By Jess Macinko
News Editor 

Top stories of 2017: A blizzard for the books


January 3, 2018

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BLIZZARD TAKES TOLL: Snow hit the area hard, resulting in accidents and slushy roads.

You may not have noticed, but the Gorge got a little snow recently. Goldendale received its fair share: a total of 25 inches between Jan. 8 and 12. More than half that snow fell on a single day, Wednesday, Jan. 11, which saw a total of 14 inches. That's the most snowfall recorded in one day since Goldendale's all-time record of 24 inches on Nov. 20, 1921.

Marilyn Lohmann of the National Weather Service Pendleton office attributes the quiet blizzard to a low-pressure system that developed just off the Oregon coast. The fact the system stayed in place for most of the four-day period is what created the "snow-globe" effect: a slow-but-steady accumulation of light, dry snow.

So far, Goldendale's total snowfall this winter is 42.2 inches, making it the seventh snowiest winter on record. The snowiest was the winter of 1949-50, with a total of 68.3 inches. Local-history buff and longtime resident Jean Smeltzer says heavy snows were common in the 1950s. Back then, the dress code made walking to school in inclement weather even more of a challenge: female students wore dresses; they weren't allowed to wear pants.

Whatever your attire, we might be back in the thick of it by the time you read this. Calm through the weekend is expected to give way to a mix of snow and freezing rain. Combined with a rise in temperature and resulting meltwater, the rain may cause some street flooding, especially in densely populated areas, as well as significant rise in the Klickitat and White Salmon rivers.

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