The cool, unstable northwesterly flow is pushing scattered showers over the area. Just looking at the hills suggest the snow level was around 300’ though in heavier precipitation, a rain/snow mix can happen even lower.
If you have to travel over the Coast Range the reports say packed snow at the higher elevations with slush down to near Lees Camp. There is also a chance of rain/snow mix to sea level during the heavier showers. A small shower that just went across the office gave us a shot of graupel followed by some snow. What is Graupel you ask? This is a German word but basically it is soft, white hail or snow pellets.
Technically it is precipitation that starts as snow but collects supercooled droplets that freeze on the snow as it falls. There is you lesson of the day. We just had some, then some snow. The temperature here is around 36 so the snow melts pretty quickly after it falls.
The shower activity should start to decrease later this afternoon or evening with widely scattered, if any, showers tonight. This is a good thing as the temperatures will likely fall below freezing tonight so we should not see any snow, though black ice could be an issue in spots.
Tomorrow a stronger low pressure system develops to the west and helps to pull more cold air down as it moves easterly during the day tomorrow. The issue on the snow/no snow call is the variability in the models over the last few days and exactly which of the forecasted paths this low will take. It also appears the energy will be splitting which usually limits the moisture left to affect us. So again, it is all about timing, temperatures and amount of remaining moisture. So, the official forecast for tomorrow is some rain, or snow, or rain/snow in the morning hours but transiting over to all rain in the afternoon with the temperature climbing into the mid 40s. Just like this morning, the Coast Range could see some more snow up near the summit making travel difficult again. Winds will be gusty, becoming southeasterly 10-15 gusting to 25. Tomorrow night the temperatures stay above freezing, the snow level climbs to 1500-2000’ so the passes will be much improved.
Thursday, we see scattered rainshowers, the high 45, the snow level near 2000’, maybe dropping to around 1400’ overnight as more rain moves in and persists thru Friday into Saturday when highs are forecasted in the upper 40s, lows in the low 40s. Scattered showers continue Saturday night into Sunday when the models get real mixed but it looks like MLK Day will also be cloudy with a chance of rain, the high near 50 then there is a chance that high pressure might return after that.
Just a note about travel across Hwy 6 for the next few hours. Hwy 6 is still closed due to numerous traffic issues related to the snow and icy road causing vehicle into ditches, jackknifed trucks and several accidents. ODOT and the Sheriff’s Office is working on getting it all cleared up, but it is taking some time as additional issues continue to present themselves.