Cascade Snowstorm Plus Dry Christmas Ahead

December 23, 2018

6:30pm Sunday…

It’s Christmas Eve “Eve” in the weather center, all the bosses are gone and it’s crazy in here!  Actually it’s real quiet in here.  The radar is lit up though…downpours moving through the western valleys of SW Washington and NW Oregon

KPTV 2017 Default Earth

It’s an upper-level “trough” or wiggle in the jet stream passing by bringing the showers.   Those showers die down tonight.  Check out the snow storm on Mt. Hood.  As of 6pm we’re approaching a foot and a half of snow above Government Camp.  It’s nice to finally see a good snowstorm up there.

Snow Mt Hood Totals

As of this morning you could see how far behind we are on snowpack; pretty bad (but it’s early!) in the Cascades.  Frustrating for ski resorts trying to get more terrain open.  Obviously this storm is doing the trick!  As of now Meadows and Timberline are over the 50″ deep mark, excellent for skiing/boarding, and the top of Skibowl is up to 24″.  They should be able to totally open up Wednesday I think.



Headlines December Christmas 2

Tomorrow a wet (white in mountains) system travels across southern Oregon which leaves the extreme northern part of the state dry.  The 10am RPM model shows the setup well:

RPM Clouds Rain Snow

North of a Newport to Pendleton line it’s unlikely you’ll see anything other than a few sprinkles for Monday.  Then skies go clear or partly cloudy for Christmas Eve itself (tomorrow evening).  It may be a frosty/chilly Christmas morning for many of us west of the Cascades.  Then we have a DRY AND PARTLY CLOUDY CHRISTMAS.  Pretty nice I think.

I’m watching Wednesday morning closely because we have a setup where we don’t get much southerly breezy, a residual low-level cool atmosphere, plus an incoming front right at sunrise.  This can give brief rain/snow mix to lower elevations or even all snow briefly to spots like the hills of northern Washington/Clark counties, Vernonia, or Columbia County.  There could be some brief “whitening” in those spots, but nothing that would affect your Wednesday AM commute unless you are up around 1,000′ elevation.

Beyond that time the weather pattern through the end of 2018 features a couple weak systems coming over the top of an upper-level ridge developing over the Eastern Pacific.  Looks like that one Wednesday then another Saturday/Sunday.  Then models want to push the ridging almost right over us around the New Year and beyond for a quiet start to 2019.  That’s still 9 days out, but pretty decent agreement on that upper-level ridging January 1st from the GEM, GFS, & ECMWF ensemble systems

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At least we did have some weather fun for almost two weeks

  • Brief Gorge ice/snow
  • Two coastal wind storms and two valley wind “events”
  • Some good mountain snow

But now it looks like slower weather for at least the next 10 days like we have seen earlier in the cool season.

Merry Christmas!

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen