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. Lizzy Tish

    Waiting anxiously in Montana. Let it snow Let it snow Let it snow! 🙂

    January 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sixteanine

      Used to live in Havre and loved the snow. I hope you get some. 🙂

      January 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jimbo

    Snowed 12" in Colorado last night, didn't make the news. Imagine that. I hope this storm in the northwest makes it's way down to The Centennial State, we love snow here and instead of complain we celebrate....except for those that live in Denver, they don't count.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ally Buster Hater

      Who is complaining. People in Seattle will. No one else in Wash or Oregon will. We love our snow. Seattle is like Denver, full of sissy's. Jumpin my Summit 800 right now. Takin a break to blog and see the beautiful Wallowa Mnts. 15 feet here right now. In the summer it will be 95, and none of us complain. It's life, enjoy it. By the way, go outside and live. Get off your pc

      January 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • TEEEEE

      I was born and bred in eastern Washington, and when the snow hits there are just as many people in the ditch as there are in Seattle.

      January 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dinky

      Your comment makes no sense.

      January 17, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dinky

      (That was for Ally Buster Hater)

      January 17, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wendie

      Colorado is used to snow every year correct? We are not. You come here and try driving on the frozen slush at night...after it has turned to black ice of course.

      For us it's the ice under the snow. You try driving on sheets of black ice and then we will talk.

      January 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • LinSea

      Yeah, @ Wendie, but no one around here ever seems to remember any of the lessons learned from the previous year, either. They just keep going on their merry, idiotic way, going too fast, trying to turn too quickly, not paying proper attention to the conditions. And black ice isn't any worse to drive on than regular ice. Ice is ice.

      January 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ally Buster Hater

      Dinky, you must be from Seattle. Go find Ted and start breaking again. Everything serves the beam. I like how you use your penis size for a screen name.

      January 17, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Christine

    Waiting for wind event on Oregon Coast with gusts up to 90 mph at the headlands. Hold on to your hats Oregonians!

    January 17, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sixteanine

      I'm up here in Ocean Park, WA. I'm waiting.....waiting....I think it's going to hit soon. Good luck down yonder:-)

      January 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ORNative

    First off, yes Oregonians are a little ridiculous when it comes to snow. However, we don't get it that often, people here don't know how to drive in it, and lastly our snow is VERY wet snow which means ICE on top of the snow when it freezes. We don't get nice 'fluffy' snow here. We also are never prepared to handle the hills and roads due to lack of snow plows. Most of our residential areas are on steep hills- add in ice, snow, and people driving who are not use to it...and you get nasty conditions. Luckily we have an awesome transit system!

    January 17, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • bella

      There are Oregonians who live east of the Cascades whose annual winter experience differs. Deep snow, long winters between frosts.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • ORNative

      @Bella...very true. Maybe I should change that to 'Portlanders' are a little ridiculous when it comes to snow. ;o) I for one do not know how to drive in snow, but i'm smart enough to take the bus.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ally Buster Hater

      I travel to Seattle and Portland about 6 times a month. They cannot drive in it, because they rarely get it, Common sense there. If you are not used to it, it's rough times. I snowmobile on tolgate also. We average about 15 feet up there. Second most in the state. Read an almanac, Mr Baker has the worlds record for most snowfall from jan to jan. That is here in Washington. People that prepare for everest will start on Mt Rainier. I love America, every state. You all have something wonderful to offer. But in the Pacific Northwest, you are guarantee'd all four seasons. And I enkoy them all. Hope all of you enjoy life too, cuz it's too short to bicker about. Gettin while the gettin is good!!

      January 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • ORNative

      LOL @ 'guaranteed all four seasons.' Who's bickering? I've lived in Portland my entire life and while we have 'seasons' they usually consist of rain (rain/sun, misty rain, downpour rain, etc.) If lucky weather wise we get about a week of hot temps and a month of sun breaks, but for the most part the weather stays the same. I'm a true Portlander, I love the rain!!!

      January 17, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joy

    North Dakotians & Alaskans laugh at such dribble!

    January 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thermion7

      Yeah, we get it...
      ...and the Olympic Rain Forrest laughs at 140" of rain annually, and Scottsdale Arizona Laughs at 3 months of 100° heat...
      San Franciscans laugh off earthquakes less 3.5 magnitude earthquakes,
      Here in Portland we average less than 7" of snow per year... whereas Bismark ND averages over four feet of the white stuff! It's not surprising that the investment in winter storm preparedness is a little less!

      January 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • mebury

      as do us [we] Canadians....25 degrees plus 7" of snow..... beach weather.

      January 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |

    The snow isn't the problem. The problem is when the snow melts a little then freezes again, and you are left driving on a solid sheet of ice. Add traffic and a city not prepared to deal with snow to the mix and you have a recipe for dangerous driving conditions.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Innkahoots

    I live here on the east side of Washington, at the foot hills of the next range over The Blue Mountians. Which rise to around 8000ft in places and the roads up Tiger Canyon have drop offs of over 1000ft. Snow depths with drifts can be over thirty feet, so we have huge tires on our truck etc, that we let most of the air out of so we can snow cat ontop of it. While we here in PNW have Mountian ranges, you have hills. We have rain forests, you have woods. Three years ago we had over two feet of snow that lasted a month and a half, broke my shovel I did, but thats ok I got 3 more. It snows every year up here, sometimes early in the season, sometimes not. Sometimes heavy, some times not, and if it ain't snowing, it's raining, so do yourself a favor and don't bother coming up here. It's truly hell on earth.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. veronica

    im in puyallup, wa, and we laugh at ourselves too.. we're such babies. waiting for the office to close! lol..

    January 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. veronica

    danget.. the sun came out and ALL 2 inches of the snow melted..

    January 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Zach

    As a New Yorker, I have dealt with numerous major snowstorms and blizzards. I love shoveling them, maybe cuz I'm young lol. Oh well, I wish everyone in the Northwest who will be affected the best of luck, and when you're done with that snow, send it over to New York City!

    January 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Innkahoots

      Thanks for the best wishes Zack, from all of us here in the Pac NorthWest. Rest assured that it is on the way, maybe in a week it will get to you. Just hope that we dont rub to much of the new off of it for ya.

      January 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. stephen

    To the posters saying its not snowing in seattle, I beg to differ. I left as soon as it started, and my fiancee is back there sending me picture messages. I assure you that its getting pretty bad. The snow melts a bit during the day, and creates a ton of black ice at night. It is hazardous ovver there.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Quietman

    Oh no! This is the Tillamonk icecream truck taht was on it's way to Seattle. Better stock up before the store freezers are bare. Those of us who have tried it know what I mean.

    January 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Crocker's Common Sense

    The headline SHOULD have read: Twin storms reported to be heading toward the Northwest. They haven't arrived yet folks.

    January 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wendie

      Looking outside right now I bet to differ Crocker

      January 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Vernah Petersen

    Wow! is a lot of Snow must be one of those area need to look up by the mother nature, sometimes. Yea! prayers is good and God is something else..I lived in the mid-west like Nebraska, people always make fun that is an area always targeted of bad winter, but not this time..So my request was been heard..I raise my case. Northwest Pacific enjoy the most powder
    snow for awhile, while 1" of snow last night all we can have for now..GOD is great you better believe it..

    January 17, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Wendie

    Seattle and Portland are so much alike...yet so different.

    January 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
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