Snowy Mug

Posted by Rufus La Lone on

President’s Day
Banks, Post Office, Schools, Stock Markets - are all closed for the holiday; however, the weather is always 'working'.  Rumor has it that cherry pie is popular today, so, too, is a hot cup of coffee.  Mug ready?
The PNW will transition this evening back into ‘winter mode’ around the west coast.  A notable storm will arrive overnight, with lots of well-advertised snow in the mountains, coast range & foothills by morning.  Also, it will be WINDY!  Rain will not be too heavy, however, any showers, post frontal passage, could be of the thunder type, esp along the coast.  Several inches of snow will be falling just about everywhere above 1,000 ft.  
For those of us at sea level, or nearly so, we can expect some of The White, at times, to fall and STICK, as the air & ground turns colder each day this week.   Most of the straight snow should fall Wed & Thu although many will likely see snowfall late Tue evening or so.  The amount of snow is so uncertain, as every forecaster keeps telling us, because the moisture source will diminish after the cold front passes.  However, there is a weak Low modeled to form Thu, which could swing moisture into the western OR area for an additional tease of valley snow.  Portions of CA will also receive cold rain, low elevation snow, and frosty mornings later this week.  Strong Fraser River, and to a lesser extend, Columbia River Gorge, outflow wind will come into play, esp Wed/Thu.  
High temperatures on Thu or Fri could rival the coldest recorded west side in several decades (!) for this time of year.  Overnight lows will be in the lower 20s to upper teens; colder if out of the wind or on the east side.  Broadly speaking, this event may end up being the coldest of this winter.  Keep your skin protected, as wind chill will be quite low.  Dry & Cold Fri and Saturday.
There is another system that should arrive mid-to-late this coming weekend (Feb 25,26), which, depending on the track it takes, could bring additional snow above 1,000 ft and threaten valley snow or freezing rain, at times, if there is enough offshore flow mixing in.  Model solutions do suggest that the system will remain offshore as it tracks into CA; showers of rain/snow mixed possible, esp south of Salem Monday Feb 27.  
The week of Feb 27 - Mar 3 looks quite chilly and wet, with snow levels above the valley floor, but low enough to make travel over coast & Cascade ranges tricky.  It gets interesting again later on Fri Mar 3 because a similar COLD storm front is charting to move in from the northwest - with the same features as this week’s pattern.  Yes, very low snow levels,  including at the surface - are quite probable during the first weekend of March.  Icy roads & frost possible Monday Mar 6, while the PNW awaits yet another COLD, foothill snow-type storm from the NW.  Given the higher angle of pre-spring sunshine, these cold March storms often kick-off thundershowers over the west, with plenty of hail.  PNW & California snowpack will grow deeper. 
Back for our current event:  Just for the fun-of-it, we will throw out a few numbers.  There are model solutions that project a cumulative of 5 to 6 inches of snow from Salem south to Roseburg between Wed and Fri midnight, with a couple inches in Portland; another run projects 2”-3”; then another few inches in early March.  Much of NW WA will miss out on the snow, but the cold wind will be notable.  
Yes, when it comes to snowfall, forecasts and reality hardly ever match up around here.  Still, this week will offer the best chance for a decent Willamette Valley snow this winter.  Bundle up and have fun waiting.  No harm in that!
“A great deal of what we see depends on what we are looking for.”
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