Weather Eye: Arctic, moist air to collide; too soon to say which will win

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photoPatrick Timm

Well certainly lots going on in the weather department Monday afternoon. And for me writing down any details at this point for Tuesday’s paper would be just a stab in the dark, so I will pass. A much clearer picture will present itself Tuesday so stay tuned to the latest weather forecasts and advisories. A battle between modified arctic air and moist Pacific air will collide Tuesday night.

Yes, if watching the various TV stations you will see different forecasts as everyone interprets things differently. The main attraction is the possibility of a big snow event. I would say at this time of writing that the Puget Sound region has the largest threat of a crippling snowstorm.

Locally, we may get dumped on and maybe the snow will stay in the higher elevations. I think there is a good chance the ground will whiten at city levels before moderate to heavy rains return Wednesday.

The weekend was disappointing to snow lovers at the lowest elevations. The coastal range caused a shadowing effect of the precipitation but the ocean beaches got their share of snow.

I spent Saturday and Sunday at the northern Oregon Coast and it was hit and miss, with Seaside and Cannon Beach getting just a dusting to Astoria, Rockaway and Tillamook all having a few inches of snow on the ground and snow-covered streets.

Slip slidin’ away

It was a nightmare trying to get back home as the Wilson River highway out of Tillamook had multiple crashes and was closed as well at the Sunset Highway heading back from Seaside. Tried both and got stuck and turned around. I eventfully took Highway 30 from Astoria back to Rainier and then Longview and home. It was a three-hour, white-knuckle drive. The highway department had signs out saying chains and traction devices required but the highway was full of cars without either. Slipping and sliding all over the place.

It is very difficult forecasting snow at low elevations, so please give forecasters a break. The TV stations make a lot of hype over it but I tend to play things more on the conservative side of things and not get caught up in that. Monday afternoon snow showers finally made it to the city and I am sure by the time you read this and beyond in the very short term more snow will be seen.

Enjoy your week and stay warm.

Patrick Timm is a local weather specialist. His column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Reach him at http://weathersystems.com.