Watch out Salem – winter storm coming later Christmas Day

A winter storm warning has been posted for the Salem area for snow starting Saturday afternoon with 3 to 8 inches expected by Monday night.

The higher elevations of the Cascades could get another 3 feet of snow, according to the latest forecast from the National Weather Service.

Anticipating the weather, Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday declared a state of emergency for all of Oregon.

“This weather is expected to bring heavy snow and sustained temperatures below freezing, resulting in critical transportation failures and disruptions to power and communications infrastructure,” according to her executive order issued Thursday.

The winter storm warning issued Christmas morning by the weather service takes effect at 4 p.m. Saturday and goes through 4 a.m. Monday.

“Accumulating snow is expected to start in the northern portions of the forecast area on Christmas night, and then spread southward through Sunday before precipitation decreases in coverage and intensity on Monday,” the warning said. “Right now expecting anywhere from 2-8 inches of snow in the Willamette Valley.”

Mountain passes could see up to 20 inches of snow and the Cascade foothills are forecast to get 8 to 12 inches of snow.

In the Salem area, the weather service was forecasting a low of 21 on Sunday night with highs just about freezing each day through Wednesday.The National Weather Service forecast for Salem issued Christmas morning.

Oregon TripCheck at 7 a.m. Christmas Day was showing that Santiam Junction on Oregon Highway 22 had 13 inches of new snow and 37 inches total on the roadside.

In her order, Brown directed the state Office of Emergency Management to “coordinate all essential protective measures” and rely as necessary on the Oregon State Police, Oregon Human Services Department, Oregon National Guard, Oregon State Police, Oregon Transportation Department and the Oregon Public Utility Commission.

To report power outages:

PGE: 1-800-468-4743

Pacific Power: 1-877-508-5088

Salem Electric: 503-362-3601