Mass of cold air brings chance of weekend snow

Forecast may change before its expected arrival on Sunday

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

Published:

 

An approaching mass of cold air will bring Southwest Washington a good chance of low-elevation snow this weekend, forecasters said.

But don’t hold your breath just yet. The first opportunity for snow isn’t expected to arrive until Sunday — leaving plenty of time for conditions to change during a season that’s notoriously hard to predict.

At least this much is clear: This week’s sunny, mild weather won’t last much longer.

“We’re pretty confident things are going to change on Sunday,” said Tyree Wilde, a warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland.

The forecast calls for moisture to arrive Saturday, with the snow level dropping to 1,000 feet by Saturday night. The snow level will drop further, to about 200 feet, Sunday night, according to the weather service. For Vancouver, that means rain and snow showers and an overnight low of 30 degrees. Those conditions are expected to continue into Monday.

“With this cold air mass …there’s some potential for some low-elevation snow,” Wilde said.

Moisture will continue into the middle of next week, but that’s expected to come from a warmer weather system, Wilde said. During the transition, “mixed precipitation” and slick conditions are still a possibility, he said.

Next week should be a big one for snow in the Cascade Mountains, Wilde said. Mountain snowpack in both Washington and Oregon has lagged behind historic averages so far this year.

For the next couple days, expect mostly sunny conditions to continue in Vancouver after morning fog. High temperatures should land in the high 40s, according to the weather service.

Eric Florip: 360-735-4541; http://twitter.com/col_enviro;eric.florip@columbian.com.