GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. -- The snow level was dropped to at least 1,500 feet on Friday, as a new storm system took hold and many started to enjoy the earliest openings in years for Mt. Hood ski resorts.
“The next potent and wet weather system pushing in on Friday late afternoon and early evening, and will give us a lot of rain, and much cooler air – so cool that the snow level may possibly drop to as low 1,000 feet. The good news here, however, is that most of the moisture will be winding down when the coldest air starts to push in,” said KGW Meteorologist Nick Allard.
Allard said Mt. Hood should get 12 to 18 inches of new snow before the precipitation winds down late Friday night. Then, "we will get a break from the rain Saturday and the dry weather has a good chance of hanging on through Sunday. “More rain, and somewhat warmer weather returns next week.”
At Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort, workers said they were getting more than an inch of fresh powder every hour. The base has grown to 40 inches and another 10 inches could fall by Saturday.
ODOT's Will Ewing was keeping track of plows and sanders and scouring the streets for drivers in trouble Friday.
"We've had 4 people wind up in the ditch, or worse," Ewing said. "Had one individual go off the bank about 50 feet from the highway."
That car was stopped by a tree and no serious injuries were reported.
Ewing said with conditions like this, chains or traction devices are a must.
As for the lower elevations, Friday morning, Allard said rain was already moving in across the area, and he said it will remain steady for most of the day. Portland city crews were busy clearing leaves off the streets hoping to avoid street flooding with another rain storm moving in. Elsewhere, Oregon Department of Transportation crews were preparing snowplows in the Coast Range.
"I would also say that Friday will be a little on the breezy side, especially at the coast and there is a threat for thunderstorms. We've already seen some at the coast, and with all the cold air, more thunderstorms are possible," Allard added.
Weekend conditions will be looking a little brighter. Allard said after morning fog Saturday, the skies will clear for partly to mostly cloudy skies. "We may get a touch of light rain early Sunday before the clouds lift north. The next batch of rain should hold off until Tuesday night or Wednesday," he said.
(KGW Reporter Amanda Burden contributed to this report)