Worst Snowfall Since '85? Northwest Braces For Huge Storm - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Worst Snowfall Since '85? Northwest Braces For Huge Storm

MSNBC.COM - A major winter storm that could dump three times Seattle's annual snowfall on the city over two days was headed for the Pacific Northwest on Tuesday night and into Wednesday.

Chris Dolce, a meteorologist with weather.com, wrote that travel could become "dangerous or impossible" by Tuesday night in areas including Seattle, Olympia, Bellingham as well as Portland, Ore.

The National Weather Service was forecasting 1-2 inches of snow Tuesday in the Seattle area, and then 5-10 inches on Wednesday.

But weather.com was predicting that parts of the Seattle area could be hit with 12-18 inches of snow in the next 48 hours. Up to 8 inches was also expected in Portland.

"Keep in mind, average annual snowfall is only 2.4 inches in Portland and 5.9 inches in Seattle, so these amounts are very significant for these metro areas," Dolce added. "According to the National Weather Service in Seattle, Wash., snow amounts from this storm could exceed anything seen since November 1985 at Sea-Tac airport."

The Seattle area saw several inches of snow over the weekend, and then a lull on Monday and overnight into Tuesday morning for most of the region.

Dolce said that "several feet of snow" was expected to pile up in the Cascade and Bitterroots mountains.

Interstate 90 at Snoqualmie Pass in the Cascades was shut down Tuesday morning for avalanche control.

According to Dolce's forecast, snow was likely to spread well inland across the interior Northwest into the Northern Rockies. Spokane, Wash., Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, Kalispell, Mont. and Missoula, Mont., will all deal with substantial amounts of snow and rough travel conditions, weather.com reported.

"There is a chance that an area of localized heavier snow could develop in the Seattle metro area Monday night into Tuesday morning along the arctic frontal boundary," Dolce added.

Meanwhile, a National Park Service official said late Monday that a 66-year-old snowshoer who was found alive on Mount Rainier after two days has been rescued.

It took nine hours to bring Yong Chun Kim out of the backcountry, spokeswoman Lee Taylor added.

He became separated from a group he was leading on the mountain, about 100 miles south of Seattle.

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