Monday, March 1, 2021
March 1, 2021

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National Weather Service in Portland to Clark County, area: Take forecast flakes with grain of salt

There’s no app hype like snow app hype in winter

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

It’s that time of year again when the little snowflake icons appear on your smartphone’s weather forecast app.

But while there’s a chance of snow, the weather models from the National Weather Service in Portland don’t show that it’s likely to happen this week, said meteorologist David Bishop.

“As it sits right now, most weather apps are showing a snowflake on Wednesday and Thursday,” he said. “We will have some cooler air. I’m not doubting that, but the catch is whether we’re going to have cool air and precipitation at the same time. At the moment, that’s not what the models are showing.”

Bishop said that starting Tuesday and through Thursday, the temperatures will drop, with some areas’ highs creeping into the lower 40s. Low temperatures could reach the low 30s near the end of the week.

As far as the snowflake icons on smartphones, Bishop said there’s almost no human input into those forecasts, making them less reliable.

“People need to realize that more often than not, those values displayed do not have any or extremely limited human intervention,” he said. “There’s not necessarily someone going over, looking at the patterns 24 hours before and 24 hours after to see if what the app is showing makes sense.”

Still, Bishop advised folks to prepare for snow now because it is a possibility.

“Now would be the time to prepare,” he said. “In case something does happen, you’re ready to go. There’s nothing wrong with taking a preventative step. Make sure your gear is ready to go, your car is checked over — all that stuff.”