1/27 Mt. Hood exciting weather, Gorge wind, and atmospheric rivers doing weird stuff.

Posted by
 January 27, 2013

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Mt. Hood Snow Forecast – 5000′
4a-8a 8a-12p 12p-4p 4p-8p 8p-4a

Good morning,

I spent yesterday working on the mountain, and got back to town around 4pm. Wow… it was such a nice afternoon in the valley! Today’s Gorge weather should be sunbreaky in the morning, with rain moving in during the afternoon. Wind today will be west 20-24 or so. Tomorrow should bring pouring rain to Cascade Locks with sharply decreasing rain amounts the further east you go. Wind will be west 26-30 tomorrow morning, picking up to 30-35+ late in the afternoon with the strongest wind at Doug’s and Maryhill. Tuesday looks similar, with rain west, showers central, and sun east, with west wind at 26-30. Columbia River temp is 38°.

There’s some really interesting weather headed our way early this week. It’s an atmospheric river (aka Pineapple Express), but it’s taking the long route here (which should cool it down a bit and sap some of the precipitable water). There’s a big high pressure system off the coast, and the tropical moisture is going to head north around it, and then plummet south, slamming straight into the northern Oregon Cascades and the Washington Cascades. More on this in a bit. I know it’s probably not that interesting to you, but it’s a very unusual setup, and I’m excited to see what happens!

Today on Mt. Hood sees the snow level at 1000′, with flurries and sunbreaks through 4pm. Heavier snowfall picks up mid-afternoon, with .7-.8” water value (WV) overnight, for 7-9” of new snow by 4am Monday. Wind today will be NW 20-30 early, W 25-30 midday and NW 30-40 overnight.

Monday morning starts with the snow level around 1000′. Moderate snowfall continues through noon, becoming very heavy after noon. We’ll get 1” WV by 4pm, for 11-13” of new snow. Another 1.7” falls by 4am Tuesday, but it looks like the temps will be relatively warm despite the low snow level, giving us 14-18” of heavy, wind-affected new snow. Wind on Monday is going to be a problem, with WNW 30-40 early, NW 40-50 by 7am, W 45-55 by 1pm, and WNW 60+ by 4pm. Best of luck to the folks in charge of keeping chairs running. I have a feeling they won’t succeed.

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The wind looks even worse on Tuesday, and that’ll be nothing compared to the nasty weather. The snow level starts at 3000′, but warm air moving in above will likely give the mountains either freezing rain or really wet snow. The snow level rises to 5500′ at 7am and 6000′ by 10am, dropping a bit in the afternoon to 3000′. However, when the snow level drops, warm air above will keep the temp right around 0 degrees at 7500′, meaning we’ll probably see freezing rain in the afternoon. As for precip totals, expect 1-1.5” between 4am and 4pm and another 1.4-1.7” by 4am Wednesday. That’s going to give us feet and feet of snow up high, but the precip type is going to be marginal for snow accumulation down low. Wind on Tuesday will ensure most lifts don’t run, and it will ensure that the snow that does fall is extremely wind-affects: WNW 60 during the morning drops to a still-disruptive NW 45-50 around 10am, and stays that way all day. That’s going to be really problematic if we see freezing rain, because chairs won’t be running to keep the equipment from icing up.

Wednesday starts out with the snow level at 6000′, dropping to 4000′ by 1pm and 3500′ by 7pm. A snow/rain mix in the morning gives us .4” WV by 4pm, for a couple inches of new snow. After that, flurries alternate with sunbreaks. Wind on Wednesday will be NW 45-50 early, WNW 35-40 mid-afternoon, and NW 25-30 in the evening.

It looks like high pressure may rebuild after Wednesday, drying things out.

Have an awesome day today!