The Rose City was hit with nearly a foot of snow; Seattle’s forecast is for temperatures in the mid-40s and rain showers.
Almost a foot of snow has pummeled Portland, leaving nearly 5,000 people without power, city roadways treacherous and closing many schools.
So severe was the weather that Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday declared a state of emergency.
Meanwhile, the extended seven-day forecast for Seattle calls for temperatures in the mid-40s and periodic showers.
National Weather Service meteorologists said it’s typical for Portland to experience a severe winter-weather event at least once a year, while Seattle can sometimes go several years without significant snowfall. Even when conditions are primed for snowfall, accumulation is rare.
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The last significant snowfall events in Seattle were in 2010 and 2012. In 2012, as much as 4 inches fell in the heart of the city.
Why does Seattle rarely see much of the white stuff, while in Portland heavier snowfall is more of a winter regularity?
“Put simply, we’re a warmer city,” said Chris Burke, weather-service meteorologist. “The air over Seattle never gets cold enough.”
The city’s proximity to Puget Sound, which remains relatively warm during the winter, is part of what inoculates Seattle from the blizzard-like conditions that hit Portland this week, Burke said.
The Rose City is almost 60 miles farther inland, where air is colder and moisture systems can become trapped. Cold air rushing into the Columbia River Gorge is another factor, Burke said.
Farther north, residents of Vancouver, Wash., are digging out after what meteorologists said was the heaviest snowfall since 2008. According to the National Weather Service, as much as 13 inches fell in the area.
Correction: A previous version of this story omitted a significant snowfall in the Seattle area in 2012.