Time to catch up: March so far, winter recap, frost, & garden weather

Plenty to talk about this evening! It’s been a bit busy at work recently, plus the weather itself really slows down in spring around here. The result is fewer posts now through October.


First, we had a great Oregon AMS meeting about two weeks ago. I presented a recap of winter 2021-22. You can find the whole presentation here: https://oregonams.files.wordpress.com/2022/03/winterwxmeet2022.pdf

I think Karl Bonner (an AMS member) stated this best…this past winter was “abnormally normal”. He meant that in the end temperatures and precipitation departures were quite close to normal. It won’t be remembered as warm/cold/dry/wet…just a normal winter. But remember how mild it was through the first week of December, then 3-4 weeks of stormy/snowy/cold weather, then just about nothing for the following 7 weeks. That pretty much wrapped up winter. Here are two of the graphics


I think what is most surprising is that once again a La Nina winter did not give us a cold/wet winter. We (meteorologists and media) need to be more careful with our wording leading up to these winters. We need to emphasize that not all La Ninas give us a stormy/wet/cold winter and that’s never a guarantee. That said, we have done just fine with snowfall in Portland lately. 7 winters with at least a LITTLE snow each year. Everything you want to know about this past winter is in that presentation link above.



March sure didn’t turn out cool & wet, but near normal or drier than average for many of us in Washington and Oregon. I’m feeling confident these numbers won’t change much in the next 27 hours.


Temperatures have been a bit warmer than average across most of the West this month.


This has been terrible for our mountain snowpack. Take a look at the numbers! Bad news everywhere except extreme NW Oregon and into western Washington.


I’ve had lots of questions about the “last frost” or last 32 degree temperature in spring. Here in Portland, typically it’s about this time of year. But in outlying suburbs it tends to be in April. That’s a 30 year average. This graphic shows the last frost each of the past few years in Portland (blue) and Hillsboro (pink). It sure shows the cooler nights in outlying areas doesn’t it?


I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the colder spots see frost either tonight or the middle of next week, but there’s a good chance the urban area is done with frost for this season.


It has been pretty good weather for gardening so far this spring. Not crazy warm, but a bit warmer than average. And we’re not seeing week after week of soaking rain. I sure DO see a soaking coming up Sunday PM through Tuesday…maybe an inch of rain in the western valleys. I live in a cool spot (compared to much of the metro area), but I think I’ll get the cool weather stuff going: spinach, carrots, beets, etc…



I still don’t see any long rainy period as we head into the first week of April either. We get a wet westerly jet early next week, then some ridging mid/late week, then occasional rain after that. ECMWF ensembles give the Willamette Valley less than 2″ rain in the next two weeks, and this is often overdone. One item that sticks out is brief and sharp upper-level ridging around next Wednesday-Thursday. The 6 hour maximum temperature product from the ECMWF ensembles really shows the good agreement with that idea. It might be our first episode of 75+ degree weather.


That’s it for now, enjoy the mainly dry weather the next few days, and the soaking rain early next week too!

38 Responses to Time to catch up: March so far, winter recap, frost, & garden weather

  1. tim says:

    I’m looking forward to a big flip in May to much warmer temps, enough with the winter weather already.

  2. W7ENK says:

    That wind yesterday was something else! I recorded a peak gust of 47mph just after 1pm. I’m guessing that’s about when the front pushed through, because things went calm for an hour or so before winds picked back up from the WSW.

    Now a Frost Advisory out for Portland metro tonight.

    Really hoping for some 70+ degree sunshine on Thursday, it’s chilly out there today, and it’s trying really hard to spit some cold rain.

  3. Zach says:

    Next week is going to feel like winter if the Euro is correct.

    • lurkingsince’14 says:

      Yeah not looking forward to that, we get a couple ice days this week at least

  4. Mountain Man says:

    Amazing I have a mini snowstorm tonight or at least it would be by Portland standards. About two inches now, I didn’t even expect the snow level to get quite this low other than at most some flakes mixing in. I’m at about 1400 feet.

  5. Yankton Breezie says:

    Thanks everyone

  6. Mountain Man says:

    What an afternoon! Had a 60mph gust at 1pm, somehow pushed a window open and at the same time it started to snow hard and the snow was blowing half way across the room for a minute. Got the window closed just as the power went out. Turned on the backup power. Just got a half inch of hail that then it turned back into snow now and is sticking basically just because it’s coming down so hard. I’m guessing in 10 minutes it’ll be sunny as it was a few times earlier also. I love spring on my piece of mountainside when a dynamic trough comes through like this!!!

  7. Zach says:

    It is absolutely dumping snow in the cascades. A snow level of 3500ft or so is rather impressive this time of year.

  8. OC550 says:

    Little bit of everything this week. Wind and rain now (snow in the mountains) and then possible 70’s on Thursday. Must be Spring!

    • West Linn 200 says:

      Don’t forget hail. Euro has been wanting to give us some high elevation snow-fall (1000ft+) this weekend also.

      There’s consistent ridging up in the north pole that I think might be contributing to our unstable weather lately. Will be interesting to see how long it lasts

      • Mountain Man says:

        Yeah I’m seeing what your seeing, hilltop snowflakes possible late next weekend!?! That after a 70+ degree day possible this week!

  9. Scott Reeves says:

    Not a good winter forecasting

  10. Ken in Wood Village says:

    The radar is getting a little interesting. There is a line of showers forming over the Coast range and coming into the metro area. Makes me wonder if they could get stronger 🙂

  11. Roland Derksen says:

    Cool, gusty rainy day here- though the winds are not as strong as i thought they would be. In any case, it feels cold!

  12. Ken in Wood Village says:

    Wind Advisory
    National Weather Service Portland OR
    240 AM PDT Sun Apr 3 2022

    Lower Columbia-Greater Portland Metro Area-
    Central Willamette Valley-South Willamette Valley-I-
    5 Corridor in Cowlitz County-Greater Vancouver Area-
    Including the cities of St. Helens, Clatskanie, Hillsboro,
    Portland, Wilsonville, Oregon City, Gresham, Troutdale, Salem,
    McMinnville, Woodburn, Stayton, Dallas, Eugene, Springfield,
    Corvallis, Albany, Lebanon, Longview, Kelso, Castle Rock,
    Vancouver, Battle Ground, Ridgefield, Washougal, Yacolt,
    and Amboy
    240 AM PDT Sun Apr 3 2022


    WHAT…South to southwest winds 15 to 30 mph with gusts of 35
    to 45 mph expected.
    WHERE…In Oregon, Lower Columbia, Greater Portland Metro
    Area, Central Willamette Valley and South Willamette Valley.
    In Washington, I-5 Corridor in Cowlitz County and Greater
    Vancouver Area.
    WHEN…From 11 PM this evening to 8 PM PDT Monday.
    IMPACTS…Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects. Tree
    limbs could be blown down and a few, mainly isolated, power
    outages may result.
    ADDITIONAL DETAILS…The strongest showers Monday afternoon will
    have the capability of producing localized gusts in excess of 45

  13. Hi Mark, chiming in from Port Orchard, WA.

    On Thursday I heard from Mount Rainier National Park on my Facebook news feed from their page that so far this season Paradise is 46 inches below normal on snow depth for the snow pack which averages 176 inches normally. It is hopeful that the April storm the next few days will beef that up.

  14. tim says:

    Highs near 70 next Thursday time to break out the bbq and ac.

  15. Curious says:

    I’ve been curious lately, does anyone know where the sunniest spot in the Portland metro is? Some days it seems like North Portland and downtown have less clouds or the marine layer burns off earlier than out in East Portland. I know it’s “drier” along Sauvie Island and the airport, but I wonder if it’s sunnier someplace else? Thoughts? (I know Portland is cloudy a lot, but there has to be some spots that are less cloudy, due to proximity of the rivers, hills and wind flow)

    • Zach says:

      I would guess west metro like Beaverton / Hillsboro. I know for a fact it is the driest and warmest region as well.

      • Curious says:

        Thanks! Yeah I figured, usually seems sunnier out that way… rain-shadow effect?

  16. JERAT416 says:

    Random weather question: (obviously this is a doomsday scenario) If all of the ocean simultaneously were to boil, would that create nonstop downpours on ALL land ?

  17. tim says:

    Nws Seattle is is saying breezy winds Monday, I Don’t know why there making light of the powerful windstorm there will be widespread power outages and down trees. Models are showing very strong pressure gradients for western wa.

  18. Andy says:

    Very powerful jet for this time of year for Monday…more like a mid-winter storm…very cold air pouring into the Gulf of Alaska generating these powerful April storms.

  19. tim says:

    Gusts between 50 to 60 mph for Seattle will be possible with Mondays storm, I just mowed and cleaned my yard up and now I gonna be out there next week picking up branches from all the fur trees in my yard, figures.

  20. Andy says:

    NWS pretty confident some heavy snow falls for next week…

    heavy snow in the Cascades with 8-16″ of snow likely to fall at the
    passes and 16-32″ of snow appears likely closer 6000 feet on the

    • Zach says:

      This is a big snow maker for April. Really good news, as it doesn’t appear this April is going to play out like last year (drought)

  21. ocpaul says:

    Hoping for a much better winter this next round. (snowy and cold)
    We’re moving from OC to Boring in June. From 350′ tto 650
    There’s nothing I won’t do in pursuit of winter weather 😀

  22. tim says:

    Lot of people I’ve talked to are complaining about our slow start to spring I just tell them enjoy the cool weather now because it’s gonna be another very hot summer

  23. Roland Derksen says:

    I’m surprised how low the snowpack% is in your state. Here in Southern BC it’s been very good- not a very long distance away. Just have to hope this isn’t a foretaste of what will come through this year for you.

  24. Zach says:

    The GFS is saying no way to 75F+ happening late next week. Possibly not even getting to 70. It just doesn’t appear the ridge is going to have enough time to amplify a whole lot.

  25. JERAT416 says:

    Let’s just hope we don’t end up drying out already in April again.

  26. Joshua Lake Oswego says:

    Thanks, Mark. Looks like prime valley shadowing Sunday/Monday. I would be pleasantly surprised if we get .50’’ out of it. 1’’ is very optimistic in my opinion. After the brief warm up next week, looks like some pretty legit troughing as the ridge weakens and shifts east.

    • West Linn 200 says:

      Came here to ask if that ridge moving east will be cooling us down a bit. Isn’t that the same setup we had in late December?

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