Snowy Philomath street
Philomath could be in the path of snowfall in the coming days. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

From rainfall and flooding to cold temperatures and snow, Philomath will continue to experience challenging weather conditions. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for the region that includes Philomath to run from 4 p.m. Saturday until 4 a.m. Monday.

The weather agency reports that heavy snow is possible with total snow accumulations of 1 to 7 inches in the central and southern areas of the Willamette Valley. As a result, holiday travel could become difficult.

“Showers may not turn to all snow until later Saturday night,” the NWS watch reported. “Once precipitation turns to all snow, snow amounts will vary widely, even over short distances, due to the showery nature of the precipitation.”

As of Friday morning, the Philomath forecast as published on showed rain and snow on Saturday with a high of 39 and a low of 29, snow on Sunday with a high of 35 and a low of 19, evening snow showers on Monday with a high of 34 and a low of 24 and snow showers on Tuesday with a high of 36 and a low of 23. The extended forecast also shows snowfall is possible into the first week of January.

“The highest snow amounts are most likely to fall across the hills initially and across areas east of Interstate 5 near the foothills of the Cascades including places such as Mulino, Molalla, Silverton, Stayton, Scio, Sublimity and Lebanon,” according to the NWS. “The lowest amounts will generally fall at the lowest elevations west of Interstate 5, but we cannot rule out localized areas west of Interstate 5 receiving higher amounts as well.”

The chances of snow decrease after Monday, the NWS added, but much colder temperatures will remain as arctic air spills into the region.

In Oregon, more than 1.3 million are expected to travel by car and another 137,000 will fly to their holiday destination, according to AAA’s annual travel forecast. Coming home from a Christmas trip appears as though it could be more treacherous compared to getting there.

On Thursday, Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency in response to the expected severe winter weather across Oregon.

“Our state has experienced a number of climate-related emergencies this year, and with another coming, I urge all Oregonians to make a plan with your family now and be prepared,” Brown said in a news release. “I am directing state agencies to work proactively with local emergency management partners to coordinate on communications for emergency services, such as warming centers.”

With the cold temperatures in the forecast, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management is highlighting the need for people to check in on family, friends, neighbors and vulnerable populations, especially if the power goes out or roads turn icy.

“We need to look out for one another and share information to help raise awareness of ways to access resources and stay safe. Make sure you, your family and neighbors know where to go for warming shelters or how to safely stay warm if the power fails. Well-connected communities are more resilient,” said OEM Deputy Director Matt Marheine.

OEM has published information with safety tips and a list of resources.

The Oregon Department of Transportation said through a news release that staffing shortages means it could take a little more time to clear roads.

“This is a continuation of a staffing trend we saw last year,” ODOT reported. “We’re working hard to fill vacant positions and will shift resources as needed when we see significant snow or other issues on our roads.”

ODOT encourages holiday travelers to visit and see road conditions along a route from start to finish. cameras include temperature, elevation and other details about road conditions.

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