A much-needed wet and snowy pattern is set up through the weekend. Here are the high points.
A storm moving off the Pacific into central Oregon coast early tonight then east has been causing snow today from Eugene on north to Vancouver. Corvallis has had the most so far with 8 inches being reported. Snowfall amounts have varied quite a bit, but more is on its way. On average, 3-8 inches of snow seems likely in the above area with locally higher amounts. Strong east winds are also blowing through the Gorge and into the Portland area for blowing snow. Roads will be quite slippery and hazardous travel is going to be the rule. Already a few roads are closed. If you don't have to go out, don't. Similar snow amounts are also likely east of the Cascades from the Bend/Redmond area to the Blue Mountains and into the Pendleton area with the snow to last all night into first thing tomorrow morning in the east.
A second storm will move in from the Pacific on a similar track later Friday and Friday night into Saturday. More accumulating snow is likely west of the Cascades, but probably a little farther north this time as some milder Pacific air begins to make its presence felt in the Eugene/Salem area. However, Portland/Vancouver seem set for mostly all snow. Do know that there is a difference in the models in how far north this second storm comes? The GFS is farther north and thus warmer than the European. So snow versus snow turning to rain and amounts of snow are nowhere near set in stone yet. Just know that more accumulation is likely and that means more travel headaches. The same can be said for north-central and northern Oregon east of the Cascades where the cold arctic air will be very stubborn in moving away and there could be another 3 to 6 inches of snow.
A strong and moist jet stream aimed at northern California south will bring a series of very wet storms across north and north-central California through the weekend. This is bringing much-needed moisture, both in rain and Sierra snow. Easily 2 to 4 inches of rain is likely in the lowlands north of the I-80 corridor with higher amounts on the west-facing mountains below the snow level. Snow level, starting tomorrow at 3,000-4,000 feet, are going to rise through the weekend to above 6,000 feet around the Tahoe area by Sunday. I expect 3 to 6 feet of snow to fall from 7,000 feet on up through Sunday night from Yosemite on north with 2-4 feet south of Yosemite. All this is good news. The only bad news is a lot of wind is likely in the Sierra from late Friday night into Sunday with highest winds of 30 to 60 mph with 80 to 100 mph winds on the ridge tops.
This whole pattern is one we have been waiting for and rain will get farther south at times as well. Look at what happened in Fresno Thursday with more than a quarter of an inch falling. That is pure liquid gold.
Next week, it does look like the jet stream will be retreating north. While bringing more storms to the Northwest this could leave a good portion of California mostly rain and snow free once more.
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I will be tweeting updates and interesting stats on these storms.
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Dangerous heat will build across the Southwest through the middle of next week putting some records in jeopardy.
Parts of the West will bake in the heat over the next few days but cooler weather will arrive by the start of the weekend.
Models have been consistent on bringing a rigorous system from the Northwest to the Southwest this weekend.
The pattern next week will favor unsettled and cool weather for the Northwest.
Rain and mountain snow will highlight just about every day this week in the Northwest.