Shaun Tanner has been a meteorologist at Weather Underground since 2004.
By: Shaun Tanner , 6:31 AM GMT on December 18, 2012
An intense Pacific storm brought several feet of new snow to the higher elevations of the Cascade Mountain range Monday, causing travel problems and other headaches.
On Sunday evening a wind gust of 101 mph was reported on top of Mary's Peak in Oregon, and over a dozen high elevation stations in Washington and Oregon reported wind gusts greater than 70 mph through Monday.
One look at the severe map shows that the active weather is not yet over for the Pacific Northwest. Winter Weather Advisories are posted for the Cascades in preparation of several more inches of snow. Perhaps the most notable thing about this snowfall is that the snow level will dip down to 1,500 feet. This is because probably the coldest air of the season thus far will drip down into the Pacific Northwest and even farther southward into California. San Francisco could see Wednesday morning temperatures in the upper 30's. If that doesn't impress you, Cut Bank, MT is forecast to sink to 4 degrees Wednesday morning, and Salt Lake City will cool to 18 degrees.
We have been watching atmospheric models over the past several days and they have been consistent in taking the low pressure trough in the Pacific Northwest into the Great Basin and over the Rockies. This is where it will intensify significantly before moving through the Plains Wednesday and Thursday. Of course, the forecasters at the NWS have noticed this and have already issued Winter Storm Watches in an arc from eastern Colorado through central Wisconsin. We fully expect these watches to becoming warnings sometime over the next 24 hours. Snowfall totals of 6 inches or more are possible beginning Wednesday afternoon and lasting through Thursday. In addition, winds up to 50 mph could blow this newly-fallen snow around, causing blizzard conditions. We will continue to watch this storm and bring the most up-to-date information.
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