Is the Ski Season Over? Weekend Rain Update Too

Let’s get that first question out-of-the-way.  NO, it’s unlikely the ski season is over.   Especially since it’s only February 5th!  But it appears the worst conditions (thinnest snow pack) we’ve seen since the season opened around December 22nd are on the way over the next 10 days.

Where We Are Now:

  • Little or no snow is on the ground below 5,000′ on Mt. Hood
  • Lower ski areas were only open for 10-14 days this season around the New Year and have been shutdown for almost a month.
  • Only 3 ski areas are operating in the Oregon Cascades, all with limited lifts & terrain.  Just yesterday Mt. Bachelor announced two of its lifts (Outback and NW Express) are shut down until new snow arrives.  Two main lifts at Timberline are unusable for the same reason (Molly’s & Flood).  It appears Mt. Hood Meadows can’t use the Stadium, Hood River Meadows, or Heather Canyon lifts.  I see Nordic skiing has closed at Meadows too.  Skibowl is now just operating its tubing area on man-made snow from the cold spell in early January.  But hey…the Alpine Slide could open early at this rate!

What’s Ahead?

  • More rain with snow levels above 6,000′ Friday, Sunday, & most of Monday = More melting
  • Snow levels lower to around 5,500′ Saturday with a few inches possible above that elevation
  • 2-4″ possible as cooler air arrives later Monday and early Tuesday
  • Warm ridging with temps into 40s again, along with sunshine, Wednesday and beyond next week = More melting

Depending on exactly how the next 5 days play out, it’s possible we see even more cutbacks in terrain/lifts after this event.

I see no pattern change in the next 2+ weeks, and that puts us into the last week of February.  There won’t be a “February Miracle” for the ski resorts this year.  And of course we have no idea what’s coming in March, although there aren’t any indications the pattern is going to break down.  It’s always possible the best skiing this year will be later in March or April.

Traditionally Spring Break is considered the end of the ski season, for obvious reasons…skiing is a winter sport.  But the Cascades almost always have more snow on the ground in April than December.  The problem is that interest drops dramatically because spring is here in the lowlands and attention turns to warm-season pursuits.

Alright, enough of that.  Let’s talk rain and wind this weekend.

There are no big wind storms or flooding coming up the next few days, but we’ll see plenty of rain and breezy conditions at times.

I see two systems that give us a surge of wind at the Coast and into the valley.  One early Saturday and another early Monday.  Both of those could produce gusts 50-70 mph at the Coast and 25-35 mph in the valleys.  Nothing we haven’t seen already this season but we also haven’t seen active weather since around the New Year.

Our RPM rain totals (which often run a little high) show 2-3″ the next 3 days, so 2″ or so seems like a good forecast for most of us in the lowlands.  RPM_12KM_Precip_NWOR  That won’t produce flooding, but creeks and rivers will rise quite a bit.  Your yard may become a pond for a while!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

37 Responses to Is the Ski Season Over? Weekend Rain Update Too

  1. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    One year ago today:

    After the previous day’s 7.3″ of snow, this day featured partly cloudy skies early, with increasing clouds. Light snow began falling around 2 PM. By the end of the day I measured another 0.5″ of snow.

    High: 30
    Low: 19

    • Boydo3 N. Albany elev. just under 500' says:

      We had a fun couple days of solid snowfall during that event. Ended up with 16″ on the ground at my house. Some people in the area had more. Then we had some freezing rain on top of the snow.
      We also had the 6-8″ before Christmas last winter accompanied by zero deg. lows.
      I kinda figured this winter would be a dud after last year..

  2. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    Here are the low temps for Fairbanks this month so far. I wish a little bit of this would come down here:

    1st: -24
    2nd: -22
    3rd: -28
    4th: -29
    5th: -36
    6th: -40
    7th: -43 (so far)

    They are averaging -14.7 from normal!

  3. schmit44 says:

    2/6/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    Warmest:
    High:70 at DW0069 Ferndale( 840 ft) & DW7237 Pendleton(1145 ft)
    Low: 58 at WEST BIRCH CREEK(1626 ft) & PILOT ROCK 11E R(1920 ft) & WB7CYS Pendleton(1550 ft)

    Coldest:
    High:34 at Lagoon(6370 ft)
    Low: 30 at KLAMATH RIVER BE (3288 ft ) & MAZAMA (4596 ft ) & CALIMUS (6629 ft ) & DIMLKE (4726 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 27 degrees
    LAKE OWHEE AND O (65/38 ) (2400 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    5.35″ at EW4856 Brookings(1365ft)
    5.18″ at QUAIL PRAIRIE LO(3183ft)
    4.68″ at SQUAW PEAK(4964ft)
    4.68″ at CALVERT PEAK(3822ft)
    4.31″ at ILLINOIS VALLEY(1389ft)

  4. W7ENK says:

    WIND ADVISORY
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PORTLAND OR
    900 PM PST FRI FEB 6 2015

    http://inws.wrh.noaa.gov/weather/alertinfo/20746166

    • Garron near Washington square says:

      A couple of 30 -35 mph gusts so far, or was that it?

    • Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

      That was pretty much it. It’ll remain breezy today though. The wind advisory was canceled early this AM.

      29 mph here in Battle Ground.

  5. I think it’s rather far-fetched to make a prediction what the summer will be like based on the current winter weather, but I tend to agree with “MasterNate” that it’s going to be a fine one. My weather records go back to the ’70’s and 80’s. Where I live (north of 49th latitude) we had some lousy summers back then- worse then what happened to us in 2010 or 2011. Those 2 years had some great weather, it was just the month of September that let us down.

  6. Water Vapor Imagery
    Eyeballing both pieces of energy near 31 N 140 W and 30 N 155 W. Don’t entirely rule out a bigger wind storm just yet. If the jet inside 130 W can stay intact that is.

  7. W7ENK says:

    Apparently it’s been raining “milk” all day in Spokane. No, that’s not a euphemism, nor is it insanity, that’s according to the Spokane NWS Office. No one seems to know what it is, but my guess would be volcanic ash.

    http://www.inlander.com/Bloglander/archives/2015/02/06/mysterious-white-rain-strikes-spokane-nws-sends-sample-to-lab

    Mt. St. Helens didn’t burp today, did she?

  8. Brian Leroy says:

    Nws Seattle issued a snow advisory for Wa cascades up to 10 inches possible.

  9. Jane - Forest Grove says:

    Well, I hope Mark is correct like he always is about the wind forecast for us after all this rain. Phil V and Rufus make it seem like we could have higher winds than 35 mph. I know they have to forecast worst case scenario. But as always, I’m with Team Mark!

    • MasterNate says:

      Rufus is right there with Mark in my book. I trust Marks shorter term, micro climate forecasts for western Oregon and enjoy Rufus’s long term outlooks as they are surprisingly accurate as far as weather trends go.

  10. David B. says:

    53 degrees with a pressure of 996 mbar this morning. Strongest low in at least a month.

  11. W7ENK says:

    What a dismal winter season. This summer is bound to be bad. Either bad for fires, or bad for weather, but no matter how you shake it, it’s not going to be a good time.

    • MasterNate says:

      Going to be a great summer. Summer is always great. I think we tend to take our summers for granted. We have the greatest summertime weather here in the great PNW! Goes great with all of our micro-brews.

    • W7ENK says:

      If we repeat Summer 2010 or 2011 again, that will be miserable.

      Hard to sit out back and enjoy the long summer evenings by the firepit when it’s 55 degrees and raining the whole time.

      Hard to sit out back and enjoy the long summer evenings by the firepit when there’s a burn ban in effect because everything is tinder dry, too. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for burning down my neighborhood. Lots of trees.

    • MasterNate says:

      I’m surprised they let you burn at all in city limits. I know it could happen but I doubt we will see another summer like the cold and damp one you are referring to.

    • WEATHERDAN says:

      Let’s get the record straight The Summers of 2010 and 2011 weren’t that bad.Yes both Springs were a little cool and wet but July-September of both years were close to average at least in Salem. Second over the last 14 Summers we have had 7 hot ones, 3 warm ones, 2 that were average, and 2 that were somewhat below average. 2010 and 2011 would seem to be aberrations. Cooler Summers in a long term trend of hotter and drier Summers in the Pac NW. How soon we forget that in July of 2010 Salem hit 101. And in August/September of 2011 Salem had 8 days in a row of 90-95 degrees. Also there are no indications of an immediate pattern shift. I feel the odds favor warmer and drier conditions for this Spring and Summer. As for bad fires yes we do have an elevated risk for more fires due to a smaller snowpack. However with a strong ridge over the West we may not have as much convective activity as normal. And no matter what there is always fascinating weather to enjoy. Peace.

    • W7ENK says:

      I’m in Clackamas County, outdoor burning is allowed (without a permit) as long as there are no burning restrictions in effect. Technically, you can still use your firepit during a burn ban IF you’re using it as a cooking fire. If the police or fire department show up, you’d better have a pack of hot dogs within arm’s reach!

      Dan, you’re cherry picking data. To call 2010 and 2011 “aberrations” is a stretch. They sucked, and that’s all there is to it.

  12. Boydo3 N. Albany elev. just under 500' says:

    OK, I would be depressed but for the warm sun above and away from the fog. But I am getting a bit nervous about a trend. Two years in a row and too many in the last 20. Climate change is real.
    But do we have anything we can really do to change it back. After all, the flux has happened over and over again. A good example is the findings at Fort Rock. People living, hunting and fishing in an area of a lush inland sea….not so long ago.
    Hopefully the people of the future don’t find my dehydrated remains clutching a micro brew in some sand filled, fossilized brew pub, while wondering “what could have been in the glass that the ancient being had been clutching in his hand when he died ?”

  13. schmit44 says:

    2/5/2015 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    Warmest:
    High:69 at Pendleton(1100 ft)
    Low: 57 at Gold Beach (US 1(60 ft) & EW1135 Yachats1(32 ft)

    Coldest:
    High:34 at Lagoon(6370 ft)
    Low: 28 at DIMLKE (4726 ft ) & Rim (7050 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 31 degrees
    CW5984 Pilot Roc (68/37 ) (1749 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    2.94″ at TIDEWATER(2035ft)
    2.80″ at QUAIL PRAIRIE LO(3183ft)
    2.48″ at HEBOWX Mt. Hebo(3160ft)
    2.47″ at CW2527 Florence(46ft)

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