PORTLAND -- Snow fell overnight Monday and then the moisture froze on area roads, creating icy patches that cancelled many schools and kept commuters at home.
And a little more snow could be coming as temps remain below freezing, forecasters said.
Side roads were the worst but even highways and interstates had patches of black ice. The problems stretched from the Gorge and mountains to Portland and Salem where the city's seven snow plow crews were already working around the clock.
“Temperatures all over the place are in the 20s, and with light winds, the wind chill puts temperatures in the lower teens,” KGW Meteorologist Nick Allard said Tuesday morning.
Conditions weren't expected to change much throughout the day and Allard said some small bands of moisture were creating snow from Salem northwards towards Portland.
Residents were advised to stay home if they could. But experts said that drivers who must venture out on the roads should slow down and be aware of their surroundings. It's also a good idea to check condition maps and traffic alerts before heading out.
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The sliding and spinning started late Monday night. Highway 26 was especially slick in the westbound lanes just west of the Vista Ridge Tunnels, causing several cars to crash in fender benders just before 11 p.m. And on I-84 near Multnomah Falls, a trooper's car was struck by a car as the officer investigated another icy collision. No one was seriously injured.
Tuesday night, temperatures were expected to drop once again -- this time into the low to mid-teens. But then on Wednesday and on Thanksgiving, residents will finally get a break with warmer temperatures.
"We'll see a few more clouds with high temperatures in the mid-30s. We will also get above freezing and should stay dry," Allard said. "From there, Thanksgiving looks dry until late when some rain will push in and mainly fall as rain unless we have some cold air trapped in the Gorge."
Snow began falling Sunday
Snow started falling Sunday afternoon in the higher elevations of the foothills, from Longview south to the Willamette Valley.
On the valley floor, including in Portland, there was a mix of conditions - but mostly rain.
TriMet put chains on all its buses Sunday night as a precaution, but then took some of the chains off Monday morning for routes that were totally dry during the morning commute.
Bend residents may wake up Wednesday morning to minus five degrees, he said, and The Dalles might drop down to single digits.
Special weather statements were issued for the Portland Metro Area, Vancouver, Central Willamette Valley, Central and Northwest Oregon Coast Ranges, Northern Oregon Cascades and foothills, Upper Hood River Valley and Western Columbia River Gorge.
More: Portland elevation chart
KGW Meteorologists have forecast that this winter is shaping up as a strong La Nina weather pattern. La Nina patterns have traditionally been associated with above average precipitation and heavier snow accumulations. More: La Nina winter expected