Snow remains uncertain for metro area

Rain arrives over weekend, followed by dramatic cold

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

Published:

Updated: November 29, 2013, 5:35 PM

 

A strong storm system is expected to bring significant rain to the region this weekend, then give way to deep cold next week. The combination may give Clark County its first real threat of low-elevation snow this season, according to the National Weather Service in Portland.

After wet conditions return late Saturday night, rain and wind will really pick up Sunday and Monday. About a half-inch to an inch of rain could fall in the metro area, said National Weather Service meteorologist Matthew Cullen.

Snow levels will stay above mountain passes at first, before plummeting when Arctic air begins to move into the region Monday. Whether there will be enough moisture remaining to deliver snow to the lowest elevations of Southwest Washington, however, remains “highly uncertain,” the weather service said early Friday. The best chance for “nonrain precipitation” (snow, sleet or freezing rain) could be late Monday into Tuesday, Cullen said.

“That’s kind of where some of the uncertainty in the forecast lies,” Cullen said. “How that timing is going to play out.”

But anything that falls likely won’t amount to much in urban areas, Cullen said.

This much is clear: Snow will pile up in the Cascade Mountains by early next week. That could make travel difficult for some people returning home after the Thanksgiving weekend.

Once the Arctic air settles in next week, Clark County could see its coldest temperatures in years, according to the weather service.

Daytime highs may not even crack the freezing mark by midweek, and overnight temperatures will drop into the low 20s. That trend should continue at least into the latter part of next week, forecasters said.

The cold blast comes on the heels of a stubborn weather pattern that has already given the region chilly, dry conditions for much of November. As of Friday, Vancouver had recorded 10 straight days in which overnight temperatures dipped into the 20s — unusual for this time of year.