PORTLAND, Ore. — Between 11 and 18 inches of snow could fall on Oregon's mountain passes this holiday weekend and Portland should get some much-needed rain.
KGW meteorologist Rod Hill said snow levels are expected to fall to 4,000 feet on Thanksgiving Day and 3,000 feet on Friday. Oregon's mountain passes could see between 6 and 10 inches of snow on Thanksgiving, another 4-6 inches on Friday and an inch or two on Saturday.
That means highways around Government Camp, Santiam Pass and Willamette Pass will be blanketed with snow.
“The good news is that Wednesday, the biggest travel day of the year, shouldn’t be too bad in terms of snow,” Gerald Macke of the National Weather Service in Portland told The Statesman Journal. “The concern is people driving back across the Cascades that weekend. Right now, we’re anticipating a lot of snow Saturday in particular, meaning people will want to have chains ready.”
Thanksgiving Day will be rainy and windy in Portland and on the Oregon coast. The valley should see up to half an inch of rain Thursday and winds are expected to reach 30 mph in the valley and 45 mph on the coast.
With 86 percent of Oregon in "severe drought" and 34 percent of the state in "extreme drought," according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, rain in the forecast is a welcome sight.
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Macke told The Statesman Journal that 2-3 inches of rain will fall between Wednesday and Sunday and more storms are expected next week. More rain is expected on the Oregon coast and coast range, with the potential for flooding.
"The weather is going to be very active for the next week or two," Macke told The Statesman Journal. "We’re going to be done with this blue sky stuff for a while."