As of Friday, January 6, 2017
A winter storm this weekend could severely impact the Columbia River Gorge, hampering travel in the region.
Storm could impact regional transportation
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter weather advisory for the coming weekend, with “significant snow and or ice accumulations” over much of central Oregon, including the eastern Columbia River Gorge, including The Dalles.
“This forecast causes significant concern that our gorge transportation network, and travel to and from other parts of the state will be directly affected,” according to a statement from the Hood River Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Management.
Snow will develop over central Oregon Saturday morning and spread into northern Oregon and southern Washington by late afternoon, the NWS winter weather advisory said. This first wave of snow will bring one to four inches of accumulation by Saturday evening. Following a brief lull in the weather Saturday evening another round of heavier precipitation will move through during the night and into Sunday.
Sunday morning will bring a mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain by Sunday afternoon. Precipitation should taper off by Sunday night for most locations.
This weather system has the potential to bring “significant snow and or ice accumulations” to much of the area, the NWS said. This will likely have a “large and adverse impact on weekend travel” for eastern Oregon and Washington.
Hood River Sheriff's Office of Emergency Management warns citizens, businesses, and travelers through the Gorge to be aware of these key weather warnings:
• Continued extremely cold temperatures for the next four days.
• Potential for significant, high-impact snow and freezing rain Saturday and Sunday — hardest hit areas in the state will be the Gorge and Hood River Valley, according to the National Weather Service Portland office.
• Potential for Heavy Snow in the Central Gorge and Hood River Valley.
• In the Gorge, 3 to 16 inches of snow is possible, depending on storm severity, and up to 1 inch of ice in the Hood River area.
• Precipitation begins Saturday morning in southern Oregon, spreading northward through the day.
• Potential for long-duration freezing rain event, especially in the north valleys and the western gorge.
• Increasing east winds at the surface through the Gorge and down the Willamette Valley will keep temperatures bitterly cold and create wind chill.
• Heavy snow, followed by freezing rain, could severely impact travel over the weekend and cause secondary problems like falling trees, power outages and freezing water pipes, as well as health safety hazards.
Residents are encouraged to limit travel, plan for emergencies, keep an emergency kit in the car and at home, monitor your water pipes, outdoor activities and animals, and keep an eye on utilities for possible power loss and for falling trees.
This information is based upon a NWS forecast and actual conditions may vary.