Cold front brings high winds, snow and risk of sneaker waves to Oregon


Winter has arrived in Oregon, bringing high winds and rain to low areas, snow to mountain passes, and power outages to part of the state’s northwest quadrant. And there could be more humidity and cold in the days to come.

About 30,000 Oregon homes and businesses lost power on Saturday morning in an area stretching from the Willamette Valley to Portland and west to the Oregon coast, as the winds shook the coast and covered the mountains with snow.

Related: A snowstorm won’t do much to lift Oregon out of drought, but it’s a start

Along Oregon’s north and central coast, the National Weather Service has warned people that the surf area is more dangerous than usual, especially at high tide, with a risk of sneaker waves that can make knock people down and drag them into the freezing waters of the ocean. This threat could continue until Sunday morning.

Weather officials predicted conditions would begin to improve in Portland and the Willamette Valley on Saturday at 10 a.m., when a wind advisory was due to expire.

But wind advisories were still in effect east of the Cascade Mountains until 4 p.m. Saturday, and a winter storm warning was in effect for the Cascades until Sunday afternoon. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the eastern slopes of the Cascades could see wind gusts of up to 45 miles per hour through Sunday afternoon, with up to 20 inches of snow expected to fall at elevations higher.

NOAA urges people to take precaution in securing outdoor objects that could fly away, and says to be careful in wooded areas, where tree branches could fall onto the roads.

An Oregon Department of Transportation traffic camera showed snow on US Highway 20 at Santiam Junction on Saturday, December 11, 2021.

Oregon Department of Transportation

Mid-morning on Saturday morning traffic cameras operated by the Oregon Department of Transportation showed a buildup of snow on all of Oregon’s major east-west mountain passes, including US Highway 26 passing through Mount Hood, US 20 to Santiam Pass and Oregon 58 to Willamette Pass.

ODOT was not reporting any major road closures mid-morning on Saturday, but as snow continues to pile up that could change, in part thanks to the staff shortage. There are fewer people available to operate state snowplows because the East Oregonian reported.

To verify Tripcheck.org for the latest traffic conditions on major roads and highways across the state.

The effects of the current weather front, which has reached the Pacific Northwest via Alaska, are expected to ease by the end of Sunday or early Monday. But the National Weather Service predicts more cold and wet days to come.

Snow is unlikely to melt and could continue to accumulate in areas above 1,000 feet elevation until Tuesday, according to a National Weather Service forecast. The weather service expects chilly mornings with near-freezing temperatures overnight in northwestern Oregon early next week and very humid weather on Wednesday, before a change to more conditions. dry by the end of next week.


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