Major storm hits Pacific Northwest, causing traffic problems

Jan. 18, 2012
Roadways in the Pacific Northwest are close to impassible in some areas as a monster storm is dumping 10 in. or more of snow in some areas today

Roadways in the Pacific Northwest are close to impassible in some areas as a monster storm is dumping 10 in. or more of snow in some areas today.

The storm comes on the heels of an Oregon storm that caused three tractor-trailer to jackknife in recent days.

According to a “potential major winter storm” will hit both lower elevations and mountainous areas near the coast, then move east as far as Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Accumulation between anywhere from 6 and 14 in. of snow is expected to fall before the storm leaves the area.

According to the Washington State Dept. of Transportation, the weather forecasts call for heavy snow and freezing temperatures Wednesday and Thursday in the Northwest, including double-digit snow accumulations and below-freezing temperatures in urban areas from Bellingham, WA, to Portland, OR.

On Tuesday, truckers had a preview of the problems ahead when the DOT closed I-90 in both directions over Snoqualmie Pass for several hours while crews worked to minimize avalanche dangers. Commercial vehicles are advised to make sure they are equipped to drive in extreme weather conditions, including carrying chains and the necessary provisions in the event of a long-term closure.

Problems are not just in the mountain passes. Severe side winds are also forecast on the Tacoma Narrows Bridges, on SR 16, at milepost 8.0, in both directions. Warnings began at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 17 and continue until further notice.

A storm that struck Oregon Sunday and Monday caused big rigs to slide off the road, jackknife and block traffic on major highways in the region.

A truck jackknifed Monday on I-5 near Cottage Grove, OR, causing crews to shut down one lane. On Sunday night, a similar incident happened on Highway 58 near Pleasant Hill and another truck jackknifed on I-5 Sunday morning, according to KEZI 9 News, an ABC affiliate.

About the Author

Deborah Whistler

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