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Mountain Weather Forecast

Issued: 7:23 AM PST Wednesday, February 10, 2016
by Garth Ferber

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 Wednesday & Thursday

A large ridge and warm air mass aloft has been over the US west coast with NWAC stations in the Olympics and Cascades reaching the 50's and 60's F range the past couple days.

The ridge has gradually shifted to the east of the Northwest and will still be over the west US on Wednesday. Moderate southwest flow will carry a weakening frontal system over the Northwest. Radar indicates a weakening band of precipitation is moving to the area Wednesday morning and another over the Northwest coastal waters should reach the area Wednesday afternoon.

A relative break should be seen Wednesday night to Thursday morning.

Slightly stronger southwest flow should carry a warm front to the Northwest Thursday afternoon followed by a cold front Thursday night.

Weather forecast for Wednesday & Thursday

Olympics
Date Weather
Wednesday Morning

Increasing light rain or snow.

Wednesday Afternoon

Light rain or snow showers.

Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning

Light rain or snow showers.

Thursday Afternoon

Increasing light rain or snow.

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

Increasing clouds.

Wednesday Afternoon

Increasing light rain or snow.

Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning

Light rain or snow showers.

Thursday Afternoon

Increasing light rain or snow.

East slopes of the Washington Cascades
Date Weather
Wednesday Morning

Increasing clouds.

Wednesday Afternoon

Increasing light rain or snow mainly higher elevations.

Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning

Light rain or snow showers mainly higher elevations.

Thursday Afternoon

Increasing light rain or snow mainly higher elevations.

Mt. Hood Area
Date Weather
Wednesday Morning

Increasing high clouds.

Wednesday Afternoon

Further increasing clouds.

Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning

Light rain or snow showers.

Thursday Afternoon

Increasing light rain or snow.

Snow Level/Freezing Level in feet

Date Olympics Northwest Cascades Northeast Cascades Central Cascades South Cascades Easterly Flow in Passes
Wednesday Morning Snow Level 7500' 7000' 7000' 7500' 8500' *
Wednesday Afternoon - Wednesday Night Snow Level 6500' 6000' 6000' 6500' 7500'
Thursday Morning - Thursday Afternoon Snow Level 7000' 6500' 6500' 7000' 8000' *
Olympics
Date Elevation
Wednesday Morning Snow Level
7500'
Easterly Flow*
Wednesday Afternoon - Wednesday Night Snow Level
6500'
Thursday Morning - Thursday Afternoon Snow Level
7000'
Easterly Flow*
Thursday Night Snow Level
5500'
Easterly Flow*
Northwest Cascades
Date Elevation
Wednesday Morning Snow Level
7000'
Easterly Flow*
Wednesday Afternoon - Wednesday Night Snow Level
6000'
Thursday Morning - Thursday Afternoon Snow Level
6500'
Easterly Flow*
Thursday Night Snow Level
6000'
Easterly Flow*
Northeast Cascades
Date Elevation
Wednesday Morning Snow Level
7000'
Easterly Flow*
Wednesday Afternoon - Wednesday Night Snow Level
6000'
Thursday Morning - Thursday Afternoon Snow Level
6500'
Easterly Flow*
Thursday Night Snow Level
6000'
Easterly Flow*
Central Cascades
Date Elevation
Wednesday Morning Snow Level
7500'
Easterly Flow*
Wednesday Afternoon - Wednesday Night Snow Level
6500'
Thursday Morning - Thursday Afternoon Snow Level
7000'
Easterly Flow*
Thursday Night Snow Level
6500'
Easterly Flow*
South Cascades
Date Elevation
Wednesday Morning Snow Level
8500'
Easterly Flow*
Wednesday Afternoon - Wednesday Night Snow Level
7500'
Thursday Morning - Thursday Afternoon Snow Level
8000'
Easterly Flow*
Thursday 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 Thu Fri
Hurricane Ridge lt .25 .25 - .50
Mt Baker Ski Area .25 .75
Washington Pass lt .10 .25 - .50
Stevens Pass lt .25 .50
Snoqualmie Pass lt .25 .50 - .75
Mission Ridge lt .10 .25
Crystal Mt lt .10 .25 - .50
Paradise lt .25 .75 - 1.00
White Pass lt .10 .50
Mt Hood Meadows lt .10 .50

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

Date Direction - Speed
Wednesday Morning - Wednesday Mid-day E 5 - 15
Wednesday Afternoon W 5 - 15
Wednesday Night E 5 - 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
Wednesday Morning - Wednesday Afternoon SSW 20 - 30 SSW 15 - 25 SSW 15 - 25 SSW 20 - 30
Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning SW 10 - 20 SW 5 - 15 SW 5 - 15 SW 5 - 15
Thursday Afternoon SSE 25 - 35 SSE 15 - 25 SSE 15 - 25 SSE 15 - 25
Olympics
Date Elevation
Wednesday Morning - Wednesday Afternoon SSW 20 - 30
Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning SW 10 - 20
Thursday Afternoon SSE 25 - 35
Thursday Night SW 25 - 35
Northwest Cascades
Date Elevation
Wednesday Morning - Wednesday Afternoon SSW 15 - 25
Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning SW 5 - 15
Thursday Afternoon SSE 15 - 25
Thursday Night SW 25 - 35
Central Cascades
Date Elevation
Wednesday Morning - Wednesday Afternoon SSW 15 - 25
Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning SW 5 - 15
Thursday Afternoon SSE 15 - 25
Thursday Night SW 25 - 35
South Cascades
Date Elevation
Wednesday Morning - Wednesday Afternoon SSW 20 - 30
Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning SW 5 - 15
Thursday Afternoon SSE 15 - 25
Thursday Night SW 25 - 35
Olympics
Date Direction - Speed
Wednesday Morning - Wednesday Afternoon SSW 20 - 30
Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning SW 10 - 20
Thursday Afternoon SSE 25 - 35
Thursday Night SW 25 - 35
Northwest Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Wednesday Morning - Wednesday Afternoon SSW 15 - 25
Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning SW 5 - 15
Thursday Afternoon SSE 15 - 25
Thursday Night SW 25 - 35
Central Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Wednesday Morning - Wednesday Afternoon SSW 15 - 25
Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning SW 5 - 15
Thursday Afternoon SSE 15 - 25
Thursday Night SW 25 - 35
South Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Wednesday Morning - Wednesday Afternoon SSW 20 - 30
Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning SW 5 - 15
Thursday Afternoon SSE 15 - 25
Thursday Night SW 25 - 35

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
Wednesday Morning - Wednesday Afternoon SW 30 - 40 SW 30 - 40 SW 35 - 45 SW 30 - 40
Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning SSW 15 - 25 SSW 10 - 20 SSW 15 - 25 SSW 20 - 30
Thursday Afternoon SSW 25 - 35 SSW 15 - 25 SSW 25 - 35 SSW 30 - 40
Northwest Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Wednesday Morning - Wednesday Afternoon SW 30 - 40
Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning SSW 15 - 25
Thursday Afternoon SSW 25 - 35
Thursday Night SW 40 - 60
Northeast Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Wednesday Morning - Wednesday Afternoon SW 30 - 40
Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning SSW 10 - 20
Thursday Afternoon SSW 15 - 25
Thursday Night SW 35 - 50
Central Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Wednesday Morning - Wednesday Afternoon SW 35 - 45
Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning SSW 15 - 25
Thursday Afternoon SSW 25 - 35
Thursday Night SW 35 - 50
South Cascades
Date Direction - Speed
Wednesday Morning - Wednesday Afternoon SW 30 - 40
Wednesday Night - Thursday Morning SSW 20 - 30
Thursday Afternoon SSW 30 - 40
Thursday Night SW 35 - 50

Extended Weather Synopsis for Friday through Sunday

The cold front and a weak shortwave should cross the Northwest on Friday causing a change to showers and lowering snow levels.

A stronger shortwave and cold air mass should cross the Northwest on Saturday causing more showers and a better drop in snow levels.

West flow and a warm front is indicated to reach the Northwest on Sunday causing increasing rain and snow and rising snow levels.

Extended Weather Forecast for Friday through Sunday

Olympics, Washington Cascades, Mt Hood
Date Weather
Friday

Moderate to heavy rain or snow changing to light to moderate rain or snow showers with lowering snow levels.

Saturday

Renewed moderate to heavy rain or snow showers changing to light rain or snow showers at lower snow levels.

Snow/Freezing Levels

Date Olympics Northwest Cascades Northeast Cascades Central Cascades South Cascades Easterly Flow in Passes
Friday Snow Level 4000' - 5000' 3000' - 5000' 3000' - 5000' 4000' - 5000' 4500' - 5500'
Saturday Snow Level 3000' - 4000' 2000' - 3000' 2000' - 3000' 2500' - 3500' 3500' - 4500'
Olympics
Date Elevation
Friday Snow Level
4000' - 5000'
Saturday Snow Level
3000' - 4000'
Sunday Snow Level
5000' - 7000'
Northwest Cascades
Date Elevation
Friday Snow Level
3000' - 5000'
Saturday Snow Level
2000' - 3000'
Sunday Snow Level
4000' - 6000'
Northeast Cascades
Date Elevation
Friday Snow Level
3000' - 5000'
Saturday Snow Level
2000' - 3000'
Sunday Snow Level
4000' - 6000'
Central Cascades
Date Elevation
Friday Snow Level
4000' - 5000'
Saturday Snow Level
2500' - 3500'
Sunday Snow Level
5000' - 7000'
South Cascades
Date Elevation
Friday Snow Level
4500' - 5500'
Saturday Snow Level
3500' - 4500'
Sunday Snow Level
6000' - 8000'

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.