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Oregon Coast Range to Get Icy, Dicey for Shorter Time

Published 12/05/2016 at 4:23 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Oregon Coast Range to Get Icy, Dicey for Shorter Time

(Oregon Coast) - All of northwest Oregon is under a snow advisory, with most of the Oregon coast range highways getting one to three inches of snow today and then again later tonight. The good news is that the National Weather Service (NWS) in Portland has backed off warnings about freezing rain later in the week.

The snow advisory is in effect until noon today (Monday), as snow levels drop to 500 feet in some areas – and even the Oregon coast beaches may see some snow. Willamette Valley towns of Portland, Woodburn, Salem and Corvallis are likely to see some snow as well, especially in the higher elevations.

Travel to and from the Oregon coast will be of concern, with Highway 26 to Seaside, Highway 6 to Tillamook and Highway 18 to Lincoln City all expected to get two periods of snow. The first is through noon, with one to three inches possible, but the worst around 7 a.m. Then a period of mixed rain and snow is likely in the afternoon and evening, turning again to snow after 10 p.m. where another one to three inches may hit the passes to the beaches.

Meanwhile, Highway 20 between Corvallis and Newport is expected to get little to no snow.

Late Sunday night, snow predictions suddenly shifted.

“Snow is possible at all elevations,” the NWS said. “The best chance for accumulating snow is above 700 feet. Now levels may drop down to close to the valley floors late tonight and Monday morning. Accumulations at the valley floors will be highly dependent on how fast roads cool off and the snow begins to stick.”

As of 4 a.m., the ODOT road cam for Highway 26 at Timber Junction (elevation 780 feet) shows snow on the sides of the road but all slush on the pavement. The road cam at the 1442-foot elevation shows more severe conditions with considerable snow on the pavement.

The interesting changes in the predictions involve how originally the most severe weather was predicted for the more northern areas, and forecasts got less snowy the farther south you went. Now, Highway 18 in the Van Duzer Corridor is predicted to get more snow later on Monday (up to three inches), but in that same time period Highway 26 will only see a half inch of snow or less. Highway 6 will get about one to two inches in that later shower period.

Meanwhile, Highway 20 will get mostly rain.

The areas to look out for the most are the summits on the coastal highways. There are two higher summits on Highway 26, between 1200 and 1600 feet. Highway 6 tops out at 1500 feet at one point. Highway 18's Van Duzer Corridor gets up to a little over 700 feet.

Tuesday and early Wednesday show the possibilities of some freezing fog in the nighttime, while Tuesday remains drier and warmer. Highway 6 and 26 should be more temperate on Wednesday and Thursday, but some slight snow or freezing rain is possible in these northern sections of the coast range. Keep an eye on Oregon Coast Weather here, and check here for Oregon Coast Road, Traffic Conditions, Updates.

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