PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – It was just two weeks ago where the mountain was standing tall but mainly bare of low elevation snow. The snow water equivalent (SWE) was in the red and the forecast wasn’t calling for much snow.
That delayed the recreation season for a few weeks, but now we have tapped into a much cooler and moist La Niña pattern that we were counting on this winter. We now have over three feet of snow up on the base of Mt. Hood Meadows, with more higher. The ski and snowboard season is getting loud.
Well, I’m here to say that we are in a much better place than when we checked in earlier in the month. We have hopes for even more improvements as we finish off the month of December.
The view of Mt. Hood Meadows shortly after mid-day on Wednesday is a snowy scene. The trees are holding the weight of snow and the slopes are bright white. This is the type of view we are pining for come November. This is the product of multiple storm systems over the last ten days.
CURRENT SNOW WATER EQUIVALENT
The SWE was below 50 percent statewide just two weeks ago. Each basin was sitting in red, now only the far southeast corner of the state still in a state of concern. The largest improvement coming out of the northern Cascades of Oregon, with the Willamette Basin pushing into the 90 percentile of the 1991-2020 median. We are not in a place to settle for just this snow, we could still use a rush of more snow. With winter officially around the corner, that is a sign that it is still early to the season. We have the ability to create more and store more snow as the winter season unfolds.
The KOIN 6 ski report has been busy for the last few days. The base of each local ski resort is building quickly. By the time we wrap up the week, it is possible that we have another foot of snow up on the mountain. Who has a pass this season? Now is the time to get up there.
We may even have a few days where you can catch some blue sky in the forecast. Timberline is loaded with snow up on the slopes of the lodge roof. You will need to travel with patience if you’re working your way up the drive to Timberline.
The snow total forecast is still projecting up to a foot of snow by the time Friday morning rolls in. Snow for the mountains to the east and it looks like the counties of Harney and Malheur are also on track for some snow. Some impressive totals coming out of the mountains to the south near the border of California. We have a few pockets around Mt. St. Helens too, which is a good sign for Washington Cascades that are farther south. Up to this point, the snow season was more lucrative for the northern Washington Cascades. This should help keep the snow recreation going and it will offer some excitement for those who are still trying to get to the mountain for the first time this season.
Right now we are expecting cooler than average temperatures to hang around until the weekend. The extended forecast may have another shot of cold air coming in around next weekend, close to the holiday. This should keep the snow nice and cold and we aren’t going to worry about a warm atmospheric river or a loss in any snow at this time. All the warm winter air is painted across the Midwest and the southern states. Some locations are seeing summer-like temperatures right now in the middle of December. That tends to bring in severe weather concerns because of the major clash in air masses.
Check out the temperatures down in Texas today. While we are mostly in the 30s and 40s here, some are spending their afternoon in the 70s, Houston hitting 82 degrees this afternoon. It sounds welcoming, but we don’t need that type of weather out here right now.
We are in the market for cool and wet weather for the snow.