Cold front brings freezing temps to the Pacific Northwest

      EUGENE, Ore. - A strong cold front is still on track to hit the Pacific Northwest, bringing freezing temperatures and plenty of snow for the mountains, the National Weather Service said.

      Snow levels will likely stay above the Cascade passes through Sunday evening, and the weather service said rain is expected to increase late Sunday night and into Monday.

      The mountain passes could see 4-8 inches of snow by Monday night. Snow levels are expected to be near the Willamette Valley floor as Arctic air moves into Southwest Washington and Northwest Oregon.

      A secondary system could bringing a light mix of rain and snow to the lowest elevations.

      At this time it looks like the lowlands will only see a light dusting of snow Monday night at the most, the weather service reports. Officials don't expect the snow to accumulate on the valley floor heading into Tuesday.

      The weather service is warning people to be prepared for winter driving conditions over the Cascade passes on Monday.

      Tuesday night the colder air is expected to arrive and remain through the rest of the week, with the forecast predicting lows in the 20s. Any precipitation to fall over the next few days will likely turn to ice overnight as temperatures drop below freezing in the evening hours.

      East winds will develop in the Columbia River Gorge and higher elevations, pushing wind chills near or below zero degrees for those areas.

      "Wind chills in the single digits are likely for the Portland Metro Area by midweek," the weather service said in a statement on Saturday.

      KVAL Weather Resources

      From the Eugene Police Department:

      With the advent of colder weather and the possibility of snow, EPD is advising drivers to use caution and good sense. As air temperatures drop and if roads are wet, driving surface conditions can change in the blink of an eye. What was a regular driving surface and appropriate speed one moment can become a skating rink the next, especially on overpasses and bridges. Many crashes occur when drivers are going the speed limit as temperatures drop and roads turn slippery.

      Cold or rainy weather driving tips

      • If it is icy out and you don't have to travel, stay home

      • Slow down

      • Leave plenty of driving distance, don't accelerate quickly and don't brake abruptly

      • Drive defensively and cautiously - your eyes should be looking ahead and down the road so you can see conditions and traffic and will be able to react appropriately and calmly

      • Even if you have a green light, check to see you are safe proceeding through the intersection. There may be vehicles sliding into the intersection, without the ability to stop due to road conditions and unsafe driving

      • If you have an outside temperature gauge in your car, check it from time to time (These gauges are inexpensive and available at stores locally)

      • Drive as though you can't rely on your brakes

      • Be aware that road conditions can change quickly as the temperature drops

      • The surface on overpasses and bridges freeze faster so be cautious

      • Remove all ice on windshields, windows, headlights and tail lights prior to driving to ensure adequate visibility, and make sure the vehicle's windshield is defrosted

      • Carry chains or traction devices if it is going to snow

      • Check your tire pressure. It should be at least at the level recommended by the manufacturer. As the temperature drops, so does tire pressure

      • Turn headlights on

      • If you crash, carefully evaluate the situation from inside your vehicle. Don't immediately get out because it is possible other vehicles might also be crashing near you. Don't stand between moving traffic and your vehicle. Use a flare, hazard lights or other signaling device to warn other drivers of the crash.

      • Four-wheel drive vehicles and all-wheel drive vehicles are great at accelerating, but in snow or ice that doesn't help you stop or turn.

      • Don't use cruise control in freezing, near freezing, or rainy conditions. The powered wheels can lose traction. In freezing weather, be especially careful on overpasses and bridges.