Portland wakes up to winter wonderland

Drivers found themselves without traction Thursday afternoon in Beaverton as snow hit the region. Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. (Portland Tribune/Dan Brood)
Drivers found themselves without traction Thursday afternoon in Beaverton as snow hit the region. Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. (Portland Tribune/Dan Brood)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – After getting an unprecedented 3.5 inches of snow Thursday, Portland residents should brace themselves for even more.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning for the Portland metro area, including Vancouver, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Battle Ground and Camas. It begins at 2 p.m. Friday and runs through 10 p.m. Saturday.

Although conditions were fairly quiet in the morning, residents should expect snowfall to increase Friday afternoon and continue overnight and into Saturday morning. Anywhere from 2 to 4 inches could fall in the metro area. The central and southern Willamette Valley — which includes the cities of Albany, Corvallis and Eugene — will likely get hit even harder, with an estimated 3 to 6 inches of snowfall. Freezing rain is expected to fall throughout the region over the weekend before conditions improve Monday.

East winds will increase through the evening as well, causing blowing and drifting snow. Gusting winds between 35 and 45 miles per hour are expected in the Columbia River Gorge Friday night.

After letting out students early Thursday, most school districts throughout Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington had already preemptively canceled Friday classes, along with all area community colleges and universities.

The city of Portland shut down its offices Friday, as did Milwaukie. All except essential employees were asked to stay home.

Many major employers closed too. Nike closed its world headquarters in Beaverton. Daimler Trucks closed its manufacturing plant, although its corporate offices were to remain open. The Bonneville Power Administration closed its Portland and Vancouver facilities. Intel is open, although its fab construction projects were closed. The Oregon Zoo and Oregon Museum of Science and Industry were also closed.

Meals on Wheels People was also closing its 34 neighborhood din and canceling deliveries. The agency was calling its 3,000 home-bound seniors to make sure they were okay. Meals on Wheels said it provides two shelf-stable meals to all its seniors for circumstances like this.

The Oregon Department of Transportation advised residents to avoid driving unless absolutely necessary, and to use public transit whenever possible.

“We are not expecting to see road conditions improve today, in fact we can expect them to get worse, especially with the nest band of snow that’s going to hit us,” ODOT spokeswoman Kimberly Dinwiddie told KOIN Friday. “So we’re still encouraging people to not drive unless they absolutely have to.”

ODOT and Portland Bureau of Transportation crews were out in full force, plowing and deicing roads. This comes after dozens of crashes were reported Thursday, including two massive Interstate 5 pileups. The first occurred near Albany and a second near Ridgefield, Wash., that shut down the freeway for hours. ODOT crews towed cars that had been abandoned by frustrated drivers, while several stalled semi-trucks lined freeways and highways.

Those who do drive should try and keep to main roads and highway, ODOT advised. Make sure you have a full tank of gas and an emergency kit in your car, along with a cell phone charger and extra blankets.

TriMet reported Friday that all their buses were running on chains, although several lines had to be canceled due to conditions. MAX and WES trains were experiencing significant delays due to switch maintenance. Furthermore, since Thursday, ticket machines on the west side of the Willamette River were not accepting debit or credit cards, only cash.

Meanwhile, Portland International Airport reported that most of its flights were operating on schedule.

The snowstorm was welcome news to skiers and snowboarders looking to hit Mount Hood. Mt. Hood Meadows reported Friday morning it had received eight inches of new snow in the past day, bringing its base depth to 63 inches.

 

For the latest KOIN weather forecast click here. For the latest road condition information visit TripCheck.com or call 511 or 800-977-ODOT. Click here for public transportation alerts. For broken or frozen water pipes call the Water Bureau hotline at 503-824-4874. For public safety non-emergency assistance call 503) 823-3333. To report a power outage call Pacific Power at 1-877-508-5088 or Portland General Electric at 1-800-743-5002.

Send your weather pictures to ReportIt@Koin.com.

Faris Tanyos

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