Groundhog or no groundhog, mother nature appears poised to let the Pacific Northwest know that winter is not over just yet!
Steve Pierce, with Northwest Weather Consultants, says confidence is increasing in computer model guidance closing in on a solution that has the potential to bring much colder weather across the entire Pacific Northwest next week.
If models verify, this would be the coldest air since the arctic blast of early December.
A very cold system originating in the arctic is forecast set to sweep across the region as early as Tuesday night. In the wake of this, 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 current models trends continue, daytime high temperatures could struggle to get above freezing, with overnight lows dropping well below freezing across the entire Pacific Northwest, including the coast.
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.
The last event which occurred in early December set overnight low temperature records at many locations across the Pacific Northwest including some all-time records for any month of the year. This has the potential to be a hard freeze across all locations, including the coast. If forecast model trends continue, expect temperature departures as much as 10-15 degrees below normal at many locations.
There is still uncertainty with regards to how much, if any, precipitation will be available once the cold air is in place and exactly how cold this system will be. Future adjustments are likely to the current modeling and clients are advised to stay tuned for later updates as the evolution of this potential set up becomes more definitive.