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Oh… my head hurts… this is a hard forecast. Let’s get the easy part out of the way first: Gorge weather. Today will be cloudy in the western Gorge, but the further east you go, the sunnier it will be. The gradient is already W .10, and it’s going to get bigger. Expect west wind at 22-26+ from Hood River to Stevenson this morning, with 26-30 further east. This afternoon, west wind picks up to 32-40 from Hood River to Maryhill. Looks like the eastern Gorge won’t be quite as windy until after dark, when it will blow 35+ from Rowena east to Arlington. Do not leave your garbage cans out today or tonight!
Tomorrow starts off with west wind at 32-40 from Hood River to Maryhill, backing off to 26-30 in the afternoon from Stevenson to Maryhill. It should be mostly cloudy in the western Gorge tomorrow and sunny out east.
So, you probably know that there’s tons of moisture headed to the mountains. That’s mostly orographically driven, so strong rain shadows should protect Portland and the central/east Gorge from the bulk of the precip.
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Now, on to the mountains. Today’s a pretty easy call: Snow level at 1000′ early, rising to 2000′ in the afternooon. Dumping snow all day – models say .5” water value (WV), but I suspect we’ll see a lot more with the strength of the NW wind. Call it .5-.8” for 6-10” of new by 4pm. The precip rate increases dramatically after 4pm, with 2” WV by Tuesday morning, for 18-24” of new snow overnight. Wind today will be WNW 40 early, 35-40 midday, and WNW 50+ overnight. That’s going to make chairs run slowly, if at all.
Tomorrow looks much worse for chairs running, sadly, meaning slightly-protected Skibowl’s got the best shot of you accessing all that new snow. As of yesterday, it looked like warmer air was going to move in early Tuesday. Now it looks like it will happen later, which is a darn good thing. So, expect .7-1.0” WV Tuesday between 4am and 4pm, for 8-10” of new snow. However, the weather is going to start warming around 1pm, with warmer air moving in above (more on that in a bit)… Anyway, it doesn’t much matter, as the chances of any lifts running are minimal with the incoming wind: WNW 60 at 1am, NW 50 at 7am, NNW 45-55 at 10am, not dropping until 4pm, when it goes to NNW 45.
Okay, so back to the incoming warmer air. As I said yesterday, this is a really strange setup, with tropical air headed north around a blocking high, and then headed back south into the Cascades. I’ve never seen it before… So, warmer air comes over top of the colder air below, and by 4pm, models are showing the freezing level at 6000′. This means we’ll likely see a switch from snow to freezing rain sometime between 1pm and 4pm.
The snow level will fluctuate a bit Tuesday night, but by 4am, the temp will be -1°C at 8000′. This suggests to me that we’ll see freezing rain overnight Tuesday through Wednesday evening, when the snow level finally drops back to 5500′. If I’m right, Wednesday will be miserable. If I’m wrong, and we can hope for that, because I’d rather be wrong than right in this case, we get .7” WV Tuesday night for 5-7” of new by Wednesday morning, followed by .8” during the day Wednesday for 5-7” of new. Another .3” falls Wednesday evening, after which there will be a few more flurries followed by clear sky Thursday.
The extended forecast predicts warmer, dry weather through the weekend.
Have an awesome day today!