StormTracker 9 Forecast: Heavy snow in Cascades will impact weekend travel

Our StormTracker 9 meteorologists are tracking potential for feet of snow in the Cascades through the weekend.

Posted: Jan 9, 2020 9:52 AM
Updated: Jan 9, 2020 10:05 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- There will be a bit of a break in the rain and mountain snow on Thursday.

Fast Forecast:

Thursday: Mostly cloudy. Snow level 2,000 ft. Highs in low in mid 40s
Friday: Rain. Snow level 3,500 ft, dropping to 2,500 ft. Highs in mid 40s
Saturday: Showers. Snow level 2,500 ft. Highs in mid 40s.
Sunday: Rain. Snow level 2,500 ft. Highs in mid 40s.
Monday: Rain. Snow level 1,500 ft. Highs near 40.
Tuesday: Wintry mix. Snow level 700 ft. Highs in upper 30s.
Wednesday: Wintry mix. Snow level 800 ft. Highs in upper 30s.

With Wednesday night's system now to the south and the next storm another day out, the weather will be relatively quiet. There will be a weak trough passing through Thursday evening that might bring a few sprinkles. Otherwise, look for a mix of clouds and sunshine.

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The next round of rain arrives on Friday afternoon along a strong cold front. This front will be the start of a rainy weekend in the interior valleys and along the coast. One to three inches of rainfall is expected along the coast and coast range. The interior valleys will see closer to an inch of rain.

This system will also bring in breezy conditions in the valleys, with gusts up to 35 to 45 mph on Friday afternoon through Saturday morning. Breezy conditions are expected through Saturday.

Cascades snow will start around 4,000 feet on Friday but will quickly fall to around 2,500 feet behind the cold front during Friday night. Snowfall accumulations in parts of the Cascades could be up to 1 to 2 feet through Saturday night. In addition to snow, blustery winds will cause blowing snow which will reduce visibility. This will add to the dangerous travel conditions across the passes this weekend.

A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for the length of the Cascades starting at 4 p.m. on Friday through 4 p.m. on Saturday. This will likely get upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning sometime on Friday.

At the coast, high winds offshore will generate waves 28 to 32 feet tall. The high surf will coincide with King Tides caused by the full moon on Friday. King Tides will bring tides 2 to 5 feet above normal high tide heights. High tides this weekend will occur between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. during the day. A High Surf Warning is in effect for the southern Oregon coast from 10 p.m. Friday through 10 p.m. Saturday.

The next system will dive out the Gulf of Alaska on Sunday. This will bring more rain to the coastline and interior valleys and maybe another foot of snow in the Cascades. Showers will start to dissipate on Monday morning.

Overall forecast confidence starts to drop off on Monday through the middle of next week when it comes to snow potential and cold temperatures. What we do know is there will be a surge of cold artic air diving out of Canada. This will result in low snow levels for the middle of next week. The question is still how low and will the moisture be in place to produce the snow? There is still a lot of model inconsistency.

Models also show a strong, low-pressure system coming out the Gulf of Alaska on Wednesday. This storm has the potential for low-elevation snow with the cold air already in place. We will continue to monitor the snow potential for next week and keep you updated. 

For more information, visit the KEZI 9 News StormTracker 9 weather page.

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