PORTLAND, Ore. – A wet and windy winter storm will move into the Northwest over the New Year’s weekend, bringing heavy rain, possible coastal flooding and several feet of snow to upper elevation mountain locations.
KATU Meteorologist Rhonda Shelby also said travel conditions in the Columbia River Gorge will be especially treacherous as drivers head east past Cascade Locks on Thursday.
KATU's Joe Raineri Returning from Hood River
Additional snowfall in the Gorge, where it remains cold, could add over 6 inches of new snow in Hood River and other points east.
However, Gorge locations will transition to rain heading into Friday as temperatures warm up. Temperatures west of the Cascades will remain well above freezing as the storm moves across the region.
The snow level should hover at about 4,000 feet Thursday, meaning some highway pass locations could get heavy snow.
Skiers will be glad to know that the influx of moisture will blanket ski resorts with several feet of new powder over the holiday weekend. ODOT is warning drivers that travel to the slopes will be a challenge.
Shelby also warned that some local flooding along the coast could take place, especially around high tide periods. A Coastal Flood Advisory has been posted for the northern Oregon coastline.
By mid-morning Thursday, some coastal locations were already reporting nearly an inch of rainfall.
Shelby said the bulk of the first wave of the storm had yet to move onshore as of 10 a.m. Wind gusts along the coast could reach 70 mph at exposed headlands on Thursday.
The region then dries out heading into the first week of 2010.