The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for the Portland Metro area in effect from Tuesday afternoon through late Tuesday night. The City of Portland and its partners at ODOT and TriMet are prepared for snow beginning early Tuesday afternoon, changing to freezing rain Tuesday evening, and continuing past midnight. The public is advised to be prepared for significant amounts of snow, freezing rain, ice, or slush that may impact travel during Tuesday's evening commute and Wednesday's morning commute.
“Continue to monitor the latest forecasts and be prepared for tough driving, bicycling, and walking conditions late Tuesday through early Wednesday,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “Avoid driving on icy, snowy, or slushy streets and take transit if at all possible.”
“I urge Portlanders to be ready for tomorrow's weather, to have a plan that includes an alternate way home, an emergency kit and chains in your vehicle, a full tank of gas, proper tire maintenance, and transit schedules for your routes to and from work,” said Mayor Adams. “If you're driving in the hills or other chain zones Tuesday night, be ready to pull over and put chains on.”
If visibility and conditions are getting worse rapidly, the public is advised not to stop in a travel lane. Pull off the road into a safe parking area and wait for conditions to improve. If you become stuck in severe weather, do not abandon your vehicle. Stay with your vehicle for warmth and safety until help arrives. Any abandoned vehicle or vehicle creating a safety hazard is subject to towing. If your vehicle is towed, call Police Auto Records at 503-823-0044 to locate it.
During a snowfall, traction devices are usually required on Sam Jackson Road and West Burnside. Other locations like steep hills, bridges, tunnels, and overpasses tend to be slick in winter weather and warrant extra caution. Motorists are advised to use chains or traction tires if you choose to drive on these streets in snow and ice.
“Please have a backup plan and make alternate arrangements with family or friends if traveling becomes too dicey," said Carmen Merlo, Director of the Portland Office of Emergency Management. Merlo also suggests residents make sure they are prepared to drive on snow and ice packed roads. "Keep snow chains in your vehicle, have a full tank of gas, an emergency vehicle kit, and exercise patience as you head out Tuesday night or Wednesday morning," said Merlo.
The City recommends Portlanders use www.PublicAlerts.org as their source for winter storm updates. The site provides links to street closures, highway road conditions, transit schedules and service alerts, and other emergency information.
School districts are encouraged to post their closure information to PublicAlerts, but if you do not find the closure information you need there, check your school district's web site.
The Portland Plow Map and Chain Zones Map are available online at www.PublicAlerts.org or www.portlandonline.com/transportation/wintertravel.
Crews applied anti-icing chemical to arterial streets, bridges, overpasses, and steep hills over the weekend. If this winter storm forecast holds, they will prepare equipment for snow and ice operations on Tuesday, and additional crews will be called out Tuesday evening for around the clock coverage if necessary until the event is over. Neighborhood side streets are not plowed during a winter storm because the City's limited number of trucks and employees are fully utilized to keep priority routes open for buses, light rail, streetcar, and emergency vehicles.
The City is also preparing for several days of heavy rainfall and will be watchful of potential street flooding. Residents are advised to remove snow and ice from sidewalks, driveways, and catch basins as soon as possible after a storm to help lessen street flooding. To report a clogged catch basin or other hazard in the street, call Maintenance Operations at 503-823-1700. For public safety, City and utility crews will move hazards out of the way. If a traffic signal is malfunctioning, the intersection will function as a four-way stop.