Won't be long now.

It's looking like we'll get a powerful storm on Mount Hood this weekend and well into next week, with heavy, persistent snow from 3,500 feet on up.

The National Weather Service issued a Special Weather Statement at 5:09 am Wednesday, October 30 predicting major snowfall and heavy accumulation at the Cascade mountain passes. They updated that report with a second statement at 2:19 pm Wednesday calling for up to 20 inches of fresh snow over the weekend.

A cold front is expected to move into the Cascades early in the weekend, bringing snow to elevations of 5500 feet and higher. The snow level should plunge from around 11,000 feet Friday to around 3500 feet Saturday afternoon, dumping snow on Skibowl as well as Timberline and Mt. Hood Meadows. Oregon Department of Transportation road crews are going to be busy.

Massive westerly winds should prolong the storm well through Sunday evening and into next week, with snow likely Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Gusts of up to 60 miles per hour are expected over the weekend, bringing near white-out conditions to higher elevations. It is not looking like a good weekend for mountain travel.

The snow will definitely improve the odds of Meadows and Skibowl cranking up operations early. It has been unusually dry on Mount Hood for several weeks after an early snow storm dropped two feet on higher elevations and allowed Timberline to open Palmer Snowfield starting October 11. The total snowfall at Timberline Lodge for September and October has been 38 inches.

Timberline has not decided yet whether to open Palmer this weekend. The cross-wind will probably make for some brutal conditions at 8500 feet on Palmer Snowfield. But the huge amount of snow expected over the next week certainly bodes well for the 2013-14 season.

Here are a few powder shots to get you dreaming: