Expect rain, wind Thursday; winter storm warning for Cascades


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — I hope you got a moment to take in the sun and blue sky yesterday. Today the clouds are back and the rain becomes heavier during the late morning and mid-day.

Doing any mountain driving? A winter storm warning is in effect now through Friday night for the Cascades, with snow levels starting at 2,000 feet. Two to three feet of snow for Mt. Hood combined with gusty winds up to 55 mph, means traveling over passes will be difficult the next two days.

It’ll be the kind of day to snag the rain jacket, not the umbrella. Rain and wind will be the main features up and down the Oregon Coast with snow accumulating over the mountains and foothills this morning. The rain shadow effect will keep the Willamette Valley in the light category for rain today.

That front moving in through the morning should give a jolt to the wind and it’ll pick up the intensity for a bit. By afternoon the wind speed should be running around 15 mph out of the west with plenty of gusty conditions around the area, especially the mountains. Temperatures will be back to below average, with highs in the mid to upper 40s.

We will have to wait a little longer for the spring preview! The Oregon Coast will even be pretty cool with highs in the lower to mid-40s and we keep that cold air in for the mountains.

Here is an example of that colder air moving in aloft as the front sweeps across during the morning. That is going to drop our temperatures aloft and the cold air advection or the horizontal movement of that cold air should keep the snow levels down. That means the snow is going to be impacting all the passes through the Cascades tomorrow and areas of I-84 in eastern Oregon.

There are many driving forces that occur above the surface because that is where a lot of action is going on. We then experience the outcome of everything that is going on up there. The jet will be lining up to push some strong wind right in our section as that front moves on through. That is why we should have some gusty conditions but it will also support the energy for heavy snowfall and sustained action. It is going to be a busy 24 hours up on the mountain and down here in the valley. Even when we have moments when the rain shadow has kicked in, it’s still going to be a choppy day.

As far as rain totals go through the day tomorrow, we will likely be somewhere around the .20 inches range with lower totals in the southern valley. This is mostly going to be an event for parts of Washington and the mountains. The weather model below is for Thursday evening when totals are much higher to the north as that system travels from the northwest across the Pacific Northwest on Thursday. Cowlitz County down south to about the state line should be the areas that see more rain. That means if you’re reading this and you live to the north of Portland, you’ll want to plan for some rainy conditions Thursday. It will be another cloudy day to add to the month of February. We’re nearing 20 cloudy days where we’ve been mostly cloudy to overcast. We are likely pushing 80 percent for the month, which means it’s been pretty gray.

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