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Caution on Oregon Coast Range, Washington Coast Routes: Snow This Week

Published 12/18/22 at 4:15 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Caution on Oregon Coast Range, Washington Coast Routes: Snow This Week

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(Oregon Coast) - Snow, snow and more snow: that's kind of the message that's being sent out from various weather outlets, for the lower parts of the Willamette Valley, Portland and Vancouver, Washington. Yet the Oregon Coast Range and some routes to the Washington coast are going to be much more of a winter wonderland in the next week – but in a far more annoying way. (Photo of Highway 26 in snow at night, Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the north Oregon Coast Range will begin to get snow later today (Sunday) and it'll stick around through most of the week, making your trips to and from the beaches perhaps a little icy and dicey at times.

The same goes for the Lower Chehalis area and SR-12 towards the Washington coast, and the Willapa Hills closer to Long Beach.

The NWS said to look for a few inches of snow in the Oregon Coast Range, mostly in the upper elevations for Highway 26 towards Seaside / Cannon Beach and Highway 18 towards Lincoln City. Snow levels drop to 1500 feet on Sunday and then down to 500 feet after midnight. It stays there through Wednesday, providing fairly good chances of snow with accumulations up to one inch per day. This may cause more road condition problems on much of Higways 18 and 26, along with OR 6 to Tillamook and OR 126 to Florence.

On Wednesday and later that night, snow levels rise to 1500 feet but with a chance of freezing rain on Thursday. That will be dangerous for any road to the Oregon coast or the Washington coast and the lower valley.

See Oregon Coast Weather - Washington Coast Weather

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Snow levels begin rising after that and so far the forecast shows more rain than anything afterwards.

The Washington coast's Willapa Hills has a very similar outlook as the northwest Oregon Coast Range.

Farther down towards the south Oregon coast, Highway 38 won't be affected much.

Of course, it's the week before Christmas and inland snow is of some debate.

“Question on everyone's mind is where or how much snow will the lowlands see with this front,” the NWS in Portland said. “Therein lies the biggest challenge.”

Models have been varied, the NWS said.

“That in mind, snow showers Monday night through Tuesday will generally produce light snow accumulations, less than an inch for lowest elevations,” they said. “But, could get an inch or so if showers tend to repeated track over the same area. Better odds for a few inches of snow in the higher terrain, such as the Coast Range, Willapa Hills, and Cascades/foothills, where orographic flow will be favorable for sustained showers.”

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