7 ft of snow in the Cascades this week? Snowpack could nearly double

Photo courtesy: Stevens Pass Ski Resort

Remember all those issues we had earlier this fall and winter with paltry snowpacks, ski resorts struggling to open and concerns about summer water?They'll all be but a memory by the time this upcoming week is done.

I think it's OK to call an "epic" amount of snow is set to fall in the mountains over the next six days -- already on top of what's fallen the previous week. Snow packs have gone from about 50 percent of normal to 70 percent of normal.

And Mother Nature is just getting warmed up... or maybe cooled down is a better term.

With four more storms rolling in over the next six days, each will bring several inches to even a few feet of snow at times to the Cascades and Olympics.

How much snow? How does 7 FEET sound?

Yes, 7 feet. Maybe even a little more.

I went through and added up the forecasted snow accumulation maps for the next 6 days (You can too -- I put the maps in the photo gallery on the right there), and roughly speaking, adding it all up comes to about 88 inches of snow in the moderate to higher elevations of the Cascades (it won't be quite as much at Snoqualmie Pass, but plenty there too, especially with the two storms coming in next week as they'll be colder.)

For some areas, those numbers are nearly double what they have up there now (although there will be some settling in the new snow as time goes on). Snoqualmie was around 55 inches Saturday morning while Stevens Pass ski area was around 100 inches.

I can't remember a time when 7 feet of snow fell up in the mountains in less than a week.

For skiers, snowboarders and water planners, it's the best news Mother Nature could bring our way this month after such a slow start.

But all that snow will bring challenges as well. For one, avalanche danger will be extreme through Thursday at least, so keep that in mind in the mountains.

It will also make for difficult pass travel -- both with heavy snow/gusty winds at times and likely frequent closures needed for avalanche control.

Long range models suggest drying out toward next weekend as a ridge of high pressure builds in, and boy, if we can get some clear skies and sunshine, I can't imagine how amazing the city will look flanked by such freshly snow-capped mountains! And I suspect there may be some skiers looking to take another extended weekend next weekend as well.

P.S. Big Weather Workshop in 2 weeks.

The big Northwest meeting of the year is the NW Weather Workshop, which is held at the NOAA Sand Point facility in Seattle on Feb. 28 and March 1. More information is here