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. Cheryl

    6 inches + in the Skagit Valley, WA, depending on where you live. Some places here have that 6 inches on top of the previous 8 inches, which will be quite a mess. WSDOT and the county doing a decent job of keeping the roads as clear as possible. Trash-talkers are the ones who think they know it all, and generally they are the ones who create the hazards on the roads for others. IMHO.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Latasha

    For all of those who think Seattle isnt getting snow....we are! I work in seattle and we have been goin thru it. I have 9 inches of snow and it hasnt stopped yet. Everyone here at work is prepared to sleep here cuz we will be trapped. This blows

    January 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • orrigionalbettina

      Idon't know...slumber parties are fun.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevin

      you must be crazy. There is not a flake of snow on the ground here in downtown seattle. Maybe a few areas of slush, but that's about it.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Maverick509

    I love driving on snow...been doing it all my life. But I worry about my wife...she's possibly the worst in the world when it comes to driving on snow.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Vern

    Just sitting here watching the weather go from snow to rain, rain to snow here in downtown Portland. West hills are white at the summit and lots of cars coming down covered in snow. Ahhh, winter time in Portland.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary-Lynn

      Sun just came out at Hayden Island. Not saying it's not snowing at the same time.

      I love the Northwest.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Daniel

    When Portland has the first few snowflakes then people and the news media start to panic, it is really an over- reaction. I biked into work today in a Portland suburb, so don't believe the media reports that we are snowed in here.

    January 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Washingtonian

      Hey man, speak for yourself. A tiny portion of all the pacific NW.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Roadrunner

    Its snowing here in Wisconsin too, but do you see anyone from here complaining ??

    January 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • BDSehrer

      You know... It's more difficult to drive in 32 degree snow than it is in 0 degree snow. Especially when PNWers only get to do it every 2 or 3 years.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maverick509

      You don't get it. Seattle and Portland don't get a lot of snow, so when it does snow, people tend to panic (some, not all). I only live 2 hours away from Seattle and even we laugh at how the city reacts to snow. The entire city shut down about 2-3 years ago over a couple of inches. How would you handle 51 straight days of grey skies and rain?

      January 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • El Guapo

      Wisconsin doesn't have any steep hills, genius.

      January 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • dwt

      You need to allow that they have poor equipment levels to deal with snow in those places like Seattle or D.C. that seldom get hit hard. Also, people in such places get away with driving on bald tires longer than those who live in snowy areas. It really is worse there with 2 inches than here in the midwest with 2" or even 4".

      January 17, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      Roadrunner, I've lived in Alaska and the Mid-West, Norther Europe too.. Seattle is the worst possible place for snow, very steep hills everywhere, extremly congested traffic, and mild temps that continually turn the snow to water, then freeze, making it pure ice underneath fresh snow...

      January 17, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crocker's Common Sense

      Didn't you just complain about the complainers?

      January 17, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • You Big Dummy

      I never understood these idiot ic comments. If people do not get a particular weather pattern on a regular basis, of COURSE people are gonna freak out! What part of that do you not understand?!??! If Phoenix had a blizzard out of nowhere, they would freak out too! Use your brain please.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roadrunner

      well.. We should probably complain when we get two days of rain and cloudy skies.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. gresham_lady

    I live in Gresham, and the snow melts by the time it hits the ground! There is nothing to freak out about here concerning the weather. I'm more concerned about the remedial drivers than anything else!

    January 17, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crocker's Common Sense

      You hit the nail on the head. The idiots behind the wheel present the most danger out there. But then what do you expect in a country where you get your drives license when you are a teenager after attending classes a couple of times a week. That's the only training (if you can call it that) you ever get. Then society hopes you learn while doing and don't kill yourself or anyone else during the process.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crocker's Common Sense

      oops – meant to type 'drivers' license....

      January 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jess

    i am in minnesota. We usually have the most snow by now. Its the mildest winter ever. Right now we only have a dusting on the ground. This is the best winter i can remember.

    January 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crocker's Common Sense

      Location. Location. Location.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Frosty McSmackem

    New winter drivers in MN like to look cross eyed at the first snowflake that hits the windshield, and then crash into something.

    January 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Snowman8

    Reporting from Bend, OR. It's dumping outside and the snowboards are loaded, hubs are locked, and headed straight into the storm to Mt. Bachelor!! Bring it! Snowing = Shredding. Learn it, Love it, Live it!

    January 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jess

    no just take it slow. Let the 4wheel drive trucks pass you. Then wave hi to them as they are in the ditch when you pass by.

    January 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Crocker's Common Sense

      Actually that happens up here too. Fun to watch. That is after making sure no one is injured and/or needing assistance of course.

      January 17, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Crocker's Common Sense

    Re: advising those who must take to the roads during the storm to carry a flashlight, blankets and extra food and water.

    Better make sure your tank is full of overpriced gasoline or diesel as well.

    January 17, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. anxietyjunkie

    i'm currently at work north of Seattle in Mountlake Terrace; it's coming down, but it isn't sticking too bad yet. But they are saying tomorrow is going to be the killer. I stayed home yesterday because the ice was so bad.

    January 17, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Crocker's Common Sense

    Actually I gotta say it isn't the weather conditions per se that are dangerous. It's the idiots and morons who don't know how to drive IN IT that presents the problem.

    January 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. NW Mamma

    Live in the Seabeck area and we woke up to about 2" and it is coming down again really hard now.
    Currently snowing in Poulsbo and Kingston, roads are wet and slushy but not too bad.
    Just drove to work through it all, road conditions not bad on the main roads, side streets are a different story!
    Let it Snow Let it Snow!!!!

    January 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
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