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Winter storms threaten to disrupt northwest travel

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Winter storms threaten to disrupt northwest travel

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A freezing weekend is expected in the Pacific Northwest, where vacation travel could be disrupted by winter storms that blanketed mountains in snow, forecasters said.

The National Weather Service said single-digit temperatures could follow storms in Oregon and Washington, as officials called on residents to heed warnings about dangerous road conditions and be prepared for the cold.

Heavy snowfall was likely in the western mountain ranges, including the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the Cascades, according to the Weather Prediction Center of the National Weather Service.

“Travel will be dangerous” and at times “impossible” from the Sierras to the Central Rockies this weekend due to whiteout and blowing snow conditions, the agency warned.

Marc Chenard, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the amounts of snow expected in some mountainous areas, particularly in the Sierra Nevada in California, were extreme.

Snowfall was measured in feet in the mountains, while estimates for coastal areas to the west were in inches.

Forecasters said there could be two to five inches of snow in Portland, Ore. This weekend and two to seven inches in Seattle. Mr. Chenard said it is not uncommon for there to be snow in Seattle. In 12 of the past 15 years, the city has had at least an inch of snow, he said.

The Pacific Northwest was also bracing for an unusual cold snap.

The weather service said temperatures in Washington and Oregon could drop to single digits on Sunday and the cold snap could last until early next week. The agency said the most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and those without access to heating, would be particularly at risk.

Kate Brown, governor of Oregon, declared a state of emergency on Thursday until Jan. 3 due to forecasts.

“Our state has seen a number of climate-related emergencies this year, and with one more to come, I urge all residents of Oregon to make a plan with your family now and prepare,” a- she declared.

The Emergency Management Division of the Washington State Military Department people advised prepare for storms by limiting their time outdoors, avoiding roads and dressing warm.

The cold weather contrasted with conditions across much of the United States, where record high temperatures were recorded at the end of the week and are expected to continue through the weekend.

“There will be more record highs than record lows,” Chenard said.

In the southern plains and central Atlantic, temperatures on Christmas Day are expected to be 25 to 35 degrees above normal. In Oklahoma and Texas, the weather was in the 90s.

In Wichita Falls, Texas, near the state border with Oklahoma, the temperature hit 91 degrees on Friday, break the previous December record of 88 degrees set in 1954.

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