Just days after Winter Storm Heather brought widespread power outages, gusty winds and heavy ice accumulation to Oregon, another system is set to bring damaging ice conditions back to the Northwest. This storm could also produce snowfall in the northern Rockies, Midwest and East in the coming days.
The storm has been named Winter Storm Indigo by The Weather Channel. Here’s what you need to know:
Winter weather alerts have been issued by the National Weather Service: An ice storm warning is in effect for parts of southwest Washington and northwestern Oregon, including Salem, Eugene and Portland.
Ice accumulation in these areas Tuesday into early Wednesday could not only make travel hazardous, but also might cause tree damage and power outages.
Various other winter weather alerts are in effect for snowfall from the Cascades into the northern Rockies.
The system will impact the West through midweek, then could spread eastward late week: Precipitation is beginning to fall along the Pacific Coast. In areas where the temperature is just below freezing, such as Portland and Eugene, we expect to see freezing rain or a wintry mix by the end of today.
Eventually, this freezing rain could transition to rain as temperatures slowly warm back up, but not before making the Tuesday evening commute hazardous.
Areas along the coast will likely see rain, while higher elevations in the Cascades will see heavy snow. Gusty winds of up to 40 mph could also cause whiteout conditions in the mountains, making travel difficult. Snowfall from Indigo will persist in the northern Rockies through Wednesday night or Thursday.
After that, this storm could produce at least light snowfall in parts of the Midwest, mid-South and Northeast Thursday into Friday.
Here’s how much ice and snow to expect in the West: Colder-than-average temperatures from the recent arctic blast will linger Tuesday, with temperatures struggling to get above freezing for some, including Portland.
Heavy ice accumulation, possibly up to a half-inch thick, is possible before the freezing rain transitions to rain as temperatures warm up. Even heavier totals up to an inch thick are possible near the Columbia River Gorge. This ice will cause trees to lose their limbs, and roads and bridges will be covered in ice in some neighborhoods. Additional power outages are expected.
Driving along portions of interstates 5 and 84 is highly discouraged.
Heavy snowfall will be the main impact from this storm in the Cascades and northern Rockies. The latest forecast below shows that more than a foot of snow could fall in the higher elevations, and valley areas like Spokane, Washington, and Boise, Idaho, could see several inches as well.
It’s too early to provide snowfall totals for the Midwest and Northeast, so check back to weather.com for more details in the next day or so.