The snow won’t reach Oregon’s valley floor, but it will impact driving conditions throughout the state into the weekend.
A system expected to kick into gear Thursday will bring heavy snow to Oregon’s Cascade Range passes, while dropping smaller amounts in the Cascade Foothills and Coast Range.
The storm could also bring flooding to some areas.
Snowflakes are forecast as low as 1,000 to 1,500 feet, while the heavier impact of 10 to 15 inches will hit Cascade passes such as Santiam, Willamette and the Government Camp area.
It’s the third in a series of storms that’s brought relief to ski areas but made mountain roads dangerous, causing multiple accidents.
“Snow levels should be lowest Thursday morning and Friday night,” National Weather Service meteorologist Matthew Cullen said. “It shouldn’t have a major impact at that level, but above that, there should be significant snow.”
Multiple accidents occurred last weekend due to snowy conditions on U.S. Highway 22, including a crash that killed two. Those conditions will be present again, with snow-covered roads and limited visibility expected.
While the snow will create challenging conditions for drivers, it will continue to improve Oregon’s meager snowpack.
On the west side of Oregon, snowpack has started to improve but still is just 40 to 50 percent of normal.
In addition to snow, forecasters said some flooding would be possible in northwest Oregon.
“Rivers are already running high from the rain this week, and soils are fully saturated,” the National Weather Service said in a statement. “Rainfall amounts Friday night through Saturday night could be as high as 5 inches in the Coast Range and Cascades and 2 inches for inland valleys.”
Flood conditions will be updated the next two days.