Accumulating snow likely for Seattle, Portland as new storm clashes with bitterly cold air

Courtney Spamer

The train of storms that has brought periods of heavy rain and mountain snow to the northwestern United States will continue through this week. But, this time, some of the major cities could get in on the snow.

Several storms will travel through the Pacific Northwest through the middle of the week, bringing with it rounds of rain and snow for the region.

While the higher elevations of the Cascades, Blue Mountains and northern Rockies will continue to see snow as they have before, snow may reach some of the foothills and valleys before the end of the weekend.

Coastal location of Washington and Oregon began as rain on Sunday as temperatures climbed to the near-normal highs in the middle to upper 40s F.

"Falling temperatures into Monday, however, will allow for rain to change over to snow," said Rob Miller, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist.

Early Monday, snowflakes were falling on places that have missed out on snow thus far in 2020, like Seattle. Around 2-3 inches of snow had fallen in areas just north and east of the city.

This could lead to major disruptions across the city during the Monday morning commute on the roads and at the airport.

Cold air and moisture will stick around throughout the region through Monday night, allowing for snow to pile up, particularly in the higher elevations.

"I think there's going to be heavy snow in the mountains, and they will continue to have major travel problems through the passes. The snow threat will extend much farther east of the Cascades into much of the Intermountain West," AccuWeather Chief Broadcast Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said.

Snowy conditions were already causing headaches for drivers heading through Snoqualmie Pass on Saturday.

Those traveling through the passes of the Cascades should continue to plan ahead, and be sure their automobiles are equipped with the proper snow chains if they intend to pass through the region during the storm.

A brief pause in the stormy weather is anticipated across the region later Tuesday, although there will still be some light snow showers and flurries.

Cold will also remain entrenched over the region with highs only in the middle to upper 20s for Seattle, Olympia and Yakima, Washington, almost 20 degrees below normal. Spokane, Washington, is likely to be stuck in the teens and single digits throughout the day.


This brutal cold will set the stage for what could be an even more impactful storm arriving in the middle of the week.

"With all of the cold already in place in the Northwest, the storm coming for the middle of the week will present the best chance for accumulating snow in cities like Portland, Oregon and Seattle," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Rob Richards.

At this time, precipitation moving in on Wednesday and lingering through Thursday could allow for a couple of inches of snow for these valley cities.

The exact storm track will determine how far south the snow spreads across the Pacific Coast. Early indications show that coastal locations through Washington and northern Oregon are likely to see flakes.

Rain may change to snow along the I-5 corridor as far south as Medford, Oregon.

Motorists should be prepared for delays, even on the roadways that do not travel through the mountains on Wednesday and Thursday. Just a thin layer of snow or slush on the roads can lead cause slippery conditions.

The storm appears to be potent enough to spread snow across parts of Northern California late Wednesday and Thursday. The highest snow totals look to remain in the mountains, and may even spread down into some of the foothills.

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