Northwest Daily Snow

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Two major storms in the next five days

Summary

The early season snowpack across the Cascades & Inland NW will see a major boost over the next several days with strong storms expected Sat-Mon and again Tue-Thu. Temps will be trending colder in this pattern, resulting in low snow levels & also good quality snow for powder seekers. Timing-wise, Monday AM and Thursday AM look like the best windows to ski fresh (and deep) powder.

Short Term Forecast

Forecast for Western Washington:

Reported and estimated snow totals over the past 24 hours (ending Saturday AM) range from 2-5 inches across the Cascades. This was just an appetizer for what's to come with two strong storms ahead.

A relative lull in the pattern will occur on Saturday morning ahead of Storm #1, but snow will begin across the North Cascades (Baker and Stevens) on Saturday afternoon as moisture arrives from the west/northwest. Snow will then become heavy and widespread throughout the WA Cascades on Saturday night.

Snow levels will peak around 3,000 feet on Saturday evening, resulting in a rain/snow mix initially around Snoqualmie Pass (near the base of the resort), but then snow levels will drop later Saturday evening and will bottom out around 1000 feet by Sunday morning.

Onshore flow aided by a secondary disturbance will result in robust backside snow showers re-developing on Sunday, with the heaviest snow showers expected on Sunday afternoon and evening. Snow levels will remain low, and the snow quality of Sunday's snow will be drier and more powdery.

Snowfall rates will become lighter by Monday morning, but additional light snow showers and flurries can be expected throuhout the day on Monday with snow levels remaining low.

Snow Totals (Sat to Mon):

Storm total snowfall will range from 1-2 feet for ski resorts throughout the WA Cascades. Mission Ridge will see lighter amounts of 2-5 inches, while Hurricane Ridge will pick up 7-14 inches.

Sunday will be a storm skiing day with fresh snow and free refills, but strong winds and difficult travel can also be expected. I would target Monday morning for the deepest snow conditions with lighter winds also expected.

Storm #2:

Another storm will drop in from the Gulf of Alaska around the middle of next week and deepen off the Coast before moving inland with winds out of the southwest. An even colder airmass will be arriving from the north with this storm, resulting in very low snow levels, possibly down to sea level around Seattle.

Strong dynamics associated with this storm will likely result in another heavy snow event, and cold air will ensure good quality powder. It just becomes a matter of nailing down the timing. 

The most likely scenario is that snow will arrive on Tuesday afternoon and persist through Thursday afternoon, with the heaviest and most widespread snowfall on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The American GFS is the lone model predicting a later arrival (more of a Wed-Fri event), but it is an outlier and thus not the most likely solution at this time.

Forecast for Eastern Washington/Northern Idaho:

Reported and estimated snow totals over the past 24 hours (ending Saturday AM) range from 2-7 inches across the Inland Northwest. This was just an appetizer for what's to come with two strong storms ahead.

As Storm #1 arrives, snow will begin on Saturday night with the heaviest snowfall rates overnight occurring over the northern Panhandle around Schweitzer, with lighter snow (initially) further south. The heaviest and most widespread snow across the INW as a whole can be expected on Sunday morning.

Cold air will be involved with this storm, resulting in low snow levels (well below ski resort base areas) along with good quality powder snow.

On Sunday afternoon and Sunday night, snow will taper off to isolated flurries around 49 North and Schweitzer, while better moisture and energy will exist further south as a secondary disturbance arrives with periods of moderate to heavy snow expected to continue from Bluewood to Silver and Lookout. 

On Monday, unsettled conditions will continue with additional snow showers, favoring areas along and south of I-90, especially Bluewood and SE Washington. 

Snow Totals (Sat to Mon):

Storm total snowfall will range from 6-12 inches at Schweitzer, Silver, and Lookout, 8-16 inches at Bluewood, and 2-6 inches at 49º North and Mt. Spokane.

Sunday will be a storm skiing day with fresh snow and free refills, but strong winds and difficult travel can also be expected. I would target Monday morning for the deepest snow conditions with lighter winds and somewhat better visibility also expected.

Storm #2:

Another storm will drop in from the Gulf of Alaska around the middle of next week and deepen off the Coast before moving inland with winds out of the southwest. An even colder airmass will be arriving from the north with this storm, ensuring that snow levels stay well below ski resort bases.

Strong dynamics associated with this storm will likely result in another heavy snow event (possibly more than the last storm), and cold air will result in good quality powder. Southwest winds should also favor 49º North and Mt. Spokane more than the previous storm. It just becomes a matter of nailing down the timing... 

The most likely scenario is that snow will arrive on Tuesday night and persist through Thursday night, with the heaviest and most widespread snowfall from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning. The American GFS is the lone model predicting a later arrival (more of a Wed night-Fri event), but it is an outlier and thus not the most likely solution at this time.

Forecast for Oregon:

Oregon largely missed out on Friday's storm, but not to worry because two big storms are on the way. Dry conditions will persist through the day on Saturday and for most of Saturday night, with snow beginning around Mt. Hood early Sunday morning as moisture associated with Storm #1 arrives from the northwest.

Snow will then pick up across Northern and Central Oregon (Mt. Bachelor & points north) on Sunday morning and persist through Sunday night, while Southern Oregon will see only light snow initially on Sunday, followed by moderate to heavy snowfall rates on Sunday night.

Snow levels will peak around 4,000 feet at Mt. Hood initially on Sunday morning, resulting in a rain/snow mix initially at the base of Skibowl, but then snow levels will quickly drop to 2,000 feet by later Sunday afternoon. All-snow is expected for the remainder of Oregon ski resorts.

Onshore flow aided by a secondary disturbance will result in additional snow showers developing on Monday and continuing into Monday evening, before tapering off later Monday night. Snow levels will remain.

Snow Totals (Sat to Mon):

Storm total snowfall will range from 1-2 feet for Mt. Hood Meadows, Timberline, and Hoodoo, and 8-16 inches for Hood Skibowl, Mt. Bachelor, Willamette Pass, and across the Blue and Wallowa Mountains including Anthony Lakes. Further south, Mt. Ashland and Warner Canyon will pick up 2-6 inches.

Monday will offer the best and deepest skiing conditions, with lighter winds and relatively higher visibility expected compared to Sunday's storm skiing conditions. Travel conditions should also be a bit better on the backside of the storm on Monday, compared to Sunday.

Storm #2:

Another storm will drop in from the Gulf of Alaska around the middle of next week and deepen off the Coast before moving inland with winds out of the southwest. An even colder airmass will be arriving from the north with this storm, resulting in very low snow levels, possibly down to sea level around Portland.

Strong dynamics associated with this storm will likely result in another heavy snow event, and cold air will ensure good quality powder. It just becomes a matter of nailing down the timing. 

The most likely scenario is that snow will arrive on Tuesday night and persist through Thursday night, with the heaviest and most widespread snowfall from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning. The American GFS is the lone model predicting a later arrival (more of a Wed night-Fri event), but it is an outlier and thus not the most likely solution at this time.

Extended Forecast

Outlook for December 2nd and Beyond:

We may dry out briefly around next Friday (12/2) in the wake of the previous storm. After that, most long range models are projecting a relatively active pattern to continue but one that favors weak/moderate storms more so than strong storms through about the first 10 days of December (though I wouldn't rule out a strong storm at some point).

The good news is that temperatures are expected to remain below average through early December, which should result in low snow levels for most of the storms we do get. Overall, early season conditions should be outstanding heading into December. 

Thanks so much for reading! Next update on Sunday (11/27).

ALAN SMITH