Snow could be coming soon

Ski slopes get fresh white coat, weather expert says this could be a great year

MT. HOOD MEADOWS webcam shows snow Tuesday morning.


MT. HOOD MEADOWS webcam shows snow Tuesday morning.

While this week’s unseasonably foul weather meant wet jackets and soggy shoes in the lower reaches of the valley, up higher on Mount Hood a thick coat of white covered the ground in the first decent snowfall of the 2013-14 winter season. The snow will likely be gone in short order as weather returns to more normal early October patterns by the end of the week, but the teaser does beg the question, what is in store for this winter?

Offering an educated guess to that question is George Taylor, former state climatologist and president of Applied Climate Services. In an informal interview last week, Taylor said when comparing weather patterns this fall to past analog years, there’s a good chance that Mount Hood will have a good year in terms of snowfall and winter recreation.

“What I do when I do my forecasts is I pick out other years that are substantially similar to the current year and then the assumption is that history tends to repeat itself,” Taylor said in a video posted on Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Area’s online blog. “If you have the same pattern developing that happened in another year, it’s likely that you would have similar weather patterns in the upcoming season … I think right now the odds are it’s going to be pretty good year. We’re in a neutral El Niño/La Niña year, and those tend to be our snowiest years. I wouldn’t really call it a prediction yet, but it certainly seems to be an indicator that it’s going to be a very snowy year.”

Based on past years with a similar lead up to winter, Taylor said it’s likely Meadows will be open by Thanksgiving this year. Taylor found five “analog” years that are tracking similarly to this year leading up to winter and four of those five years saw snowfall totals “substantially above average.”

A more official round of educated guessing will happen at the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society’s 21st annual Winter Weather Forecast Conference on Oct. 26 at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, where meteorologists from across the Pacific Northwest offer their prognostications for the upcoming winter.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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