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Snow, rain make travel treacherous in northern Oregon and Washington

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man in northwest Washington was stuck and killed by a snowplow and authorities urged people not to travel in some areas of Washington and Oregon as winter storms continue throughout the region.

Parts of several major highways in Oregon reopened Wednesday after snow from a blizzard earlier this week was compounded by fresh snowfall.

Interstate 84 closed for part of Wednesday east of Pendleton and snow drifts were still making road conditions difficult in Walla Walla County.

The Oregon Department of Transportation on Wednesday afternoon tweeted that tow operators were busy on I-84 in eastern Oregon, and showed a clip of semitrailer trucks stuck on the snow-covered interstate.

In northwest Washington, a man walking along a highway was killed when a snowplow hit him Tuesday.

The Bellingham Herald reports 47-year-old Aaron Cooper of Deming was walking along Highway 9 when a Whatcom County Public Works snowplow hit him, according to the Washington State Patrol.

“The pedestrian had their back to traffic, and the driver of the snowplow did not see him until it was too late,” Trooper Jacob Kennett said.

A wintry mix of precipitation including heavy rain was expected throughout the Puget Sound region Wednesday with possible snow accumulation around Bellingham.

Authorities urged people to delay trips over Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90 and over all mountain passes as more snow was expected into Thursday.

“We’re gearing up for a massive storm, which could dump a couple of feet of snow by Thursday!” The National Weather Service in Seattle tweeted about Cascade Mountain passes. “If you can delay your trip over the next 24 hours pls do. We’re going to see very challenging driving conditions with major delays.”

The National Weather Service also issued a winter storm warning predicting snowfall for much of central and eastern Washington including Yakima, Moses Lake, Pullman, Spokane and into Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene area.

The Oregon Department of Transportation said Wednesday that “travelers need to be prepared for anything that comes their way and be ready for lengthy delays" as conditions evolve.

The weather is expected to warm and bring more rain than snow from an atmospheric river to the region in the next few days and flooding could occur, especially in areas of southwestern Washington and northwest Oregon.