Up to 15 inches possible in Portland snow storm

Rod Hill's noon Wednesday forecast

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Snow will continue until early Wednesday afternoon in the Portland area, adding 2 to five 5 inches to the foot that fell overnight, according to the National Weather Service.

Snow began sticking in Portland at around 5 p.m, and then fell at a rate of more than an inch an hour, with some areas getting 10 inches before midnight. 

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Freeways Wednesday morning were littered with abandoned cars and trucks. Oregon Department of Transportation plows had to go around them to try clear lanes, making for some difficult driving situations.

ODOT announced early Wednesday morning that chains were required for all vehicles on state roads, but then announced after 10 a.m. that studded tires would also work.

ODOT also announced that, after so many spinouts on Interstate 5, Interstate 205 is the best route into Portland or north into Washington.

All TriMet buses are chained and cannot travel faster than 25 mph. Riders should expect delays. Check the status of your line at trimet.org/alerts.

More than 30,000 people were without power Wednesday morning as power lines fell and trees that had withstood the last two big storms finally came down. Latest PGE outage numbers

Related: Thousands without power, trees crashing down around Portland

A Winter Storm Warning remains in effect until 1 p.m. Wednesday in Multnomah, Columbia, Washington and Clackamas counties.

Photos: Midweek snow storm hits Portland area

Following the snow, Thursday and Friday will be dry and sunny, but chilly with highs around freezing. The Weather Service said to expect this snow to stay around until the weekend.

Thursday night could see freezing fog in lower elevations of the Willamette Valley, with visibility down to a quarter-mile.

It All Started Tuesday night...

While Tuesday's early evening commute mostly went by without a hitch, traffic hit gridlock stage on many roads after 8 p.m.

Interstate 84 was closed in both directions at about 10 p.m. from Troutdale to Hood River. Check TripCheck for latest road updates

All drivers on state highways in Portland were required to use chains or traction tires after 10:30 p.m.

Southbound Interstate 5 was at a standstill. Cars were once again stuck on Highway 26, much like they were during a snow and ice storm last month.

A bus spun out and blocked southbound Interstate 405 near the Burnside overpass.

TriMet advised people to avoid travel if necessary as some bus lines have been stopped, others moved to snow routes, and some delayed. MAX trains were also delayed. They recommend checking your route before heading out. Click here for TriMet alerts

Many school districts, including Portland, Beaverton, North Clackamas, Vancouver and Lake Oswego announced they would be closed Wednesday. 

Click here for list of closures

At Portland International Airport, some flights were redirected from Portland to Seattle due to the snow. Runways were temporarily closed so plows could remove snow. Click here to see the latest on flights cancelations

The Portland Trail Blazers and Cleveland Cavaliers were both scheduled to fly into PDX Tuesday night for a Wednesday night matchup. Blazers players said if they couldn't land at PDX, they would be forced to land at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, bus down to Portland and be ready for Wednesday's 7:30 p.m. tip. The Cavs landed at PDX shortly after 1 a.m.

ODOT preparation

Following that December snow storm, the Oregon Department of Transportation said it would consider using salt on Portland area highways.

When it snowed last Saturday, ODOT used salt for the first time on Highway 26. Crews will use it again, if needed, but said Tuesday they still didn’t have access the salt, or a place to store it. It's unclear whether ODOT used salt Tuesday night.

“We’re working on storage. We are working on the truck dispersal of it, and we are working on what level of intensity to distribute the salt. We are not going to spread it everywhere willy-nilly, that’s a bad idea. But we are going to continue to use it, and will find our opportunities, very controlled, surgical and tactical,” said ODOT spokesman Don Hamilton.

KGW


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