Storms in Oregon and SW Washington bring Cascade snow, valley flood warnings

By OPB staff (OPB)
Dec. 1, 2023 7:25 p.m.
Snowfall in the Columbia River Gorge prompted a warning Friday morning from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office to use caution traveling on I-84. A sheriff's deputy vehicle can be seen Dec. 1, 2023, near Multnomah Falls.

Snowfall in the Columbia River Gorge prompted a warning Friday morning from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office to use caution traveling on I-84. A sheriff's deputy vehicle can be seen Dec. 1, 2023, near Multnomah Falls.

Multnomah County Sheriff's Office / AP

A winter storm moved into the Pacific Northwest Friday, bringing heavy rainfall to lower elevations in Oregon and Southwest Washington and dumping snow in the Cascades and in the Columbia River Gorge.

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That’s led to a series of advisories and warnings from the National Weather Service. Several schools have announced snow days, a complete list of closures in Portland, Vancouver and Salem can be found here.

A winter storm warning is in effect for the Cascade Range from Southwest Washington to Southern Oregon through Saturday evening, and the heavy rain has led to warnings of possible flooding west of the Cascades.

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Heavy snow is expected above 3,000 feet, with 10 to 30 inches accumulating on the ground. Accumulations of up to 40 inches are possible above 4,500 feet.

To complicate matters, winds may be gusting as high as 50 mph, according to the weather service.

The snow from the storm is good news for area ski resorts that have had to delay their openings. But the snowfall in the mountains and Gorge already led to school closures and slippery road conditions by early Friday morning.

Travel conditions aren’t expected to be much better east of the mountains. NWS has issued a winter weather advisory through early Sunday morning for the Ochoco highlands in Central Oregon. About 3 to 6 inches of snow is expected and substantially more above 5,000 feet. Winds may be gusting there as high as 35 mph.

Authorities are urging people to avoid the roads if possible. Those who are traveling are advised bring along an extra flashlight, food, and water in case of an emergency. For the latest road conditions call 5-1-1, or visit Oregon’s Trip Check or Washington’s travel advisory map.

Visit the NWS advanced hydrologic prediction service to view current and forecast river stages for any river gauge location across northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington.

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