Holiday travel plans? Watch out for winter weather

An overnight storm put Portland under a blanket of snow more than a foot deep. (KATU photo – Tristan Fortsch – Jan. 11 2017)

PORTLAND, Ore. – If you’re heading out of the Portland and Vancouver metro areas for the holidays, there are a few things you should know before you go.


Only rain will reach the valley floor during the day. But, if you’re heading to the mountains, it’s a different story.

The current snow level is near 1,500 feet and it’s expected to drop to 1,000 feet Friday night.

KATU meteorologist Rhonda Shelby says 1 to 3 inches of snow will fall in all the nearby mountain ranges at elevations above 1,500 feet.

Sea level elevations could see a rain/snow mix Friday night.


Saturday could be a fairly dry day.

There will be a mixture of rain and snow showers or just snow showers at higher elevations early in the day.

However, Rhonda Shelby says the snow will not accumulate.

The afternoon should stay dry with a strong wind out of the east for most of the day.


Things start to get interesting Sunday.

In the mid-morning, moisture from the west will move into the region and it will be met with cold air transported in by the east wind.

Depending on the temperature, the Portland metro area could see a combination of snow, freezing rain or just rain throughout much of the day.

Rhonda Shelby says this could result in anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of snow or a sheet of ice.

She says if you plan to travel Sunday, consult the latest forecast.

It’s possible the Columbia River Gorge and the Cascades will get hit the worst with snow and ice before changing over to rain by Sunday night.

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