Winter is Here, And Not Just In The Mountains

November 15, 2017

9:30pm Wednesday

Heavy snow is falling in the mountains tonight.  The nice folks at Skibowl installed a very bright yard light this fall, so now we can see what it looks like after dark (until night skiing starts in December).  It’s been like a big “snow-globe” on the big monitor overhead here in the weather center.  This is great news; two more local ski resorts will be opening this weekend:

The cool westerly flow of showers will continue through early Friday, dumping 1 to 2 feet of fresh powder

Of course that means rough driving over the Cascades tomorrow and Friday.  Things should improve over the weekend with Saturday sunshine and then a warmer system the 2nd half of Sunday.   But the message is clear:  WINTER HAS ARRIVED AND IS HERE TO STAY IN THE CASCADES.  I don’t expect to see the ground appear again up at our camera location until sometime in May…or beyond.  That’s a 6 month-long snow cover!  Meanwhile down in the valleys it was a gloomy, cool, & dark day.  Most areas west of the Cascades have seen around an inch or rain…give or take a few tenths.

Today we are at the halfway point through November, which has been slightly on the cool side.  Can you believe that right now we are actually entering winter in the lowlands west of the Cascades?  It may seem like a silly statement, but in reality now through mid-February is “prime-time” for our winter weather.

Almost all of our flooding, snow/ice storms, damaging arctic blasts and (to a lesser extent) windstorms show up from now through mid-February.  Yes, I know it can snow either before this date or after mid-February, but those times are the outliers.  We are entering the main “weather action season”.

In the short term, it’s obvious we have a mild 2nd half of November coming…seems like upper-level ridging wants to linger over the western USA for a good chunk of the next 10-14 days.  Here’s the ECMWF 500mb anomaly for next Wednesday, a mild southwest flow of air

Then Sunday AFTER Thanksgiving, wet with temps near normal

And finally the last day of the month…Thursday the 30th

The last few runs of the GFS are not quite as ridgy, so maybe it won’t end up as mild as these maps would imply.  Regardless, the 12 Day trend I show many nights around 10:45pm will look like this:

The big message is that travel conditions might be very good for Thanksgiving…maybe even reasonable in the Cascades too.  #FingersCrossed

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen