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Three to five FEET for the Cascades - Matt Zaffino Powder Alert

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KGW Meteorologist Matt Zaffino telemark skiingMaybe Oregon skiers should pay homage to Father Thanksgiving instead of Father Christmas, because this is when we want to be gifted with cold, fluffy delight.  To coin a phrase that many of you may hope to never hear or read again, Old Man Turkey is delivering the goods over Thanksgiving weekend. This is going to turn into a really memorable start to what she be an extremely memorable ski season in the Northwest.

As Oregon’s resorts begin to open, with Meadows and Mt Bachelor scheduled to open Friday, Let’s talk Turkey: The best news is that the snow level stays at or below 4,000 feet through the weekend, and storms roll in about every 24 hours. Not all of these are incredibly strong, but snow will fly every day through the weekend and two time frames stand out:

Wednesday night into Thursday morning, and Sunday night into Monday. Check out the 84 hour accumulated snowfall, from Tuesday afternoon through Saturday morning from the University of Washington modeling group:

84 hour snow forecast could accumulate 3 to 5 feet in the Cascades

That’s about three to five FEET in the Oregon Cascades, and 16-20 inches for Anthony Lakes and Mt Ashland.

Here’s the meat and potatoes:

The snowiest times will be Wednesday night into Friday for the Cascades, with 12 to 20 inches of new snow falling at the resorts in that time frame. There will be strong winds with the Wednesday night system, but after that the winds will lessen and snow should fall more evenly.

Another disturbance will cross the state from SW Oregon to NE Oregon Friday into Saturday. I think this will be the vehicle that delivers the best snow from Mt Ashland to Anthony Lakes, accounting for much of the 12 to 20 inches that should blanket those areas through Saturday.

Powder Pick: Sunday. The snow will be deepest and the weather will be the best of the holiday weekend, as a brief break from storms sets in before more snow arrives Sunday night.

Remember, it’s early season, so ski with care and be aware of obstacles like small trees and rocks. You don’t want to blow out a knee at the start of such a promising season!

And now THE GRAVY: For about the next two weeks or so, I see no sign of a warm up that will turn our early snowpack to mush. In fact some even colder storms are likely to drop in in the week ahead, delivering more new snow with a few days of calm, cold weather in between. If this keeps up even longer, it may be one of the best Thanksgiving to New Year’s stretch of skiing Oregon has seen in years.

Happy trails, see ya on the slopes,

Matt Zaffino
Chief Meteorologist
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