We have seen quite a bit of early season snowfall already along the West Coast with most resorts having picked up snow in the past week. Resorts from Mt. Baker down to Mammoth have already picked up three to five feet of snow causing some resorts to open early this weekend. Even better is the forecast for more snow in the next seven days leading up to Thanksgiving, and it could be measured in feet.
There is currently an area of low pressure spinning off the West coast that will move inland during the day on Friday. This will mainly affect the Sierra Nevada up into Central Oregon into Saturday morning where three to nine inches of snow could fall on the mountains.
On Saturday, a cold front begins to push into the Pacific Northwest associated with the next storm system. Snow and snow levels will begin to fall as the cold front pushes down the West Coast with snow levels as low as 3,000 feet in Washington by Sunday and 6,000 feet for Central California. We could see up to a foot of additional snow from the Cascades down through the Sierra over the weekend.
Things get interesting in the first half of next week as the hose is turned on and copious amounts of moisture flow into the Pacific Northwest and Northern California. This time it looks like the ski resorts of the Sierra Nevada will be spared, but further North, the Cascades of Washington and Oregon could pick up three to six inches of liquid. That could translate into the three to six feet of snow above the snow line with snow levels starting below 4,000 feet on Monday and then rising above 5,000 feet in Washington and 6,000 feet in Oregon with the heaviest surge of moisture on Tuesday.
By the busiest travel day of the year next Wednesday, the storm begins to wind down and snow levels also come back down below 4,000 feet. It looks like only a brief reprieve however as the next colder storm is set to take aim from the Cascades down to the Sierra for Thanksgiving. That could mean a white Thanksgiving with snow falling out the window as we eat our turkey.
Bryan Allegretto is a Weather Forecaster for OpenSnow.com.