PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A long list of advisories, watches and warnings are active Friday and are expected to last through the weekend as models begin to show increasing odds for snow in the Greater Portland and Vancouver areas, in addition to the Willamette Valley, next week.
The Cascades will easily see the most snow out of this system, where blizzard conditions with gusty winds through Sunday are possible, with some models indicating that ski resorts on Mt. Hood may see much as 50 inches of snow by this time next week. Expect the potential for significant travel delays over mountain passes this weekend.
No significant valley travel problems are expected through Sunday, but snow levels seem to favor about 1,000-1,500 feet Sunday night through Monday early evening, meaning there could be some light snow in the hills surrounding the Portland metro area; however, the first sign of snow for the metro area may not be until Monday night. Models are suggesting any snowfall would be light; of course, this is subject to change as we get closer.
The chance for a significant snow event in the metro area and parts of the Willamette Valley will be mid-week. That being said, it is still too early to say exactly how much snow we will get.
Cold air will continue to pour in through the Gorge and from the north on Tuesday, In fact, the gradient in the Gorge will increase further by Tuesday night. All models suggest that a system from the Pacific Ocean will override the cold air in place at some point on Wednesday. If this comes to fruition, this would most certainly produce a significant snow or ice event, even at the lowest elevations in Portland, as well as the rest of the valley and northern Oregon coast at some point Wednesday. That being said, the timing of this could certainly change as models continue to update through the weekend, so stay tuned.
As of Friday morning, temperature profiles for Portland International Airport stay below freezing through Thursday morning, but there will be warmer temperatures to the south. The coldest night ahead for the metro area will likely be Wednesday night, when it will possibly be in the teens and low 20s.
The cold air in place on Wednesday will likely stick around Thursday, with additional moisture available. The exact timing, as well as exact snowfall amounts in the valley, will not be clear for several more days.
It is also worth noting that future model runs may change the ultimate path of the mid-week system similar to the event that happened last February, where early model runs suggested a significant snowfall set up for Portland, yet within 24 hours of the event, models shifted the area of the heaviest snowfall to south of Eugene.
Bottom line: all major weather models have come into agreement in the last 24 hours that colder air will move into the Pacific Northwest Sunday night and Monday, meaning snowfall levels will begin to drop by early Monday morning to just above the Willamette Valley floor.
Remember to download the free PDX Weather app for the latest up-to-date information. Worried about driving in the snow? Joseph Dames explains the best way to put on snow chains, or listen below to our interview with Oregon Department of Transportation spokesperson Don Hamilton about the agency’s response to snow events.
For a look at historical trends and what the next few weeks could hold for us, listen to Kelley Bayern and Joseph Dames in their Two-Week Weather podcast episode below.
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