PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s nearly 70 degrees up on Mt. Hood Tuesday afternoon — which is not quite the type of weather that says snow is on the way.
That warm air will be plummeting to below-freezing by the weekend. So the question is: are you ready for mountain snow?
Ski season is creeping up and the ski resorts are waiting for the first taste of winter. We are expecting our first fall snow over the weekend and early next week. If you asked me a few weeks ago if I thought it would happen, I would probably feel skeptical.
We’ve had such a warm and dry pattern, it was hard to believe it would eventually end.
Looking back at recent snow dates up at the Mt. Hood test site (5,370 feet), snowfall tends to come down around this time of the year. Some years, the first snow event doesn’t happen until November. That would have felt more fitting to our current pattern.
However, we should see a low enough snow level to bring in the first snow for this site come this weekend.
The snow level forecast is estimating the arrival of cooler air overnight Thursday into Friday. The air aloft may cool down enough to freezing at 4,500 feet or so late Saturday and Sunday.
As the cold air comes funneling in, the moisture available will help out for our first noteworthy snowfall for the mountains.
You will notice in the graphics below that a trough settles in over the top of us by Saturday.
There will be enough cold winter air over the mountains to help support mountain snow. You need to be prepared for much colder air and way more moisture if you were even thinking about doing a camping trip in the higher elevations next week.
It will feel more like the middle of fall and not anything like summer.
The futurecast is painting a rich amount of moisture Friday, which will hold for the weekend. The higher terrain will start with rain on Friday, but then it will cool down enough to allow for snow to fall.
Expect snow down to the test site and the base of the snow slopes by Saturday morning.
This won’t be enough to start the ski season. We will need to build the base up for some time closer to Thanksgiving.
The heaviest of the snow this weekend will fall in areas of the Cascades in northern Washington and for the northern Rockies to the east. We will do our best to pull in some snowfall for our local resorts here.