Hard to believe, but this winter has been so slow we haven’t even seen a 40 mph gust (from a southerly direction) in Portland! The last time that happened was during that strange stormy week in late September. Weird.
Anyway, we finally have a decent system coming in Friday night and Saturday morning. We don’t have a deep surface low pressure system tracking close to our area, so it won’t be a massive storm. But still, gusts 60-75 mph are likely at the Coast and 40-50 mph here in the valley, more likely 40-45 mph in the Portland area. In a normal winter this would just be mildly interesting, but once again we have a very slow winter, so weather people (and news folks) get all excited about it. This storm is forecast to have a very large wind field around it, so after a burst of strong wind with the cold front after midnight tomorrow night, expect a long period of gusty post-frontal wind all day Saturday. It’ll be a classic downpours, brief sunbreaks, and gusty wind day.
As for the mountains, we sure had some big totals:
A solid foot or more above 4,500′ last night and this morning. I noticed only 2-3″ fell down at Gov’t Camp, showing how the snow level just barely dropped to 4,000′.
The snow level takes a big jump for Friday, ski early or you’ll get wet. By evening (night ski time), it should either be raining lightly or at least dry, but temps up around 40.
The strong westerly flow should produce HUGE snowfall totals during the day Saturday and there will be a bit more through Sunday:
What happens beyond this weekend? Back to ridging and dry (or mainly dry) for all of next week. Models are trying to flatten the ridge a little bit NEXT weekend to bring in rain. Still, a warmer than average pattern. Big picture? It appears both 00z GFS and GEM models keep some sort of ridge along the West Coast for the next two weeks, but just allow a little more flow through it. Here is the 360 hour 500mb anomaly forecast for both:
I’ve only seen two 0.5″ snowfalls so far this winter at my home at 1,000′. That’s the lowest I’ve recorded in 7 years, even worse than the El Nino winter of 2009-2010. Hmmm, not good.