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Weekend snowstorm heads for parts of the Northwest

Truckers will have to chain up in the Cascades, northern Rockies

(Photo: WSDOT)

Truckers will run into periods of heavy snow and high winds this weekend in parts of the Cascades and Rockies.

More specifically, the worst conditions will likely hit the Washington Cascades and northern sections of the Rockies in Idaho and Montana. Most of the snow will accumulate above 2,500 feet in elevation from late Friday afternoon through Saturday.

Related: Chaining up: 4 pro tips for truckers

The National Weather Service has issued winter weather advisories for the Cascade mountains and valleys of Snohomish and King counties in Washington, including Stevens Pass and Snoqualmie Pass, as well as the Cascade mountains and valleys of Pierce and Lewis counties. Up to 12 inches of snow could pile up in some spots, with wind gusts of 35 to 45 mph. Blowing snow will produce potential whiteout conditions, reducing visibility from time to time.

A winter weather advisory is also in place for the Blue Mountains in northeastern Oregon, where the outlook is calling for 6 to 10 inches of snow above 3,000 feet from early Saturday morning through Sunday.

Snow amounts in the northern Rockies may be much less than what’s expected in the Cascades and Blue Mountains. Nonetheless, roads will be slick. The NWS had no alerts posted in the northern Rockies as of Friday morning, but forecasters may add them at some point.

Drivers should look for signs and message boards regarding chain requirements and be ready to chain up before heading into these areas.

Related: 5 states with toughest chain laws for truckers

Also, thunderstorms could pop up in parts of western Washington, dumping heavy rain in some areas. Watch out for localized flash flooding and possible road closures due to high water.

Other sections of the Northwest that will remain dry this weekend, like eastern Oregon and southern Idaho, will have very windy conditions, with gusts up to 50 mph.

Major lanes of concern

• Interstate 5 from the Washington-Canada border to Portland, Oregon.
• Interstate 84 from Portland to Idaho Falls, Idaho.
• Interstate 90 from Seattle to Billings, Montana.

Looking ahead

Next week, a blizzard could slam parts of the Plains, from Colorado and Wyoming to southern Canada, with severe thunderstorms in other areas of the Plains, as well as the South 

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.