PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Winter weather alerts hang around for another day as we anticipate our next surge of moisture, potentially leading to snow around areas of the valley floor.
A round of moderate moisture pulled enough cold air down to the surface Monday night to coat the ground out in the Bethany and Beaverton area; however, will we have a similar outcome on Wednesday morning? There is a possibility and we should be prepared for it, especially for those of you that are out in the Columbia River Gorge, where snow to the floor is expected.
There is no doubt that the coast range and the Cascades find snow with this system. They have a Winter Weather Advisory in place from 4 a.m. on Wednesday until 4 on Thursday (a.m. for the coast, p.m. for the mountains). The Cascades are expected to pick up 8 to 16 inches of snow with wind gusting to the 30 mph range. If you don’t have the gear for driving in the snow, you will not want to test the passes. The coast range is expected to pick up 1 to 3 inches with a potential upwards of 6 inches. Be prepared for snowy roads from the valley to the Oregon coast on Tuesday.
A winter weather advisory will be in effect for the Columbia River Gorge from 4 a.m. Wednesday to 10 a.m. Thursday. This could create some problems on I-84 and SR 14 through the early morning hours and later in the day Wednesday. Expect 1 to 3 inches with larger totals for the Upper Hood River Valley (Parkdale area).
PORTLAND METRO AREA
We will stick with this futurecast image to help tell the story for the snow potential Wednesday morning. You can find a slip of rain from Marion County north to Portland. The timing of this event should be after sunrise for the valley, leading to most locations seeing a rain and snow mix. However, we are expecting snow to the ground of all the prone spots in the area (West Hills, Sylvan, Washington Hills, Clark County Hills, and Columbia County Hills). Those would be areas where we may have an inch of snow (more if higher in elevation), likely more than the burst that arrived on Monday night. If your commute is coming from the hills, be prepared for snow.
How about downtown? It will be a close call around here, depending on how hard the rain shows up. The process of cooling down the atmosphere to the surface is possible when we have steady rain. It is more than likely that we have a mix of rain and snow around Portland. You may have some sloshy moments, but the expectation is for rain. If you cycle through the futurecast below, you will find the layer of pink that is on the fringe of Portland and Vancouver. These will be areas that are going to depend on the heavy rain to help transition the precipitation over to snow. It’s more than possible, but usually, a southerly wind keeps us with cold rain. If the rain takes longer to reach the valley, it will likely just rain.
We will keep our eyes out for Wednesday night as leftover moisture hangs around in the cold pool of air. This may be an open window for some snow to find a way to the floor too.
I want to give you the opportunity to swipe through some of the weather models. As you can see, they aren’t depicting a lot of snow for Portland, if any. We use the weather models as tools, but that doesn’t mean they are always accurate. We will keep a chance for snow in the forecast tomorrow morning as that moisture moves in. The final graphic will show you some of the snow totals for the Gorge and up to Government Camp for Wednesday night. We can expect more snow for Government Camp, but areas around I-84 should be fairly accurate.
ADDITIONAL WEATHER ALERTS
Outside of the chance for snow, we also have some windy weather coming out of the Oregon coast today. Expect the wind to start picking up in the morning hours, continuing through the morning to mid-day. Conditions start to pacify by the evening, creating an environment that is tamer. The wind is going to be gusting out of the southeast, potentially pushing the 60 mph range out in exposed areas. I would expect a sustained wind speed from 20 to 40 mph during this window of the day.
When you factor in the rain, it may be one of those events that it’s coming in sideways. You will want to have the rain jacket with the hood to help out with that.