Powder Watch - December 10 2008
Finally, Snow at Last
Powder alert for Friday to Saturday.
Snowfall in the Cascades has been pretty lean for the last month, as high pressure has blocked most of the storms. It’s been a slow start to the season. But recall, last year really didn’t get cooking until about a week before Christmas – then it was great for weeks. Weather patterns change fast.
All computer forecast models are showing a major change in the global circulation for the West Coast of North America starting on Friday. By Saturday, cold air will bring the snow level to sea level – a little snow in Seattle is possible Saturday morning.
Friday into early Saturday will see 8”-15” of snowfall in the Cascades. That might be enough for some areas to partially open, given the snowfall of the last couple of days. The weather system will move from north to south, spreading snowfall and dragging in chilly arctic air.
Mission Ridge is open with snow-making, weekends only, right now. They and will receive new fresh snow, especially late Friday into Sunday. A favorable “return flow” of easterly air, which will develop, can often enhance snow on the east slopes of the Cascades.
Snow level will drop from 2000 ft on Friday to near sea level by Saturday morning. All ski areas will get the best dumpage so far this season. And NO rain! Modest to strong winds could be a factor for local snow distribution and uneven areal coverage, as snow will be drifting. That can actually help, as drifts can turn a 12” snowfall into 3ft -- if the drifts end up in the right place – on the slopes or groomed to better locations. The downside is ridges get wind scoured with little accumulation. There may be additional accumulation Saturday and Sunday, mainly central and south Cascades, as the storm moves southward.
By later Saturday and Sunday, we are in for a very cold and dry pattern for about 5- 7 days, as mainly, dry arctic air moves in. The next chance for any significant additional snowfall is sometime after the 19th, maybe in the days before Christmas.
If you do head up, be prepared for winter driving conditions. Some areas may open. Mission is open for weekends.
Here are my specific forecasts for Cascade snowfall from Friday morning to Saturday morning.
Mt Baker: 12-15” (Check website for status, limited weekend opening possible)
Stevens: 12-15” (Check website for status)
The Summit: 15”-18” (Add 1-3” Sat-Sun, check website for staus)
Crystal Mt.: 10-15” (Add 2-5” Sat-Sun) Check website for status, limited weekend opening possible
White Pass: 12”-16” (Add 3-6” Sat – Sun) (Check for status)
Mission Ridge: 5”- 7” (Add 3-6” Sat –Sun) limited weekend opening in progress, check website
Pubah of Pow
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