Drew Jackson's Powder Alert

Drew Jackson's Powder Alert

Welcome skiers and snowboarders to my blog for ski conditions and Oregon snow experiences!

This is your home for the latest updates on weather and snow forecasts tailored to skiers and snowboarders. My name is Drew Jackson… I grew up skiing in Oregon and after earning my meteorology degree from Penn State University, I now work for FOX 12 Oregon as a meteorologist and weather forecaster each weeknight on the 8 O’Clock News (on PDX-TV) and the 11 O’Clock News (on KPTV FOX 12). This is the first of many blogs that will be posted right here throughout the winter, so check back frequently!

I’m also excited to announce a new “Powder Alert” e-mail service this winter in partnership with Ski Oregon. Those who sign-up will receive e-mails from me on a situational basis (primarily when big snows are expected and prior to big skiing/boarding weekends & holidays). It’s completely free, and I’ll start sending them once the snow starts accumulating. To sign up, head to the Ski Oregon site and sign up at the bottom of the page so you don’t miss out on great upcoming conditions!

And speaking of accumulating snow… that happens to be the topic of this first blog post. Snow… specifically, how much is expected this winter… was one of the main topics of the 16th Annual “What will the winter be like?” meeting on Friday, October 24th. Sponsored by the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society, several of Oregon’s top climate forecasters boldly shared their predictions for the upcoming winter. Here are some of the details:

  • The strong La Nina conditions (colder than average Pacific Ocean water from South America west to the central Pacific) have faded and more “neutral” conditions are now present. Most climate forecasters agree that conditions are expected to remain in the “neutral” (neither La Nina nor El Nino) range for this winter. Unfortunately, neutral winters are the toughest to predict because they can feature quite a bit of variety.
  • One method of winter prediction that several forecasters use is called the “analog” forecasting method. With this method, forecasters analyze the current & recent-past conditions in the atmosphere & oceans and look for past years when similar conditions occurred. Here are the “analog” years to this year, according to two of the presenters, and the resulting snow situation in the Oregon Cascades:
    • 1955-1956 Huge snow winter… strong start in November, but nothing late in April/May
    • 1971-1972 Huge snow winter… strong start, big December & January, normal spring
    • 1974-1975 Huge snow winter… sluggish start, strong from December through April
    • 1975-1976 Huge snow winter… strong from start to finish
    • 1984-1985 Big snow winter… strong start, poor in January, then a strong finish
  • All of the analog years feature big snow years… and most of the forecasters agreed that this winter is likely to have AT LEAST an AVERAGE amount of snow, with the scale tipped towards above-average snowfall.

In summary, it seems doubtful that a bummer snow year is headed our way. Instead, all indications are that we’ll again be blessed with plentiful snow. For additional information about this winter’s outlook, check out this website.

So… when will the season start? Unfortunately, that question is nearly impossible to answer. All it takes is for the weather regime to switch to pattern that brings in 2-3 cold storms… and the lifts will be turning shortly thereafter.

Until next time,

Drew Jackson
KPTV FOX 12 meteorologist

Editor’s Note: Drew is our newest blogger and will write about his experiences playing in Oregon’s snow. To subscribe to Drew’s snow alerts, please head to Ski Oregon and sign up at the bottom!

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