It’s been another fun day of “model-riding” for the weather geeks like me. All models continue to advertise quite the cool down for next week. In general, the first chance for seeing snowflakes shows up in the lowlands by Monday morning. Then our flirtation with low elevation snow continues through a good chunk of next week.
First, we have an incredible snow storm on the way for the Cascades. It appears snow will fall continuously from midday tomorrow through sometime Monday…or Tuesday. A strong westerly flow tomorrow night through Saturday morning, then again Saturday night through Sunday will squeeze the maximum amount of precipitation out of the cold airmass.
It’s likely 3 to 5 feet of snow fall on Mt. Hood (including Government Camp) from midday Friday through Monday morning!
Add in tons of weekend traffic in the Cascades, pent-up demand for quality skiing, ski schools, & Ski Bowl open? I could see some serious traffic issues at times over the weekend. You may remember the day last year when it took four hours to get from Mt. Hood Meadows back to Government Camp. I think it was a snowy December or January weekend evening. Assume it’ll take you far longer to get where you are going on Mt. Hood. Then you can be pleasantly surprised if a traffic jam doesn’t show up.
Skiers & snowboarders. PLEASE be careful on the slopes, especially later Saturday and Sunday. In the past people have died falling into tree wells in this setup. Don’t ski alone and read up about it here before you head out: http://deepsnowsafety.org/
Down here in the lowest elevations of course there is great interest in next week’s forecast. Now that we’re within 4-5 days of Monday/Tuesday I think I can give you a general idea of what to expect
Rain at times and windy both tomorrow and Sunday. No sticking snow below 1,500′ west of the Cascades as surface low pressure systems track by to the north.
This should be a showers/sunbreaks sort of morning, maybe sticking snow down to top of West Hills around 1,000′. At this point I think sticking snow at the lowest elevations is unlikely through Monday afternoon. Highs around 40. Then in the late afternoon and evening a weather system moves overhead. Two models tell us it’ll be slightly too warm to snow that. One (running too cold recently) says we changeover to snow with several inches in the Willamette Valley and metro that evening. I‘ll be watching this closely, but at this point think the warmer solution is most likely considering past experience. Four days out both solutions are in play of course.
Models agree (regardless what happens Monday evening/night) that this is a somewhat uneventful day. Snow showers and sunbreaks. Highs into the upper 30s. Unless we get several inches of snow Monday evening (see paragraph above), our lives would continue pretty much as normal this day.
WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY (Days 6 & 7 on our 7 Day Forecast)
Good agreement among models that this could be “the event” that brings some sort of widespread snow (or freezing rain for some?) west of the Cascades. That’s because a system approaches the Northwest coastline and pulls cold air down from Canada and through the Columbia River Gorge. Some models think the cold air will be confined to the metro area and Gorge (too warm in Willamette Valley), others bring snow to all areas west of the Cascades. It’s just too far out in time to make a judgement call at this point. Luckily it’s still 4 days to Monday and 6 days out for the Wednesday “event”; lots of time to get a handle on things forecast-wise.
I’ll be off tomorrow and Saturday, but you know I’ll be keeping a close eye on the weather action!
Probably a fresh blog post coming Saturday, if not tomorrow evening.
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen