Cascade snowstorm slows drivers, thrills skiers


As much as 2 feet of snow may accumulate above Cascade passes

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A mid-December storm will bring significant amounts of snow to Mount Hood and the Oregon Cascades through this weekend. Parts of the Cascades could see as much as 30 inches of fresh snow by the end of Sunday.

Watches, warnings and advisories are in effect for the bulk of Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Snow falls during a winter storm at Mount Hood Meadows, December 12, 2019 (KOIN)

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the Northern Oregon and Washington Cascades above 4500 feet from Mount Hood to Hoodoo Ski area. That warning remains in effect until noon Friday.

As much as one to 2 feet of snow may accumulate above the Cascade passes.

While it won’t be snowy in the Willamette Valley, it will certainly be wet. Rain is expected with daytime highs in the upper 40s to lower 50s.

KOIN – Watches, Warnings and Advisories
KOIN – Closings
Ski conditions

A graphic showing the area of a Winter Storm Warning, December 12, 2019 (KOIN)

Road conditions

Del Walker was driving from Prineville to Portland when he stopped at Government Camp. He told KOIN 6 News it began snowing “just out of Warm Springs and then it really got heavy up at Bear Creek.”

Walker said he was in 4-wheel drive and he kept his speed down. “It wasn’t too bad.”

But other drivers were having problems and swerved on the slick roads.

“It’s not a bad drive but you’ve got to mind your P’s and Q’s,” he said. “If you don’t you’re going to be in the ditch or over the side.”

ODOT traction tire and chain regulations in Oregon

When signs say chains are required on all or certain types of vehicles, chains must be used.

In very bad winter conditions, all vehicles may be required to use chains regardless of the type of vehicle or tires.

In typical winter conditions, vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds and not towing or being towed can use traction tires in place of chains.

Oregon’s chain law

At Mount Hood Meadows

Dave Tragethon with Mount Hood Meadows was all smiles after about 11 inches of fresh snow since Tuesday night.

“This forecast has up to another foot this evening and up to another foot tomorrow (Friday),” he told KOIN 6 News. “This is a base builder. We launch our season on storms like this.”

Tragethon said Mount Hood Meadows has 5 lifts currently in operation. Once this storm clears, they’ll look at the upper mountain. “There’s a lot of work to be done since they haven’t operated yet.”

Mount Hood ski conditions

With the amount of snow already down and in the forecast, Tragethon said they “can get a lot more of the mountain open” and they hope to start night skiing next week.

Snowboarders were already out on the slopes and described the conditions as windy with heavy snow and low visibility, with “mashed potato” snow.

That didn’t matter to Jeremy Pryde.

Snowboarder Jeremy Pryde was out on the slopes of Mount Hood, December 12, 2019 (KOIN)

“You know, everybody’s happy up here. Nothing else matters besides shredding some snow and getting to know each other,” Pryde said.

Snowboarder Cody Frame said it wasn’t too cold. “The snow is super solid. Just a good day.”

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