Avalanche Kills 2 in Wallowas

February 11, 2014

It’s been 4 years since we’ve seen someone die in an avalanche here in Oregon, but it happened today.  In the southern part of the Wallowas two cross country skiers were killed in an avalanche.  There have only been two other deaths since at least 1998 according to the avalanche.org website:

MarkAvalanche_ORstats

Most likely because we don’t have a lot of the real steep avalanche terrain like up in Washington and in the Rockies.

A nice surface low is getting very close to the Washington coast this evening, and we should feel the strong south wind soon here in the valleys; not crazy strong, but real windy.  I’d guess a peak gust of 38 mph at PDX.

MarkWarnings_Wind_Coast_Valleys

The coast is getting slammed with 50-60 mph gusts now and will probably get a little stronger, still, it doesn’t get exciting out there until the gusts are in the 70-80 mph range.

Looking ahead…lots of rain and mountain snow.  I don’t see any one “big storm”.

Models still show cooler troughiness next week and snow levels maybe a little below 2,000′ somewhere around Sunday.  Then a colder trough with snow levels at least down to 1,500′ next Thursday/Friday.  The new ECMWF is a little cooler with potential snow almost to sea level.  But, it’s the annoying “showers in northwest flow” pattern where some folks get an inch or so in the morning and then it melts in the afternoon.   The bar has been set pretty high after last week!

Beyond that, it looks milder again.  To sum it up, you could say winter is likely over except for some occasional close calls with low elevation snow.  No sign of a late season arctic blast.  But I’ll wait to pull out everyone’s favorite graphic until after the cold trough next week.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen