Cascade Snowstorm Plus Dry Christmas Ahead

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

48 Responses to Cascade Snowstorm Plus Dry Christmas Ahead

  1. WEATHERDAN says:

    Nice to see mountain snow. Sure would be nice to see some down low as well. However I just don’t see that anytime soon. Maybe down to 2k or so. Well I hope to be wrong and we get a Winter blast soon. Peace.

  2. Well, that didn’t happen… looking at the WSDOT road cams even the normally favored areas for lowland snow are snow-free this morning. Not really a surprise, given the temperature forecasts. It was always the most marginal of marginal setups.

  3. Any one know what caused the wreck on I 5 North bound between Chehalis and COWLITZ county border area?

  4. Merry late Christmas and a Happy New Year to come… May the westher for ever be….May the Force be with you..

    Speaking of “The Force..” The weather , the one thing no Jedi could control!

  5. W7ENK says:

    Cross-polar winds pointing right at the Western US in excess of 300km/h at the highest levels of the atmosphere.

    Anyone care to venture a guess as to how this might affect our weather in the days to come?

    • boydo3 says:

      Is that current or forecast? Looks more like they are pointed toward western BC.
      Medium range charts point toward a blocking ridge developing so we might benefit from some northerly flow for awhile, however mostly dry.

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        18Z GFS looks better. If we went by this run, we would only have about 3 dry days. I’m hoping the Euro will be a little more wet. The 12Z was a little to dry.

      • W7ENK says:

        That’s current (as of yesterday morning), and up at the 10mb level. Sadly, the air movement up there is usually counter to the movement of air down below as it circulates, so it could signify an impending ridge building up from the South.. Question is, where does it set up. Would that ridge build in from the Gulf Coast and spread up along the Eastern Seaboard, giving us a potential for a cold shot from the North? Or does the ridge build up along the West Coast and give us unseasonably warm and dry weather? My money is on the latter. Always on the latter, because we always get screwed like that…

  6. Ken in Wood Village says:

    The last half of the 00Z GFS is utterly ridiculous. If you look at it I think you will understand.

  7. Some beautiful alpenglow on the Cascades at sunset today, made all the better by the low snow levels during the last storm. Merry Christmas, everyone!

  8. Andy says:

    Good news the area of warm water is gone the “BLOB”. Cliff Mass has a new article on his web site. The water has reversed to colder due to the stormy weather in the north pacific. Lets hope this helps our weather here in the NW.

    • Jake in Gresham says:

      Bering Strait, cooled off a lot. Wow. That is a total flip of the coin. I haven’t seen that happen before just like that. Mid Winter.

  9. K says:

    Happy holidays everyone. Hopefully 2019 brings some exciting weather.

  10. W7ENK says:

    Some very intense rain on the way back down the mountain yesterday. Left Welches in thick fog and 33 degree heavy rain (splat test was negative) and it poured all the way down to Sandy. Drive was dry (aside from road spray) from there on down. Ended the day with 0.60″ in the rain gauge. Saw no lightning/heard no thunder, but with how intense the showers were in the evening (especially right after sunset) I wouldn’t have been too surprised.

    Merry Christmas, folks.

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      I also had to deal with the heavy rain too. Driving on I-84 wasn’t fun. I use to drive to Hood River and The Dalles for 2 years and have experienced a lot of different weather conditions but last night was intense. Everyone was driving around 40 mph (if that) and I had the wiper blades on high and still had a hard time seeing out of the front windshield. It was white knuckle driving all the way home.

      • Jake in Gresham says:

        Might I suggest what this retired mechanic recommends:

        I know exactly the type of rain you’re talking about (I drive in the countryside often – it can get gnarly). I especially like these wipers because as this mechanic explains. They get better over time in regard to water repelling. Not worse.

  11. Roland Derksen says:

    Merry Christmas to all- at least we are having a break from the rain here today and tomorrow- and freezing levels are low enough to keep the snow on the local mountains. Might see a few snowflakes on Christmas day in the evening, as well.

  12. Ken in Wood Village says:

    The Euro better not start looking like the GFS. It needs to stand it’s ground and keep the cold air in the PNW…lol

  13. Ken in Wood Village says:

    Well, I really like the 00Z Euro. If we went by what it says, we could finally see a cold spell. 🙂

    • Jake in Gresham says:

      I’m excited. I compared the last 3 Euro runs slide by slide. I hope this continues here too!

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        I was really busy this afternoon and hadn’t seen the models the whole day. When I finally saw it around 7pm I was like, WOW. Then the 00Z Euro run was even better. I know it’s a week away but I’m really hoping it stays in the next few runs. One thing that isn’t helping is the GFS. It doesn’t even show it. I’m hoping it will follow soon. 🙂

        • Jake in Gresham says:

          Frankly just surprised to even see it going into Montana so fierce for what’s really been a lack luster Winter. And totally hope the GFS jumps aboard. I am glad it’s the Euro though and for the last 3 runs is nothing to sneeze at too. The waiting game commences for me!

          Fairly convinced we’ll see snow in the air on Thursday morning at this point. Still a bit away but it’s a real possibility now.

        • Ken in Wood Village says:

          Yea, I’m really glad the Euro is showing it. Normally it’s the one that shows stuff first then the GFS jumps aboard. Hopefully it will start showing it in the next couple of runs. Fingers crossed 🙂

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        Oh, and don’t forget about the chance of rain and snow mix early Wednesday too. It’s borderline but there is a chance.

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        It looks like the GFS is starting to pick up what the Euro is picking up. The 06Z GFS started having 850mb temps in the -7 range. Let’s hope it keeps it up and brings the goods like the Euro is doing.

      • Ken in Wood Village says:

        Well, so much for the 12Z GFS. It took the cold all away from our area around the 30th through the 2nd. It may take a couple more runs for it to come back. I just hope the Euro doesn’t change it’s mind and go with the GFS.

      • W7ENK says:

        Unfortunately, like Ashley stated below, the EURO has been having a lot of trouble with the longer range, and lately seems to always swing the way of the GFS in the mid-range. I don’t know why that is this Winter, since the EURO has traditionally been the superior product, but for whatever the reason I’m not holding out much hope. I expect to see the EURO slide away from the cold solutions over the next couple of runs and fall more in line with the warmer GFS, yet again.

      • ,we really need a hard cold spell to kill off these fresking fleas…been ging our doggies comfortis…in the winter?!

  14. Jake in Gresham says:

    Come Euro don’t fail us show support for this! Mark,… are you going on vacation?

    • Jake in Gresham says:

      Latest Euro run clearly puts arctic in the Columbia river basin more so instead of taking it East on Thursday of this week. Past the 1st of January a retrograde is shown to move into the Columbia river basin reinforcing it.

      It is most intense in the latest run with the entire State of Montana in an airmass of -22/23 Celsius at the 850mb. Not bad, not bad at all.

  15. Hmm…

  16. Ashley Watson says:

    I’ve noticed that the euro has really stunk this year for over here in central Oregon. It’s forecasted lots of snow only 5-7 days out and always comes around to the GFS. I would take it with a grain of salt

  17. Mark says:

    Been watching these runs change one by one today… Model riding away! However, if the high says a. It off shore come New Years time frame, it’s looking to open up the back door and at that point we’ll see… hmmmm…

  18. Ken in Wood Village says:

    I thought Wednesday could be a little interesting for us. I’m glad Mark picked up on that too.

    OMG, it was a white knuckle ride home from having dinner at Outback on 82nd (I have a friend that works there). It was fine when I was on I-205 but then I went to I-84 and it was raining so hard I had my wiper blades on high and I still had a hard time seeing the road. There was so much water on the road that everyone slowed down to maybe 40 mph. It wasn’t fun!!

    Let’s hope for maybe some snow showers on Wednesday 🙂

    • Ken in Wood Village says:

      Ok, I have been busy most of the day and just looked at the 12Z Euro. I will admit, it’s very interesting starting around 12/30/18. Then it gets really really interesting on 12/31/18. 🙂

  19. JERAT416 says:

    Merry Christmas everyone, and safe travels.

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