Thunderstorm chance and snow for the passes Saturday


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Our weather pattern today sets us up for a taste of everything. Mountain snow is a given. Rain at the lower elevations is a given. But how low will the snow fall? Where’s it cold enough for sticking snow? And what about thunderstorms? If you plan to drive over our coastal range passes or mountain passes, be sure to read below.

Cold air behind the cold front is lending itself to the destabilization of the lower levels of our atmosphere. Showers will approach the coast, some as individual cells and/or thunderstorms today. Those cells that release precipitation will provide a process by which energy is released, and in that exchange will cool the environment immediately around it. It is in those instances that we may look up and find snow falling but not sticking to the foothills at 1,000 ft give or take. As we graduate past the coldest morning hours, hail or graupel may be released. Either way you slice it, when you have slushy stuff falling from the sky, there’s the potential for unfavorable road conditions.

Natasha Stenbock - Chief Meteorologist

The #1 question from our Friday night Facebook Live weather discussion was – will it snow where I live? This was my answer: Snow will be more of a feature over coast range passes and Cascade foothills. The exception: if you happen to be under a heavier cell in the morning, you may see snow falling down to 500′ or 1,000′ at the lowest. It won’t stick to the ground that low though. Better chance for snow accumulations include passes at 1,500′ and higher for Saturday morning.

Friday night’s cold front depicted as a narrow band of moisture that stretches from SW to NE.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for the southern Oregon Cascades and Siskiyous. 3″ to 6″ of snow may fall today. The northern Cascades in Oregon may pick up 2″ to 3″ of snow, but so much of the forecast total is dependent upon how many showers grace themselves upon the mountainside. Snow totals today will be variable, but will no doubt impact your drive over mountain passes. Coastal range passes may briefly pick up 1/2 to 1″ of snow in the morning hours.

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