Portland metro shivers, warming shelters open

Wind advisory in place for metro area until 4 p.m.

A woman bundled up for the winter cold. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The metro area woke up to freezing temperatures Wednesday morning as wind chills made it feel like it was between 10 and 20 degrees.

Wind gusts in the Portland/Vancouver metro area were between 30 and 45 mph. A wind advisory expired at 4 p.m.

A number of schools closed for the day due to road conditions, and others had buses on snow routes.

School closures and delays

Timberline Lodge closed for the day due to high winds. Chairlifts at Mt. Hood Meadows were on “wind standby.” Highway 26 over Mt. Hood remains open but the Oregon Department of Transportation says “driving conditions have deteriorated and travelers should avoid the highway if possible.”

Shelters

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced the Portland Building will operate as an emergency shelter Wednesday night.

The extremely cold weather is the reason the mayor made this decision. The shelter will be open from 7 p.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday.

“The city and county are committed to not turning anybody away from shelter during the severe weather warning,” Wheeler said in a statement. “The system’s capacity needs to expand as the cold weather continues. The Portland Building is a good option to increase that capacity.”

  • Severe weather night and day warming centers are open in Gresham and Portland tonight.  Anyone seeking shelter should call 211info by dialing 211, toll free, from any phone. 211 will help identify the closest available shelter and transportation options. Complete list of Multnomah County Shelters

A spokesperson with ODOT said temperatures were about 16 degrees with blizzard-like conditions forming because of blowing snow, low visibility, downed trees and wind gusts of 50-60 mph.

Depoe Bay, January 4, 2017 (Vicki Finseth)
Depoe Bay, January 4, 2017 (Vicki Finseth)


Snow around the state 

While we may see a few snow flurries in the metro area, the snow remains south. Snow is accumulating from south Salem through Corvallis and Eugene. One to 3 inches is possible in the southern Willamette Valley. Along the coast, it’s been a snowy start from Lincoln City south through Coos Bay. Fun to see snow at the beach!

A Winter Weather Advisory expired at 4 p.m. between Albany and Salem.

In central Oregon, we’re looking at 7 to 9 inches accumulations so far in Redmond, Bend and Sisters. That snow is blowing around, reducing visibility on roads and creating dangerous conditions. A Winter Storm Warning continues until 4 p.m. in central and eastern Oregon.

Despite the snow, surf's up at the Oregon coast, January 4, 2017 (Kirk Wallace)
Despite the snow, surf’s up at the Oregon coast, January 4, 2017 (Kirk Wallace)

The system bringing snow and wind moves east and falls apart late today. The snow showers will decrease Wednesday afternoon. Wind dies down Wednesday night, too. Skies clear and temperatures drop. Thursday and Friday look very cold, but sunny.

Saturday afternoon and evening is our next chance of wintry weather. Right now it looks like freezing rain moves in the second half of the day. Icy conditions will likely make travel very difficult up and down I-5. Sunday starts icy, but temperatures moderate by Monday. Next week looks wet with highs in the 40s.

KOIN 6 News reporter Brent Weisberg contributed to this report.

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