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Truckers to face icy roads in Pacific Northwest

Impacts likely on Interstate 90

(Photo: Idaho DOT)

Truckers will hit very slick conditions Tuesday as snow, sleet and freezing rain hit the Pacific Northwest.

The National Weather Service has winter weather advisories in place in central and eastern Washington as well as western Montana. There are no alerts for northern Idaho, but this may change as the day progresses.


Related: Chaining up: 4 pro tips for truckers


Ice accumulations will range from a light glaze to one-tenth of an inch, depending on location and elevation. This includes major spots on Interstate 90 like Snoqualmie Pass and Spokane Pass, Washington, in addition to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Stevens Pass on U.S. Highway 2.


Sections of these highways and secondary roads may become impassable and road closures are possible. Also, ice may weigh down tree limbs and power lines.

Along with freezing rain, look for high-elevation snow amounts of up to 4 inches in Washington, with up to 7 inches in far northeastern Washington and northern Idaho. Areas north of I-90 in western Montana may get up to an inch of snow. Periods of sleet are also possible.

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 90 from Snoqualmie Pass to Coeur d’Alene.
• U.S. Highway 2 from Leavenworth, Washington, to Kalispell, Montana.

Other notable weather

A few more inches of lake-effect snow will pile up in parts of upstate New York. This includes Ithaca, Syracuse, Oswego and Rochester, impacting travel on I-90 and Interstate 81.

High winds will increase the risk of rollovers for drivers in southeastern Wyoming, western Montana along the Rocky Mountain front and south-central Montana, where gusts will hit 60 to 80 mph, as well as Southern California, where gusts will reach 40 to 50 mph.


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.