Chance of low-elevation snow arrives Friday

For Vancouver, dusting possible by Saturday

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

Published:

Updated: November 17, 2011, 6:57 PM

 
photoClark County elevation chart

Approaching cold air on Friday should bring low-lying areas of Clark County their first good shot of snow this fall, according to the National Weather Service.

But don’t break out the snow shovels just yet. If Vancouver and other cities see any flakes, they likely won’t amount to much more than a dusting on the ground. Even that’s iffy.

“It’s not a certain thing, but that potential is there,” said Tyree Wilde, a warning coordination meteorologist with the weather service.

Higher elevations will be a different story. Wilde said the coastal mountains and Cascade foothills in both Oregon and Washington could see as much as a foot of snow in the next few days. That could mean significant accumulation in the higher elevation areas of north and east Clark County.

The snow level should hover near 1,000 feet on Friday, Wilde said. That will drop to about 600 feet Friday night and into Saturday morning. Much of Vancouver sits at about 200 feet above sea level.

 Friday’s high temperature in Vancouver is expected to top out at only 39 degrees, according to the weather service, before dropping to 31 overnight. The temperature will also drop to near freezing Saturday night, but moisture — and the chance for wintry precipitation — will be gone by then.

“Moisture is moving out as soon as the coldest air gets in,” Wilde said.

The arrival of winter-like weather has the Northwest’s major ski resorts gearing up for the 2011-12 season. Mount Hood Meadows announced that it will open some lifts this Saturday. Mount Hood’s Timberline Lodge, which offers skiing year-round, also has lifts operating.

High temperatures in ­Vancouver should warm to the mid-40s by Sunday, according to the weather service. Regular old rain is expected to return ­Monday.

Eric Florip: 360-735-4541; http://twitter.com/col_enviro; eric.florip@columbian.com.