'Yep, it looks like it’s happening again': Snow, ice in Western Oregon forecast

EUGENE, Ore. - Another round of winter weather is taking aim at the Willamette Valley and may bring snow and freezing rain to the region.

A Winter Storm Watch will take effect across the Willamette Valley Thursday morning and last until Friday afternoon.

“Yep, it looks like it’s happening again,” said KVAL News evening meteorologist Travis Knudsen. “This could be our third big hit of snow and ice so far this winter.”

A large storm system centered about 1,500 miles off the California coast is moving northeast toward the Pacific Northwest.

“We’ll see this storm arrive slowly over the next few days,” says Knudsen. “Wednesday might see a few rain sprinkles, but the biggest period of impact will begin late Thursday and continue until Friday morning.”

The National Weather Service expects Eugene and surrounding areas to begin with snow and sleet Thursday morning before transitioning to freezing rain Thursday night.

“The big question right now is not so much if we will see freezing rain, but rather a question of how much,” Knudsen said. “Temperatures will be at or below freezing in the southern Willamette Valley for a few hours Friday morning. Depending on how fast we warm up Friday will decide how much ice or snow we get.”

Knudsen believes between 0.1-0.3” of ice is possible come Friday afternoon. Snow accumulations will be lower in the south Willamette Valley.

“It’s still a lot of guesswork at this point, but places like Eugene and Springfield might see a half in or less of snow, with accumulations closer to an inch between Corvallis and Salem. If it falls, it’ll be on Thursday before transitioning to ice,” says Knudsen.

He said this storm has a few similarities to our past two big storms that have hit the area.

A storm on December 14, 2016, brought over 0.4” of ice to Lane County and knocked out power for thousands.

More recently, a storm sent more snow than freezing rain our way. 4.5” of snow fell on January 7 in Eugene with higher amounts see to the north. Portland was slammed with over a foot of snow.

“Our approaching storm appears to be a blend between the two, with more of a lean to the December storm than the January one,” Knudsen said. “But let me stress: that does not mean it will be a repeat. The storm is still 1,000 miles away - plenty can change between now and Friday morning.”

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