OSU Scientists: More Snow in Store for Oregon This Week
(Corvallis, Oregon) – Winter is back, they're saying down in Corvallis (above: a snow storm near Hillsboro).
Scientists from the Oregon Climate Change Research Service at Oregon State University say the season is back with a vengeance, but it will be a good thing for the snowpack after an unusually dry January.
“It’s not really all that unusual to still get some good winter storms at this time of year,” said Kathie Dello, deputy director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Service at Oregon State University. “For the Cascade Range this is actually very good news, we’re at about 75 percent of normal snowpack right now and need the snow.”
This coming week, look for a one-two punch of storms – one moving through today that could leave an inch or so of snow on the valley floor and much more in the mountains, and another coming in from Alaska about Sunday that is even better organized, with stronger winds and possibly some snow that could last longer and accumulate more.
There will be concern about traffic safety in icy conditions, commuting delays and school closures, as scientists expect a foot or more of snow to hit the southern Oregon Cascade Range and fluff up some of the ski conditions.
Mt. Hood got a nice dusting recently, and more is coming.
“Saturday might even offer a calm day between storms that would provide a good chance to ski,” she said. “There have been a lot of angry skiers in the last month.”
This is more like La Nina year this was proclaimed to be, which typically brings cooler, wetter winters to the Pacific Northwest.
“A few drier than normal weeks in January don’t change the fact we’re still in a La Nina pattern,” Dello said. “We had a very wet December, and the forecast going forward is for colder temperatures than usual and at least normal precipitation. So there’s a good chance that late winter and spring storms could bring the mountain snowpack back to normal.”
Snowpack affects many aspects of life and the economy in the Pacific Northwest, such as agricultural irrigation to salmon survival and stream flows.
The late January anomaly, Dello said, was linked to the Arctic Oscillation being in the “negative phase” – causing warmer than normal Arctic temperatures and influencing the weather in the mid-latitudes. That helped trigger some catastrophic winter storms in the East but left Oregon under a protective upper level ridge and comparatively dry, at least later in the month, with weather patterns coming more from the south than usual.
The storms this week, National Weather Service forecasters say, are expected to hammer almost all of the West, including California. They anticipate rain, major amounts of snow in the Sierra Nevada range and Rocky Mountains, blizzards in Colorado – and some happy skiers in Oregon.
Oregon weather forecasts here.