Weather Eye: Snow's flying in the passes, winter forecasts flying here below

By Patrick Timm, Columbian weather columnist

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The first snow of the season fell on the Cascade passes early Saturday and was beginning to stick as seen on the traffic cams. Although amounts will not be heavy, most passes will see 2 to 4 inches for the weekend, with more above 5,000 feet.

The rain will be showery as bands of moisture rotate around a large cold trough of low pressure off the coast. We could see some thunder along the coast and small hail inland. Daytime highs will continue to lower, and if we make 50 degrees Monday, we will be lucky. Appropriate for Pacific Northwest Winter Weather Awareness Week, which begins today.

It's good to see the fire season end abruptly after lingering two weeks into October.

The weather forecast is not a total washout -- we will see some clearing and sunshine at times. We may dry out toward the end of the week, but another cool low pressure system was forecast to join us by next weekend.

From what I have observed and been told, the majority of woolly bear caterpillars have two or three orange bands, heralding a cold winter, maybe even with lowland snow?

The Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society holds its annual winter weather meeting next month at OMSI. As forecasts come out, I will share some.

The big question is whether the weak El Niño will have any impact. I think late fall and early winter will be cooler and drier than normal, but as KGW weatherman Rod Hill said the other day, I have about a 20 percent shot at being totally correct.

Patrick Timm is a local weather specialist. His column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Reach him at Weather Systems.