PORTLAND -- Snow fell overnight Monday and then the moisture froze on area roads, creating icy patches that canceled many schools and kept commuters at home.
Side roads were the worst but even highways and interstates had patches of black ice. The problems stretched from the Gorge and mountains to Portland and Salem where the city's seven snow plow crews were already working around the clock.
Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue says in the 16 hours between 8 p.m. Monday and noon Tuesday, firefighters firefighters responded to 16 motor vehicle crashes and 4 ice-related ground level falls.
"Temperatures all over the place are in the 20s, and with light winds, the wind chill puts temperatures in the lower teens,” KGW Meteorologist Nick Allard said.
Temperatures will remain below freezing.
Residents were advised to stay home if they could. But experts said that drivers who must venture out on the roads should slow down and be aware of their surroundings. It's also a good idea to check condition maps and traffic alerts before heading out.
The sliding and spinning started late Monday night. Highway 26 was especially slick in the westbound lanes just west of the Vista Ridge Tunnels, causing several cars to crash in fender benders just before 11 p.m. And on I-84 near Multnomah Falls, a trooper's car was hit as the officer investigated another crash. No one was seriously injured.
Tuesday night, temperatures were expected to drop once again -- this time into the low to mid-teens. But then on Wednesday and on Thanksgiving, residents will finally get a break with warmer temperatures.
"We'll see a few more clouds with high temperatures in the mid-30s. We will also get above freezing and should stay dry," Allard said. "From there, Thanksgiving looks dry until late when some rain will push in and mainly fall as rain unless we have some cold air trapped in the Gorge."