Snowpack Still Above Normal

January 15, 2016

The first half of January was relatively dry…until the past 3 days.  Take a look now at the mountain snowpack across the state as a percentage of average for January 15th:


The numbers are lower than 2 weeks ago, but still around normal in Northern Oregon and well above normal to the south.  What a difference a year makes…snow depth the past 8 years at the Mt. Hood Test SNOTEL on the lower part of the Timberline Ski Area:


Remember 2007-2008?  That was a crazy mountain snow winter; tons of snow to the lower elevations.  If I recall correctly the snow level didn’t rise above 4,000′ through all of January and February.  It was regularly in the 1,500-3,000′ range.  Detroit didn’t know where to pile all the snow at 1600′.  I also remember the dusting of snow on Christmas Day with some snow showers.  Little did we know that one year later we’d have piles of snow sitting around on Christmas.

Looking ahead, a mixed bag of snow/rain in the mountains for the big 3 day weekend


Stay up high this weekend…Saturday evening and Monday look best to me.


The wet weather pattern stays with us through the foreseeable future.  But it’s a different “kind of wet” than what we saw in December.  In this case the main stormy weather is well out in the Pacific and we just keep getting the weakening/dying storms (technically they have passed the mature phase of extratropical cyclones).  These systems still have enough life to give us rounds of clouds/rain/breezes but that’s about it.  Notice there are no forecasts of strong southerly wind, flooding, or huge piles of snow in the Cascades over the next week.  And the systems are very mild…get used to seeing high temps in the 48-55 degree range instead of the 42-50 we’ve been seeing.

Enjoy the wet weekend…Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen