Portland sees wet flakes, no major accumulation expected

Weather

Here's what to expect as you head outside on Friday, March 13

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Wet snow fell across the metro area on Friday morning but no major accumulation is expected.

Flakes were seen as low as 500′ in places like Southwest Portland and Lake Oswego – but temperatures weren’t cold enough to cause any major sticking or coating of the roadways.

The same pattern is expected to return and bring in another round of light snow showers on Saturday.

Snow will accumulate over mountain passes, enough to make you wish you had those winter tires on. Thunderstorms are possible from the coast to the valley in the afternoon, and again Saturday. 

Easterly winds help drag in sub freezing temps from the Columbia Basin through the gorge and out to the metro Saturday. Rain dries up by Sunday morning but the cold air stays. The gorge will be its own microclimate and likely hold on to any snow that does accumulate. Mountains? Plan on winter conditions traveling over the coast range, the Cascades and Blue Mountains.

Winter Weather Advisories have been issued for the following areas in purple. See map below from the National Weather Service. Click here for area details.

The best chance for snowfall in the metro is Saturday the 14th. Oddly enough, March 14th ranks as one of the top 12 snowiest days on record for March. In 1955, 0.8 inches of snow was measured at PDX. The last snowfall of the season on record is April 19, 1968 and it was just a trace at PDX. The most recent snowfall we’ve had in the month of March was March 6, 2019: 0.5″ of snow measured at PDX.

So we know there’s enough moisture and cold air, and support for cold air to linger – all of this to produce snow. But are we talking snow on the grass for a nanosecond or snow covered roads? I believe heavier showers are capable of drawing down colder air to the point where snowfall is possible in the metro. In the moment it’s falling accumulations will happen but may only last long enough to fumble with your phone and take a picture. Road temperature is another thing to consider. We’re in the middle of March after a few weeks of temps in the upper 50’s low 60’s. Road temperatures, according to WSDOT, are in the low 40’s. Paradise Point along I-5 in Clark County is 41 degrees now. That’s a bit warm for any real snow covered roads.

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