Snow and cold lingered in the west and the northern United States to a point that post-Christmas travel conditions were hazardous yesterday (Sunday) and will continue to do so in this final week of 2021 in those areas.
The Weather Prediction Center (WPC) stated on Saturday that travel will continue to be dangerous during this period and is discouraged across the Intermountain West area. The reason is clear as the mountain passes have been closed in preparation for the weather but also there is likely to be dangerous avalanches occurring in the Sierra Nevada, Washington Cascades, Northern Rockies, and Wasatch, the WPC continued.
The National Weather Service (NWS) office in Great Falls, Montana, provided an update on Sunday stating that there were extremely cold wind chills that were as low as 55 below zero. That update continued to state these temperatures were enough to cause frostbite on any skin exposed in 5 minutes. This warning effect is expected to remain until Monday afternoon.
In terms of Southern weather, the warmth on that side will continue and residents could experience wildfires in the central Plains area.
While the snow is a welcome change in some areas - on top of skiiers loving it - it's also dangerous for travellers. It covers roads but also reduces visibility which can result in accidents. And depending on where you are, avalanches.
In fact, the warnings came into effect Sunday for areas in Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Colorado and California since the heavy snowfall and wind that hit those areas created unstable snow.
TThe Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center warned on Sunday that the avalanches can run long distances and can even run at lower angle terrain than what people would consider as safe spots.
So Much Snow
It makes sense for caution to be exercised in this instance as the Western states have been hit hard with large snow and rain systems in a short period of time. This is just after having a low snowpack level. Consider California where on Saturday they recorded 130% of its normal snowpack has been reached.
On December 1st, that number was 18%.
And now there is more moisture on the way this week.
The new snowfall that's coming in over the next few days will be measured in feet across the Sierras, Cascades and Rocky Mountains at this point. There's even a heavier snow setup in Seattle metro area being made as snow accumulations are expected to be between 4 to 6 inches with local snow build-up to be higher.
The city of Eugene, Oregon is in a worse state than Seattle though. On Sunday it declared a snow emergency.
What this emergency means is that all vehicles must be removed from designated snow emergency routes, the city said in their release of this announcement. It went on to say that by banning parking in those areas, they can ensure emergency vehicles, busses, and other essential traffic can move around town and parked or stalled cars won't cause issues for removing snow.
The release also mentioned there would be more snow and freezing conditions to hit the city overnight too.
Due to the high levels of snow, rain, and freezing conditions, travelling in this area will be difficult. If you can avoid driving in these conditions do so and be sure to stay safe and warm.