Rains start to melt snow and ice after winter blast

Rains start to melt snow and ice after winter blast

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by KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on February 8, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 26 at 11:19 AM

PORTLAND – Temperatures around the Portland Metro Area rose above freezing Monday as scattered rain showers fell on ice and snow from the weekend winter blast.

"This big melt is really starting to happen," said KGW Meteorologist Nick Allard Monday afternoon.

Tuesday's forecast calls for strong rain and wind, with temps in the mid-40s, according to KGW Meteorologist Matt Zaffino.

Forecast  Radars Weather Cameras

Still, officials warned people to use caution as icy conditions persisted. 

"If the roads look wet, it may be ice. So be careful out there," said Don Hamilton with the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Traffic: 
Alert updates

Photos: Pileups, crashes, traffic around the region

Hamilton said Monday that it would take weeks for road crews to cleanup the over 7,000 yards of sand it laid down over the last four days.

More: ODOT: Storm cleanup could take weeks

Freezing rain in the gorge

A Freezing Rain Advisory for the central Columbia River Gorge and Upper Hood River Valley warned of possible freezing rain, sleet and snow through Monday night.

Chains were required for all big rigs headed east on I-84.

Monday's freezing rain follows four days of difficult weather conditions in the gorge, as well as throughout the Portland Metro Area.

Most area school districts in the metro area announced closures and delays as a precaution. Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said that all city offices would have delayed openings and the state office located in Portland was closed.

More: School Closures / Early Releases

Portland General Electric also worked to restore power to many customers Sunday after the storm knocked out electricity in several neighborhoods.

PGE Outages: List | Map

Icy roads on Sunday

On Sunday morning, the city used the federal Emergency Wireless Alert system to put the word out to people on their mobile devices to stay home and avoid icy roads.

The ice even forced TriMet to shut down MAX lines Saturday night. Then, they started back up on a limited schedule Sunday afternoon. 

TriMet Service Alerts

A slow warming trend on Sunday from the south working north developed, but temperatures in the metro area were still not warm enough to melt many frozen roadways.

In one of Oregon’s worst ice storms over the years, tens of thousands of residents lost power as lines were downed and transformers blew up across the metro area and central Willamette Valley.

Ice & snow on Saturday

On Saturday, city commissioners Nick Fish and Steve Novick were joined by TriMet’s Mary Fetsch in an afternoon press conference. They warned residents to stay home rather than try to drive in the dicey conditions.  Vancouver and Beaverton officials also urged their residents to stay inside and use caution when driving after freezing rain pounded the region.

Oregon State Police reported 600 weather-related crashes in the state since the first wave of snow moved in Thursday. Most of the injuries were minor, but one woman was killed Friday afternoon on Interstate 84 near Rooster Rock. She was a passenger when the driver lost control and smashed into a tree.

More: Snow totals around the region

Gas stations in Portland were reportedly running out of gas as semi-trucks were unable to make it through the snow.

Click for the latest real-time traffic maps

Many drivers on Portland-area highways and interstates abandoned their vehicles after they couldn't drive in Thursday's snowstorm. On Friday, they scrambled to recover their vehicles before the next wave of snow hit.

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