascade snowfall (including what we’ve seen so far) by the time it dries out later tomorrow.

There was a strong surge of southwest or westerly wind with the cold front west of the Cascades. Peak gust of 35 mph at PDX along with other gusts in the 25-40 mph range gave us quite a few power outages. I see PGE has about 5,000 customers out. Of course the wind has died down now.

Central and Eastern Oregon (along with eastern Columbia River Gorge) is sure known for gusty southwest or westerly wind in the spring, but today was well beyond anything we normally see. Peak gusts 50-70 mph were widespread. I saw a 75 mph gust at Maryhill, and even Pendleton saw a gust to 73 mph! Take a look at the blowing dust around Rufus earlier…from Sherman county sheriff

Warm weather, a dry March, and strong wind started at least two fires in the Bend area. One of those prompted Level 3 evacuations for at least a short time. There were at least 2 more in Wasco county as well.

What’s Ahead?

  • More drier than normal weather to wrap up March and begin April.
  • A few very light showers tomorrow, then warming Tuesday/Wednesday.
  • A combination of mostly sunny skies + offshore flow + warm airmass Wednesday COULD give us our first 70 of the year. Our evening GRAF model says 73! ECMWF implies a high around 70 as well. Then back to onshore flow and cooler temps (but still mild) April 1st.
  • Both GFS & ECMWF ensembles also imply the drier than normal conditions continue for at least another week.

So…the main message tonight? Make sure you schedule some outdoor time for Wednesday!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

14 Responses to Powerful Spring Cold Front Plowing Through Oregon This Evening

  1. 5OClockCharlie says:

    Models seem to be indecisive about the end of next week. GFS and Euro can’t agree on the temps nor moisture levels. I’m even seeing snow for a good chunk of the region (foothills and areas outside of metro) from Euro… hopefully that’s an error. One thing looks for sure: temps will not be warm! Good thing the sun has been glorious these past couple of days, it’s a real nice treat. I think all this relatively cold weather puts a lid on tim’s “spring is warm so summer will be outrageously hot” theory; especially if you take Cliff Mass’ analysis from yesterday, you can see Washington state has been pretty cold this spring and he thinks it’ll stay that way a while

    • Zach says:

      Yeah, no idea why people think the weather in Spring is indicative at all of how hot the summer will be.

      • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

        Well, the lack of rainfall in spring will affect how early the vegetation and dries out and turns us into a tinderbox.

        You are correct about the weather correlation though. There isn’t one that I am aware of.

        • Zach says:

          True, although I have also heard high precip especially in late spring can mean more grasses & fuels on the forest floor to burn, once they are dried out by mid-July.

        • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

          Yea, makes sense. No matter how wet our spring is, grass and other vegetation will dry out during our arid summer.

  2. Zach says:

    Skibowl goes into April with a 75″ base. Not bad…

  3. W7ENK says:

    Woke up to frost on everything, a skin of ice on my front yard rain barrel, and 27 degrees.

    Average overnight temperature for March is currently 34.6, which is tied exactly with all of February.

    Currently down to 37 this evening, will probably dip just below freezing again tonight, which could tug the March average low down lower that February’s. And that’s even with that big snow/ice/cold snap last month…

    Definitely looking forward to the prospect of 70+ in the sunshine tomorrow!

    • lurkingsince’14 says:

      We have to be running way below average for low (and high?) temps on the month right? So many frigid mornings that linger until midday…

  4. Andy says:

    27F here in Albany this morning…more frosty mornings for March than December and January combined for Albany this last winter season. I’m sure others have noticed this also.

    • Joshua Lake Oswego says:

      Chilly nights for sure. And, less rainfall than an average June or September.

  5. Roland Derksen says:

    Cool,frosty, but sunny morning here in BC after a pretty windy evening. I don’t think we quite reached the velocities that were expected, but it was blustery. In Contrast, on this date(March 29) back in 2004, I recorded a record high of 76F. I wonder when I’ll see that temperature for the first time this year.

  6. W7ENK says:

    After that fantastic Saturday, yesterday felt like Fall…

  7. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Outdoor time on Wednesday, I’m soooo in on that!

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