Talk about being under the gun for lowland snow. We are indeed. Of course, we need the two all-important ingredients at just the right time, cold air aloft and moisture. We now have that cold air aloft and there are several disturbances forecast to drop down the coast bringing moisture. Some forecast models keep the moisture offshore, while others bring it inland. I wish I had a surefire forecast for snow.
So for the next several days through Sunday, we could have some snow showers or even periods of snow with accumulations of 1-3 inches in the city and 4-6 inches in the higher elevations. Or we could just get a dusting here at sea level. Regardless snowflakes should be in the air. And it may be a hit-and-miss deal, with some areas getting snow cover and some not.
It certainly isn't a widespread arctic outbreak with Pacific moisture overriding it, which is a classic snow situation. But I wouldn't be surprised if we had a "surprise" snowfall somewhere. And don't get hung up on that magic 500-foot elevation for snowfall. You'll see forecasters mentioning 200, 400, 500, 800 feet, etc. The bottom line is we have a cold air mass overhead and weak bands of moisture forecast off the coast, so anything could happen. Nothing is for certain.
After this weekend, it appears high pressure builds in for cold nights and cool days for a while, with little in the way of rainfall or snowfall. Forecast models indicate a dry week all week but of course that would be somewhat unusual for the middle of January, so stay tuned.
There were reports of snow falling in the higher elevations of Clark Country on Wednesday. Phil Delany above Dole Valley had one inch of snow on the ground. Amboy, Livingston Mountain and other areas also had a dusting.
Enjoy the bit of potential excitement over the next 72 hours and we will see what happens. There is plenty of cold arctic air to our north but still no direct mechanism to get it entrenched over the Northwest … just yet. My weather eye is always focused to the north.
Patrick Timm is a local weather specialist. His column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Reach him at Weather Systems.