powder

Snow, please. Photo by Grant Myrdal.

A large winter storm is taking form on Mount Hood this week that could bring some ugly rain, some lovely snow, or both.

The storm landed Tuesday at around 2 am in the form of light rain, with temperatures in the mid-30s at 5,000 feet and the freezing level around 8,000 feet and dropping.

Several forecasters are predicting that the rain will turn into snow Wednesday and drop some much-needed new snow through Thursday.

As of 9am Wednesday Meadows was reporting fresh snow.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather alert at 3:43 am Tuesday, Jan. 28 predicting "the strongest storm in several weeks," which really doesn't mean much if you think about it, since it has been desert-dry on Hood for weeks. But the statement did offer some encouraging specifics. Snow levels are expected to drop to Cascade pass levels by Wednesday afternoon and then "well below the passes" Wednesday evening and Thursday, resulting in 6-12 inches of fresh snow at pass levels.

Will it add up to enough at 3500 feet to allow Skibowl to open its main chairlifts? We shall see. Pretty much every time snow has fallen on Skibowl this season it has been quickly replaced by rain followed by arid two-week stretches usually unheard of in a Pacific Northwest winter.

The Weather Service is predicting rain at Skibowl's elevation through Tuesday night, turning into snow Wednesday, with 3-5 inches accumulating Wednesday night.

Higher up on the mountain, at 6,337 feet, the forecast calls for 6-12 inches of snow Tuesday and 9-17 inches Wednesday. That should help cover up those rocks and bare spots at Timberline and Meadows.

"The Gorge is my gym" Weather Girl Temira Lital is predicting that 1-2 inches will accumulate Wednesday at 5,000 feet followed by 6-10 inches of fresh snow Wednesday night.

There is also a slight chance of snow showers in the forecast for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.