Thanksgiving Travel: Could Be Rough For Some

November 20, 2016

After several years of uneventful Thanksgiving road conditions across the region, this year is looking much different.  If you are headed into mountains either east, west, or south, pay attention to the forecast this week.

What’s going on?

As of this Sunday evening it appears 3 separate weather systems will move through the region Tuesday through Friday.  In between each and after Friday’s system more cold showers will be streaming onshore.  Those showers turn into snow in the Cascade & higher Coast Range.  The Blue Mountains will get in on the action at times in NE Oregon too.  The Siskiyous could really get slammed later this week as well.  The one place you DON’T need to worry about is the Columbia River Gorge.

Snow levels will be fluctuating between 2,000 and 4,000′ Tuesday through Sunday since these are “cold” storms, totally different from the warmer events we’ve seen so far this season.  Basically this IS the beginning of our winter season here in the Pacific Northwest.

We don’t need to worry about flooding because of snow falling in the mountains instead of rain, and it’s not the incredibly heavy subtropical rain we saw in October.  Check out the WRF-GFS precipitation forecast from Monday through Thursday afternoon…a solid 1.5″ in the valleys and 2-4″ in Cascades and Coast Range:


Then from Thursday PM through Sunday PM the rain lightens up in the valleys a bit.  Maybe 1″ or so, but another 2-4″ in the Cascades and Coast Range.  During this period it is ALL SNOW above about 4,000′!


My forecast for the Mt. Hood area says the ski season starts big-time this coming weekend!



Yes, you are reading that correctly…several feet of snow are coming.  That includes down to Skibowl & Hoodoo ski areas as well.  In the past 4 years there hasn’t been more than 12″ of snow on the ground at Government Camp on any November day.  Looks like we’re going to see much more than that one week from today!

Here is a detailed look at what you can expect on all the major highways heading away from the metro area:




Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen