There’s no rest for the weary as several more storms will likely slam the U.S. Northwest during the next several days. Rounds of heavy snowfall and rainfall have been hitting the region since the start of the new year, and a steady stream of moisture and energy off the Pacific will keep the train going. Truckers who can’t reroute will be slowed down at times, and shippers should expect mainly short-term delays.
A series of storm systems will continue to track into the Pacific Northwest and southwestern Canada through the rest of this week, possibly through next Tuesday or Wednesday, Jan. 14 or 15. The nearly steady stream of moisture, known as “atmospheric river,” directed into the region will produce additional snowfall accumulations of 5 to 7 feet in the higher elevations of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia in Canada. Totals could exceed 7 feet in some of the highest peaks. Strong winds and whiteout conditions will often accompany the storms, adding to the chance of minor to moderate transportation disruptions on the roads, rails and runways.
The SONAR Critical Events map below shows several airports and other assets at risk of disruption over the next week as the threat of storms remains in the forecast. These assets are color coded based on the anticipated level of disruption.
The interstate that looks most likely to be impacted by snow is I-90, especially near Snoqualmie Pass east of Seattle, as well as across northern Idaho and western Montana. If carriers want to reroute their drivers from the Midwest or Great Plains who need to pick up freight west of the Cascades, send them south. Weather delays are less likely the next few days on I-80 from Wyoming into Utah, where drivers can catch I-84 to Idaho and the Pacific Northwest. The one problem area could be southeastern Wyoming, where wind gusts may be strong enough for blow-overs, especially for drivers who are deadheading. Snow amounts should be light along I-84 in Oregon before reaching Portland.
In the lower elevations and valleys, additional rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches are possible from Vancouver to Seattle and Portland. This could result in additional river flooding and may trigger mudslides, especially on and near westward-facing slopes in western Oregon, western Washington and British Columbia. Drivers may run into roadblocks on the I-5 corridor.
Other areas of snowfall today, Jan. 7
Look for 1 to 3 inches of snowfall across West Virginia and eastern Kentucky during daylight hours, moving into Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and southern New Jersey late this afternoon through this evening. Some mountain spots could see 3 to 5 inches.
The risk of blow-overs remains high in southeastern Wyoming until early this afternoon. Westerly crosswinds will reach 75 mph at times along I-25. Gusts of 60 mph will last through tomorrow, Jan. 8, in areas such as Wheatland, Bordeaux and Elk Mountain. Gusts will reach 80 mph today just west of I-25 in the high elevations of north-central Colorado.
Have a great day, a wonderful week and be careful out there.