Portland area weekend snow forecast turned into a tough call

Satellite images showed the swirling mass of warm and cold air, plus moisture-laden clouds. (NOAA)

On Portland's east side and up into Clark County, Saturday morning was a snow-lovers dream, and a driving nightmare.

But just a few miles away there was so little snow. One person sent KATU News a video on Chime In of themselves making a snow angel with no snow on the ground.

As rain pelted downtown with the possibility of another round of snow Tuesday, it's easy to understand why the overall forecast left some people confused.

"I think that it was off a little bit," said Solomon Everett. "I mean, I was kind of excited about it a little bit because it's beautiful, but at the same time it makes some decisions difficult."

"I didn't really like it, if I'm gonna be honest. It didn't snow much. We got a lot of rain," said food cart worker Rafac Khoshnaw knowing the forecast can often change. "Oh definitely, just because Oregon's a really bipolar state. You never know. It could be sunny or rainy, the next. You never know."

"I'm trusting that the people who do know how to do that work, do the best they can," said downtown Portland visitor Michelle Jones.

Satellite images showed the swirling mass of warm and cold air, plus moisture-laden clouds. Add to that the cold Columbia River Gorge winds. They freeze east county but end up too weak to influence the weather past Portland's West Hills.

KATU Meteorologist Dave Salesky said on KATU's "Your Voice Your Vote" that forecasting depends on a lot of varying details that can have a big impact.

"Then you have to pull in the cold air out of the Gorge at just the right level at just the right amount. It's like making a soufflé. If it works, it's great. If it doesn't, it's a flop," he said.

KATU Meteorologist Rhonda Shelby said that's what happened for some people over the weekend, while others got hit a whole lot harder.

"It's not necessarily an easy forecast in Portland, because you have so many different micro-climates within a 10-mile radius. The same person on the west side may see zero, but the same house on the east side five miles away may see four inches of snow. So, yes, definitely a forecast challenge," said Shelby.

How the challenge of using technology in making the forecast still depends on people to make the final call:


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