NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

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.

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One Comment

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

    # by Mike Barer :: February 7th, 2014 at 12:08 PM