Mountain snow still in the cards for holiday travel

Weather

Snowfall could reach as low as 5,000 feet

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Are you dreaming of a white Thanksgiving? If you’re up in the mountains—you just might get one.

The holiday forecast

Mountain snow is still anticipated for Sunday through Wednesday, with travel through mountain passes being impacted. The best shot of avoiding any trouble would be going north to Seattle.

KOIN 6 News expects snowfall somewhere around 2-3 inches on Sunday and 3 to 5-inches on Monday as low as 5,000 feet. The heaviest of the snow could come on Tuesday, with a possible 6 to 10-inches.

What we will be monitoring outside of the snowfall for the passes, will be the storm that arrives on the Oregon/California coast come Tuesday. It is projected to intensify quickly creating a strong temperature gradient and a byproduct of that will be strong wind for SW Oregon and streaming up to potentially areas of Eugene. This will also provide moisture to increase snow intensity and rain for the coast. This path makes a big difference and the further it may travel north, the chance for lowland snow increases for the southern valley. We will monitor this through the coming days.

Cold air will likely stream in quickly on Wednesday and Thursday, but the moisture level is not impressive. The overnight temperatures heading into Thanksgiving morning could be as cold as the upper 20s. If we do happen to see some moisture, it will definitely be cold enough for lowland snow at that point.

The east wind will start to pick up around Wednesday — and that appears to stick around into next weekend.

Preparing your travel plans

Although there will not likely be any metro weather-related problems, transportation officials are ready for whatever Mother Nature may bring.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation had its plowing equipment out and ready a week before Thanksgiving. PBOT officials told KOIN 6 News they have a plan in place and a list of crew members ready to respond if they’re needed.

“We also need the public to be winter-ready as well,” said PBOT Spokesperson John Brady. “Try to tele-commute if you can, and if you need to travel, use public transportation instead.”

TriMet has drop-down chains on 75% of its buses in case a storm moves through the Portland area.

The Portland Police Bureau said its officers will be on standby during the holiday week.

“If they get a call from a supervisor saying we need some extra help we are required as police officers to have chains or studs on our personal vehicles to make sure we can get in and help the people,” said PPB Sgt. Bret Barnum.

ODOT crews are ready with plows, salt, deicers and sand. Their biggest concerns are those higher elevations and mountain passes that might be seeing snow. They have suspended any and all construction for the time being, with the exception of emergency work.

Don Hamilton from ODOT has tips for those planning on traveling through that possibly inclement weather. If you need snow tires, don’t wait until the last minute to get them before you need to travel because it could be a several hour wait to get those on your car.

“Prepare your car and make sure it’s in good shape. Bring food and water along with you along with emergency supplies,” he said. “Plan ahead and keep an eye on the weather so you know what you’re getting into.”

On the biggest Thanksgiving travel days—Wednesday and next Sunday—allow yourself some extra time and stay safe.

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