PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — When it gets cold in the region, sometimes you’ll see what looks like Dippin’ Dots collecting on the ground — those round, white pellets of coagulated snow.
That’s actually graupel. And the Portland metro may see some graupel in the not-too-distant future.
NOAA defines graupel as “soft, small pellets formed when supercooled water droplets (at a temperature below 32°F) freeze onto a snow crystal, a process called riming. If the riming is particularly intense, the rimed snow crystal can grow to an appreciable size, but remain less than 0.2 inches. Graupel is also called snow pellets or soft hail, as the graupel particles are particularly fragile and generally disintegrate when handled.”
It’s possible parts of the Willamette Valley could see graupel through Monday night when there’s precipitation. On Tuesday morning there is an opportunity for snow — but it’s not likely to stick on the ground in Portland.
However, if you live in the West Hills or higher — or merely driving through that area — you may come across some snow that sticks briefly. This snow may be disruptive in the moment but it is not a blanket snow event.
A Winter Storm Watch will pick up for the Cascades on Wednesday morning and is expected to last through Thursday afternoon. (Remember, a “watch” means conditions are right for a certain event, while a “warning” means an event is about to happen.)
The high for Portland on Tuesday is expected to be about 40, with a forecasted low of 35.
Stay with KOIN 6 News for the latest in graupel, er, weather information.