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Mountain Weather Forecast

Issued: 1:35 PM Saturday, April 25, 2015
by Kenny Kramer

The last daily NWAC forecasts for this season were issued on Saturday, April 11th. For the remainder of April, NWAC forecasts will be issued on April 17th, 18th, 24th and 25th to provide coverage those weekends. At any time this spring, blog posts and Special Avalanche Advisories will be issued if unusual or unusually severe avalanche conditions are expected.

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 Saturday & Sunday

An upper level low pressure circulation is centered over central Washington Saturday afternoon and produced light to moderate showers at low freezing levels early Saturday. The low will continue tracking eastward through the day towards Idaho overnight. Showers have already diminished by midday Saturday and should continue to diminish later Saturday, however, sunbreaks and afternoon warming may cause a few isolated, but enhanced showers Saturday afternoon and even the possibility of a thunderstorm.

Showers should end overnight as high pressure rebuilds from the SW.

An upper level ridge should gain strength over the region Sunday, to cause clearing and warming.

A weak warm front may brush the Olympics and Mt Baker areas late Sunday and Sunday night as the main energy moves inland well north of the region. ?

Weather forecast for Saturday & Sunday

Olympics
Date Weather
Saturday

Mostly light snow showers, decreasing through the afternoon.

Saturday Night

Light showers ending with decreasing clouds.

Sunday

Partly cloudy and warmer.

Washington Cascades near and west of the crest including Stevens, Snoqualmie, and White Passes
Date Weather
Saturday Afternoon - Saturday Evening

Mostly light rain or snow showers, possible afternoon or evening thunderstorm. 

Saturday Night

Light showers ending with decreasing clouds.

Sunday

Partly to mostly sunny and warmer.

Washington Cascades near and west of the crest including Stevens, Snoqualmie, and White Passes
Date Weather
Saturday Afternoon - Saturday Evening

Light rain or snow showers mainly higher elevations.

Saturday Night

Light showers at higher elevations ending with decreasing clouds.

Sunday

Mostly sunny and warmer.

Mt. Hood Area
Date Weather
Saturday Afternoon - Saturday Evening

Light to possibly moderate snow showers, gradually decreasing.

Saturday Night

Light showers ending with decreasing clouds.

Sunday

Sunny and warmer.

Snow Level/Freezing Level in feet

Date Olympics Northwest Cascades Northeast Cascades Central Cascades South Cascades Easterly Flow in Passes
Saturday Afternoon Snow Level 3500' 3000' 4000' 3500' 4500'
Saturday Night Snow Level 4000' 2500' 3500' 3000' 3500'
Sunday Morning Freezing Level 5000' 5000' 5500' 5000' 5500'
Sunday Afternoon Freezing Level 7000' 7000' 7000' 7500' 8000'
Olympics
Date Elevation
Saturday Afternoon Snow Level
3500'
Saturday Night Snow Level
4000'
Sunday Morning Freezing Level
5000'
Sunday Afternoon Freezing Level
7000'
Sunday Night Snow Level
7000'
Northwest Cascades
Date Elevation
Saturday Afternoon Snow Level
3000'
Saturday Night Snow Level
2500'
Sunday Morning Freezing Level
5000'
Sunday Afternoon Freezing Level
7000'
Sunday Night Snow Level
6000'
Northeast Cascades
Date Elevation
Saturday Afternoon Snow Level
4000'
Saturday Night Snow Level
3500'
Sunday Morning Freezing Level
5500'
Sunday Afternoon Freezing Level
7000'
Sunday Night Snow Level
6000'
Central Cascades
Date Elevation
Saturday Afternoon Snow Level
3500'
Saturday Night Snow Level
3000'
Sunday Morning Freezing Level
5000'
Sunday Afternoon Freezing Level
7500'
Sunday Night Snow Level
7000'
South Cascades
Date Elevation
Saturday Afternoon Snow Level
4500'
Saturday Night Snow Level
3500'
Sunday Morning Freezing Level
5500'
Sunday Afternoon Freezing Level
8000'
Sunday Night Snow Level
8000'

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 Sun Mon
Hurricane Ridge lt .10 lt .10
Mt Baker Ski Area lt .25 lt .25
Washington Pass lt .10 lt .10
Stevens Pass lt .25 lt .10
Snoqualmie Pass lt .25 lt .10
Mission Ridge lt .10 0
Crystal Mt lt .25 lt .10
Paradise lt .25 lt .10
White Pass lt .25 0
Mt Hood Meadows lt .25 0

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

Date Direction - Speed
Saturday Afternoon W 10 - 15

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
Saturday Afternoon W 10 - 20 W 5 - 15 W 5 - 15 W 10 - 20
Saturday Night VAR 0 - 10 VAR 0 - 10 VAR 0 - 10 VAR 0 - 10
Olympics
Date Elevation
Saturday Afternoon W 10 - 20
Saturday Night VAR 0 - 10
Sunday - Sunday Night NW 5 - 10
Northwest Cascades
Date Elevation
Saturday Afternoon W 5 - 15
Saturday Night VAR 0 - 10
Sunday - Sunday Night NW 5 - 10
Central Cascades
Date Elevation
Saturday Afternoon W 5 - 15
Saturday Night VAR 0 - 10
Sunday - Sunday Night NW 5 - 10
South Cascades
Date Elevation
Saturday Afternoon W 10 - 20
Saturday Night VAR 0 - 10
Sunday - Sunday Night NW 5 - 15
Olympics
Date Direction - Speed
Saturday Afternoon W 10 - 20
Saturday Night VAR 0 - 10
Sunday - Sunday Night NW 5 - 10
Northwest Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Saturday Afternoon W 5 - 15
Saturday Night VAR 0 - 10
Sunday - Sunday Night NW 5 - 10
Central Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Saturday Afternoon W 5 - 15
Saturday Night VAR 0 - 10
Sunday - Sunday Night NW 5 - 10
South Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Saturday Afternoon W 10 - 20
Saturday Night VAR 0 - 10
Sunday - Sunday Night NW 5 - 15

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
Saturday Afternoon NW 10 - 20 NW 10 - 20 NW 10 - 20 W 15 - 25
Saturday Night - Sunday NW 5 - 15 NW 5 - 15 NW 5 - 15 NW 10 - 20
Northwest Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Saturday Afternoon NW 10 - 20
Saturday Night - Sunday NW 5 - 15
Sunday Night W 5 - 15
Northeast Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Saturday Afternoon NW 10 - 20
Saturday Night - Sunday NW 5 - 15
Sunday Night WSW 5 - 15
Central Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Saturday Afternoon NW 10 - 20
Saturday Night - Sunday NW 5 - 15
Sunday Night W 5 - 15
South Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Saturday Afternoon W 15 - 25
Saturday Night - Sunday NW 10 - 20
Sunday Night NW 5 - 15

Extended Weather Synopsis for Monday through Wednesday

An upper ridge should build further over the western US Monday to cause clear and mild weather with high freezing levels.

An approaching upper trough and front should reach the Olympics late Tuesday for a return to mainly light precipitation, mainly in the Olympics and NW WA Cascades.

A splitting upper trough should approach the coast Wednesday to maintain mostly cloudy weather and a chance of showers towards mid-week.

Extended Weather Forecast for Monday through Wednesday

Olympics, Washington Cascades, Mt Hood
Date Weather
Monday - Tuesday Mid-day

Partly or mostly sunny and partly or mostly clear and much warmer.

Snow/Freezing Levels

Date Olympics Northwest Cascades Northeast Cascades Central Cascades South Cascades Easterly Flow in Passes
Monday - Tuesday Mid-day Freezing Level 9000' - 11000' 9000' - 11000' 10000' - 12000' 10000' - 12000' 10000' - 12000'
Olympics
Date Elevation
Monday - Tuesday Mid-day Freezing Level
9000' - 11000'
Tuesday Afternoon - Wednesday Snow Level
4500' - 6000'
Northwest Cascades
Date Elevation
Monday - Tuesday Mid-day Freezing Level
9000' - 11000'
Tuesday Afternoon - Wednesday Snow Level
4000' - 5500'
Northeast Cascades
Date Elevation
Monday - Tuesday Mid-day Freezing Level
10000' - 12000'
Tuesday Afternoon - Wednesday Snow Level
4500' - 6000'
Central Cascades
Date Elevation
Monday - Tuesday Mid-day Freezing Level
10000' - 12000'
Tuesday Afternoon - Wednesday Snow Level
4500' - 6000'
South Cascades
Date Elevation
Monday - Tuesday Mid-day Freezing Level
10000' - 12000'
Tuesday Afternoon - Wednesday Snow Level
5500' - 7000'

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.