More snow expected overnight in Willamette Valley

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by KGW.com Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on March 21, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 21 at 5:25 PM

ALBANY -- The first full day of Spring set a snowfall record in Eugene and blanketed a large swath of the central Willamette Valley.

Another round of a wet and white wintry mix was expected overnight into Thursday, according to KGW Meteorologist Matt Zaffino. The Portland area was expected to see a rain-show mix overnight for the valley floor, with up to 2 inches in the higher hills.

The maps showed “a very unusual array of watches and warnings,” for this time of the year, Zaffino said. Salem would likely see another 1-3 inches of snow overnight. Eugene would likely get another 1-5 inches, the surrounding hills may end up with a total of 15 inches, Zaffino said.

Snowy start to Spring

Eugene got around 7 inches of fresh snow and Salem that got about three inches Wednesday alone.

Snow fell all day in the Salem area above 500 feet, with South Salem getting the greatest accumulations, and more snow forecast as a cold front was expected to stall overnight.

PHOTOS: Spring snow dump

Salem resident Vadim Kovalev said he hadn't planned to spend the second day of spring shoveling, but that's how it turned out.

"I enjoy snow, but it's sure very unusual for March," he said.

The snow turned Salem into a bit of a ghost town, because many people opted to just stay home and avoid it.

The front will eventually move eastward into the Gorge, Cascades, and Hood River valley.

More: ODOT cams for I-5/Eugene

U.S. 20 five miles east of Sweet Home was closed briefly Wednesday from there to the Oregon 216 junction because of fallen trees. A slide forced the closure of Highway 20 at Santiam Pass and was not expected to reopen for some time.  Two people were rescued from trapped cars.

More: Santiam Pass closed due to slide & snow

In the Coast Range, officials with the Oregon Department of Transportation recommended that travelers delay trips over the passes, if possible.

More: Snow shuts down Sandy schools; Mt. Hood gets 2 feet

Crews have been sanding and plowing highways for several hours, said ODOT spokesman Lou Torres.

More: ODOT road cameras

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