PORTLAND -- Oregon's unusually dry weather has left precipitation levels for the year below normal and will likely put a damper on Mt Hood's holiday ski business as well.
KGW Meteorologist Jim Donovan said rain and snow probably won't move into the region until the new year.
The current weather system hanging over the area brought morning fog and an inversion, Donovan said, but no precipitation.
"Our forecast looks dry through Friday and possibly past New Year's Day. I expect morning fog Tuesday and Christmas Day followed by possible sun breaks with light winds," Donovan added.
The National Weather Service issued an Air Stagnation & Dense Fog Advisory for the greater Portland Metro area Tuesday. It warned that dense fog will cause poor visibility through late Monday afternoon and then conditions will likely deteriorate once again Monday night, for a repeat of widespread fog by Christmas day. The inversion was also causing a buildup of pollutants in the metro area.
Rainfall totals at Portland International Airport are currently running at 44 percent of normal since the start of the water year, back on October 1. The total as of midnight on Dec. 23 was 5.53 inches, more than 7 inches below the normal pace to date.
Forecast models shows little precipitation through the first ten days of January.
Ski resorts on Mt. Hood traditionally get a big boost of business at the end of the year, as outdoor recreationists enjoy the perks of heavy snowfall. This season, the ski resorts are open, but their bases are not nearly as deep as usual.
Mt. Hood Meadows and Timberline had barely enough snow Monday to operate the lifts. The two resorts reported 20 to 30 inches of mostly old, crunchy snow on the ground. Skibowl, which sits at a lower elevation, has less than a foot of snow covering much of the slopes but crews were able to add to the base, with man-made snow.
"Once in ten years or so we'll have a winter like this. It's just Mother Nature, but that's why we invested heavily in our snow-making machines," said Hans Wipper with Skibowl.
Resort owners were also quick to mention that one big snowfall is all they need to turn things around for an epic ski season.