PORTLAND, Ore. - Good news for skiers and snowboarders: snowflakes will fill the air at upper elevations this weekend, KATU Meteorologist Rhonda Shelby said Friday morning. Willamette Valley locations can expect plain old rain and maybe some hail.
Ski resorts may get up to 2 feet of new snow, according to the latest forecast model, Shelby said. Drivers headed for ski resorts are advised to carry traction devices and expect winter driving conditions.
"This is definitely going to be a good, significant snowfall for the Cascades," Shelby said. "A foot [of snow], I think, is the low end of the precipitation estimate. It could be about a foot to 2 feet by the time we get done here."
Lower elevations will see mostly rain showers with a chance of hail at times beginning Friday afternoon and into Saturday as the freezing level heads down to 2,500 feet, Shelby said. Locations above 2,500 feet could see 1 to 4 inches of snow.
Winds along Northwest coastlines could gust to 50 mph and up to 30 mph at inland locations as the storm front moves in.
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Saturday night, Shelby said rain showers will move through the area but the freezing level will lower again to about 1,000 feet on Sunday, possibly bringing a rain/snow mix or wet snow to upper elevations around the Portland area, but don't expect it to stick around for long.
Areas above the 1,000-foot mark may get 1 to 3 inches of snow but it will melt away as temperatures rise in the afternoon Sunday to the mid-40s, Shelby said.
Sunday afternoon will bring rain showers for most low-elevation locations but snow showers may fall in the Cascade Foothills, Willapa Hills and Coast Range until evening.
East of the Cascades, the National Weather Service has posted a Winter Storm Warning for the mountain regions of Northeast Oregon and Southeast Washington.
Monday is looking dry for the Willamette Valley but wet weather should return again as March arrives.
Watch a forecast update from Rhonda: