PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – If pumpkin spice lattes can start in August, we (weather fanatics, forecasters, meteorologists, people of earth) can hunt for snow.
No, it’s definitely not time to start thinking about winter here, but we can’t stop the transition to cooler weather and the actual production of snow way to the north of us. Before we discuss that topic, let us discuss the summer weather and lingering wildfire smoke that is currently out there today.
If you’re about to set off for an afternoon run, or you’re hoping to get outside to BBQ for dinner, know that the wildfire smoke will be around most of the day. Air quality isn’t taking a hit around Portland, with that haze above us and that smoke not bothering the surface. That air quality is going to be more of a problem for the foothills of Clackamas, Marion, and Linn counties.
Temperatures are still expected to hit around 80 degrees this afternoon. It is wonderful weather for outdoor activities today. Now let’s get to the real topic: snow.
There are a few cold systems scheduled to move through Alaska in the coming days and they are going to be cold enough to bring snow down to lower elevations to the north. If you hunt out the blue on the map, it’s way up there to the north in areas of Alaska. Not quite Fairbanks or Anchorage, but that time may be nearing for cities like Fairbanks that do see snow in September. We aren’t at that risk around here, but hey, it’s August and we are spotting some areas that may see snow.
We are less than a month away from fall and that means cooler temperatures and rain. That will eventually mean snowfall for the higher elevations of the mountains around here too. With the lack of moisture around here, we haven’t had many chances for any sort of precipitation.
If you cycle through the graphic below, you will also see the snow accumulation projected through Friday late morning. That’s pretty good for August! Weather models are projecting some hefty totals for the mountains there surrounding Anchorage. It should be a beautiful scene, and hopefully folks are ready for some mountain snow there (I’m sure they are).
Here is a camera view coming out of Arctic Village (FAA advisory weather product), where you can see some snow on the higher elevations of the mountains there. I believe that those peaks there are close to about 4,000 feet. It’s not much, but the systems that are coming in should definitely bring in more snow for that area. Winter comes quickly in this part of the world, as conditions quickly go from summer almost directly to winter. We will have to check back in, in one month, to see what it is looking like at that time.
Here is our mighty mountain as of August 25, 2021. Not much going on up there and we aren’t expecting it. Even with some changes coming this weekend, as a trough drives through the region, we just don’t have much moisture to work with. We have glaciers and a snowfield up on the mountain, which is just waiting patiently for cooler temperatures and winter weather to arrive. One of my favorite images is of the list of glaciers coming from the top-down view of Mt. Hood. If you click on the USGS link under the photo, it will take you to the site where it talks about the glaciers in more detail (check it out).
Summer outdoor recreation is in a good place right now as far as the temperatures go, although cool in the morning and night. It is dry, so we could use more moisture around here to avoid any major issues arising. The next day may bring in a possibility for some mountain rain, so if you’re thinking about doing a hike on Thursday, you’ll want to really pay attention to the forecast, because that can make things a bit cool and or tricky. That rain and also some wind will show up later in the day.
Why don’t we take a look at one of the weather models so we can pinpoint the timing on that as this system nears us in the next 24 hours.
The rainfall futurecast is projecting the wettest moment for the foothills and areas of the Willamette Valley by sunset. This is going to be when areas of the Cascades pick up some of that summer moisture. Expect those clouds to start coming in through the day, which means a trip to Trillium Lake will get clouded over and you will not get a shot to see the mountain.
Weather models are projecting light rain around the east side of Portland again at this time. The previous rain event mainly brought rain from downtown east. Again, any rain totals are going to be miniscule around here. If you’re wondering, Mt. Hood does start to acquire snow in September, but it doesn’t typically start to see a larger impact from snow until October, and some years, November. We will keep it to rain for now. Summer is still here and as I mentioned above, it is not time to start thinking about winter yet.