Ski Season Could Start Thanksgiving Weekend

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:


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:



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



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:


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


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:



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

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

32 Responses to Ski Season Could Start Thanksgiving Weekend

  1. Dave in SW PDX (235') says:

    Hmmm… a mention of possible low elevation snow later this week in this afternoon’s AFD from the NWS:

    “The residual cold air has the potential to make things interesting Thu night/Fri as abundant jet energy may cause another, possibly stronger, low to develop offshore and approach the Pac NW or British Columbia coast. There is a lot of uncertainty as to how, where, or even if this secondary system will develop and what the resulting impacts will be. The last couple model/ensemble cycles have run the gamut from a potential low elevation snow event, to a potential strong wind event, to just an ordinary November frontal system. Given that the energy associated with this system is still over Mongolia, the most prudent forecast at this point is a non-committal one…and after coordination with WPC and our surrounding offices, the forecast reflects a fairly run-of-the-mill secondary cold front with snow levels 2000-2500` at the lowest Thu night-Fri night.”

    Unlikely, but interesting to see it mentioned nonetheless.

  2. JJ78259 says:

    Looking like Dumpziila on Mt Hood the upcoming holiday Weekend! Upper 40’s and rain in Portland means lots of Snow up yonder! Let’s keep it going looks a normal winter for a change! My brother’s neighbor in who moved up from Dublin Ca. at the beginning of 2014 was asking where all moist Weather came from this fall he had to break it to him that this is normal.

  3. Our old friend the Blob is rapidly disappearing.

  4. Scooter says:

    He’s back, just knew he couldn’t help himself. His mother’s basement just gets too lonely for him.

  5. Jason Hougak says:

    Anybody heading to central Oregon and interested in riding Mt. Bachelor might want to get in on their 96 hour ticket sale. Timberline is getting ready to start their kids lift Bruno and possibly their upper mountain Palmer Chair. It’s ski and snowboard season!!!!!!!!

  6. Jason Hougak says:

    Shaping up to be an exciting Thanksgiving weather week. Snow level could drop to the foothills by the weekend.

  7. Windsday says:

    This is where our weather has been going to and it’s saddening actually.

    Hopefully it changes later this winter but I doubt it based on what I’m seeing.

    Get off your couch and actually learn about the world around ya not just from paid propaganda. Quit being fat and lazy like the typical loud mouthed American. 🙂

    • High Desert Mat says:

      Oh boy. Someone watches too much tv. If you actually believe this nonsense you should just turn yourself in to the proper institution. Good grief.

    • Dave in SW PDX (235') says:

      Ooooh, microwave transmitters, chemtrails, and weather manipulation conspiracies! Time for a new tinfoil hat, Kyle.

      Meanwhile, 53° and partly cloudy skies here in the real world.

    • W7ENK says:

      Kyle, it’s time to take your meds again, bud.
      You’re slippin’ off the couch…

  8. Jason Hougak says:

    I’m loving that NW flow outta the Gulf of Alaska. Let the snow building begin. Hopefully a 1,000′ and above pattern would develop for the entire winter.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Seems like it might be perfect weather for Thanksgiving. Nothing worse (in my opinion) than cooking all day in warm temps. No offense, JJ …;)

  10. Jason Hougak says:


    • Boydo3 N. Albany says:

      Oh, and I didn’t intend to start a nasty debate. Just looking at the article and not the comments following it.

    • Windsday says:

      You didn’t do anything wrong other then being informative which most loud mouth fat American’s cannot comprehend anything other then MTV.

  11. Roland Derksen says:

    43.3F here presently. We have high overcast (Altostratus) clouds with a good view of the snow level on the local mountains. It’s great to see the snow there.

  12. Nathan Place says:

    Early December snowstorm is coming to PDX…………………. BOOK IT

    • Jason Hougak says:

      Hey Nathan what changed your mind? I like the enthusiasm about snow but you just posted last week…
      Nathan Place on November 10, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    • muxpux (Longview) says:

      Covering all the bases

  13. 35 ˚F for a low overnight. Finally starting to feel more like November, though I still have yet to see frost. Got a nice view of the moon last night and it did look larger than normal.

    It’s making for extreme tides, too. I was on the 10:55 ferry last night and it had to unload walk-ons using the vehicle ramp because the vessel was too low for the passenger ramp to reach it.

    • W7ENK says:

      I seriously doubt the “Supermoon” has anything to do with that… Here’s why:

      The difference in the gravitational effect of the Moon upon the Earth between lunar apogee and lunar perigee can be calculated like this:

      GM (x 106 km^3/s^2) = 0.00490

      That means that the gravitational effect of the Moon is 0.0049 times stronger at perigee than it is at apogee, or 0.00245 times stronger than average.

      That would be 4.9/1000 of a difference, 49/10,000ths stronger at perigee over when the moon is at apogee. Essentially 245/100,000ths stronger gravitational force than the average.

      Additionally, the Moon hits both points (apogee and perigee) during every lunar cycle, (28 days). The only difference in terminology here is when perigee and opposition (the full moon) coincide, which is what is called a “Supermoon.”

    • W7ENK says:

      There’s a whole bunch more mathy stuff before that equation that didn’t copy over for some reason…

  14. JJ78259 says:

    Great news on the snow coming to the Mountains! We are having our first cold front moving thru will drop us from Weather Dan Weather to the 70s for Thanksgiving. Lots of sunshine next 10 days though in San Antonio.

  15. Tyler Mode in Battle Ground says:

    Hit 32 last night. Finally. First freezing temperature in 233 days.

    Latest first freeze for me in Battle Ground and also the longest growing season.

  16. Down to 36°. Coldest by far of the season here.

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