Oregon Daily Snow

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By Zach Butler, Meteorologist Posted 2 months ago November 30, 2023

Here Comes the Snow, Mt. Bachelor Opens Saturday

Summary

The storm is still on track to bring heavy snow accumulations of 1-3 feet for elevations above 3,500 feet. Light snow will fall on Thursday with total snow accumulations of 3-7+ inches. Heavy snow will fall on Friday and Saturday with 1-2+ feet. Mt. Bachelor will open on Saturday for what is sure to be a fun opening day. Snow will change to rain on Saturday evening through Sunday morning.

Update

The forecast has remained consistent since Wednesday's post. Let's pinpoint the storm timing, especially for Mt. Bachelor which will be opening on Saturday!

Forecast on Thursday:

Snow will start light on Thursday morning, becoming moderate midday, then becoming light again by the evening as the first wave of moisture moves through Oregon. Snow levels will be around 3,000 feet, but lower to 2,500 feet during the evening as colder air moves in.

Total snow accumulations on Thursday will be 3-7+ inches. 

Forecast on Friday and Saturday:

The atmospheric river (AR) will arrive on Friday morning bringing heavy snow and gusty winds (>30 mph). Snow levels will be 3,000 - 3,500 feet. Snow will fall heavily through the morning, with a bit of a break midday, then another burst Friday evening.

Snow will become lighter early Saturday morning, with the next wave of AR moisture moving in around sunrise on Saturday, just in time for the first lift to start running at Mt. Bachelor. You can expect 1-2 feet of fresh snow on the slopes Saturday morning.

I think the snow totals will be closer to the low end of that around 12 - 18 inches on Saturday morning at Mt. Bachelor. This will still be something fun to shred for opening day with an average snow ratio of 10-12:1 expected.

The only worry I have with this storm is that there is not an impressive amount of moisture in the middle parts of the atmosphere associated with the AR. Despite that, models show enough moisture and cold temperatures to bring heavy snow accumulations as well as orographic lift playing a significant part in heavy snow through the mountains. I still think it will be a solid storm with at least 1-2 feet, and hopefully around 30 inches.

Throughout the day on Saturday, snow will fall with total daytime accumulations of 6 - 12 inches. Winds will be gusty (>30 mph) throughout the day as well.

Below is a look at the National Blend of Model's (NBM) snow accumulations from Thursday through Saturday evening.

Snow accumulations will especially be impactful and heavier above 5,500 feet with colder temperatures and higher snow rates.

As the sun sets on Saturday, winds in the mid to upper parts of the atmosphere will shift to the southwest, which will transition us into the warm part of the storm cycle. Snow levels will rise to 5,500 - 6,500 feet during Saturday evening.

Below is a look at the Euro model’s depiction of precipitation type and intensity from 1 pm Friday, December 1st through 9 pm Saturday, December 3rd.

Forecast on Sunday:

Snow levels by sunrise on Sunday will be 6,500 - 7,500 feet. Snow levels will be lower in the southern Cascades and higher further north. Either way by Sunday afternoon and evening, snow levels will have risen to above 7,500 feet throughout the Cascades.

Heavy rain will accompany the rise in snow levels and I do not expect Mt. Bachelor to be open on Sunday. Conditions will be awful with flooding possible due to the heavy rain on the fresh snow.

Northeastern Oregon:

A similar story is expected for northeastern Oregon in terms of snow. The timing highlighted above will be a few hours delayed as precipitation moves across the state. The storm cycle will start with low snow levels and they will rise on Sunday. Heavy snow is still expected with a changeover to rain on Sunday afternoon and evening.

Forecast on Monday and Tuesday:

Monday will start with only a few rain showers through Oregon as we await the next round of warm air and rain later in the day. There is some model uncertainty regarding how far north heavy rain shifts into the Pacific Northwest. This could keep Monday partly dry, with the wave of warm air and rain moving in on Tuesday, December 5th.

Forecast on Wednesday, December 6th and Thereafter:

The warm AR train will continue on Wednesday, December 6th for what will be a very wet week throughout the PNW. The next shot of colder air and chances of snow will come by Thursday, December 7th, and Friday, December 8th.

Next update will be on Friday!

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About Our Forecaster

Zach Butler

Meteorologist

Zach Butler is currently a PhD student in Water Resources Science at Oregon State University. He just finished his master's in Applied Meteorology at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. Originally from Maryland, he has grown up hiking and skiing up and down the East Coast. When not doing coursework, he enjoys cooking and exploring the pacific northwest on his bike.

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