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Mountain Weather Forecast

Issued: 1:16 PM Thursday, March 26, 2015
by Kenny Kramer

The NWAC program is administered by the USDA-Forest Service and operates from the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Seattle. NWAC services are made possible by important collaboration and support from a wide variety of federal, state and private cooperators.

Weather synopsis for Thursday & Friday

A building upper level ridge over the region Thursday is producing a warm and sunny spring day in the mountains of the PNW. Some high clouds are spilling over the ridge into the Olympics and NW part Thursday afternoon, but temperatures most areas have climbed well into the 40's and 50's at NWAC weather stations. 

High clouds should increase overnight as the next Pacific front approaches the offshore waters. Clouds lower Friday with light precipitation reaching the Olympics by about midday and moving into the Cascades during the afternoon in the north and evening in the south. A frontal passage is expected Friday night with lowering freezing levels and a period of briefly moderate precipitation expected along the west slope areas with less reaching the east slopes. 

Weather forecast for Thursday & Friday

Olympics, Washington Cascades near and west of the crest including Stevens, Snoqualmie, and White Passes
Date Weather
Thursday

Partly cloudy north part, mostly sunny south part. Warm. 

Thursday Night

Mostly clear. Increasing high clouds Olympics and north part after midnight.

Friday

Mostly cloudy with light rain or snow developing Olympics and NW part midday. Light rain and snow spreading to all areas late afternoon or evening. 

East slopes of the Washington Cascades
Date Weather
Thursday

Partly cloudy north part, mostly sunny south part. Warm. 

Thursday Night

Mostly clear. 

Friday

Increasing high clouds with light rain or snow developing north part during the afternoon or evening. 

Mt. Hood Area
Date Weather
Thursday

Mostly sunny and warm. 

Thursday Night

Mostly clear. 

Friday

Increasing high clouds.

Snow Level/Freezing Level in feet

Date Olympics Northwest Cascades Northeast Cascades Central Cascades South Cascades Easterly Flow in Passes
Friday Afternoon - Evening Snow Level 6000' 7000' 7000' 7000' 7500'
Olympics
Date Elevation
Friday Afternoon - Evening Snow Level
6000'
Friday Night Snow Level
4500'
Northwest Cascades
Date Elevation
Friday Afternoon - Evening Snow Level
7000'
Friday Night Snow Level
4000'
Northeast Cascades
Date Elevation
Friday Afternoon - Evening Snow Level
7000'
Friday Night Snow Level
4000'
Central Cascades
Date Elevation
Friday Afternoon - Evening Snow Level
7000'
Friday Night Snow Level
4500'
South Cascades
Date Elevation
Friday Afternoon - Evening Snow Level
7500'
Friday Night Snow Level
4500'

Cascade Snow / Freezing Levels noted above refer to the north (approximately Mt Baker and Washington Pass), central (approximately Stevens to White Pass) and south (near Mt Hood). Freezing Level is when no precipitation is forecast.
* Note that surface snow levels are common near the passes during easterly pass flow and may result in multiple snow / freezing levels.

24 Hour Quantitative Precipitation ending at 4 am

Location Fri Sat
Hurricane Ridge 0 .25 - .50
Mt Baker Ski Area 0 .50 - .75
Washington Pass 0 .25
Stevens Pass 0 .25 - .50
Snoqualmie Pass 0 .25 - .50
Mission Ridge 0 lt .10
Crystal Mt 0 .25
Paradise 0 .25 - .50
White Pass 0 .25
Mt Hood Meadows 0 .25

Winds in Miles per Hour (MPH) "Cascade Pass Level Winds"

Date Direction - Speed
Thursday Afternoon - Night W 5 - 15
Friday Morning E 0 - 10

Directions above indicate the direction the wind blows from on the 16-point cardinal scale. Winds near the passes tend to be highly channeled by the topography and normally blow either easterly or westerly depending on the surface pressure gradients that drive such winds.

Free Winds at 5000' (in Miles per Hour (MPH))

Date Olympics Northwest Cascades Central Cascades South Cascades
Thursday Afternoon - Friday Morning SW 5 - 15 SSW 5 - 15 SW 5 - 15 SW 5 - 15
Friday Afternoon - Friday Evening SSW 20 - 30 SW 15 - 25 SW 10 - 20 WSW 10 - 20
Olympics
Date Elevation
Thursday Afternoon - Friday Morning SW 5 - 15
Friday Afternoon - Friday Evening SSW 20 - 30
Friday Night W 20 - 30
Northwest Cascades
Date Elevation
Thursday Afternoon - Friday Morning SSW 5 - 15
Friday Afternoon - Friday Evening SW 15 - 25
Friday Night W 15 - 25
Central Cascades
Date Elevation
Thursday Afternoon - Friday Morning SW 5 - 15
Friday Afternoon - Friday Evening SW 10 - 20
Friday Night W 15 - 25
South Cascades
Date Elevation
Thursday Afternoon - Friday Morning SW 5 - 15
Friday Afternoon - Friday Evening WSW 10 - 20
Friday Night W 15 - 25
Olympics
Date Direction - Speed
Thursday Afternoon - Friday Morning SW 5 - 15
Friday Afternoon - Friday Evening SSW 20 - 30
Friday Night W 20 - 30
Northwest Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Thursday Afternoon - Friday Morning SSW 5 - 15
Friday Afternoon - Friday Evening SW 15 - 25
Friday Night W 15 - 25
Central Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Thursday Afternoon - Friday Morning SW 5 - 15
Friday Afternoon - Friday Evening SW 10 - 20
Friday Night W 15 - 25
South Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Thursday Afternoon - Friday Morning SW 5 - 15
Friday Afternoon - Friday Evening WSW 10 - 20
Friday Night W 15 - 25

Directions above indicate the direction the wind blows from on the 16-point cardinal scale. These winds and the 9000 ft winds below also indicate "free" winds, or those winds in the atmosphere not influenced by terrain. Topographical effects may produce greater or lower wind speeds in certain locations as well as significant variations in direction.

Free Winds at 9000' (in Miles per Hour (MPH))

Date Northwest Cascades Northeast Cascades Central Cascades South Cascades
Thursday Afternoon - Friday Morning WSW 15 - 25 SW 15 - 25 SW 10 - 20 SW 10 - 20
Friday Afternoon - Friday Evening SW 20 - 30 SW 15 - 25 SW 20 - 30 SW 25 - 35
Northwest Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Thursday Afternoon - Friday Morning WSW 15 - 25
Friday Afternoon - Friday Evening SW 20 - 30
Friday Night W 25 - 35
Northeast Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Thursday Afternoon - Friday Morning SW 15 - 25
Friday Afternoon - Friday Evening SW 15 - 25
Friday Night WNW 30 - 40
Central Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Thursday Afternoon - Friday Morning SW 10 - 20
Friday Afternoon - Friday Evening SW 20 - 30
Friday Night WNW 30 - 40
South Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Thursday Afternoon - Friday Morning SW 10 - 20
Friday Afternoon - Friday Evening SW 25 - 35
Friday Night WNW 30 - 40

Extended Weather Synopsis for Saturday through Monday

Showers should continue briefly Saturday morning with gradual clearing and drying through the day, especially from the Mt Hood area to the central WA Cascades. Some moisture is expected to move through the briefly building upper ridge and maintain periods of light precipitation in the Olympics and NW Washington Cascades through the day Saturday, but should remain very light. 

A relatively flat upper ridge should remain over the PNW Sunday and Monday, allowing for significant high cloud cover with some light precipitation at times over the Olympics and Mt Baker area. The Mt Hood area should see mostly sunny conditions and warmer temperatures under the stronger portion of the ridge.

The next frontal system is currently slated to move across the region Monday night to renew light precipitation. ?

Extended Weather Forecast for Saturday through Monday

Olympics, Washington Cascades near and west of the crest including Stevens, Snoqualmie, and White Passes
Date Weather
Saturday Morning

Mostly cloudy with light rain and snow showers, mainly Olympics and Mt Baker area.. 

Saturday Afternoon - Monday

Mostly cloudy Olympics and north Cascades with periods of light rain and snow.  Partly cloudy central and south Cascades. Mostly clear Mt. Hood. 

Snow/Freezing Levels

Date Olympics Northwest Cascades Northeast Cascades Central Cascades South Cascades Easterly Flow in Passes
Saturday Snow Level 4000' - 5000' 3500' - 4500' 4000' - 5000' 4000' - 5000' 5000' - 6000'
Sunday Snow Level 5500' - 6500' 5000' - 6000' 5000' - 6000' 5000' - 6000' 7000' - 8000'
Monday Snow Level 6000' - 7000' 5000' - 6000' 5500' - 6500' 6000' - 7000' 7000' - 8000'
Olympics
Date Elevation
Saturday Snow Level
4000' - 5000'
Sunday Snow Level
5500' - 6500'
Monday Snow Level
6000' - 7000'
Monday Night Snow Level
4000' - 5000'
Northwest Cascades
Date Elevation
Saturday Snow Level
3500' - 4500'
Sunday Snow Level
5000' - 6000'
Monday Snow Level
5000' - 6000'
Monday Night Snow Level
4000' - 5000'
Northeast Cascades
Date Elevation
Saturday Snow Level
4000' - 5000'
Sunday Snow Level
5000' - 6000'
Monday Snow Level
5500' - 6500'
Monday Night Snow Level
5000' - 6000'
Central Cascades
Date Elevation
Saturday Snow Level
4000' - 5000'
Sunday Snow Level
5000' - 6000'
Monday Snow Level
6000' - 7000'
Monday Night Snow Level
5000' - 6000'
South Cascades
Date Elevation
Saturday Snow Level
5000' - 6000'
Sunday Snow Level
7000' - 8000'
Monday Snow Level
7000' - 8000'
Monday Night Snow Level
5000' - 6000'

Freezing Level is when no precipitation is forecast.
* Note that surface snow levels are common near the passes during easterly pass flow and may result in multiple snow / freezing levels.