Eugene could break a record for the last spring snow recorded by NWS

Unusual April snow showers mixed with rain greeted residents of Eugene, Springfield and most of western Oregon on Monday morning, kicking off a full week with a chance of snow in the forecast.

The amount of snow on Monday was highly dependent on elevation, but in Portland there were larger totals than in the southern Willamette Valley, with nearly 2 inches at the Portland National Weather Service office, said meteorologist Colby Newman. Low areas of Eugene and Springfield had no measurable totals late Monday morning, but Newman said residents can expect a small chance of snowfall every night and morning through Friday.

“We’re in the hunt for snow every night and early morning through Friday,” Newman said. “Maybe Tuesday night and Wednesday morning is the best chance (for snow), especially in the high hills where you might have an inch.”

Monday set a new record for the last day of spring with measurable snow in Portland, while Eugene fell short of the record set on April 11, 1911, with two feet of snow. There was no measurable amount of snowfall at Eugene Airport, but that record could be broken later this week. If there is snow, it’s unlikely there will be much, Newman noted. The late snowy weather was caused by an unusually cold air mass moving south from Alaska, he said.

“That’s our snow model, it’s just that when that air mass comes down so late in the season, it’s usually not that cold,” he said. “A lot of the time if we have a storm like this time of year it just isn’t cold enough and would be followed by cold rain.”

This same trend is not true in the Coast Range and especially the Cascade Range, where huge amounts of snow have accumulated and could make any trip between the valley and central Oregon dangerous. Newman warned drivers to be careful driving through Willamette Pass and other places where the roads are likely to be icy, snowy and have freezing temperatures.

“Snow levels are so low that temperatures there are much colder than they are on winter days,” he said.

A winter storm warning has been issued for hills and mountains east of the Willamette Valley through Tuesday morning, predicting possible 11 to 17 inches at Willamette Pass during the day Monday, and another 8 to 12 inches overnight. The warning says snow totals of up to 24 inches are possible in the northern Oregon Cascades, with gusts of up to 40 mph.

To the west in the Coast Ranges, a winter weather advisory was issued Monday morning until 2 p.m., with snow totals between 1 and 3 inches expected above 1,500 feet.

The hills around Eugene and Springfield should have a much better chance of snow accumulation, and snow levels are expected to drop throughout the week, dropping from 1,400 feet on Tuesday to 1,000 feet. Tuesday night, then as low. at 600 feet Wednesday before rising to 2,100 feet Wednesday afternoon.

Louis Krauss covers breaking news for The Register-Guard. Contact him at [email protected]and follow him on Twitter @LouisKraussNews.

Statesman Journal reporter Zach Urness contributed to this article.

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