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    Western Snow Forces Travel Restrictions

    By By Meghan Evans, Meteorologist
    November 19, 2010, 2:25:14 AM EST

    A storm parade is pounding the West with heavy mountain snow that is forcing travel restrictions through some major passes. As colder air plunges into the Northwest, snow may even whiten Seattle and Portland over the weekend.

    The nasty travel conditions resulting from the wintry weather may interfere with plans of those traveling early for Thanksgiving.

    A new storm moving into the West from the Pacific is the latest culprit spreading mountain snow into the West.

    Brutally cold air will keep plunging southward from western Canada, sending snow levels plummeting across Washington, Oregon and California to the northern and central Rockies.


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    Weekend Snow in Washington and Oregon

    Snow levels will fall as low as 500 feet in Washington and Oregon at times through the weekend.

    This means snow will certainly fall on the foothills east of Seattle and Portland, and can even make an appearance in the cities by early Saturday morning. Travel should not become a major headache for people within these cities, because roads will just be wet in most places.

    However, travel will continue to be a mess through some of the major mountain passes of the region during the weekend, including Snoqualmie Pass along I-90 in Washington. An additional foot or two of snow will fall across the Cascades through the weekend.

    Snow will also whiten the Olympic Mountains of western Washington and the Blue Mountains of Oregon.

    Weekend Snow in the Sierra

    Snow will begin falling heavily by early Saturday morning in the northern and central Sierra of California.

    Snow levels will plunge as low as 4,000 feet in the northern Sierra and 5,000 feet in the central Sierra by Saturday night. Snow totals by the end of the weekend may climb to 2 to 4 feet in the northern and central Sierra.

    Travel will become extremely dangerous in the Sierra throughout the weekend and may even need to be shut down across portions of I-80.


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    Weekend Snow in the Rockies

    Snow will become heavier in the northern Rockies and arrive in the central Rockies Saturday as the newest storm in the parade pushes inland.

    Snowfall totals in northwestern Wyoming and the Wasatch Mountains of Utah will be the heaviest, with some areas getting blasted by 2 feet of powdery snow by the end of the weekend.

    Travel will be hazardous through passes along I-15 and I-90.

    Rain will eventually change to snow even at lower elevations. Salt Lake City will get a couple to several inches of snow during the latter part of the weekend.

    More Travel Concerns

    High winds will also blast the mountains of the West this weekend, adding to mounting travel concerns by blowing and drifting snow. Arctic cold will further add to travel hazards, making it very hard to keep roads clear even with plows out in full force.

    People who are braving the weather and traveling early for the holiday should be prepared with extra blankets and a snow kit in their vehicle just in case.

    If you have any photos or reports of the snow or cold, feel free to post them on the AccuWeather.com Facebook Page. Be sure to post the location of photos.

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