Ski Season Could Start Thanksgiving Weekend

November 17, 2016

9pm Thursday…

The past 4 Novembers have been a real disappointment for skiing with either mild temps or snow getting washed away by rain right after it falls.  This 2nd half of November 2016 looks different.  Models are in pretty good agreement that we have a series of “cold” and wet storms that will move through the Pacific Northwest starting next Wednesday.   Snow levels vary between 3,000 and 5,000′ next weekend.  You can see the cool westerly flow on the ECMWF for Thanksgiving Day:

500vty_f168_bg_na

and the ECMWF ensembles from last night’s 46 day run show cooler than normal temps for the next two weeks.  This is the 850mb temperature anomaly:

850ta_week1_bg_na

850ta_week2_bg_na

Check out below normal 500mb heights the next two weeks as well:

500za_week1_bg_na

500za_week2_bg_na

How much snow?  To start, here’s the GFS 10 day rain forecast showing 3-5″ in the valleys, a bit wetter than normal and definitely wetter than what we’ve seen so far this month:

gfs_tprecip_portland_41

Convert that to snow and you get a solid 3-4 feet between now and the Sunday ending Thanksgiving Weekend!

gfs_6hr_snow_acc_portland_41

Now that would open up all the ski resorts wouldn’t it?  Even half of that would get things halfway open.  By the way, the ECMWF (more reliable model) has similar totals for both rain and snow.

So…get the skis/snowboards waxed…things are definitely looking up!

For the real weather geeks of course you know the ECMWF monthly run goes out two more weeks.  But since last winter I’ve generally not shared those images since the usefulness drops off beyond about two weeks.  For fun though here you go:

500za_week3_bg_na

500za_week4_bg_na

Definitely drier week 3 with heights going above normal, then average after that.  Again, not real useful is it?

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen