A storm will impact Oregon early this week with moderate to heavy snow expected throughout the Cascades & Blues, while only limited moisture will reach SW Washington. We will see a break on Wednesday-Thursday, then a stronger storm will likely impact the entire PNW to some extent in the Friday to Sunday timeframe.
Short Term Forecast
Forecast for Monday to Tuesday:
A powerful low pressure system will approach the Oregon Coast early this week, before diving southward and making landfall in Southern California. Before it heads southward, a moist south/southwest flow will develop across Oregon, resulting in widespread snowfall, while just a little bit of this moisture will make it into Southwest Washington.
Ski resorts throughout Oregon will receive moderate to heavy snow from this storm, while Mission Ridge, White Pass, and Crystal Mountain should pick up some snow as well.
This storm will be a miss for most of Eastern Washington/Northern Idaho, except for Bluewood in SE Washington who could pick up an inch or two. Conditions will be more spring-like across the Inland NW, but temps will still be on the chilly side for late March with mid-mountain highs in the upper 20s to mid 30s.
Most of the daytime period on Monday will be dry with highs in the mid 20s to low 30s. Snow will begin late afternoon/early evening on Monday then will become more widespread and heavier on Monday night and during the day on Tuesday.
Snow showers will linger into Tuesday evening before gradually tapering off on Tuesday night.
Snow levels will range from 2,000-3,000 feet on Monday night and Tuesday morning, but then a warm front will arrive toward the latter part of the event with snow levels ranging from 3,000-4,000 feet on Tuesday afternoon into Tuesday evening. So the snow will be a little bit upside down.
Snow totals will generally range from 7-14 inches across the Cascades and 6-12 across the Blues, with Hood Skibowl likely coming in with lower totals due to warmer air arriving toward the end of the event.
I would plan on Tuesday morning for the deepest conditions before temperatures warm up on Tuesday afternoon.
Winds will be moderate to occasionally strong during this event with the highest gusts expected on Monday night.
Partly cloudy skies and dry conditions can be expected on Monday with isolated flurries possible in the afternoon due to an unstable atmosphere. Highs on Monday will generally range from the upper 20s to mid 30s.
The upcoming storm will just graze Southern Washington, though short-range models are projecting a bit more moisture to reach the Southern Cascades than previously expected, with snowfall favoring the eastern side of the range due to upslope southeast winds.
Light snow is possible during the day on Tuesday, but the main wave is expected on Tuesday night. Mission Ridge could pick up 3-6 inches of snow assuming the moisture makes it this far north – but any slight southward trends would result in less snowfall.
Elsewhere, I'm expecting 2-4 inches at White Pass and 1-2 inches at Crystal Mountain. Little to no snow is expected north of the Rainier region.
Snow levels will range from 3,000-3,500 feet, so this snowfall will be a bit wetter compared to recent storms.
Most areas of Western Washington will see more wind than snow with this storm. Strong easterly winds can be expected throughout the Cascades during the day on Tuesday and into Tuesday evening, before tapering off later Tuesday night. Therefore, I would target Wednesday rather than Tuesday for skiing.
Forecast for Wednesday to Thursday:
A general break in the pattern can be expected during this time. However, there will be just enough lingering moisture for scattered clouds and isolated flurries to develop each afternoon as the sun "heats" up the lower atmosphere and causes the airmass to become unstable. Any accumulations will be light and spotty, however.
Temperatures will be coldest across Oregon on Wednesday and Thursday, closest to the low pressure system moving ashore in California, with highs in the 20s to low 30s, while Washington will see highs in the 30s to low 40s at mid-mountain elevations.
The next storm will arrive late this week, and it's looking like a strong one with moderate to heavy snow possible across all regions of the PNW in the Friday to Sunday timeframe. We'll get more dialed on the storm track, timing of snowfall, and snowfall amounts moving forward.
Looking further out, an active pattern will continue during the week of April 3rd-9th with storms expected on a frequent basis. Temperatures will also remain colder than average, which should help to keep snow levels lower than usual for early April.
Thanks so much for reading! Next update on Wednesday (March 29).
Also – I am transitioning over to "spring hours" for the next few weeks. I will be posting forecasts on Mondays-Wednesdays-Fridays moving forward with my final post of the season on Monday, April 17th.
Projected Ski Resort Closing Dates:
Mt. Hood Skibowl
Summit at Snoqualmie
Mt. Hood Meadows