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Mt. Bachelor reopens after warm storm's rain, wind

By Barney Lerten
Kandra Kent
Published On: Dec 04 2012 12:20:29 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 05 2012 03:11:44 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Kandra Kent was at Mt. Bachelor Tuesday, where winds and rain prompted closure of the resort for the day

BEND, Ore. -

Mt. Bachelor reopened Wednesday, a day after high winds and heavy rain prompted a closure.

Temperatures dropped and there was an inch of new snow overnight, the resort reported, with several inches at mid-mountain.

With colder snow on the way, and to "maintain the quality of our snowpack," Bachelor reported doing "minimal grooming overnight," advising visitors to be careful in the "somewhat precarious" conditions "due to the saturated snowpack, combined with colder temperatures and new snow.

The warm, windy storm that toppled trees along the Oregon coast also brought winds and rainfall to the High Desert, as high as Mt. Bachelor, where heavy rain and high winds prompted the resort to close for the day Tuesday.

"It was pretty ugly up here this morning," said Mt. Bachelor spokesman Andy Goggins.  "It definitely wasn't very nice being outside."

Winds gusting to 70 mph whipped chairlifts around Tuesday morning, a safety hazard that Goggins said forced them to shut down. 

"We got up this morning to really intense winds and rain," he said. "Between the winds on the lift, that was probably the biggest."

The wind not only made it unsafe to operate, but Monday night's stormy conditions didn't help either.

"We didn't do much grooming last night -- it was very minimal grooming last night because of the rain coming in," he said.

Last year, several winter storms pounded Mt. Bachelor, forcing it to shut down more than a couple of times.

But this year's storm is a bit early -- and Goggins hopes and expects things to turn around quickly.

"Being reliant on Mother Nature, we just hope for the best," Goggins said. "And it does look like the forecast is looking for a little bit more consistency this year. We don't have that La Nina forecast in affect this season, so we're crossing our fingers and hoping for the best."

On the bright side, as the wet snow freezes, it will help pack down the base, potentially helping make for a longer ski season.

"We do have the second-deepest snow base in the U.S. right now, so we're pretty optimistic moving forward that we'll get through this little warm-up," Goggins said.

So the resort reopened Wednesday as expected -- check here for the latest.

The National Weather Service in Pendleton allowed a wind advisory to expire at 10 a.m. Tuesday for eastern slopes of the Cascades, but winds at that hour were still gusting to 25-30 mph across the region as temperatures already had warmed to the 50s in some areas.

By the way, the NWS says November's average temperatures were above normal across Central and Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington, while precipitation was generally close to the historic average for the month.

Redmond, for example, had an average temperature last month of about 40 degrees, three degrees warmer than average. Its precipitation total of 0.89 of an inch was just below average for the month.

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