Posted on January 17, 2012 at 2:28 PM
Consider this the calm before the storm, but it's not even really that calm today. Snow has been falling heavily in the Cascades, with scattered snow showers falling in the lowlands of western Washington and northwest Oregon. Travel over the mountain passes will be difficult at best and impossible at worst. Snoqualmie Pass has seen closures due to avalanche control.
The major storm system we've been talking about for days will push snow and rain into Oregon tonight, along with very strong coastal winds. Portland will see snow develop overnight, possibly changing to freezing rain (especially near the Gorge) before changing to rain on Wednesday. In Seattle, look for snow to begin late tonight and continue through most of the day. Spokane could see 6-12" of snow Wednesday into Thursday. The Cascades could see anywhere from a foot and a half up to three or four feet.
Snow will taper off on Thursday west of the Cascades, but continue at times for parts of the inland Northwest.
By Friday, enough warm air will be in place that the lowlands will only see rain, as snow continues in the mountains. Wet weather will continue for western Washington and Oregon through the weekend, with snow in the mountains and the inland Northwest.
Ed Muir/NWCN First Alert Weather