Sunday, December 3, 2023

Thanksgiving travel: Freezing rain possible over Cascade passes, but weather mostly nice

Must read

Western Oregon’s weather is expected to be downright boring through Thanksgiving and the weekend.

There should be light showers Wednesday across much of the state and possibility light freezing rain at the Cascade Passes early Wednesday morning.

But beyond occasional fog and a higher level of “sneaker wave” danger on the Oregon Coast this weekend, there isn’t a whole lot to worry about for travelers, said National Weather Service meteorologist Hannah Chandler-Cooley.

“Honestly, there’s not much,” she said.

Rain in Willamette Valley, possible freezing rain in Cascades

A light bit of rain, maybe a tenth of an inch, is forecast for Tuesday evening into Wednesday in the Willamette Valley. The Coast will probably see closer to a quarter inch.

The biggest question is whether freezing rain will impact the Cascade Passes on Wednesday morning.

“The main concern with freezing rain on Wednesday is what time the precipitation starts and whether it’s still cold enough in the mountains to turn into any freezing rain,” Chandler-Cooley said.

“There is some uncertainty about that.,” she said. “There’s a decent chance it will be too warm for freezing rain, but we’re watching that, and anyone traveling over the Cascades should be aware of the possibly slick roads.

“We’re not expecting a lot of rain so even if it did happen, the impact would most likely be minimal.”

Thanksgiving and holiday weekend: Fog, sunshine and dry

Into Thanksgiving and the weekend, the weather is expected to be foggy in the morning and then sunshine after the fog burns off, even at the Oregon Coast.

Chandler-Cooley said because the Coast is forecast to be pretty nice, they’re expecting a lot of visitors. She said there was an above-normal risk of “sneaker waves” on the coastal beaches and for anyone visiting to be extra aware of the higher-than-normal waves that can sweep up the beach and either soak people or pull them out to sea.

But overall, this will rank as one of Oregon’s quieter Thanksgiving time periods, which is normally a period of mountain snow and rain.

“We aren’t seeing much even 10 days out right now,” Chandler-Cooley said.

Zach Urness has been an outdoors reporter in Oregon for 15 years and is host of the Explore Oregon Podcast. To support his work, subscribe to the Statesman Journal. He can be reached at or (503) 399-6801. Find him on Twitter at @ZachsORoutdoors.

Latest article