Weather Eye: Cold air will soon retreat a bit, but chance of snow may return

By Patrick Timm, Columbian weather columnist

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As the cold arctic air squeezed its grip over us, Saturday night was expected to have the coldest temperatures of the current cold snap — probably the coldest in more than 30 years. With clear skies, calm winds and areas with snow cover, single digits were possible. Highs Saturday never peaked over 30 degrees in most locations. Even along the sunny coastline.

The snow on Friday of course wasn't expected when everyone went to bed Thursday night. However, the low swung inland a few miles north of what the computer forecast models had pinned and, bingo, snow. It appears that the Salmon Creek area received the bulk of the snow, with generally 2 inches, enough to snarl traffic big time. Lighter amounts fell elsewhere with only a dusting. Our friends on the east side of the county had strong east winds that many joked blew the snow over to the west side and that is why the greatest amounts occurred there.

Good amounts did fall south of Portland, with 6-12 inches in the Willamette Valley.

What's next, you say? Well, the cold air will finally retreat out of the region the next few days. A few weak systems will drop down the B.C. coastline Sunday through Tuesday with a chance of more snow — not much but a little. The first one brings flurries along the Washington coast and, later Monday, inland over our area. Forecast models say we will be above freezing Wednesday and the rest of the week. Might get an inch or two.

We will see how that pans out as the upper air warms and the pool of cold air east side filters down through the Gorge. Always makes for a challenging forecast.

Yes, 'tis the season to make your forecast bright.