PORTLAND -- Metro area kids dreaming of a White Christmas will have to wait until next year. KGW Meteorologist Rod Hill said it would be only rain for the Portland & Salem metro area Tuesday.

Rain was likely to be steady in the afternoon, with an inch of rain possible. In the Columbia gorge and at the Coast Range, highways were snow covered near 1,000 feet.

Hill predicted all rain over the Coast Range by Christmas afternoon. Travel concerns on this Christmas day include a Winter Storm Warning for the Gorge and Cascades. I-84 through the gorge may be snow covered at times with 6 inches of snow or more expected.

Mt. Hood will see two feet of new snow through Wednesday. The snow level will rise over the Cascades to 3,000 feet Christmas day. Gusty east winds to 40 mph in the gorge will keep temperatures near freezing with snow falling through this afternoon.

Travel concerns Christmas day include the Coast Range, Gorge and Cascades, said KGW Meteorologist Rod Hill.

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Officials with the Oregon Department of Transportation warned that drivers traveling over mountain passes should be prepared with chains or traction tires. In the Oregon Cascades, plow crews have been working 12-hour shifts, trying to keep up with the recent heavy snowfall. They also warned of patches of black ice.

Conditions change as you re driving along and especially as you re going up in higher elevations, said ODOT's Don Hamilton. So motorists need to be especially careful as they get higher in the elevations.

The Oregon Cascades are currently under a Winter Storm Warning through Tuesday night, with as much as 14 inches of snow expected at elevations possibly as low as 1,500 feet.

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In the Columbia River Gorge, including along I-84, the National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning of up to 12 inches of fresh snow and sleet possible along area roadways. Gusty winds up to 45 mph will add to the difficulties for drivers, Hill said.

More than a third of all Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home this holiday, many by car, according to the American Automobile Association.

More: 7-day forecast

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