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Mountain Weather Forecast

Issued: 1:51 PM PST Friday, February 5, 2016
by Garth Ferber

Mt Hood forecast corrected at 150 pm.

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 Friday & Saturday

A cold front pushed inland over the Northwest on Wednesday. Temperatures stayed cool and NWAC sites along the west slopes had about 7-13 inches of new snow Thursday morning.

A warm front lifted north over the Northwest on Thursday. Another 2-6 inches was seen along the west slopes except with about 8 inches at Paradise and about 9-11 inches at Mt Hood.

The Northwest is in a warm sector between the warm and cold fronts Friday. Winds from the cold front are arriving at many NWAC sites Friday afternoon but the moisture has been a bit slower to arrive. Increasing southwest flow will carry moisture and the cold front to the Olympics Friday afternoon and to the Cascades Friday evening.

A period of moderate west flow and orographic showers should be seen Friday night with lowering snow levels. Some convergence is indicated by the 12 GMT WRF model from Stevens to Snoqualmie Saturday morning.

An upper ridge will begin to build over the US west coast on Saturday. West flow and orographic showers following the front should decrease fairly rapidly on Saturday.

Weather forecast for Friday & Saturday

Olympics
Date Weather
Friday Afternoon

Strong winds and increasing moderate to heavy rain or snow.

Friday Evening - Friday Night

Strong winds and light to moderate rain or snow showers.

Saturday Morning

Light to moderate snow showers.

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

Strong winds and increasing light rain or snow.

Friday Evening

Strong winds and moderate to heavy rain or snow.

Friday Night

Strong winds and light to moderate rain or snow showers.

Saturday Morning

Light to moderate snow showers possibly heaviest Stevens to Snoqualmie.

East slopes of the Washington Cascades
Date Weather
Friday Afternoon

Strong winds and increasing light rain or snow higher elevations.

Friday Evening

Strong winds and light to moderate rain or snow.

Friday Night

Strong winds and light to moderate rain or snow showers heaviest higher elevations.

Saturday Morning

Light to moderate snow showers heaviest higher elevations.

Mt. Hood Area
Date Weather
Friday Afternoon

Strong winds and increasing light rain or snow.

Friday Evening

Strong winds and moderate to heavy rain or snow.

Friday Night

Strong winds and light to moderate rain or snow showers.

Saturday Morning

Light to moderate snow showers.

Snow Level/Freezing Level in feet

Date Olympics Northwest Cascades Northeast Cascades Central Cascades South Cascades Easterly Flow in Passes
Friday Mid-day Snow Level 6000' 5000' 2500' 6000' 7000' *
Friday Afternoon Snow Level 5000' 5000' 3000' 6000' 6500' *
Friday Night Snow Level 2500' 3000' 3000' 3500' 4000'
Saturday Morning Snow Level 2000' 2000' 2000' 2000' 3000'
Saturday Afternoon Snow Level 2500' 2000' 2000' 2500' 4000'
Olympics
Date Elevation
Friday Mid-day Snow Level
6000'
Easterly Flow*
Friday Afternoon Snow Level
5000'
Easterly Flow*
Friday Night Snow Level
2500'
Saturday Morning Snow Level
2000'
Saturday Afternoon Snow Level
2500'
Saturday Night Snow Level
5000'
Easterly Flow*
Northwest Cascades
Date Elevation
Friday Mid-day Snow Level
5000'
Easterly Flow*
Friday Afternoon Snow Level
5000'
Easterly Flow*
Friday Night Snow Level
3000'
Saturday Morning Snow Level
2000'
Saturday Afternoon Snow Level
2000'
Saturday Night Snow Level
2000'
Easterly Flow*
Northeast Cascades
Date Elevation
Friday Mid-day Snow Level
2500'
Easterly Flow*
Friday Afternoon Snow Level
3000'
Easterly Flow*
Friday Night Snow Level
3000'
Saturday Morning Snow Level
2000'
Saturday Afternoon Snow Level
2000'
Saturday Night Snow Level
2000'
Easterly Flow*
Central Cascades
Date Elevation
Friday Mid-day Snow Level
6000'
Easterly Flow*
Friday Afternoon Snow Level
6000'
Easterly Flow*
Friday Night Snow Level
3500'
Saturday Morning Snow Level
2000'
Saturday Afternoon Snow Level
2500'
Saturday Night Snow Level
5000'
Easterly Flow*
South Cascades
Date Elevation
Friday Mid-day Snow Level
7000'
Easterly Flow*
Friday Afternoon Snow Level
6500'
Easterly Flow*
Friday Night Snow Level
4000'
Saturday Morning Snow Level
3000'
Saturday Afternoon Snow Level
4000'
Saturday Night Snow Level
7000'
Easterly Flow*

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 Sat Sun
Hurricane Ridge .50 lt .25
Mt Baker Ski Area 1.50 .25
Washington Pass .50 .25
Stevens Pass .50 - .75 .25 - .50
Snoqualmie Pass .50 - .75 .25 - .50
Mission Ridge .25 lt .25
Crystal Mt .50 .25
Paradise 1.00 .25
White Pass .50 .25
Mt Hood Meadows .50 .25

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

Date Direction - Speed
Friday Afternoon E 10 - 15
Friday Night W 15 - 20
Saturday Morning W 10 - 15
Saturday Afternoon W 5 - 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
Friday Afternoon SSW 50 - 60 SSW 35 - 45 SSW 40 - 50 SSW 30 - 40
Friday Night W 30 - 40 W 30 - 40 W 35 - 45 W 35 - 45
Saturday Morning W 10 - 20 W 20 - 30 W 20 - 30 W 20 - 30
Saturday Afternoon W 5 - 15 W 5 - 15 W 5 - 15 W 5 - 15
Olympics
Date Elevation
Friday Afternoon SSW 50 - 60
Friday Night W 30 - 40
Saturday Morning W 10 - 20
Saturday Afternoon W 5 - 15
Saturday Night SW 10 - 20
Northwest Cascades
Date Elevation
Friday Afternoon SSW 35 - 45
Friday Night W 30 - 40
Saturday Morning W 20 - 30
Saturday Afternoon W 5 - 15
Saturday Night SW 0 - 10
Central Cascades
Date Elevation
Friday Afternoon SSW 40 - 50
Friday Night W 35 - 45
Saturday Morning W 20 - 30
Saturday Afternoon W 5 - 15
Saturday Night SW 0 - 10
South Cascades
Date Elevation
Friday Afternoon SSW 30 - 40
Friday Night W 35 - 45
Saturday Morning W 20 - 30
Saturday Afternoon W 5 - 15
Saturday Night SW 0 - 10
Olympics
Date Direction - Speed
Friday Afternoon SSW 50 - 60
Friday Night W 30 - 40
Saturday Morning W 10 - 20
Saturday Afternoon W 5 - 15
Saturday Night SW 10 - 20
Northwest Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Friday Afternoon SSW 35 - 45
Friday Night W 30 - 40
Saturday Morning W 20 - 30
Saturday Afternoon W 5 - 15
Saturday Night SW 0 - 10
Central Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Friday Afternoon SSW 40 - 50
Friday Night W 35 - 45
Saturday Morning W 20 - 30
Saturday Afternoon W 5 - 15
Saturday Night SW 0 - 10
South Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Friday Afternoon SSW 30 - 40
Friday Night W 35 - 45
Saturday Morning W 20 - 30
Saturday Afternoon W 5 - 15
Saturday Night SW 0 - 10

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
Friday Afternoon SW 60 - 80 SW 50 - 70 SW 60 - 80 SW 50 - 70
Friday Night W 50 - 70 W 50 - 70 W 50 - 70 W 50 - 70
Saturday Morning W 35 - 50 W 35 - 50 W 40 - 50 W 40 - 50
Saturday Afternoon W 30 - 40 W 35 - 45 W 35 - 45 W 35 - 45
Northwest Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Friday Afternoon SW 60 - 80
Friday Night W 50 - 70
Saturday Morning W 35 - 50
Saturday Afternoon W 30 - 40
Saturday Night W 30 - 40
Northeast Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Friday Afternoon SW 50 - 70
Friday Night W 50 - 70
Saturday Morning W 35 - 50
Saturday Afternoon W 35 - 45
Saturday Night W 30 - 40
Central Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Friday Afternoon SW 60 - 80
Friday Night W 50 - 70
Saturday Morning W 40 - 50
Saturday Afternoon W 35 - 45
Saturday Night W 30 - 40
South Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Friday Afternoon SW 50 - 70
Friday Night W 50 - 70
Saturday Morning W 40 - 50
Saturday Afternoon W 35 - 45
Saturday Night WNW 25 - 35

Extended Weather Synopsis for Sunday through Tuesday

The upper ridge will further build over the US west coast on during the Sunday to Tuesday period. A warm front may brush the Olympics and north Cascades as it moves north along the west side of the ridge on Sunday morning.

Extended Weather Forecast for Sunday through Tuesday

Olympics, Washington Cascades, Mt Hood
Date Weather
Sunday Morning

Cloudy with chance of light rain Olympics and north Cascades. Partly cloudy east of the crest and south Cascades.

Sunday Afternoon - Sunday Evening

Mostly cloudy Olympics and north Cascades. Partly cloudy or mostly clear east of the crest and south Cascades.

Snow/Freezing Levels

Date Olympics Northwest Cascades Northeast Cascades Central Cascades South Cascades Easterly Flow in Passes
Sunday Morning Snow Level 5000' - 7000' 2000' - 4000' 2000' - 4000' 5000' - 7000' 7000' - 9000' *
Sunday Afternoon - Sunday Evening Freezing Level 8000' - 10000' 7000' - 9000' 7000' - 9000' 8000' - 10000' 9000' - 11000' *
Monday Morning - Tuesday Morning Freezing Level 10000' - 12000' 9000' - 11000' 9000' - 11000' 10000' - 12000' 10000' - 12000' *
Olympics
Date Elevation
Sunday Morning Snow Level
5000' - 7000'
Easterly Flow*
Sunday Afternoon - Sunday Evening Freezing Level
8000' - 10000'
Easterly Flow*
Monday Morning - Tuesday Morning Freezing Level
10000' - 12000'
Easterly Flow*
Tuesday Afternoon - Evening Freezing Level
8000' - 10000'
Easterly Flow*
Northwest Cascades
Date Elevation
Sunday Morning Snow Level
2000' - 4000'
Easterly Flow*
Sunday Afternoon - Sunday Evening Freezing Level
7000' - 9000'
Easterly Flow*
Monday Morning - Tuesday Morning Freezing Level
9000' - 11000'
Easterly Flow*
Tuesday Afternoon - Evening Freezing Level
8000' - 10000'
Easterly Flow*
Northeast Cascades
Date Elevation
Sunday Morning Snow Level
2000' - 4000'
Easterly Flow*
Sunday Afternoon - Sunday Evening Freezing Level
7000' - 9000'
Easterly Flow*
Monday Morning - Tuesday Morning Freezing Level
9000' - 11000'
Easterly Flow*
Tuesday Afternoon - Evening Freezing Level
8000' - 10000'
Easterly Flow*
Central Cascades
Date Elevation
Sunday Morning Snow Level
5000' - 7000'
Easterly Flow*
Sunday Afternoon - Sunday Evening Freezing Level
8000' - 10000'
Easterly Flow*
Monday Morning - Tuesday Morning Freezing Level
10000' - 12000'
Easterly Flow*
Tuesday Afternoon - Evening Freezing Level
8000' - 10000'
Easterly Flow*
South Cascades
Date Elevation
Sunday Morning Snow Level
7000' - 9000'
Easterly Flow*
Sunday Afternoon - Sunday Evening Freezing Level
9000' - 11000'
Easterly Flow*
Monday Morning - Tuesday Morning Freezing Level
10000' - 12000'
Easterly Flow*
Tuesday Afternoon - Evening Freezing Level
9000' - 11000'
Easterly Flow*

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.