PACIFIC COUNTY — The difference between only a few miles inside Pacific County on Feb. 12 has separated who's received snow or freezing rain. The ongoing storm is expected to continue through the rest of the day and into Saturday, Feb. 13, with the most hazardous conditions yet to come.
The county's emergency manager is advising residents to stay home if possible. Unavoidable errands should be finished this afternoon.
The National Weather Service (NWS) was conservative in its original forecasting on Feb. 10 when they said snowfall might skirt around Pacific County. Mother Nature had other plans, and by midday Feb. 11, all of the north county region had at least a trace to 1 inch of snowfall. Snow persisted overnight, and it's expected to continue for the next day and a half.
At 9:36 a.m. on Feb. 12, the NWS issued a Winter Storm Warning for the entire county with two different scenarios forecast. The north region from approximately South Bend northward is expected to see steady snowfall through midday Feb. 13 with accumulations up to 4 inches. South of Nemah toward the beach will likely see a wintry mix consisting of periods of snowfall and freezing rain. Both the north and south regions are likely get some freezing rain, making for treacherous driving conditions.
As evening approaches, winds are also expected to pick up, with gusts to around 40 mph. These winds will likely create "blizzard-like" conditions at times and will make travel dangerous. Roadway conditions are expected to deteriorate quickly after sunset, and residents are being urged to stay home if possible.
"A lot of this is going to depend on how deep the cold air is," McDougall said. "Right now, the cold air is deep enough over us that it's allowing the rain to turn to snow. Down on the Columbia River and near Naselle and other places, they are getting freezing rain, and [the NWS is] forecasting between .25 inch and .50 inch of ice accumulation."
He continued, "if we get that, it will probably mean that most of our roads are completely impassable, and we are probably going to see fairly significant downed trees and power outages because of the weight of the ice on power lines and the weight of the ice on trees creates really significant problems. We are going to have to wait and see what we get before we know how bad it's gonna be."
Highways linking the coast with inland areas are becoming difficult. Washington State Route 4 between Naselle and Cathlamet has significant snow cover, as does SR6 between Raymond and Lewis County. U.S. Highway 101 and SR8 remain open, but Olympia and the rest of the South Sound region are expected to be heavily impacted by snow later Friday and well into Saturday. There are significant problems on Oregon Highways 30 and 26. Visit www.wsdot.com/traffic/trafficalerts/default.aspx and tripcheck.com before attempting to travel outside our area.