Heavy snow on Oregon mountain roads could affect those returning from spring break, according to the National Weather Service in Portland.
NWS meteorologist David Bishop said he’s counting on 1 to 2 feet of snow in places like Santiam Pass (Highway 20), Willamette Pass (Highway 58) and the Government Camp area (Highway 26).
“It’s possible that travel could have an impact,” Bishop said.
Mountain roads look mostly good now through Friday, with only light winds, but that will change dramatically Friday evening.
The most likely scenario is about a foot of snow from Friday night into Saturday evening, followed by another foot from Saturday evening into Monday morning.
Oregon’s cold and wet spring break has already had an impact, including earlier this week when an avalanche closed the Santiam Pass for several hours, while Interstate 5 at the Oregon-California state line was shut down for an extended period.
“I’m not sure we’re ready to call this system snow or whiteout conditions, but people should be prepared to travel in snow if they’re going to be driving over the Cascades this weekend,” he said. .
Snow levels are forecast to be between 2,000 and 2,500 feet, meaning it’s the higher mountain roads that will affect the foothills or Willamette Valley towns. It rains in these areas.
Zach Urness has been an outdoor reporter in Oregon for 15 years and is the host of the Explore Oregon Podcast. Urnes is the author of “Best hikes with kids: Oregon” and “Southern Oregon Tourism.” He can be contacted [email protected] or 503-399-6801. Find him on Twitter at @ZachsORoutdoors.