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. buhbye

    Portland is much worse when it comes to freezing bridges and ice because the Columbia RIver is so close.

    January 17, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • lroy

      I've always thought Oregon is like New England-West. We've had back to back storms and it's tough.

      January 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JD Clampet

    Hey everyone! Check your calendars.... It's winter (in the Pacific Northwest) and in the rest of the US.

    January 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Becky the PNW that usually means moderate temperates and a lot of rain. We don't get much snow out here during the winter.......

      January 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Snowshadow

    Wouldn't most snow fall on the west side of the Cascade mountains, if the storms are tracking from south and west to east?

    January 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • LinSea

      You would think so, but no, the eastern side of the state gets most of the snow and really cold weather. The western half just gets into a tizzy and panics at the first snowflake. The people on the east side just laugh their butts off at how incompetent Seattle is in dealing with an inch of snow (and the laughter is well deserved).

      January 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      Hey sure and stay on the Eastern side of the State will you? You seem like a bitter, inconsiderate person.

      January 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • seriously226

      LinSea, I'm assuming you haven't actually been to Seattle during a snowstorm? Particularly in downtown Seattle. Unlike the Eastern half of the state, Seattle and the Pudget Sound is made up of massive hills. Its not the snow that's the problem, its the ice caused by the snow on roads with 45 deg. grades. Also, it doesn't snow a lot, so there's no need for a lot of snow plows and ice trucks to deal with it.

      January 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Naida

    Great.. and I'm due any day now..

    January 17, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • soca

      Great: Now you'll also be expecting by this time next year. Congratulations

      January 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • lroy

      That's wonderful. If you can, get to the hospital and stay there. Or plan to have the baby at home.

      January 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ed

    And the truck driver got out of the rig and yelled OH CHEESE!!!

    January 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. goodmin123

    learn to drive people its not like your kids are getting any smarter sitting at home on xbox

    January 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |


    January 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brody Marxfield

    One of the "10 worst" since the 1940's. What a worthless statistic. Way to hype it up media.

    January 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. goodmin123

    we have to have at least 2 feet in one night more like 5 hours and it has to catch us off guard basically if you cant go to school when its -5 or less then your a wuss you dont see colleges closing and people freaking out up hear anyone read the cordova and nome storys

    January 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. t3chsupport

    Testing... is this thing on? My comment doesn't have any bad language 🙁

    January 17, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mike


    January 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Brett

    Live in Alrington, WA and we have over a foot already and the other storm hasnt hit yet. Doesnt sound like much, but when the state only has a dozen Snow Plows it makes for FUN TIMES Driving.

    January 17, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Annie

    LinSea, How can you say that about "Seattle" drivers? Who are these "Seattle" drivers? Most of the time when I drive into Seattle, a large majority of the people in cars around me are people like me who are not actually from Seattle. And I never notice people driving "bad". They are just driving. And doing the best they can. That's what humans do. I feel sorry for you LinSea. I hope you find happiness before you die.

    January 17, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. beat

    'Ban Winter'...... typical liberal logic!

    January 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Your comment is illogical.

      January 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Clint

    38 inch tires on a Toyota truck will float it anywhere in the snow,I know from experience in Iceland on the glaciers.Works in Antarctica too.

    January 17, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
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