Oregon Daily Snow

Heads up, there may be fresher snow! Read the latest Oregon Daily Snow

By Zach Butler, Meteorologist Posted 1 month ago February 23, 2024

Calm Before the Storm

Summary

Clear and calm conditions will continue from Friday through Sunday AM. Clouds move in on Sunday with precipitation beginning by Sunday PM in the Cascades. A round of strong storms will bring heavy snow from Sunday PM through Tuesday AM (1-2+ ft). Tuesday will see a break in precipitation with another storm moving in on Wednesday. Wednesday's storm intensity and snow accumulations are uncertain...

Short Term Forecast

Clear and calm weather has returned to Oregon with plenty of sunshine making it a great day to soak up the sun. We will continue to see clear and dry weather with temperatures into the 30s and 40s from Friday, February 23rd through Sunday morning, February 25th.

By Sunday afternoon and evening, clouds will move in from the northwest, which will be the first sign of big changes to come into next week with heavy snow! A few snow showers are likely in the Cascades by Sunday evening. See more below...

Forecast from Monday, February 26th through Wednesday, February 28th:

A remarkably accurate forecast from the past week will come to fruition with a round of strong storms moving in from the northwest, which will bring low snow levels and heavy snow! There is a lot to break down but let's get into it below.

Timing & Wind:

The first storm will move precipitation into the Cascades on Sunday evening. Precipitation will intensify quickly, as the storm system strengthens and moves an atmospheric river into the Cascades. Monday's first tracks will be fresh and there will be free refills throughout the day. 

Scattered snow showers will fall on Monday as orographic lift enhances the snow showers over the Cascades with moderate snowfall rates. There could be a few brief breaks, but these will be limited. Snow showers will weaken Monday evening with breaks in snow showers into Tuesday morning. Tuesday will see intermittent snow showers dry as we await the next storm system moving in Tuesday evening, but the timing is still hard to pinpoint.

The next storm will move in on Tuesday evening and or Wednesday morning. This storm will have a westerly component and raise snow levels. This storm has the potential to bring heavier snow than the first storm, but there is still a lot of uncertainty with this storm. I think more than likely, moderate snowfall is likely on Wednesday, which could continue into Thursday. February 29th.

Winds will be strongest with the first wave of precipitation from Sunday evening through Monday morning. Winds will weaken on Monday, but still be gusty over 50 mph. Winds will continue to weaken on Tuesday as we have a break in precipitation. With the next storm on Wednesday, we will see strong winds again. 

Snow Levels:

Snow levels will drop quickly as precipitation moves in on Sunday night. I think the drop in snow levels could be a little slower than the model indication, but all resorts will start as snow. On Monday morning, snow levels will drop to around 1,000 feet. These low snow levels will keep snow ratios high around 12:1 or higher. 

Snow levels will rise on Tuesday as we see a break in snow showers to 3,000 - 4,000 feet. On Wednesday, snow levels are uncertain. Depending on how much the storm has a westerly component will impact how much snow levels rise. I think more than likely they will range from 4,000 - 5,000 feet, which means snow will become a lot wetter and could bring rain near some bases.

Below is a look at the OpenSnow Blend of Model’s prediction snow levels (black line) and the 3-hourly snowfall rates (blue bars) @ Mt. Hood Meadows from Sunday, February 25th through Tuesday, February 27th.

Snow Accumulations:

The first wave of precipitation from Sunday night through Tuesday morning will bring 1-2 feet of snow with high confidence in this. The higher end of this range will be in the northern Cascades. On Wednesday, there will be some snow accumulations but it is uncertain whether this will be heavy or light. 

Below is a look at the National Blend of Model’s (NBM) forecasted snow accumulations on Monday, February 26th, and Tuesday, February 27th. I'm not confident enough on Wednesday to forecast snow accumulations besides saying the range could be 6-24+ inches.

Uncertainty:

The greatest area of uncertainty as highlighted above is with Wednesday. The storm system will be strengthening as it approaches the PNW from the west. This will raise snow levels and have an AR component, which will bring heavy snow. Depending on where this AR sets up in Oregon or into Washington, will influence where the heaviest snow accumulation (12-24+ inches) will fall.

Below is a look at the ensemble forecasted total snow accumulations @ Mt. Hood Meadows. The boxes highlight the upcoming storm in the next week. 

Description: The graphic above shows 51 versions of the European ensemble model (top) over 7 days from left to right on the x-axis (horizontal). Each grey line shows the total snow accumulations on the y-axis (vertical). The closer the lines are together, the higher the confidence in the forecast.

Extended Forecast

The weather pattern from Thursday, February 29th, and onward is uncertain but has looked more and more favorable for several rounds of snow. The Pacific storm track will remain active and send ARs into the PNW. The uncertainty with the storm track and ARs is where they will exactly track and send the heaviest snow too. 

The most favorable is for a westerly to southwesterly flow, which tends to bring strong ARs with rising snow levels. Snow levels this far out are too uncertain, but I think the storms will be cold enough to limit the rain threat to many areas. 

Below is a look at the Euro's ensemble predicted upper-level pattern from Wednesday, February 28th through Monday, March 3rd.

Description: The cool, blue colors show cooler air that will be associated with the storm track.

Have a great Friday, I will have the next update on Sunday, February 25th. I will have forecasts out at 8 am moving forward with the active weather so I can update the most current information and conditions.

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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