The National Weather Service on Sunday night issued what it calls a “rare” blizzard warning for the Oregon Cascades, plus the east slopes of the Cascades and La Pine and Sunriver. The warning lasts from 4:00 a.m. Tuesday to 4:00 p.m. Wednesday.
“This isn’t a normal thing. Really, We have to have those high winds coupled with really heavy snowfall. So for those two ingredients to to happen at the same time, it doesn’t necessarily occur very frequently here across the area,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Matt Callihan.
So how rare is “rare?” Callihan said a blizzard warning hasn’t been issued for this part of Oregon in five years.
There will be heavy snowfall, but it will be coupled with 50-to-60 mph winds. That not only means whiteout conditions, but trees could come down.
“That could really hurt visibility and travel concerns moving across the Cascades, moving over the passes, especially,” Callihan said.
He said that travel should be limited. But for those who have to drive, expect to spend a lot more time in their vehicle. Bring plenty of food, water, clothes and emergency supplies.
NWS said in a Monday morning update that total snow accumulations for the east slopes, La Pine and Sunriver would be 12 to 36 inches.
For the Cascades, NWS said “Strong and deep onshore flow will lead to periods of heavy snow, strong winds, and near zero visibility for the Cascades, especially for exposed areas above 3500 feet. The combination of heavy snow and strong winds will occasionally result in white-out conditions Tuesday through Wednesday. Poor visibility and rapid snow accumulation of up to 2 inches per hour will result in dangerous conditions for even the most experienced of drivers Tuesday, Tuesday night, and into Wednesday.”