Winter weather is on its way

A Providence Health worker finishes plowing the clinic parking lot at 11th and June during a February 2014 snow storm.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
A Providence Health worker finishes plowing the clinic parking lot at 11th and June during a February 2014 snow storm.

Wintry weather makes its first appearance in the Gorge this week as a cold front out of the Canadian Rockies descends on the Pacific Northwest, sending temperatures plunging below freezing.

Hood River residents woke up Tuesday morning to the first frost of the season that coated rooftops and windows with an icy veneer. The National Weather Service issued an advisory over the weekend warning residents of the precipitous drop from the past week’s temperatures, which were typically in the mid to high 50s.

The National Weather Service’s forecast calls for high temperatures in Hood River to stay in the 30s for much of the week, as well as rain, snow, wintry mixes, and freezing rain.

The forecast calls for a high of 33 degrees on Wednesday and a 50 percent chance of snow that night, although accumulations were not expected to be greater than half an inch.

Significant snowfall is predicted for Thursday, with accumulations of 3-7 inches forecast for the Hood River area and a high temperature of 29. Freezing rain in the forecast for Thursday night on top of the day’s snowfall will likely make travel treacherous.

Things warm up on Friday with a high of 40 degrees and an 80 percent chance of rain, but then cool down heading into the weekend with a high of 31 on Saturday, along with a chance of either rain or snow.

The winter weather has caused long lines to form at local tire retailers as motorists scramble to get their studded tires and snow tires on before the flakes start flying.

After a few busy signals Tuesday morning, the News was able to get into contact with James Parmiter, tire technician at Nelson Tire Factory on the Heights, who said business has been booming.

“About 8 a.m. today we started turning people away,” he said. “Ever since people found about what’s supposed to becoming into the Gorge this week, they’ve been lining up.”

He said the lines started Monday morning and expected things would continue to stay busy throughout the week, if not longer. He roughly estimated that Nelson’s would be putting tires on the vehicles of 50 customers Tuesday.

A similar situation is being experienced at Les Schwab, whose phone was also busy Tuesday morning.

Lois Ledezma, who works in sales and administration at Les Schwab, said customers began lining up at 5:30 a.m. even though the business doesn’t open until 8 a.m. Like Nelson’s, they’ve also had to turn people away.

“Yesterday we filled up by 9 a.m.,” she said Tuesday morning. “Today it was 8 a.m.”

Ledezma estimated the business would serve 120 to 150 customers that day and expected things would stay busy for another 4-6 weeks, as they do every year before the start of winter.

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