Snowstorms keep closing roads in Northwest US (with forecast video)

Road closed sign posted in blizzard area.

Another snowstorm has closed a major highway in the Pacific Northwest, delaying truckers in the region.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) tweeted Monday evening that US-2 between Stevens Pass and Gold Bar would remain shut down due to the weather. WSDOT also said crews will reassess the situation today, but there is no estimated time of reopening. WSDOT told FreightWaves that “Oversized vehicles are prohibited across I-90 Snoqualmie Pass.”

SONAR Critical Events and radar on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, 10 a.m. EST. Ongoing Northwest snowstorm threat.

The Oregon DOT said “There are a few points on I-84 where you will hit a chains required restriction. These begin at Cabbage Hill (if heading EB) at MP 226. So far no chains required on I-5 (but still a minimum, carry chains through all snow zones), but it’s icy going over the summits at the border.”

Areas of heavy snowfall and gusty winds will be scattered across the mountains of the Northwest, fading later today and tonight. But there’s no rest for the weary – another storm will arrive by Wednesday night, lasting through Thursday, followed by another storm on Saturday. Truckers will need to be extra careful if they have to drive through these areas. Carriers, shippers and brokers should plan ahead in order to protect their bottom lines. Besides occasional road delays that could last for hours, minor delays in air cargo are possible at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (ICAO code: SEA) and on railroads in the region.

Up to 12 inches could accumulate through tonight in some high elevations of the Cascades, Sierra Nevada and northern Rockies. Even the Seattle metropolitan area could see a few inches.

Because of periodic storms in the region since the beginning of the year, it won’t take much more to keep road conditions risky for truckers. Even if the closed section of US-2 is reopened, drivers will have to take it slow. Lookout and Snoqualmie passes on I-90 could also be trouble spots, and I-80 from the Reno-Lake Tahoe area into eastern California and over Donner Pass won’t be a picnic either.

Other parts of the country will see stormy weather later this week. A potentially high-impact storm could result in icy conditions, large amounts of snow and occasional whiteout conditions from the upper Midwest to the Northeast beginning Friday.

Carriers, shippers and brokers can use FreightWaves Critical Events to keep track of assets such as airports, rails, oil/petroleum facilities and ports in the target zone of any high-impact or long-term storm systems. As shown on the FreightWaves Critical Events maps in this article, the assets are color coded based on the anticipated level of disruption. Weather forecast details are also available.

SONAR Critical Events on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, 10 a.m. EST. Potential Midwest-Northeast high-impact snowstorm.

Now is the time to plan. This late-week storm could dump 12 inches of snowfall or more in some areas from Minnesota and Wisconsin to upstate New York and northern New England. Blowing snow is possible, leading to possible near-zero visibility at times. The high winds may result in scattered power outages. Areas of southern Canada along the U.S. border could also get hit hard.

Local and regional supply chains and business operations could be disrupted for a few days, and some passenger jets carrying belly cargo could be grounded. Look for updates about this storm on the FreightWaves website and social media sites.

Have a great day, and be careful out there!