Much colder weather is predicted to hit the Pacific Northwest early next week, says Steve Pierce, owner of and president of the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society.
"Groundhog or no groundhog, Mother Nature appears poised to let the Pacific Northwest know that winter is not over just yet," says Pierce.
According to Pierce, computer models are showing that a cold system originating in the arctic is set to sweep across the region as early as Tuesday night. If this happens, temperatures will fall with easterly wind developing, especially near the Portland metro area and points east into the Columbia River gorge. This will help to transport even colder air from east of the cascades into the Willamette Valley.
If forecast model trends continue, this would be the coldest air since the arctic blast of early December. It has the potential to be a hard freeze across all locations, including the coast. Residents should expect temperature departures as much as 10 to 15 degrees below normal at many locations.
"This would be the second such arctic event of the season, which is rare by Pacific Northwest standards. This type of pattern is also rare for February and only a few have occurred in the past 25 years, most notably February 1989 and February 1996," says Pierce.