PORTLAND, Ore. - An unusual late-season push of cold winter air into the Northwest brought snow to many locations around the region Friday, and a lowering snow level brought a dusting to valley locations as well.
Snow was reported in outlying areas around Portland at about 7 a.m. Friday, while upper elevations saw heavy flurries and light accumulations. By 8 a.m. snow was falling in many parts of Portland.
At the Portland International Airport, where official weather records are kept, the snow event was recorded as the latest seasonal snowfall ever recorded. The previous record was March 10, set in 1951.
Snow even blanketed Cannon Beach on the Oregon coast, as cold air pushed onshore.
KATU Meteorologist Rhonda Shelby said that the snow level will actually drop to 500 feet during the day Friday as colder air behind a front moving through the area begins to arrive.
The snow level is expected to remain low through Saturday. The National Weather Service has issued a Heavy Snow Warning for many Oregon counties, including parts of Multnomah County.
Early Friday morning, KATU News reporter Melanie Wingo was reporting from the intersection of Southwest Barnes Road and Skyline Boulevard but little was happening early on. However, by 7:30 a.m., heavy snow was falling and sticking to the road.
Reports from KATU viewers showed snow falling in Hockinson in southwest Washington, along the Oregon coast and at most upper elevation locations. Light accumulations were expected.
Traffic cameras used by KATU showed snow falling in many areas, including the upper levels of Highway 26 in the West Hills. In some areas, communities put some school buses on snow routes.
Snow on roadways caused Highway 18 to close near Grand Ronde following a semi crash and generally treacherous conditions. Trees laden with snow fell across Highway 101 north of Lincoln City, closing that major coastal route. Crews were working across the region to clear roads and help drivers.
Highway 18 was reopened at about 11:30 a.m.
Heavier snow accumulations are expected in the mountains, including along mountain passes, where up to a foot of snow could fall. Travel restrictions are in effect and the both Oregon and Washington transportation departments have postponed the date to remove studded tires until April 5.
While snow is not expected to stick at most valley locations, areas located above 500 feet could see up to 3 inches pile up.
The early spring weather-maker is expected to keep cold air in the region until Sunday, at which point temperatures will warm up and drying is expected.