Travel treacherous as snowstorm hits Portland metro

Dozens and dozens of crashes were reported from Hillsboro to Hood River

Cars were stuck on local freeways well into the evening during Wednesday's snowstorm, December 14, 2016. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As predicted, a winter storm hit southern parts of Oregon early Wednesday and rolled north and east, making travel around the state an increasingly difficult proposition.

Commuters in the Portland metro area experienced lengthy delays both in their own cars and on public transit. Drive times were so long, many people abandoned their cars for the night.

Dozens and dozens of crashes were reported from Hillsboro to Hood River, and traffic came to a standstill all around the metro as commuters tried to get home.

Some roads and highways were jammed until 11 p.m.

TriMet officials warned riders to be prepared for delays — buses were chained and couldn’t travel any faster than 25 mph. MAX trains and the Portland Streetcar were traveling slower than usual, as well.

One KOIN 6 News viewer said she had been on Hwy 26 from Hillsboro to Portland for 5 hours and 20 minutes, and still hadn’t reached her destination at 7:30 p.m.

Hundreds of local students were stuck at school or on buses hours after classes ended for the day due to the storm and heavy traffic jams. Many buses still hadn’t made it to pick up students from their schools as of 8:30 p.m.

Central Oregon

Freezing rain and ice pellets began falling in Eugene around 5 a.m.

Snowfall in Bend reached 9 inches by mid-afternoon, and La Pine saw 21 inches well before nightfall. Sisters got 8 inches of snow and Redmond got 7 inches.

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Two avalanches were reported along Hwy 20 near Hoodoo Wednesday afternoon, Oregon State Police said, and traffic was blocked while crews cleared the snow. A third avalanche was reported at the Santiam Pass at 7:45 p.m.

No tow trucks could get to the scene of the avalanche from either side of the Santiam Pass Wednesday night, and authorities said anyone driving on Hwy 20 had a very high risk of being stranded.

Portland metro

The Portland metro area was under a Wind Advisory until 8 p.m.

Downtown Portland received about 1 1/2 inches of snow on Wednesday. Beaverton got 2 inches, Gresham saw 4 inches and Lake Oswego recorded 3 inches of snow.

Traffic throughout downtown and across Hwy 26 — and all major freeways in the area — was severely impacted throughout the evening commute.

KOIN 6 News crews saw several people abandon their cars on SW Barbur Boulevard.

School Closings and Delays

The Gorge

Last week’s snow and ice storm shut down I-84 between Troutdale and Hood River for about 36 hours. Hood River County Sheriff’s Office advised motorists on Tuesday to delay travel if at all possible, or at least be prepared for the weather.

By 2:15 p.m., the sheriff’s office said there were at least 5 crashes between Hood River and The Dalles. They again advised motorists to avoid traveling if possible.

Salem

Snow began falling in Salem around 10 a.m, but the area saw sleet and rain before snow came into the picture. Salem got 5 inches of snow as of 8 p.m.

Street crews said snow events like these happen in the Salem area every 3-4 years. They said they worked extra shifts to keep the streets open.

 

Snow totals as of 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 14, 2016. (KOIN)
Snow totals as of 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 14, 2016. (KOIN)
Snow totals as of 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 14, 2016. (KOIN)
Snow totals as of 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 14, 2016. (KOIN)

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