We had our first dose of lowland snow last weekend - a lot earlier than usual. And we had the snow come and go in the mountains for the last month. In fact, Crystal Mountain hoped to have enough snow to open this weekend, but nature didn't provide quite enough the past few days. However, that is about to change!
The forecast computer models indicate we are about to move into a cool and very wet pattern over the weekend and through most of next week.
This could be a sign of things to come. Thursday the Climate Prediction Center confirmed that we still have La Nina conditions in the tropical Pacific (below normal sea surface temperatures) and they are likely to remain through the winter. La Nina tends to push our average winter weather towards wetter and cooler overall - a pattern that favors a good ski season.
We will see a little sun Friday as one storm moves off to the southeast and a little high pressure slides through. And we should start Saturday dry with a little sunshine before the first in a series of fronts begins soaking us down by later in the afternoon. Western Washington should stay pretty wet through the week.
Most of this will come as snow in the mountains with snow levels around 4,000 feet Friday and Saturday. Snow levels will pop up a little on Sunday and they are likely to see rain at the base of the Snoqualmie areas and maybe a mix at the base of the other ski areas.
However Monday the snow levels will drop down to 3,000 feet (base of the Snoqualmie areas) and then to 2,000-2,500 feet Tuesday and on through Thursday. Snow should be heavy at times early next week, and several feet of snow are possible at all of the areas.
Mount Baker, Stevens Pass, Snoqualmie Summit, Crystal Mountain and White Pass all say they are ready to go as soon as they have enough snow, which could happen by mid-week. Mission Ridge has announced a November 18th opening. Whistler-Blackcomb is shooting for November 23, but they often move up their opening date if the conditions get good early.
Elsewhere around the northwest, 49 Degrees North near Spokane opened Friday for weekend operation. Schweitzer Mountain in Idaho plans on opening November 18. Timberline on Mount Hood has been operating weekends since October 8, but they are going to daily operation starting Saturday, November 11. And Mount Hood Meadows will open on November 24.
The snowfall should let up towards the end of the week, but this should be a good start to the snow season.