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Powerful weekend winter storms bound for Northwest, South

Snow could spread as far south as Houston, central Louisiana

(Photo: Shutterstock)

A powerful winter storm will make roads treacherous for truckers this weekend. It starts in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) on Friday, ending up in the South by Sunday.

Pacific Northwest

A series of storms has produced heavy snowfall in portions of the Pacific Northwest since earlier this week. More periods of snowfall will produce an additional 12 to 36 inches in high elevations of the Cascades and northern Rockies through Saturday. Blizzard conditions are possible in some areas, particularly in the western Columbia River Gorge.

Several more inches could pile up in lower elevations along Interstate 5, in places like Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Roads were very slick in Portland Thursday night due to snow, sleet and a bit of freezing rain. Drivers could also have issues on Interstates 84 and 90 and U.S. Highway 2.

Meanwhile, on the southern end of the storm, it will be mostly rainfall from Medford, Oregon, into far Northern California. It could be heavy enough to cause periods of localized flash flooding.

By Saturday night, the storm should exit the region and head to the central and southern Rockies.


The PNW storm will remain strong as it heads toward the Plains and lower Mississippi Valley Sunday and Monday. Moderate to heavy snowfall will spread across Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Gusty winds and blowing snow are possible.

Cities in the potential impact zone include Wichita, Kansas; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas; and Little Rock, Arkansas.

Snowfall accumulations will range from 3 to 8 inches. Up to 10 inches of snow could pile up as far south as Dallas-Fort Worth and northwestern Arkansas. This, after six people died in a massive pileup Thursday in Fort Worth during freezing rain Much of these areas are not accustomed to major snowstorms, especially in the more southern sections of the zone. Even light snowfall, along with sleet and freezing rain, could make it as far south as Houston and central Louisiana. Very low temperatures moving in behind the storm means impacts to surface transportation and freight flows could linger for days after the storm ends, which will probably be Monday afternoon or evening.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.