Colder Weather On Tap This Week & Snow???

Sunday evening update —

Here is the latest GFS (Global Forecasting System) model output map valid for this coming Wednesday morning. It shows a very chilly trough right over the Pacific Northwest.
See the Image here.

It looks like computer models are coming into better agreement on the idea of a colder weather pattern taking hold across much of the Pacific Northwest later this week. If the current pattern sets up as modeled, snowfall levels will fall to the valley floor by later this week and into the New Years holiday weekend. First, a strong system will slide into the Pacific Northwest Monday night and Tuesday. The air mass behind this system will be cold, with temperatures falling across the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday. At the same time, an even colder air mass will spill into Eastern Washington and Oregon. By Thursday, the pressure gradient through the Columbia River Gorge will increase, which will help to deliver even colder air into NW Oregon and SW Washington. Temperatures will likely fall to just above freezing for daytime highs in Portland by late in the week. Overnight lows will dip into the 20’s across the lower elevations of NW Oregon and SW Washington. The amount of available precipitation after the coldest air arrives is still uncertain, but anything that falls will likely be snow down to the valley floor Wednesday and beyond.

If the upcoming pattern verifies, we could be looking at our coldest New Year’s holiday in a number of years. One of our areas colder and snowier New Years holiday’s occurred when several inches of snow fell on December 30th and 31st 1992 along with high temperatures in the lower 30’s and lows in the 20’s. A similar pattern occurred on New Years Day 2004 when the area received as much as 6″ of snow, however temperatures were not as cold as they were in 1992. With the continuance of the strongest La Nina (cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific) since 1955, I would not be surprised at all to see more low elevation snows in and around the local area this winter.

I will post updates as needed this week. But I would prepare for some chilly weather with very low snow levels anytime Wednesday and beyond!

Stay Tuned!


Steve Pierce

Steve Pierce

Steve Pierce is widely known as Oregon and Washington's "go-to-guy" when it comes to fast, accurate historical meteorological research and forecasts. Steve is currently the President of the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Steve is also recognized as a regional weather commentator and blogger who can be heard on local radio stations and seen in print media outlets across the Pacific Northwest. His Weather Blog is hosted by the Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Check it out! He is a third generation resident of Vancouver, Washington and holds a degree in Communications. Both sets of Steve's grandparents migrated to Vancouver during World War II. One set traveled from Lenox, Iowa to work in the Kaiser Shipyards supporting the war effort. The other set came to Vancouver from Olympia, Washington to work as educators for the rapidly expanding Vancouver School District. When the war was over, both sets of grandparents decided to stay in Vancouver and continue raising their families, as did thousands of other families at the time. Those who are most familiar with Steve can attest to the fact that weather is his true passion. His love for "all things weather" began at the age of 7 when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980. He was fascinated with which direction the ash plumes were headed. Then came the very powerful windstorm of Friday, November 13, 1981, also referred to as the "Friday the 13th" storm. This was the strongest storm to hit the Portland / Vancouver area since the great Columbus Day Storm of 1962! At age 11, he was asked to publish an extended weather forecast for his elementary school's weekly newsletter. In the 1980's, at age 14, Steve was the youngest of KGW-TV's local "weather watchers" and would phone in his daily Vancouver weather stats to then television meteorologist Jim Little for use on-air. Steve has lived through all of the major Pacific Northwest weather events of the past 30 years, and then some. The most notable events include; the bitterly cold winter of 1978-1979, the record setting snow storms of January 1980, the summer heat wave of August 1981, the windstorms of November 1981 and December 1995, the severe arctic blast of February 1989, the record flood of February 1996, the historic ice storm of January 2004, the Vancouver tornado of January 2008 and the record setting snow storm of Christmas 2008. Not to mention every Mt. St. Helens volcanic eruption in between. With access to the most extensive set of historical weather records available to date, Steve has personally designed and integrated a proprietary system that gives him the ability to quickly locate and manipulate weather data as far back as the 1800's. As one local Meteorologist put it, "Steve has fast access to historical weather data that is needed for media, agriculture, business, personal, historical and other climatological needs. He can quickly manipulate the data in many different ways. His forecasts are also quite accurate, especially at longer lead times." Steve also provides local storm assessments, narratives and weather presentations to the general public, as requested. In his spare time, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, the outdoors, vacationing at his family's coastal cabin and just relaxing! By the way, do you like your weather on the "extreme" side? So does Steve! Whether it is collecting damage assessment data & photos after record setting 125 mph winds at the coast in December 2007, being one of the first on the scene after the January 2008 Vancouver tornado, or feeling (literally) the awesome power of 100 mph wind gusts at Oregon's Crown Point in January 2010, Steve has experienced it all! As Steve says, "don't just love weather, live weather!" Check out Steve's personal weather website at:

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