The Big Dump of Snow

What a crazy 3 weeks in the Cascades, and it’s topped off by an extremely heavy snowfall this evening.  As of 10pm Timberline has seen 20″ of snow in the past 24 hours!  Mt. Hood Meadows has seen over 100″ of snow this month.  Snow depth is up to 118″ at Meadows and 133″ at Timberline.  That’s getting very close to normal at those elevations.

So what’s the big picture look like?  Take a look at the big jump in percentage of normal snowpack at two sites around Mt. Hood.  The first is the usual snow measuring site below Timberline.  The other is near Mt. Defiance west of Hood River at a lower elevation:


Not so bad eh?  And I see more through tomorrow, and then a bit more Monday & Tuesday before we dry out.

Friday through Sunday looks uneventful in our area as cooler air filters down from the north.  Temperatures will be below normal (52-53 highs are normal).  But then things get interesting Monday.  That’s because all models advertise a cold arctic high dropping down to our east with the cold air just missing us Sunday.  Then as low pressure gets closer to us Monday, strong offshore flow pulls cold air down into the eastern side of Washington and northern Oregon.  Models are forecasting 8-10 millibars easterly gradient through the Gorge on Monday.  Then moisture overruns that cold air.  Sound familiar?  Yes, similar to what we had the first week of February but the atmosphere is 10-15 degrees warmer and the cold air doesn’t spill south into the Willamette Valley.  Tonight’s 00z run of the WRF-GFS is about the 4th in a row to show the same thing, and the ECMWF, with its lower resolution looks about the same.  They all have precipitation in here Monday.  Below is what the WRF-GFS is forecasting for snow.  This HAS backed off substantially the last few runs; at one point it showed many inches right over Portland :


As a result, I think there is a decent chance a snow/ice event is headed for at least the central/eastern Columbia River Gorge.  Could be freezing rain at the west end of the Gorge too.  OR, models may be pulling too much cold air down into the Columbia Basin so it’ll only be marginal even in the Gorge.  Luckily it’s still 5 days away.

Regardless, all models show precipitation and a strong east wind Monday and Tuesday…a chilly last few days of February!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

16 Responses to The Big Dump of Snow

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  2. Jason Hougak says:

    Let’s just have the arctic vortex shift west for a few more months. Seems like winter is just gearing up.

  3. schmit44 says:

    2/19/2014 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:55 at CW5925 Coos Bay( 49 ft)
    Low: 45 at W7KKE-3 Road’s E(89 ft) & LINCON Lincoln C(187 ft) & EW3638 Yachats(33 ft) & Newport(30 ft)

    High:17 at HOWARD Mt Howard(8150 ft)
    Low: 10 at CRAZYMAN FLAT (6100 ft ) & HOWARD Mt Howard (8150 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 24 degrees
    Hayes Hill (US 1 (53/29 ) (1640 ft )
    MCDERMITT 26N (48/24) (4464 ft)
    Bly Mountain (Or (36/12) (4920 ft)
    CHRISTMAS VALLEY (35/11) (4360 ft)
    LAKEVIEW (35/11) (4770 ft)

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    2.03″ at FLYNN PRAIRIE(1543ft)
    1.70″ at NORTH FORK(3120ft)
    1.39″ at Mount Hood Meado(5249ft)

  4. karlbonner1982 says:

    Wishcasting time: let’s assume the pattern for Sunday-Tuesday now shaping up on the models – let’s assume the chilly surface low coming into western WA is about 100-150 miles further south instead. Wonder if you could get full-on arctic air in the Columbia Basin with such a modest southward nudge?

  5. Jason Hougak says:

    Just got back from riding waist deep best quality powdery goodness snow ever at ski bowl! 🙂
    I knew it months ago that February is not a winter month to take lighty. Once again it has proven itself worthy.
    Marks last blog about all the below normal precip February’s I wonder if this is the year to start a switch back to more precip in February in the coming years.
    Come on March… you too are a winter month. I want you roaring like a lion. We need more snow!!!!!!!!!!

  6. karlbonner1982 says:

    Bring on the late-season cold event, if we can’t have a big false spring! Better yet if we actually get some kind of arctic airmass over us the first week of March for huge bragging rights…

  7. Longview - 400 ft says:

    The way Mark was saying tonight we are all dodging a cold event here south of Seattle.
    Did I get that right Mark?

    Hey, I wouldn’t mind a little more winter in the season of winter before Spring unfolds a month from now.

  8. Ben T says:

    Cold rain warning?

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