Story updated at 10 a.m. Saturday with snow forecast for Willamette Valley, mountains Saturday night
The wintery mischief that’s plagued northwest Oregon recently isn’t going away anytime soon.
After a brief respite of dry weather on Friday and a pleasant day Saturday, the threat of low-elevation snow in the Willamette Valley will return multiple times late this weekend and early next week.
“Details are still sketchy, but there is the possibility early next week that some areas see another round of fairly decent snow,” said Scott Weishaar, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Portland. “Some models are showing sort of a repeat of the pattern we just had.”
In essence, while not every system will bring snow, the ingredients are there and that could lead to more school delays and cancellations. In addition, travel will be a challenge in the mountains with snow forecast every day, starting Saturday night, on Cascade Range passes.
First chance of snow Saturday night into Sunday morning
The first system of potential low-elevation snow arrives Saturday night into Sunday morning, when locations in the northern Willamette Valley — including the Portland metro area — could see snow, Weishaar said. Currently, Portland’s forecast calls for 1 to 2 inches of snow while Salem and Eugene could see an inch.
The chances for sticking snow in this system diminish further south, with the most likely valley snow falling north of Wilsonville, roughly, Weishaar said.
However, higher elevations in the Salem area, and into the foothills at elevations above 500 to 1,000 feet, could also see snow.
In the southern Willamette Valley, including the Eugene area, snow on the valley floor appears less likely, except out into the foothills and mountains.
In the foothills, 4 to 10 inches is forecast while the Cascade Mountain passes could see a foot or more.
Sunday night and into next week
From Sunday through Tuesday, forecasts show levels dropping into the 500 foot range every night. Weishaar said it’s not clear if those turn into snow, but they all have the chance to bring conditions similar to this week.
“We have a lot of questions about it, but it’s something people should have in the back of their minds,” he said.
Snow is forecast on Oregon’s high mountain passes every day next week. The snowfall totals don’t look major, but they will be likely to make travel from the Willamette Valley to Central Oregon a challenge. That could also be true between the Willamette Valley and Oregon Coast.
Long-term forecasts keep Oregon at very high likelihood of colder and wetter weather for at least the next six to 10 days, according NWS’s Climate Prediction Center.
“There’s a chance later in the week things could become more normal, but in looking at models for next weekend, we’re seeing another cold pattern develop, so this is something that could stay with us into the first week of March.”
Zach Urness has been an outdoors reporter in Oregon for 15 years and is host of the Explore Oregon Podcast. To support his work, subscribe to the Statesman Journal. Urness is the author of “Best Hikes with Kids: Oregon” and “Hiking Southern Oregon.” He can be reached at zurness@StatesmanJournal.com or 503-399-6801. Find him on Twitter at @ZachsORoutdoors.