Once again, I’m having a day off, so the forecast is late. It hasn’t changed for the better, unfortunately. Is this a Pineapple Express? Well, the jet stream is certainly coming from just above the tropics, but it’s not quite a Pineapple Express. Maybe a mango express
Snow and/or freezing rain and/or sleet begin in the Gorge around 4pm today. With a .21 east gradient in place, it should stay cold enough for snow until tomorrow morning, at least. Light precip is all we’ll see until about 1am, and then moderate precip starts. Warm air should mix to the surface by noon tomorrow, likely earlier, ending the frozen precipitation and giving crazy windsurfers a chance at some mid-winter westerlies. We’ll see another chance for Gorge westerlies on Thursday afternoon.
On the mountain, the picture is not pretty. The rest of today looks cloudy, with the wind increasing to SSW 20-30. Snow levels stay below the passes until 10pm or so, and then the snow level will be at the surface in the Gorge and at 4000’ or so in the mountains. Total precipitation between now and 4am Wednesday will be .25-.5” for 4-5” of snow in the mountains.
By 10am tomorrow (Wednesday), the snow level will be around 5500’ during the day, rising to 7000’ early Thursday morning. Total precip from 4am tomorrow to 4am Thursday will be 2-3” of water value. I think we’ll see wet, wet snow at the base of Meadows with rain likely at HRM base. Total snowfall will be in feet above 6500’ and in the 4-6” range down low. Winds tomorrow do not look pretty, as an upper low tracks across Washington State. SW winds at 45-55 at 4am build to WSW 60-70 by 10am, decreasing to WSW 45-50 in the evening (as if that’s much of a decrease). Timberline is going to get hammered by the wind (and poor Skibowl will get hammered by the rain), but Meadows may be slightly protected from the southerly cant of these strong winds. Maybe.
Thursday looks equally bad, with the snow level starting at 7000’, dropping to 6000’ during the day, and rising back up to 7000’ in the evening. Early morning winds will be WSW 50-60, going to SW 40-50 by 1pm, and switching to a brutal W 40-50 (can you say “bye-bye quads”?) by 7pm. Total water value on Thursday will be at least 1.5-2”, coming in the form of r**n.
The snow level falls to 5000’-5500’ by 4am Friday, rising again Friday afternoon. Winds Friday morning will be WSW 35-40, rising to WSW 40-45 in the afternoon. Total water value on Friday looks like .5” or so, but that’s likely to change given the fact that the jet stream will be pointed directly at the Northwest.
Flow switches to NW on Saturday, for colder temperatures. Sunday is too far out to tell.
Boaters should see significant rises in river levels over the next few days for some insane whitewater time.
Have a great afternoon!