Late Season Weekend Snowfall Could Hit Northwest Mountains (With Forecast Video)

Winter-like weather will return to the northwestern United States this weekend, possibly slowing down truckers and freight flows for a brief time.

SONAR Critical Events and radar: Friday, June 12, 2020, 9 a.m. EDT


A cold front will plow through the region, producing thunderstorms and areas of heavy rain today through Sunday.

The air aloft may be cold enough to change the rainfall to snowfall in some high elevations of the Washington and Oregon Cascades, as well as the northern Rockies in Idaho and Montana.

Computer models show several inches piling up in some spots, but meteorologists at the National Weather Service (NWS) in Pendleton, Oregon, told FreightWaves that a lot of the snow won't stick to interstate highways. Their forecast area includes northeastern Oregon and southern Washington, which covers sections of the Cascades and northern Rockies.

They said the snow will occur above 5,000 feet, at elevations higher than the I-84 and I-90 corridors. Because it's been quite warm in this part of the Northwest lately, with highs in the 70s and 80s, the snow may have a hard time sticking to a lot of roads. However, it could stick to grassy areas. Road conditions are likely to be slushy rather than snowy, especially on secondary routes.

At this time, the situation will be similar across the remainder of the Cascades and into the northern Rockies.

It's not unusual for snowfall in these mountains in June, but the NWS meteorologists mentioned that it would be very rare for July.

Check chain laws here for the latest updates on winter driving.

Other notable weather

Rainfall could change to a rain-snow mix tonight in the Sierra Nevada of eastern California. However, I-80 through Reno-Carson City should only be wet. Conditions may be slushy on parts of I-80, including Donner Pass, but most of the snow won't stick to the roads.

Gusty crosswinds from the south will reach 60 to 70 mph along with parts of I-80, with sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph. Deadheading or hauling light loads will be risky.

Thunderstorms could drop heavy rainfall in parts of the Carolinas, southern Georgia, and Florida today. Localized flash flooding could lead to temporary road/ramp closures.

Tropical update

A tropical depression is moving into the South China Sea, heading for mainland China this weekend. It could strengthen into a tropical storm or low-end typhoon prior to landfall Sunday.

SONAR Critical Events: Friday, June 12, 2020; Tropical Depression Two forecast as of 2 a.m. EDT

Since FreightWaves first published an article about this Wednesday, the system has strengthened into Tropical Depression Butchoy (local name in the Philippines), with sustained winds today around 35 mph and gusts to 45.

For the past two days, models showed a direct hit/near-direct hit at the Port of Hong Kong. The latest forecast has landfall west of there. However, heavy rainfall, gusty winds, and minor storm surge over the weekend could cause minor delays in container cargo loading/unloading.
Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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