No Snow Tuesday, But Wednesday Looks…

Updated 11:20pm Monday

I had a nice birthday dinner with my extended family tonight and arrived home to “some” local TV stations and “some” print media outlets getting ready for “storm team coverage.” Other private and public forecasters were also calling for snow to sea level right in time for the evening commute Tuesday. A few forecasters are calling for no snow tomorrow at all. In the end, we all look at the same data, yet it is how we interpret this data that “makes” or “breaks” a snow forecast right down on the valley floor. This event will be no different. Since it is time to make a final call, here is mine —

The big message on both the 12z models today and the 0z models tonight is loud and clear —- “SNOW WILL NOT STICK ON THE VALLEY FLOOR TUESDAY!” The evening commute around Portland is not likely to see any major weather related problems. Model soundings this evening show that the air above Portland will warm enough tomorrow to lift the snow level off the valley floor by the time the moisture arrives midday. I have been asked by several media outlets for my take on tomorrow (Tuesday) and they all received the same answer, “no sticking snow on the valley floor for Tuesday evening’s commute.” As we saw last weekend, sticking snow will once again remain at or above 1,000ft on Tuesday. However, wet snowflakes will likely mix in all the way down to the valley floor at times on Wednesday morning as the latest models show additional cooling after the front passes through Tuesday night and another round of moisture is slated to come in early Wednesday morning. 0z models out this evening continue to show a rather chilly day on Wednesday with plenty of steady precipitation. That could bring the snow level down to the valley floor early Wednesday morning underneath those heavier / steady showers. In fact, Wednesday looks like the best threat for valley snow when compared to Tuesday. So, let’s take it one step at a time:

Tuesday — model soundings over Portland are not cold enough to support snow Tuesday during the evening commute. Models also indicate that the track of the low will stay north of Portland, drawing up southerly winds that will keep snow off of the valley floor tomorrow (Tuesday). There is a small amount of easterly gradient that will set up and pull a little cooler air down the gorge on Tuesday, but it will not be enough to support an area-wide snow event. This will be very similar to this past weekend with snow sticking in the hills but NOT right down here on the valley floor.

Wednesday — the main front will have passed by with lots of colder air behind it. Additional showers will flood the area on Wednesday morning. These will likely be snow showers at ALL elevations Wednesday morning, followed by a mix of rain and snow in the afternoon. There is one particular area of consolidated precipitation that could bring snow all the way down to the valley floor Wednesday morning that models are starting to pick up on. Also, temperatures will be chilly on Wednesday with highs barely making 40 degrees if we see consolidated snow showers across all areas.

BOTTOM LINE — Don’t panic about a snowy evening commute Tuesday. No valley floor snow Tuesday. No accumulations below 1,000ft on Tuesday. Snow showers likely at all elevations on Wednesday morning with a mix in the afternoon. Some light accumulations possible at all elevations Wednesday morning if you get caught under a heavier snow shower. 1-2″ inches are likely above 1,000ft on Wednesday morning. The Cascades are going to see an additional 15-20″ of snow through Thursday. More great powder for the ski slopes! Get up there and enjoy it!

Finally, the Oregon AMS meeting scheduled for Tuesday night is still “ON” at the KPTV studios in Beaverton. We hope to see some of you there for that! We will also take a good look at the latest model data and see if a more consolidated snow threat still exists for Wednesday morning.

Stay tuned!
Steve Pierce

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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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