Snow plow on Highway 26 outside the tunnel
Update: 2/9/2014 4 :00 PM
Portland — Freezing rain arrived Saturday evening blanketing a thin layer of ice on top of the heap of snow that the area had already received. The icy conditions made road conditions treacherous and caused the MAX train system to stop running for the second time in the systems history.
Beginning day four of the winter weather the city of Portland used the wireless alert system for first time to urge residents to stay indoors and avoid travel. The message was sent out around 8 AM.
As the day goes on the temperatures have risen above freezing and spot are starting to see the melt down begin.
Update: 2/8/2014 12:00 PM
PORTLAND — One of the worst winter storms in recent memory is expected to intensify. Four to eight inches of new snow throughout the day will likely change to freezing rain overnight.
Freezing rain also brings the potential for widespread power outages. It has a proclivity for coating snow and weighing down tree branches.
The Oregon Department of Transportation, meteorologists, and city officials all recommend everyone stay off the roads if it all possible.
Nearly all city offices are closed.
South of Portland conditions are actually worse. In Salem, chains have been required on all vehicles since Friday evening.
Sunday evening should bring a respite from the treacherous conditions, as rain is forecasted.
PORTLAND — City, county and state road crews have been working overtime to keep the freeways and main roads clear of snow as best they can.
The Oregon Department of Transportation has been plowing and sanding snow-packed freeways and highways in the Portland area. They’ll continue to work around the clock. Drivers are asked to delay their trips or find another way to get to their destinations.
Most schools were closed Friday along with government offices and some businesses. Find a full list of school closures, cancellations, early releases and delays here.
The weather didn’t have as much of an impact on the traffic as Thursday, when it was gridlock, but there were a fair share of problems. I-5 south of Portland between Eugene and Salem were problem spots all day. Public transit seemed to move better, but with a fair share of delays. About a dozen flights at Portland International Airport were canceled to cities in the Northwest or Bay Area.
Most drivers who abandoned their vehicles on the highway or intestate found them towed when they returned. Find out here where to recover your ride. Towing companies were swamped getting vehicles out of ditches and off roadways. ODOT says abandoning your car only creates a bigger mess and slows down the plows trying to clear the road. They say stay with it and call AAA or a tow truck.
As for the forecast, the second round is expected to bring anywhere from 3-7″ in addition to what’s already on the ground. More snow is expected to accumulate through the evening with a mix of sleet possibly developing on Saturday. Icy conditions still look possible for Sunday before it warms up and the precipitation changes over to rain.
The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for the Portland-Vancouver metro, Central Willamette Valley and the Columbia River Gorge through 10:00am Saturday. Forecasters warned of treacherous driving conditions including blizzards, up to 6″ of new snow and strong east winds.
The snow that first started falling on Thursday broke records. Coastal towns got a surprising 7-8″, and Corvallis saw 11″. It was the first time there’s been any measurable snowfall since 1995. The city’s all-time record for February is 20″ in 1893. Portland International Airport measured 3.8″, the most since nearly 7″ fell over the entire month back in 1993. If the depth reaches more than 8.3″ inches this weekend, it would be the snowiest since February of 1949 (13″).
The arctic air has set several temperature records as well. Wednesday’s high of 29 degrees and Thursday’s 23 were the coldest high temps on record for each date. The morning low of 20 degrees was also a record. The all-time record low temperature for February is -3 set in 1950, and the all-time coldest high temp for the month was 15 degrees back in 1989.
See a snapshot of the snow with pictures from our listeners and reporters.
A driver slipped in the snow down a steep hill towards a home in Washougal on Friday morning. The vehicle just barely missed the house on Northeast 6th Street, landing on its side in the driveway. The driver climbed out the roof with the help of firefighters.