Oregon Daily Snow

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By Zach Butler, Meteorologist Posted 2 months ago December 6, 2023

Snow Levels Lower with a Return to the Good Stuff

Summary

Rain changes to snow on Wednesday with the heaviest snow arriving on Thursday. A few snow showers will continue on Friday with another storm arriving Saturday. Total snow accumulations from Wednesady through Friay will be 12-18 inches. Snow levels and precipitation amounts are uncertain on Saturday but snow levels will likely rise on Sunday, December 10th.

Short Term Forecast

Heavy rain and record-high temperatures are causing snow to melt rapidly and contribute to some flooding throughout the state. Below is a look at the snowpack on Tuesday, December 5th (left) and Sunday, December 3rd (right). Even more snow has melted since the image on the left by Wednesday morning!

Forecast on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday:

A cold front will move through Oregon beginning on Wednesday morning and continue through the afternoon. This cold front will change winds from the southwest to the northwest and move cold air that will lower snow levels. Snow levels will lower to around 4,000 feet by Wednesday evening.

Upper portions of resorts will change to snow Wednesday afternoon with all areas changing to snow by Wednesday evening. A couple of inches of snow are likely in this time frame.

On Thursday, another wave of precipitation will move through Oregon, which will be accompanied by southwest winds. Moderate amounts of precipitation are likely through the Cascades and northeastern Oregon. Winds shouldn't be too strong with this wave of precipitation at 10-20 mph with gusts less than 30 mph.

Snow levels will fall on Thursay to 2,500 - 3,000 feet by the evening, which means snow ratios will increase for higher elevations at resorts. Snow showers will move out of Oregon on Friday morning with some sun poking through during the day. This brief sun won't last two long with the next storm quickly approaching the PNW by Saturday, December 9th.

Below is a look at the National Blend of Model’s (NBM) forecasted snow accumulations from Wednesday, December 6th through Friday, December 8th.

These rounds of snow will favor the southern Cascades and bring solid amounts of snow to make up for the rain and melt from early this week.

Forecast on Saturday and Sunday, December 10th:

The next storm will move through British Columbia on Saturday and extend precipitation into the PNW. There is still model uncertainty regarding where the center of this storm impacts British Columbia, which will affect the timing of precipitation and snow levels in Oregon.

Saturday, December 9th will most likely start sunny before precipitation moves in at some point during the day.

A more northerly track of this storm will move precipitation in later and raise snow levels to above 5,000 feet. A more southely track will move precipitation in earlier and lower snow levels to around 3,000 feet. Below is a look at the Euro (left) and GFS (right) model’s predicted upper-level pattern on Saturday, December 9th.

The Euro model has been more accurate for storms thus far this season, but I think the models will meet somewhere in the middle. This would bring precipitation in on Saturday, December 9th with snow levels above 4,000 feet and rising during this storm.

A look at the forecasted snowfall accumulations shows the certainty in the Wednesday through Friday storm with the uncertainty and large range in potential snow accumualtions on Saturday, Decmber 9th and Sunday, December 10th. Below is a look at the Euro model's ensemble forecasted 24-hour snow accumulations.

Behind the main wave of precipitation on Saturday or Sunday, another round of precipitation will move in. Behind this storm system, no matter the track into British Columbia, warmer air and higher snow levels will move into Oregon, due to favorable southwest flow.

Extended Forecast

There is a growing model consensus for a large upper-level ridge to move into the northeastern Pacific Ocean to our west in the extended forecast. This would bring a prolonged period of dry weather to the PNW for at least a week. While not set in stone, this pattern would bring very little precipitation and above-normal temperatures. 

Below is a look at the Climate Prediction Center’s (CPC) probability outlook of temperatures (top) and precipitation (bottom) from Monday, December 11th through Friday, December 15th. 

Thanks for reading and have a great day. I will have the next forecast on Thursday.

Zach Butler

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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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