Incoming winter storm could pack a wallop

Incoming winter storm could pack a wallop

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EUGENE, Ore. - A winter storm on target to hit the Pacific Northwest on Friday and Saturday will deliver snow in the mountains and high surf along the coast.

The result: dangerous travel - and potentially deadly conditions at the beach.

A winter storm warning for the Cascades starts at 4 p.m. and continues for 24 hours.

"A winter storm warning for heavy snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring," forecasters said. "Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous. Only travel in an emergency. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency."

The Coastal range is under a winter weather advisory from Friday afternoon through 1 p.m. Saturday.

"A winter weather advisory for snow means that periods of snow will cause primarily travel difficulties," forecasters said. "Be prepared for snow covered roads and limited visibilities and use caution while driving."

Snow levels in the Coast range will drop below 1,500 feet. Up to a half foot of snow is possible.

That would seem like a mere dusting compared to the Cascades, where accumulations of up to a 1 1/2 feet of snow are possible in Lane County. Snowfall is expected to be heavier in northern Oregon and Washington than in the Cascades of Lane County, according to National Weather Service forecats. The Mount Hood area could see as much as 30 inches of new snow.

Forecasters expect peak snowfall in the Cascades Friday afternoon through Saturday morning below 2,000 feet and at elevations down to 1,000 feet in the Cascades.

Along the Oregon Coast, a high surf advisory goes into effect at 6 p.m. Friday and continues for 24 hours. A big swell will boost breaker waves to 25 feet or higher, forecastters said.

"The surf zone will be extremely chaotic and rough," the weather service said. "Anyone near the surf zone will be prone to being swept away by erratic and unpredictable sneaker waves that can be much larger than the general seas.