A Repeat Winter?

Is the metro area getting any snow this winter? It is a question that is on a lot of Central Catholics students are wondering about. I went in depth into weather reports by the NOAA and the National Weather Service of Portland to see if we could have a repeat of the 16-17 winter.

Before diving into my predictions for the future, let’s talk about last winter. Last year, Portland had 2 snow days in December, bringing around 5 inches of snow in total, closing Central for 4 days. Everyone enjoyed an extended winter break and returned to a terribly cold first week, with temperatures hovering in the 20’s during the day and falling to the teens during the night, causing wind chill temperatures to fall below freezing during the night. Despite the cold temperatures we received no snow during that school week. The next day, Portland received a dusting of snow mixed with ice, the snow and ice stuck for about 24 hours followed by a coating of ice falling Sunday night, closing most schools on Monday. Tuesday morning was slightly rainy providing nothing of substance, however, temperatures plummeted in the afternoon and snow began falling as the sunset. It snowed all night producing almost 11 inches of snow in Downtown Portland and up to 15” in the west hills. The snowfall closed schools from Wednesday to Tuesday of the following week and was recorded as the 4th biggest single day snow event we’ve ever seen.In addition to the days taken off as a result of the unexpected snowfall, we were given 2 extra days off due to icy roads! But wait, there’s more, on February 5th Portland was supposed to be hit with extreme precipitation: the national weather service stating that if temperatures were low enough Portland could receive an additional foot of snow, unfortunately temperatures hovered around 35 degrees on Super Bowl Sunday simply leading to large amounts of rain in the metro. The failed prediction signaled the end of the winter and only worked strengthen the hopes for a repeat this year.


This year, prominent meteorologists met at OMSI to discuss their winter weather forecast. Kyle Dittmer, who works for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal fish commission predicted that we would have 4 snow days this year, 3 of those days with a predicted snowfall of 4 to 5 inches, the other one producing only a light dusting. If he turns out to be correct, that would almost guarantee some missed school days. Dittmer also says we could receive some snow from now until the start of winter break, but the upcoming forecast seems to show otherwise. While we did get snow before winter break last December, last winter was big by previous years’ standards and it is fairly uncommon to get snow before winter break starts. As we saw last year, the majority of snow came after Christmas, and with the forecast predicting low temperatures and precipitation around Christmas could be a good sign. As we have seen in the past, cool temperatures predicted in advance have usually fallen once the day comes, but this is based simply off of past events. The snow outlook for the coming weeks is pretty uncertain here in the metro area, while we will most likely see some sort of snow at some point whether its a dusting or a blizzard, Central students should be bigger fans of ice and freezing rain, despite their danger to cars and people who are walking they are the main culprit of missed school days.  


Whether the Portland area will have a repeat of last year’s winter is still up in the air, we can probably expect either snow or freezing rain at some point this winter, which will please Central students hoping for some days off to enjoy the weather. If you want to see the upcoming forecast feel free to check the NOAA and NWS Portland websites for the most detailed predictions.