March-like weather returns for a day as colder air arrives Thursday


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Another dip and dive is in the forecast Thursday as some cold air rushes in from the northwest Thursday morning.

This is going to be cold enough to keep many in the 50s with snow levels dropping to 4,000 feet by early Friday morning.

So what is going on? Cold air advection (CAA) is taking place, meaning the horizontal movement of colder air in our direction. This system resembles moments in March, with air below freezing at 4,500 feet. The graphic below helps indicate the cooler air with the dark shade of blue and the wind direction coming from the WNW, helping usher in that air and some moisture too. In the deep ends of winter, we may see that number beyond -10 Celsius.

With that, a taste of early spring is on the way with some gusty moments for the east side of the Gorge. A deep area of low pressure to the northeast in Canada and higher pressure to the southwest is creating some stronger wind for that tunnel cutting through the Oregon and Washington state line and expanding into the high desert of Eastern Washington.

Temperatures topping off in the mid to upper 50s for the Willamette Valley with some potentially only in the upper 40s near the Oregon Coast — think areas like Knappa or potentially Clatskanie. Chilly and breezy for the Cascades with temperatures at freezing at Government Camp by late Thursday night into Friday morning.

Lastly, this rush of colder air may support some moments of instability around southwest Washington and areas of the Willamette Valley. It’s possible we have some moments of heavy rain or small hail. I think the locations to watch would be the hills of Clark and Cowlitz counties at this time. We had a dry April and we are still trying to make up from those dry months in May.

Get your warm cup of coffee ready for your Thursday and Friday morning and make sure you have that rain jacket nearby too.

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