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Truckers to face repeated snowstorms in Pacific Northwest

Blizzard conditions, several feet of mountain snow over next several days

The frequency and intensity of the storms will result in moderate to heavy precipitation — coastal and lower-elevation rain and mountain snow — along with very high winds.

Rainfall totals could reach 5 inches in portions of Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, with potential flash flooding at times.

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Snowfall totals of up to 5 feet could bury parts of the Washington and Oregon Cascades, as well as the northern Rockies in Idaho and Montana, with some localized higher totals. Gusts up to 50 mph will produce blowing snow with periods of blizzard and whiteout conditions. The strongest winds will be along the coast and in the mountain passes. Stevens, Snoqualmie, Lolo and Lookout passes will be just a few of the usual trouble spots for truckers, with road closures possible.

The first storm will continue to impact the region Thursday, fading Friday. The second storm, which will likely be stronger, will arrive late Friday and last through Monday. The third potential storm, which may be weaker, could follow next Wednesday. The precise timing, strength and duration of each storm may change.

This series of storms will be accompanied by some of the coldest air of the season, allowing for snow to reach lower elevations. However, major snow is not likely in large population centers such as Seattle; Portland, Oregon; or Vancouver, British Columbia.

Related: How ‘killer’ summer heat stole the Christmas tree supply

Shippers, receivers and carriers should expect occasional moderate to locally severe disruptions to ground and air transportation, business operations, and supply chain networks due to these storms. Delays are likely on roads, runways and intermodal ramps.

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 5 from Seattle to Portland.
• Interstate 90 from Seattle to Butte, Montana.
• Interstate 84 in Oregon from Meacham to Baker City.
• U.S. Highway 101 from Astoria, Oregon, to Olympia, Washington.

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.