October Snow Storm

October 26, 2010

Not that’s a snow storm!  From bare ground to nearly three feet of fresh snow to start the season at Timberline and Mt. Hood Meadows.  Even Government Camp had 8″…very impressive for the last week of October.  For you skiers and snowboarders, hopefully a sign of the season to come.

So will the ski areas open?  Yes, I know that Timberline is open year round, but that’s only the Palmer Snowfield.  I mean the first REAL ski area opening.  I’m guessing one of those two areas will attempt to open for this weekend.  Just a gut feeling. 

Now a ski area manager would probably want to know what happens next week?  The big issue would be much warmer air that moves in for at least 3 days next week…Monday-Wednesday.  The ECMWF and now the GFS are both showing ridging developing over us or just to the east during that period.  Freezing levels soar to 9,000′ plus; it means whatever falls will probably be rain at the ski areas.  If they get really lucky the main rain band shifts to the north leaving our area mostly dry, but still warm.  That seems to be the trend the last 3 model cycles (12z/18z/00z).  Many times the last few Falls the models first show heavy rain (a pineapple express) setting up over Northwest Oregon, only to shift the area of flooding rains farther north.  That’s occurring now, so we’ll see if the trend continues.  As I’ve said before; it’s not necessarily about what one model or model run shows, but what the trend is doing.

Other than that the weather should be real dead the next few days.  Well, actually the east wind freaks will enjoy a nice burst of Gorge wind later tomorrow and tomorrow night.  Probably gusts in the 45 mph range out in the usual windy spots (which would be 60 at Vista House!), and gusts 30 mph Troutdale/Gresham/Camas.  This will be the first cool easterly wind of the season.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen