Cold snap ends; pockets of freezing rain in Gorge

Cold snap ends; pockets of freezing rain in Gorge

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by KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on December 13, 2013 at 6:27 AM

Updated Friday, Dec 13 at 8:40 AM

PORTLAND -- Temperatures rose above freezing overnight Thursday, largely ending a cold snap that shut down schools from Southwest Washington to the coast to the southern Willamette Valley.

Expect some morning fog and showers, said KGW meteorologist Nick Allard. Afternoon sunbreakd will bring the high to the mid-40s, he said.

Icy road conditions and freezing rain in Washington County played havoc with Thursday afternoon commutes as accidents sprung up around the region and traffic slowed to a crawl.

A National Weather Service advisory was in effect until 4:30 p.m. but icy conditions continued to cause problems well into the evening.

Washing County Sheriff spokesman Bob Ray said at 5 p.m. that traffic conditions had gone to “crap”.

On Forest Grove's Fern Hill Rd. a truck went over an embankment and crashes were reported in Aloha, Battle Ground Wash., Highway 224 near Carver Park in Clackamas County, in North Portland, on the Broadway Bridge and along Tualatin-Valley Highway near Southwest Millikan Way.

A crash involving five vehicles snarled traffic along Highway 99 south in McMinneville and another crash south of town closed the bridge at Bayou Drive.

Authorities closed NW Logie Trail Road Thursday afternoon due to icy conditions that have led to several accidents on the steep, winding road between Highway 30 and NW Skyline Boulevard. The road isn't scheduled to reopen until Monday morning. 

Meanwhile a Winter Weather Advisory was in effect for the Hood River Valley through 7 a.m. Friday for the possibility of freezing rain, arriving after 4 p.m. and spreading during the evening. The NWS warned the system could create icy roadways and walkways in the upper Hood River Valley and the central Columbia River Gorge. 

The day started with patches of dense fog in Portland and Vancouver that created some ice, though most roads were passable.

The most significant areas of frozen fog were in Wilsonville and into to the southern Willamette Valley. Wilsonville schools were delayed two hours.

Forecast  |  Temperature maps  |  Wind Chill

Portland schools opened on time Thursday but Corvallis again canceled classes. There is a stronger chance of freezing  rain in those areas, Allard said.

Complete list of school closures

Just in case of Portland-area ice in the afternoon, road crews were ready with de-icer, plows and sanders. 

"Ice is always the most dangerous thing that we can find on the roads," said Don Hamilton with the Oregon Department of Transportation. "There is never a safe way to be driving on the ice and the smart decision in most cases is to stay off icy roads, stick it out, wait until the ice is melted and wait until the roads are clear again."

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