Heavy winter storm hits northwest and blocks drivers

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Strong winds and whiteout conditions contributed to a 20-car pile-up and other accidents in western Nevada on Sunday after a winter storm hit the northwest over the holiday weekend.

At least six people were injured, including a driver who crashed into the back of a Nevada highway patrol vehicle with the hazard lights on while a soldier assisted a stranded driver. The soldier is unharmed.

The crashes led authorities to shut down Interstate 580 in Washoe Valley, Nevada in both directions. “If you don’t need to go out today,” the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office tell drivers, “please stay home.”

Washoe County officials said on Saturday dozens of vehicles were parked on a freeway as the storm created poor driving conditions with low visibility.

An additional eight to 10 hours of snow showers were expected near Portland, Ore., The National Weather Service office there. said sunday. About six inches of snow was recorded in Forest Grove, Oregon., about 27 miles west of Portland.

Gerald Macke, a weather technician with the Portland Weather Service office, said the area just north of Salem received about four to seven inches of snow. But snowfall in the Portland metro area was spotty. Some areas got traces, while others reached up to six inches, he said.

Heavy snowfall was expected in the western mountain ranges, including the Sierra Nevada mountain range and the Cascades, according to the Weather Prediction Center of the National Weather Service.

The Sierra Nevada region, which has already received “several feet of snow” recently, is expected to receive up to five feet of snow through Tuesday, the agency said. He added that “measurable and disruptive snowfalls are also at play in the Pacific Northwest again,” including the metro areas of Portland and Seattle.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport said sunday that ice and snow removal efforts at this location had resulted in delays of approximately one hour.

The Pacific Northwest was also bracing for an unusual cold snap.

The weather service said temperatures in Washington and Oregon could drop to single digits this week. The agency said the most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and those without access to heating, would be particularly at risk.

Kate Brown, the governor of Oregon, declared a state of emergency on Thursday until Jan. 3 due to forecasts.

“Our state has seen a number of climate-related emergencies this year, and with one more to come, I urge all residents of Oregon to make a plan with your family now and prepare,” a- she declared.

The Emergency Management Division of the Washington State Military Department people advised prepare for storms by limiting their time outdoors, avoiding roads and dressing warm.

Cold weather in the northwest contrasted with conditions across much of the United States, where record temperatures were recorded at the end of the week.

In Wichita Falls, Texas, near the state border with Oklahoma, the temperature hit 91 degrees on Friday, break the previous December record of 88 degrees set in 1954.

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