A visitor to Hurricane Ridge pauses to take in the expanse of mountain peaks apparently floating above the lowland clouds. (John Gussman)

A visitor to Hurricane Ridge pauses to take in the expanse of mountain peaks apparently floating above the lowland clouds. (John Gussman)

Snowstorm fuels Hurricane Ridge winter sports

Shift to more normal winter temperatures expected this weekend

PORT ANGELES — Bitterly cold but awesomely beautiful, Hurricane Ridge’s appeal has grown with its snowpack.

On Tuesday, the Waterhole Snotel site at Hurricane Ridge, 5,242 feet above sea level, showed a snow depth of 52 inches — or a little more than 4 feet, 4 inches — which was 17 inches more than it had on Dec. 22.

The rope tow and tube run are open, announced the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club, which operates the ski and snowboard area, but the Poma lift won’t be available “until we get a lot more snow,” according to its Facebook page.

While lowland temperatures stayed at highs in the 20s, the temperature at the Ridge was 12 degrees by noon Wednesday, up from its reported Tuesday morning temperature of 3 degrees.

The winter sports center, 17 miles from Port Angeles in Olympic National Park, is open daily through Sunday, weather permitting. The road is scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with hours dependent upon weather conditions. Motorists are required to carry chains.

Elsewhere in the Olympic Mountains, 73 inches of snow were measured at the Buckinghorse Snotel and 43 inches at the Mt. Craig Snotel, both in East Jefferson County.

The Dungeness Snotel in Clallam County reported 17 inches of snow.

Snotel is short for snowpack telemetry at a backcountry weather station.

On Wednesday, the National Weather Service forecast more snow overnight on the North Olympic Peninsula into this morning, but it backed its lowlands snow level prediction down from the previous 4 to 6 inches to just 1 to 3 inches.

Snowfall is expected to begin after midnight and will probably be a very noticeable factor in the morning commute, said meteorologist Carly Kovacik at the National Weather Service in Seattle.

The additional snowfall is likely to make already slick roads more icy.

Today “will be comparatively the warmest day of the week” with a high in the mid-30s, Kovacik said. But that will be short-lived as temperatures again drop to the low to mid-20s.

The real relief from the bitter cold in the lowlands will be on New Year’s Day, when the region finally breaks loose from the Fraser Outflow, which has been spewing arctic air over the Peninsula since Christmas.

Winds will be off the Pacific by this weekend, Kovacik said, and that means that, although Saturday likely will begin with a low in the 20s, the temperature eventually will reach a high in the 40s.

And Sunday “is a sure bet” for ice-melting temperatures in the 40s, Kovacik said.

Shelter from cold

Warming centers and overnight shelters on the Peninsula are in use during the rare cold snap.

To see an updated list of the shelters and warming centers in Clallam and Jefferson counties, go to www.peninsuladailynews.com.

In Clallam County, public libraries, which are open Monday through Friday, have begun shifting hours each day due to weather conditions, officials said.

To see the hours for each day on that day, check the North Olympic Library System website at www.nols.org or call a specific library for daily updates.

Overnight accommodations are available in Port Townsend, which was not reported in Sunday’s story.

The Jefferson County Emergency Shelter, in the basement of the American Legion hall, 209 Monroe St., offers overnight accommodations from 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. In addition, it serves as an emergency warming center from noon to 4 p.m., at least until temperatures rise and stay above freezing.

“People can get a warm beverage and a blanket” and spend the afternoon in a warm, safe place, said Robin Pangborn, the Olympic Community Action Programs shelter manager.

Overnight guests also receive dinner and breakfast thanks to the team of volunteers from local churches, she added.

Across Water Street in the Pope Marine Building, the Winter Welcoming Center is also open. Its hours are 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily — to fill the gap between the times when the shelter operates.

________

Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at lleach@peninsuladailynews.com.

Jefferson County Senior Reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz contributed to this story.

More in News

John Brewer.
Former editor and publisher of PDN dies

John Brewer, 76, was instrumental in community

Randy Perry and Judy Reandeau Stipe, volunteer executive director of Sequim Museum & Arts, hold aloft a banner from "The Boys in the Boat" film Perry purchased and is loaning to the museum. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
‘Boys in the Boat’ banner to be loaned to museum

Sequim man purchases item shown in film at auction

Charisse Deschenes, first hired by the city of Sequim in 2014, departed this week after 10 years in various roles, including most recently deputy city manager/community and economic development director. (City of Sequim)
Deputy manager leaves Sequim

Community, economic development position open

Hoko River project seeks salmon recovery and habitat restoration

Salmon coaltion takes lead in collaboration with Makah, Lower Elwha tribes

Clallam Transit’s zero-fare program off to successful start

Ridership is up and problems are down, general manager says

Motor rider airlifted to Seattle hospital after wreck

A Gig Harbor man was airlifted to a Seattle hospital… Continue reading

Traffic light project to begin Monday

Work crews from Titan Earthwork, LLC will begin a… Continue reading

From left to right are Indigo Gould, Hazel Windstorm, Eli Hill, Stuart Dow, Mateu Yearian and Hugh Wentzel.
Port Townsend Knowledge Bowl team wins consecutive state championships

The Knowledge Bowl team from Port Townsend High School has… Continue reading

Bob Edgington of 2 Grade LLC excavating, which donated its resources, pulls dirt from around the base of an orca sculpture at the Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield on Thursday during site preparation to rebuild the Port Angeles play facility, which was partially destroyed by an arson fire on Dec. 20. A community build for the replacement playground is scheduled for May 15-19 with numerous volunteer slots available. Signups are available at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/904084DA4AC23A5F85-47934048-dream#/. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Site preparation at Dream Playground

Bob Edgington of 2 Grade LLC excavating, which donated its resources, pulls… Continue reading

Rayonier Inc. is selling more than 115,000 acres in four units across the West Olympic Peninsula last week as the company looks to sell $1 billion worth of assets. (Courtesy photo / Rayonier Inc.)
Rayonier to sell West End timberland

Plans call for debt restructuring; bids due in June