A landslide swept across Highway 30 in 2021 (Image courtesy of ODOT)

If you are travelling before Christmas in Oregon, be prepared for extreme weather as across Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington is expected to get hit with a “trainwreck of nasty pre-Christmas weather” according to KOIN. The hazardous weather could potentially cause downed trees, power outages and traffic collisions as a result of the freezing temperatures.

Wednesday is expected to get hit hard with a blast of arctic air, with temperatures dipping into the low 20s on Thursday. The Portland area, including the Columbia River Gorge and the Hood River Valley could see subzero conditions that go into Friday morning. Across the country, a cold wave and blizzard will bring some of the nation’s most dangerous and disruptive pre-holiday weather in recent decades.

The winter storm is said to be the biggest since the Valentines’ weekend snow and ice storm last year. While it’s expected to hit the Portland metro area, the freezing ran and ice could even reach out to parts of the coastline and down into the entire Willamette Valley.

“We will likely see major citywide impacts from an incoming winter storm late this week,” KOIN 6 Meteorologist Kelley Bayern said. “Models continue to advertise a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain arriving Thursday afternoon or evening. Then we transition to all freezing rain Friday morning and freezing rain showers continuing through Saturday morning.”

RELATED: How To Drive in Snow & Ice Safely

Expect widespread freezing rain Thursday night and Friday, then more freezing rain Friday night and Saturday in much of the metro/Gorge (only). If travelling, it’s advised to travel on Thursday, as it should be dry throughout the region.

AAA reports 1.6 million Oregonians will travel this Christmas, with Portland International Airport expecting some of their busiest days since the beginning of the Pandemic. The Portland International Airport will never shut down the airport terminal to prevent travellers from being stranded, as they are preparing with anti-icer on the runways to allow airplanes to safely land and take off. According to KPTV Fox, the last time planes were unable to get out of the airport for more than one day was during an ice storm back in 2004 as it would take some very serious weather to shut down both runways for more than a few hours.

AAA reports 90% of Americans are travelling by car this year, which includes Oregonians. Don Hamilton with ODOT tells KPTV Fox his agency will focus on keeping highways and the interstates safe. If ice should start as predicted and begins to accumulate on overhead electrical wires and on tracks, TriMet in Portland said riders should expect delays.

Oregon’s all-time lowest temperature was recorded at -54° F (Seneca on Feb. 10, 1933).





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