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Huge snowstorm hits greater Portland and the Willamette Valley, causing massive backups

It’s a mess out there:

City officials have a simple message to Portland metro area residents in the midst of one of the biggest snowstorms the region has seen in years: Don’t drive unless you absolutely have to.

Anywhere from 3 to 7 inches of snow could hit the metro area by Friday, followed by a round of freezing rain over the weekend.

At a Thursday afternoon news conference at City Hall, officials advised residents to stay off the roads.

“ODOT does not recommend driving in these road conditions,” Oregon Department of Transportation spokeswoman Kimberly Dinwiddie said.

Highways throughout the greater Portland area were jammed this afternoon as commuters struggled to get home from work. Multiple collisions were reported, including a major pileup on Interstate 5 that temporarily shut down the highway between Salem and Albany. Schools are sure to be closed tomorrow, and many businesses may close as well.

Corvallis and Albany each received eight inches of snow, according to a tally compiled by NOAA’s National Weather Service. Eugene got two and a half inches, while Portland got around one and a third inches. The state capital, Salem, received only a quarter of an inch. Cities on the coast received snow as well: Newport reported two inches, while Waldport reported four and Alsea six.

It will be a while before conditions return to normal, the NWS says.

SIGNIFICANT SNOW ACCUMULATIONS CONTINUE THROUGH THIS EVENING AND THEN EASE SOME TONIGHT. A SIMILAR SETUP WILL KEEP A DECENT CHANCE OF SNOW AT TIMES THROUGH THE WEEKEND… AS THE COLD AIR NEVER REALLY LEAVES THE AREA. FINALLY A MORE ORGANIZED SYSTEM WILL WARM US UP EARLY NEXT WEEK…BUT THERE MAY BE A MESSY TRANSITION ANYTIME BETWEEN SUNDAY AND TUESDAY. THE COLUMBIA GORGE WILL BE THE LAST TO WARM UP…BUT BY MIDWEEK IT APPEARS THE WHOLE FORECAST AREA WILL BE BACK TO MILDER TEMPERATURES WITH PERIODS OF RAIN…HEAVY AT TIMES…FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK.

For the time being, local and state authorities are advising Oregonians to stay at home. If that’s not possible, they suggest taking transit. If that’s not possible, leave extra time for the trip and travel prepared.

The Seattle area could see some snow this weekend, but the probability of snow flurries is only at thirty percent for Friday evening, Saturday morning, and Sunday. Any snow accumulation is not expected to be more than inch. This particular weather system ended up zoning in on the Willamette Valley and on southwest Washington, missing Puget Sound. We ought to keep that in mind before we complain about how cold it is. It could be a lot worse.

One Comment

  1. Posted February 7th, 2014 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    Wow! Just missed our state Democratic meetings by a week.