Blizzard, Rain and Wind Slam the Northwest

By Anthony Sagliani, Meteorologist
December 17, 2012; 6:08 AM ET
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While some parts of the country wonder where the snow is, Old Man Winter has certainly found his way to the Northwest.

A dangerous storm that slammed into the coast of Washington Monday morning has already begun to batter the region.

Interstate 90's Snoqualmie Pass shut down Sunday afternoon as heavy snow and blizzard conditions set in.

There were several collisions at the summit area as strong winds and blowing snow brought visibilities down to near zero.

This image, courtesy of Washington State Department of Transportation, shows an eerie, lonesome stretch of I-90 near Franklin Falls and Snoqualmie Pass as heavy snow forced it closed Sunday night.

The pass has since reopened, but heavy snow continues and authorities will only let vehicles with chains or all-wheel drive make the journey.

Blinding snow and white-out conditions extend down the length of the Washington and Oregon Cascades.

They also include the Olympic Mountains in northwestern Washington and the Blue Mountains of northwestern Oregon.

Over a foot of snow, with some places getting over two feet, will fall across all of these areas. Snow drifts will reach 4-6 feet in spots and travel will be extremely dangerous at best.

As Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski points out, the wild winter weather is not only limited to the mountains.

According to Kristina, "Up to a half of a foot of snow will turn Wenatchee, Wash., into a winter wonderland Sunday night into Monday with 2-4 inches whitening Spokane, Wash."

The snow will then spread to the mountainous areas of California, Idaho and Utah through Monday evening.

The highest elevations across these areas will see 6-12 inches of new snowfall.

The combination of the new snowfall and strong winds will even produce the risk for avalanches.

Further south and east, the snow turns to rain in places such as Seattle, Portland and Medford.

With 1-2 inches of rain falling Sunday and Sunday night, another 1-2 inches is likely today.

This kind of rain will lead to excessive ponding of water on roadways and quick rises on area creeks, streams and rivers.

Check back often at AccuWeather.com for the latest up-to-the-minute information on this storm.

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