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Originally published Monday, December 17, 2012 at 12:37 AM

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Massive winter storm expected to hit Northwest

A powerful winter storm was expected to hit the Pacific Northwest overnight Sunday and into Monday, delivering strong winds, towering waves and rain to some places and heavy snowfall and whiteout conditions to others.

The Associated Press

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PORTLAND, Ore. —

A powerful winter storm was expected to hit the Pacific Northwest overnight Sunday and into Monday, delivering strong winds, towering waves and rain to some places and heavy snowfall and whiteout conditions to others.

The storm's effects won't be limited to the coast and the mountains. Forecasters also have posted high-wind warnings with gusts up to 55 mph in Oregon's Willamette Valley and the metro Portland area, The Oregonian reported.

Liana Ramirez, a National Weather Service forecaster in Portland, said the wind's effect could be more severe because it's coming directly from the south, instead of the season's usual southwesterly and westerly winds. That could lead to trees toppling onto power lines.

Outages already were being reported in several coastal cities Sunday.

Forecast models show winds up to 85 mph on the north Oregon coast, with the strongest winds expected between midnight Sunday and 4 a.m. Monday, Ramirez said.

The high winds also were expected to lead to towering seas, with up to 30-foot waves. Forecasters issued a flood watch for the north Oregon coast, with the likelihood of tidal overflows and minor coastal flooding, the newspaper reported.

As wind and rain pummel the coast and Willamette Valley, the Cascade Mountains in Washington and Oregon were expected to get hit with snow, with as much as 3 feet of powder in 36 hours. A blizzard warning remains in effect until Monday evening.

Visibility is expected to be a quarter-mile or less from the blowing snow, with whiteout conditions in higher elevations and along the passes. The Seattle Times reported the locations expecting blizzard conditions include Hurricane Ridge, Snoqualmie Pass, Stevens Pass, White Pass and the Paradise Ranger Station.

Because of the dangerous conditions, the Weather Service recommends no travel in those areas unless absolutely necessary. It says motorists who do need to travel should pack winter survival kits with flashlights, food, water and blankets.

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