Winter storm on track to hit Pacific NW

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EUGENE, Ore. - A winter storm watch for heavy snow remains in effect from Friday afternoon through late Friday night for the Cascades and Coastal mountains of Oregon, the National Weather Service in Portland said.

Cottage Grove, Sweet Home and the Cascade foothills of Lane County are all under the winter snow watch.

Forecasters said snow levels will lower to around 1,500 feet Friday evening, low enough to affect some of the highway passes crossing the Oregon Coast range. Snow accumulations of 4 to 8 are possible by Saturday morning.

The Cascade passes will likely see snow Thursday and again Friday into Saturday.

"A potent winter storm system will bring very heavy snow to the Cascades," forecasters said. "Localized blizzard conditions appear possible for Friday down to elevations as low as the Cascade passes."

The northern Oregon Cascades will likely see more snow than the mountains in Lane County. Forecasters issued an avalanche watch for the Cascades from Highway 126 north to Mount Hood.

"A strong pacific frontal system taking aim at the Pacific Northwest Friday should deliver 1-2 feet or more of snowfall Friday and Friday night," forecasters from the Northweat Weather and Avalanche Center wrote. "While the deep snowpack of mid-winter has been relativelystable during the month of February,  heavy snowfall, strong westerly winds and a gradual warming trend beginning Friday should cause avalanches to occur mostly in the new storm snow."