Twin winter storms slamming Pacific Northwest
An earlier storm created treacherous driving conditions over the weekend in Oregon.
January 17th, 2012
10:28 AM ET

Twin winter storms slamming Pacific Northwest

Seattle could see one of its largest snowfalls since the 1940s as twin winter storms move over the Pacific Northwest during the next two days, according to the National Weather Service.

Between 5 and 9 inches of snow could hit the Seattle-Tacoma area Wednesday, with 6 to 10 inches falling before the storms pass early Thursday, said Dustin Guy, a meteorologist at the weather service's Seattle office.

Precipitation moving in from the south and west is combining with cold air moving south from Canada to create the heavy snowfall, Guy said. If snowfall amounts top 7 inches, the winter weather event will rank among Seattle's 10 worst since the early 1940s, he said.

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Mountainous areas of the Pacific Northwest will see even more snow, with the largest accumulations on the eastern slopes of the Cascades, according to the weather service.

From late Tuesday through early Thursday, 2 feet to 3.5 feet of snow is forecast for the mountains east of Seattle, Guy said.

The first storm was moving over the area Monday into the day Tuesday. The second and stronger storm was forecast to hit Wednesday into Thursday.

"It's pretty big when you get back-to-back storms like that," weather service meteorologist Roger Cloutier said.

Scattered areas near Easton, Washington, along Interstate 90 in the Cascade Mountains 55 miles east of Seattle, have already received 32 inches of snow, Cloutier said.

The snowfall extends south into Oregon, with as much as 18 inches forecast for the Bend area. CNN affiliate KTVZ-TV in Bend said an earlier round of snow over the weekend gave a boost to local ski resorts but also created treacherous driving conditions that left at least one motorist dead.

Those conditions were expected to worsen. Winter storm warnings were in effect across the region.

"Expect extreme travel difficulties to develop on Wednesday," the weather service said, advising those who must take to the roads during the storm to carry a flashlight, blankets and extra food and water.

CNN affiliate KING-TV in Seattle reported that some schools systems canceled or delayed classes Tuesday.

The heavy snowfall will be followed by rain, which could produce ponding water and urban flooding, Guy said.

"It's just gonna be a mess all around," he said of the coming few days in the Seattle area.

Cloutier said even though computer models are trending colder and colder for the coming days, the heavy snow will eventually pose a flooding threat.

"When the snow does finally melt, you can almost guarantee there will be some flooding somewhere," he said.

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Filed under: Oregon • Washington state • Weather • Winter weather
soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. richsingles

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    January 17, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. what_if

    If my aunt had b@lls she'd be a dude! 10 bucks says they only get rain and no snow

    January 17, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      I'm going to buy Happy Meals with your $10. It's been snowing at my house off and on for the past two days now. I don't expect that we'll get 10" but whatever does fall will be new snow on top of old. BTW...say hi to your aunt for me. I'm pretty sure I went to high school with him.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. OregonMan

    I'm in Portland, its snow that does not stick. People flip out if there is ONE flake in the sky.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • mike

      I'm in Portland too and there were already a few inches in my driveway at 6:30am. The city is build on hillsides, so unless you live and work in the valley it makes it tough to travel around when it gets slick.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Raven

      In Hillsboro, just west of Portland, it's sticking... all of maybe a quarter of an inch on the ground. People freak out over such a tiny amount of snow here. Buses with chains on, schools cancelled... it's hilarious.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • t3chsupport

      Also in P town. East side. Seen a few snowflakes. A few of them stayed on my lawn for a few hours. People here freak out so much about the snow... it's not the snow that's dangerous, it's the people spazzing out about it that's the most dangerous!

      January 17, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • NE PDX dude

      @mike... Portland is built on the hills? Which part of town are you from??? There's still the rest of NW, all of North, all of NE, all of SE, and part of SW.... You might want to go for a drive sometime to see the rest of the town.

      I'm currently sitting in my 8th floor office downtown from a very busy MAX ride in. It's snowing off and on, but it's just plain too warm for any to stick. It might freeze over later on tonight though, then that would be a repeat of 3 years ago. People on the MAX from Gresham were saying that it's worse out there. Which makes sense with the Urban Heat Bubble that tends to happen with larger cities. Beaverton areas too apparently are more affected.

      I'm just hoping for a "snow day", should be interesting to see what happens around town! (Oh, and I'm certainly not afraid to walk home even if it is an hour :)

      January 17, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Isaac

      I'm in North Carolina and we don't have any snow here! I just felt the need to add another observation to all of this.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. eb

    We had the same think here around the DC area, and the snow stuck, up to 3 feet, each time it came down, twice within a week.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. yourmom

    this is a pretty big deal, people around here have no idea how to cope with this kind of weather.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Washingtonian

      We are coping fine, it's coming down still and everyone in my family is still driving to work today. Don't know how to cope my ass! t("t)

      January 17, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. J

    and in the northeast, we find this amusing. such panic over so little.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Man_711

      There are such sissy's in the PNW.

      January 17, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • NE PDX dude

      Ever been over here? I've been over there during a snow storm. Different? Yes. Certainly. Whole different climate (unless you didn't get taught that in High School). Here it just rains a lot and you can't walk, easily, to a neighbor for help in a lot of areas if there is a lot of snow.

      When you travel here and actually stay for a bit, then you should be able to sound off. Otherwise you can keep your overpopulated NE where people complain about everything and want all the attention for some reason. You are more than welcome to the Pacific Northwest, but please... don't stay :)

      January 17, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Washingtonian

      Go NE PDX Dude!!!!

      January 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Man_711

    So far as usual a big bust.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jim

    I live in the northwest and do not feel particularly "slammed". Actually a pretty ho-hum storm if you ask me.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Sarah

    Seattle has received about 5 inches so far and it's snowing like crazy right now.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. yournamehere

    I live in Olympia and we have about 6 inches and counting. Not much really but for this area its a lot. Schools are canceled. The infrastructure here is just not set up to deal with snow. Our municipalities could learn a lesson or two from the east side. I myself love driving in it, just hate dealing with those that cant. It should all be gone by thursday, too bad cause I wold much rather deal with snow than constant grey.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Jes

    Living in Utah if we get that much snow we can handle it. We do have the best snow on earth here.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. myopinion

    I live on the Idaho/Oregon border and while we might not get alot of snow,I hope that it does bring alot of snow. We really need it! There hasnt been alot of precipitation here this winter.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. amscray

    Can't wait to see those car crash videos on youtube. Sorry.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:48 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. The High Guy

    I live in Portland – not much going on here. I lit up a jibber and then took my garbage to the end of the driveway. It sure seemed fruity outside. I was really hungry so I ordered a pizza and the guy said it would take 1 1/2 hours for delivery because of the slick conditions.

    What was he talking about dude? And where are my cigarettes? Man, I only have 3 jibbers left to get me through this storm. Hopefully my dealer is quicker than Papa Johns. This stinks.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. tina

    I live in yakima and the winds just kicked up. it is setting up like winter of 96. if it does dump like expected, we could end up with 1 foot or more.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse | Reply
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