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Plows, salt, sand and deicer: Portland road crews ready for snow

Shoppers hit grocery stores and teams from ODOT and PBOT started 12-hour shifts to be ready for whatever winter weather comes Monday morning

PORTLAND, Ore. — Road crews spent Sunday bracing for potential snow in Portland this week. 

The Oregon Department of Transportation said crews started working 12-hour shifts Sunday night and were prepared to lay down deicer and bring out plows if needed.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation's crews are also working 12-hour shifts, and they have salt on standby. Overnight Sunday, crews were keeping a close eye on the hills and higher elevations.

“We're going to be out in the West Hills, Mt. Scott, those high-elevation areas, we'll have deicer trucks, will also be out there with salt, and then of course if there is accumulation, we do have plows at the ready,” said John Brady with PBOT.

RELATED: What's the elevation where you live? Here's a list

Snow in the forecast was on everyone’s mind and in everyone’s social media feeds Sunday. A check of Twitter shows people tweeting about packed grocery stores, which as you may recall, led last year to the “Great Kale Shortage of 2019.” 

Liz Coyle sent KGW a photo of a grocery store that was once again running low on kale Sunday night.

Credit: Liz Coyne

All "Kalepocalypse" jokes aside, road crews are bracing for whatever Mother Nature throws our way this week.

“We've got crews all over the Portland area working 24/7 right now,” said Don Hamilton with the Oregon Department of Transportation. “We're using all of our tools as needed. This can include plows, certainly salt, deicer, and the sand that we have out on the road, but we've got all of our tools available as needed in the days ahead.”

Hamilton said that if you see ODOT equipment on the road, make sure to give it extra room.

“Don't pass plows or sanders on the right, pass them on the left, give them a wide berth,” Hamilton said. “The more cars that are on the road, the more difficult it is for us to get the roads cleared, so we have got to make sure our crews out there can get the job done.”

RELATED: Be prepared when severe weather hits! Download the KGW app

TriMet staff said they are also monitoring conditions and that, as usual, buses traveling in higher elevations will be equipped with chains. Riders are encouraged to check trimet.org/alerts before they head out. TriMet also has winter weather tips for riders at trimet.org/winterweather.

To do their part for Portland, Allstate Insurance sent KGW the following tips for using household items to keep your car winter-ready:

1. Get your vehicle out of the snow with kitty litter. Spreading kitty litter directly in front of the tires that are stuck (this will depend on whether your car is front- or rear-wheel drive) may help your tires grip and get you out of the snow.

2. Prevent windshield wipers from freezing with old socks. If you’re out running errands, putting socks over each windshield wiper blade can help keep them from freezing over and sticking to your windshield while you’re away from your car.

3. Cover side mirrors with plastic bags to prevent frost buildup. Keeping plastic grocery store or food storage bags in your glove compartment may help you keep your side mirrors from freezing.

4. De-ice your locks using hand sanitizer. The alcohol in the sanitizer is an ingredient known to help melt ice.”

More tips can be found here.

RELATED: A Beginner's Guide to Portland Snow