UPDATE: Snow started falling before dawn Thursday, as forecast. Some schools chose to close or implement 2-hour delays.
"Just because road conditions are good this morning does not mean they will stay good throughout the day," National Weather Service forecasters said early Thursday morning. "Snow will increase throughout the day and make road conditions treacherous for rush hour this afternoon and evening."
EUGENE, Ore. - If you ski, the feet of snow forecast to fall at Willamette Pass and Hoodoo by Saturday are long overdue.
If you are a student or have a school-aged child, the school closure list is bookmarked.
If you're a commuter in the southern Willamette Valley, Thursday might be the most challenging day on the roads in two months.
Forecasters in Portland upgraded the Winter Storm Watch to a Winter Storm Warning, indicating increased certainty that snow will fall to the valley floor.
"A Winter Storm Warning for heavy snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occuring," forecasters said. "Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous. Only travel in an emergency."
The warning also indicates increased snowfall.
The National Weather Service now predicts 3 to 7 inches of snow could fall between 4 a.m. Thursday and 4 a.m. Friday in Eugene, Corvallis and other southern Willamette Valley communities.
The snow is forecast to start before sunrise and remain light but steady through the morning.
By afternoon and evening Thursday, the snowfall will be at its heavies, forecasters said.
The forecast for the Cascades at Hoodoo and Willamette Pass calls for 2 to 4 feet of snow to fall by Saturday. Both ski areas had planned to open this weekend after a stingy winter left both with just enough snow to ski. A heavy snowstorm could help erase that deficit.