Anyone planning to spend the holiday weekend in the Vancouver area should be prepared for the snow that could start on Saturday.
The Portland National Weather Service predicts that rain will persist for the remainder of the week, although it is expected to turn back to drizzle. But snow could mix with rain in Vancouver around noon on Christmas or that night, according to meteorologist Clinton Rockey. There is even more risk of snowflakes on Sunday and Monday.
Rockey said it was difficult to say at this time how much snow would accumulate, but drivers should be prepared for a blanket of white matter on the roads. Current estimates suggest between 2 and 4 inches by noon on Sunday and between 3 and 8 inches by Monday.
Authorities are warning those planning to travel over the weekend to be prepared for snowy or potentially icy roads and to give themselves extra time to drive slowly.
Once the cold front hits Clark County, temperatures will likely stay near freezing until next week, with overnight lows in teens or twenties.
But forecasters say the sun is expected to make an appearance on Tuesday or Wednesday, before another potential round of snow arrives for the New Years weekend.
“Our extremely active year looks set to end on a rather active note,” said Rockey.
It has only snowed at Christmas in the Portland area eight times since 1940, he said, and even then there was only one measurable accumulation at Portland International Airport during the vacation since then.
“It is a rare event,” he said. “So if that happens, take advantage of it. “
November and December have been wetter than average so far, and Rockey said persistent cloud cover has kept the temperature from dropping to freezing this fall and winter. So far this month, precipitation is above normal. The region is near normal precipitation for the year, the meteorologist said, despite falls in recent years.