PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As they say, “and yet it moves”, we still have a busy life to deal with regardless of the weather.
You probably have work or appointments set up that you may need to get to this week. What can you expect heading out the door for traveling? It will all depend on your elevation and your location. You can see a slideshow below of some of the major routes across the state as of Monday afternoon. Of course, it’s not going to stay like this, since there will be changes and potentially more snow this week.
TRAVELING THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS: So let’s start with the obvious forecast, the mountain passes are all going to be snowy this week. Mt. Hood Meadows has picked up four feet of snow in just a matter of four days!
The mountains are going to continue to be hammered with snow all week. There will potentially be some lulls in the active weather, but the roads will be snowy and potentially slick. It is advised to have your car packed up and the chains ready for travel. If you are one that does not feel comfortable driving in snowy conditions in any amount, I would rearrange your week and reschedule your appointments. It will be slowly and potentially a bit treacherous at times like this previous weekend with visibility issues and wind. Notice the transition from mainly wet conditions to snowy conditions traveling higher in elevation from Sandy. By the time we get to Monday night/Tuesday AM, even those lower elevations like Sandy should be snowy.
COAST RANGE DRIVING: Those peak U.S. 26/ORE6/ORE22/U.S. 30 elevations that take you from downtown out to the Oregon coast will have snow in the next coming days. Some locations, such as the U.S. 26 Sunset Summit, have already accumulated multiple inches of snow. As of Monday night and Tuesday morning, the snow elevation will be low enough to impact the whole trip to some degree and not just the higher elevations. That means traveling through the Coast Range, even further south, will be a bit complicated with snow. Currently, I believe locations on ORE-6 will end up with the high snow totals overnight Monday into Tuesday. If you’re hoping to travel to the coast this week, I would potentially wait until late in the week, closer to Friday.
VALLEY TRAVEL: Alright folks, the million-dollar question, what will travel be like this week. I can firmly say that the next 24 hours should be manageable if not completely normal (outside of your wet roads and some slick spots). If you have to travel into downtown or just take Interstate 5 up and down the Willamette Valley, your travel should carry on. You shouldn’t have to switch up your schedule or cancel anything unless you are traveling down from higher elevations and have to go through a snowy road to get to the valley floor.
At this time, some of those elevations in the valley that may have to deal with snow will be around 500-1000 feet. Snow level appears to drop to the valley floor Monday night, but snow totals look minimal — it could be a trace or on the higher end of 1/2 inch. For those south of Portland, you should be able to travel smoothly at this time.
Come Wednesday night, that could potentially change. The forecast is looking to keep us dry to start the day but then becoming wet likely after the commute home, but at this time we can’t rule some light snow starting around the commute Wednesday (forecast update Tuesday and Wednesday). This is when we will have to keep an eye on the forecast, but at this time, locations like Salem look to tentatively be in the rainy sector and away from the snow.
GORGE TRAVEL: We know that the Gorge can be very tricky when we have winter events rolling through. This week, we may have some of those weather conditions impacting Interstate 84 and communities in the Gorge. In fact, starting Monday evening, those locations higher in the hills will likely start to pick up some snow (Vista House and those communities up in Corbett); however, there isn’t a copious amount of moisture.
Snow levels may push down to I-84 by the morning allowing for some minor accumulation for travel. Scattered snow showers on Tuesday may also add a quick burst of snow, but shouldn’t be out of the question for travel. Fast forward to Wednesday, where travel may be more difficult by the late hours. Not only does it appear the snow is likely later in the day, but it will be breezy and dark. Wednesday night travel through the Gorge will likely be the hardest part of the week and that will carry over into Thursday morning.