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Snow on Tuesday for Western Oregon, Washington, Coast Range: Portland to Seattle

Published 01/26/21 at 12:06 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Snow on Tuesday for Western Oregon, Washington, Coast Range: Portland to Seattle

(Portland, Oregon) – Low level snow will make an appearance in parts of northwestern Oregon up through much of Washington Tuesday - including Seattle. The coast range of Oregon and the Willapa Hills of Washington are expected to get the heaviest amounts of snow, while higher elevations of Portland are expected to get a mix of rain and snow during the day and evening.

It’s not expected to be a large snow event for the Portland area and largely limited to the northern Willamette Valley, but towns close to the coast range will likely get a few inches.

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The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a special weather statement Monday for all of northwest Oregon, ranging from the Cascade foothills of Lane County and Eugene, the Columbia Gorge and over to the central and northern coast range as well as southwest Washington.

“A weakening frontal system will move across western Oregon and southwest Washington Tuesday afternoon and evening,” the NWS said. “This front will spread a widespread area of precipitation across most of the area for a few hours beginning early afternoon Tuesday along the coast, and spreading to areas farther east into the Cascades by Tuesday evening.”

Snow levels could reach below 500 feet for Salem, Portland and Vancouver, starting mid afternoon on Tuesday. No snow is expected for the Oregon or Washington coastline.

“Confidence is moderate to high that areas in the Portland/Vancouver Metro will see a 1-3 hour period of light to perhaps moderate snow,” the NWS said. “However, confidence is lower in any appreciableaccumulation amounts across the northern Willamette Valley.”

The west hills of Portland and areas north and east of Vancouver are the most likely to see accumulation. The Seattle area is set to see a snow / rain mix through Wednesday.

See Oregon Coast Weather - Washington Coast Weather 

Areas of 500 to 700 feet are looking at a greater chance of slushy accumulation.

“Locations in the Coast Range and Cascades Foothills above 500 feet could see 2 to 5 inches of accumulation,” the NWS said. “Higher elevations above 1200-1500 feet in the Coast Range and Cascades will likely see even higher snow accumulations from 5 to 8 inches.”

Up to four inches of snow are expected in the Columbia River Gorge.

The NWS said most inland roadways will have minimal to no amount of accumulation, but higher spots like bridges could wind up with some and there may be slick spots around the valley. Any snow below 500 feet is expected to taper off in the evening and be replaced by rain.

Oregon’s Coast Range was already hit with a few inches of snow in the upper elevations on Monday, making driving difficult in areas. Many coastal towns like Cannon Beach reported a “quiet day.”

The southern Oregon coast range has a snow level of 1600 feet, making for little to nothing on that route to the beach.

“Anyone with travel plans Tuesday afternoon and evening should be prepared for the possibility of winter driving conditions at low elevations, with winter driving conditions a virtual certainty in the mountains above 500 - 1000 feet elevation, and in the Columbia River Gorge,” the NWS said.

See Oregon Coast Road, Traffic Conditions, Updates

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