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Snowstorms continue slamming Pacific Northwest

Several feet of snow possible by end of week

(Photo: Oregon DOT)

The Pacific Northwest is in the midst of another long-duration period of heavy snow and rain that could disrupt transportation and business operations.

Related: Chaining up: 4 pro tips for truckers

It began Sunday, already dumping 12 to 24-plus inches of snow in parts of the Cascades and northern Rockies.

A few additional storms will be tracking across the region until through at least Thursday. Snowfall totals could reach 4 feet or more in some high elevations. This could significantly impact travel for truckers going over mountain passes along the Interstates 5, 15, 84 and 90 corridors in far northern California, eastern portions of Washington and Oregon, western Montana, as well as northern Idaho.

Winds may be strong enough at times to produce periods of blowing snow and whiteout conditions, reducing visibility. Gusts could hit 50 mph.

Meanwhile, heavy rain totals approaching 6 inches could lead to occasional flash flooding in places on the I-5 and U.S. Highway 101 corridors. This potentially includes Seattle and Portland.

These storms will also impact supply chains in southern British Columbia, Canada, including the Trans-Canada Highway through the Vancouver area.

Besides ground transportation issues, expect possible delays in air cargo, in addition to slower loading and unloading at intermodal ramps.

Related: 51-year Sierra snowfall record shattered

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 5 from Bellingham, Washington, to Redding, California.
• Interstate 15 in Montana from Great Falls to Dillon.
• Interstate 84 from Twin Falls, Idaho, to Portland.
• Interstate 90 from Butte, Montana, to Seattle.
• U.S. Highway 101 from Eureka, California, to Olympia, Washington.
• Trans-Canada Highway from Vancouver to Sikhist Provincial Park.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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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.