Spring Begins with Snow in Oregon Coast Range, Rising Gas Prices
(Oregon Coast) – The spring break season starts off with no small amount of irony in Oregon. While this winter has been quite warm, even balmy at times, snow is coming to parts of the state. The season also kicks off with increasing gas prices, said the AAA.
Travel in the Oregon coast range mountains and the Cascades may be a bit more for a few days, as Mother Nature plays a few last minute winter pranks.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said the routes to the coast and the central Oregon mountain ranges will get hit by a snow storm, while even higher elevations of places like Portland could be affected.
“The lowest snow levels since last December are expected early this coming week,” the NWS said in a bulletin. “After January and February brought one of the mildest starts to the year in much of southwest Washington and northwest Oregon, a cold weather system will move in Sunday night and Monday from the Gulf of Alaska and bring the lowest snow levels to the area since last December.”
Snow levels will drop considerably on Sunday night, then throughout Monday as well, all behind a massive cold front. The NWS said elevations as low as 1500 feet, even 1000 feet, could end up in the snow zones. This could have some effect on travel conditions in the usually mild coast range, but certainly the Cascade mountain passes.
Several inches of snow are expected in the Cascades and the coastal mountains, but the NWS said some snow should make it to the higher hills and elevations of Portland and Vancouver.
This cold upper level system is poised to make a few more surprises. It will move across the area on Monday, forcing snow levels down to elevations around 1500 feet. The NWS said it holds the potential to produce hail and thunder in the coast range as well as the Cascade mountains.
The cold air system will likely be followed by another on Tuesday and Wednesday, which will force many of the snow conditions to continue.
“Motorists traveling through the Cascades this week should be prepared for snow covered roads,” the NWS said.
While snow accumulation is expected in the routes to the Oregon coast, there is so far not speculation it should hamper travel too badly. Usually, the rule of thumb for snow events in the coast range is stick to the daylight hours. Any accumulation on the roadways is usually wiped away by constant traffic, and the warmth of the days provide further impedance to road surfaces frosting over or collecting too much.
Still, it is best to check TripCheck.com or the Oregon Coast Weather pages at BeachConnection.net to see conditions before embarking until Wednesday.
And if odd snow events aren’t enough, gas prices in Oregon have begun to rise again, according to the AAA..
“This is often the time of year when retail gas prices start to increase, and that's the case this week,” the AAA said in a press release.
The national average for regular gasoline has gone up four cents to $2.70, with Oregon hopping up to $2.81. The AAA said the two averages have jumped to their highest point since January.
The reason is the price of crude oil, which has been floating around the $80 a barrel range this week. There is also a higher need for gas because of increased travel at this time of year – often coming with spring break - which then boosts the price even more.
In February, gas prices remained steadier, with the national average remaining between about $2.61 and $2.71. It was a relative stability, however, despite the fact oil prices were a bit volatile during that month.
“Oregon's average was in an even tighter band between about $2.72 and $2.78,” the AAA said.
Snowy spring break seasons are not without precedent on the coast. Two years ago, a fair amount of snow actually hit the beaches as well as the coast range during spring break – later in March than it has now – which did ruin the season for many north coast businesses.
Every two or three years there are some rather significant snow events in the coast range in March, although they often just last for a day or so.
See Oregon coast weather here.
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