A solid chance of measurable snowfall is in the forecast for Wallowa County for today, Thursday and Friday, according to the National Weather Service office in Pendleton.
Union County also has a chance of receiving measurable snow but it is very slight, according to the National Weather Service.
The first opportunity for snow in Wallowa County will be tonight when the temperature is expected to drop to the 28- to 33-degree range and there will be a chance of showers. There is a 50 percent chance that these showers will contain snow, said National Weather Service meteorologist Ann Adams. The snow level Wednesday evening in Wallowa County will start at 4,200 feet before dropping to 3,400 feet.
“If you are near the snow level, there is a good chance (you will experience snowfall in Wallowa County),” Adams said.
The 3,400-foot snow level means that the towns of Enterprise, elevation 3,757 feet, and Joseph, elevation 4,190 feet, are more likely to receive measurable snowfall.
There will be a slight chance of snow showers in Wallowa County on Thursday morning before 11 a.m., then there will be a chance of rain and snow showers. Friday’s forecast calls for a chance of snow showers in the daytime and a chance of rain and showers in the evening.
National Weather Service records for Wallowa, elevation 2,950 feet, indicate that the earliest it has received measurable snow in the late summer-fall period was Sept. 11, 1921. The same records indicate that the average date Wallowa receives its first snow is Nov. 8.
A remote possibility exists that La Grande will receive a trace of snow tonight and Thursday and Friday evenings when the low temperature will range from 33 to 35 degrees and there will be a chance of showers, Adams said.
The earliest La Grande has received measurable snow in the fall is Oct. 25, 1970, according to the National Weather Service. The average date in La Grande for its first measurable autumn snow is Nov. 18.
Union and Wallowa counties will experience drier, sunnier and slightly warmer weather this weekend after the current weather system moves out, Adams said.
The chillier weather the region will be experiencing overall reflects the colder air coming off the Pacific Ocean.
“There is more cold air than warm over the Pacific,” Adams said.
A cold weather system coming in from the Pacific is normal for this time of year, though.
“The weather system is migrating in like clockwork,” Adams said.
Shelley Snow, a spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Transportation, said drivers should begin taking added precautions with winter weather approaching. With snow on the way, drivers are advised to add winter safety kits to their vehicles, including blankets, bottled water, extra clothing and flashlights. If there is a chance of ice, motorists are urged to drive with extreme caution.
Snow also reminded drivers never to use cruise control when there is snow and ice on the road.
“You need to be the one in control, not your car,” Snow said.