Thanksgiving Travel Weather

November 19, 2018

7pm Monday…

It’s that time of year.  Lots of you will be hitting the road tomorrow, Wednesday, or Thanksgiving Day to see the relatives.  Or maybe some friends.  Or attempting to avoid both and heading to a hotel/resort?  We’ve got you covered.  Here’s the plan…

Interstate 5 and Coast Range Passes

Snow levels will not go below 3,000′ from the Cascades westward which means I-5 north to Seattle plus south all the way into California should remain clear.  Siskiyou Summit at the Oregon border is about 4,000′ but I don’t think snow will get quite that low down there.

Coast Range summits are below 2,000′ so just bare roadways there as well.

Cascade Passes

Travel conditions through the Cascades will be just fine through Thanksgiving Morning;  no snow on the roads if you’re travelling duringthe next two days.  Then cooler air pours in Thanskgiving Day giving some slushy areas to the passes.  Cooling temperatures should turn the passes totally white/snowy Thursday night.  There could be snow-covered passes anytime Friday through early Saturday, but in the middle of the day it might not be so bad at Government Camp.  That would be the best time to travel.  Beyond Saturday morning conditions should be MUCH better.  If we get lucky just mainly bare roads later Saturday and Sunday with warming & drying.  After Wednesday, the best travel over Cascade passes will be Sunday; likely just bare roads.

I-84 Columbia River Gorge & Blue Mountains to Boise

The Gorge forecast is easy…no freezing rain or snow.  It’s possible we get a few spots of freezing rain in parts of the Hood River/White Salmon valleys early Wednesday, but even that won’t last long.  Definitely nothing at freeway level.  Now the Blue Mountains are a different story.  Much of Thursday should be okay, but the cold front arriving very late in the day could turn I-84 snowy over Emigrant Hill/Meacham areas by sunset or so.  Heavy snow may fall at times during the day Friday in the same area.  Other than light snow showers, I think you won’t encounter any huge issues farther east through La Grande, Ladd Canyon, or Baker City.  Of course overnight icy spots are possibly Friday through Sunday from leftover moisture on roads.

In general travel looks relatively good this long holiday weekend.  But it’s early in the season; usually we have more issues with Christmas travel.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen