Update: Landslides falling trees predicted as result of strong storm

The strongest winter storm of the season is expected to reach the Portland area Sunday evening and last into the early week.

"This will likely be the strongest system to strike the Pacific Northwest this fall season," says Steve Pierce, President, of the Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society.

Pierce also predicts high winds late Sunday and early Monday.

"This setup has the potential to be the strongest windstorm since January 16, 2000, and December 14, 2006, when Portland recorded winds between 55 and 65 miles per hour in both storms," Pierce said.

Landslides are also a concern because of rain soaked soil.

"With three months of above normal rainfall and the most rainfall in a single calendar year since 1996, trees will likely come down and power will be lost in wind prone areas tonight across the metro area. This could result in property damage and the potential for serious injury," Pierce said.

According to Pierce, holiday travelers and residents should be prepared for snow in the mountain passes and at lower elevations.

"The Cascade mountains will see several feet of new snow between now and Wednesday. This will cause holiday travel problems over the mountain passes, just as schools let out for the winter break. Longer range models continue to show colder than normal temperatures across the Pacific Northwest with more storm systems on tap next week. Snow levels will also remain below pass levels," says Pierce.

The storm system began developing in the Pacific Ocean before the weekend. It has the potential for strong winds, followed by more low elevation snowfall across the Pacific Northwest beginning Sunday evening and lasting through Tuesday.

"The system will pass by Monday early morning, followed by much colder air and lowering snowfall levels once again. Anything that falls from the sky will be scattered in nature and not likely to cause any travel issues at the lowest elevations," says Pierce.

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