Northwest Storm to Hinder Search of Missing Skydiver

By Anthony Sagliani, Meteorologist
January 7, 2013; 7:43 PM ET
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According to the Associated Press, Kurt Ruppert went missing on Thursday afternoon following a botched skydiving jump from a helicopter at 6,500 feet.

Weather conditions on Thursday were clear in the area where Ruppert went missing, which searchers believe is in the vicinity of the 4,200-foot Mount Si (in the western foothills of the Washington Cascades).

Temperatures were in the 40s with a southeast wind blowing at 5-10 mph and good visibility -- perfect this time of year for skydiving.

After the jump, something went wrong and Ruppert's special suit, which allowed him to glide like a flying squirrel, took him well off course.

To make matters worse, neither the pilot nor the people he was jumping with on the ground saw where he deployed or what direction he went in.

The Associated Press reports that about four-dozen people began looking for Ruppert later in the day on Thursday as a gentle rain settled over the sharp, rocky cliffs and hills making up the terrain of the area.

Unfortunately, the suit Ruppert is wearing is not meant to be a form of protection from cold and wet conditions.

A break in the rainy weather on Friday and Saturday allowed rescue crews to thoroughly search the tough terrain, covering as much ground as possible.

Another shot of rain moved into the region on Saturday night as rescue workers brought their search efforts to an end, coming up empty-handed again.

Mostly cloudy, cool and damp conditions followed for Sunday, but the weather is about to take a turn for the worse with a series of storm set to move through the Northwest Sunday night into Wednesday.

Rain will steadily increase Monday across western Washington and northwestern Oregon, home to Seattle and Portland, as one storm approaches. Additional rain will follow for Tueday.

Snow changing to rain is expected in the area where Ruppert when missing Sunday night with snow levels expected to be around 2,500 feet in the evening before rising to 7,000 feet Monday morning. Snow levels will drop down to around 4,500 feet by Monday evening.

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