EUGENE, Ore. -- Our StormTracker 9 meteorologists are tracking a sunny, cold start on Tuesday with temperatures in the 30s with patchy areas of fog in the valleys. Temperatures will rise into the upper 50s and low 60s by the afternoon.
Tuesday: Morning valley fog, sunny. Highs in upper 50s
Wednesday: Mostly sunny. Highs in middle to upper 50s
Thursday: Sunny. Highs in middle to upper 50s
Friday: Mostly sunny w/ PM showers. Snow level 3,500 feet, lowering to 2,500 feet. Highs in low 50s
Saturday: Mostly cloudy with showers. Snow level 1,500 feet. Highs in middle to upper 40s.
Sunday: Mostly sunny w/ slight chance. Snow level 500. Highs in middle to upper 40s.
Monday: Sunny. Highs near 50.
A weak cold front will clip the region to the north on Wednesday, bringing a few more clouds to the region midday. This front will bring a slight chance of moisture, mainly to the north and high elevations. Any precipitation will be extremely limited.
Dry weather will return on Thursday as a high-pressure ridge will build back in ahead of ahead of our next cold front. The ridge will flatten and erode on Friday morning, as strengthening low pressure moves in Friday night. Colder air into the Pacific Northwest as the low arrives, dropping snow levels to near 500 feet on Saturday morning.
This will be a challenging forecast over the coming days as the models continue to shift and adjust as we get closer. As I always say, “models are just gossip and not gospel, so they can and will change.” Ensembles of both the American GFS and European ECMWF show a variety of differing solutions of either the low staying offshore or moving inland. Ensembles are when initial conditions in weather models are slightly adjusted to see how it effects the forecast with the objectives measuring the likelihood of an event and improving accuracy of the forecast.
The American GFS model is also cooler than the European ECMWF model, with snow levels near the valley floor. The ECMWF solution keeping the low offshore would allow for cold air to filter into the valleys causing temperatures at all level to near freezing. At this time given the uncertainty and time between now and the event, expect snow in the higher terrain like the Cascades and Coast Range. With the sun getting higher in the sky as we approach spring (March 19), accumulating snowfall to valley floor is harder to come by. Right now, there is only a slight chance of rain/snow mix Friday night into Saturday for the valleys. With recent mild weather, the risk of seeing accumulating snow on the roadways is extremely small.
This storm system will be important moving forward as moderate drought conditions exist across much of western Oregon. Rainfall deficit since Oct. 1 range from 10 to 16 inches below normal in the interior valleys and close to 22 inches below normal along the coast. Additionally, snowpack is way down in southern Oregon, ranging from 63-69% of normal. The Willamette Basin is a little better off at 84% of normal, but still below normal.
The other factor this weekend will be near-record cold high temperatures on Saturday and Sunday for the dates. On Saturday, the record coldest max temperature is 45 degrees in 1982 in Eugene. The current forecast calls for 46 degrees in Eugene. On Sunday, the record cold max temperatures is 41 degrees in 1920, with a forecasted high of 44 degrees.
For more information, visit the KEZI 9 News StormTracker 9 weather page.