KATU Storm Alert blog

December 2006 storm




To keep abreast on the very latest information regarding the storm, KATU.com will provide constant updates as we receive them. So refresh often. And send us updates on storm damage in your area at event@katu.com.

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3:07 p.m.

From Shawn Chummar:

My dad owns the UPS Store on Capitol highway and he has been out of power all-day and part of yesterday. This is the busiest shipping day for him and he's almost dead in the water. Just wanted to pass it on to you.

2:55 p.m.

Here's the latest Pacific Power update:

As of 2 p.m., Pacific Power crews are continuing to respond to outages affecting more than 64,000 customers in Oregon and Washington. Severe winds knocked down power poles, brought down wire and caused trees to tangle with lines and transformers. High-voltage transmission lines have also been affected, leaving Pacific Power unable to restore power to local communities. Currently, 385 crew members are working the restoration effort, including crews from outside the area.

The extensive damage, inaccessible roads and continued transmission outages are hampering restoration efforts, and Pacific Power is encouraging customers to be prepared for outages lasting through the weekend.

Current areas and customers affected in Oregon:

Clatsop County: 15,713
Lincoln City: 11,477
Coos Bay: 5,313
Albany: 3,742
Lebanon: 2,054
Stayton: 4,213
Corvallis: 7,270
Dallas: 3,941
Junction City: 1,651
Cottage Grove: 74
Central Oregon: 84
Hood River: 1,160
Portland: 165
Grants Pass: 3,309
Roseburg: 1,142
Klamath Falls: 5

Customers affected in Washington:

Yakima: 1,701
Sunnyside: 1,317

Total customers affected: 64,343

Due to the extended nature of these outages, Pacific Power is encouraging customers to gather emergency supplies including a flashlight with extra batteries, battery-operated alarm clock, manual can opener, battery-powered radio, bottled water and non-perishable food items.

Pacific Power also asks people to stay off the roads and away from downed power lines. Report outages and downed lines immediately by calling 1-877-LITES OUT (1-877-548-3768).

2:52 p.m.

Here's the latest from Clark Public Utilities:

At 2:30 p.m., we estimate that about 2,700 customers are still without power. That's down from a high of about 35,000 Thursday night. The remaining outages are relatively small, and are in many parts of Clark County. Crews continue working to repair damage and restore service as quickly as possible. Customers with outages should call the utility's PowerLine at 360-992-8000 to report the outage and get updates on repair efforts.

2:34 p.m.

Here's a picture from C. Mitchell in Northeast Portland.

2:25 p.m.

Shannon Cheesman here.  I just got back a little bit ago from lunch and it was snowing outside, although I wasn't really sure if it was snow because it kind of looked like hail - soft hail.  My husband called from Gresham and said it was snowing hard out there.  And check out the pictures from Steve in Vancouver.

2:00 p.m.

An update on a major intersection closure in Gresham:

As of 1:30 p.m. Kane Road/257th between Division and Powell Valley Road in Gresham remains closed until further notice due to storm damage.

Last night's windstorm has blown transformers and downed power lines making this area hazardous to pass.

City crews have posted street closure signs starting at First and Kane. Only limited local access to the area is allowed at this time.

The City and PGE are still on site working on the problem however, the City can't predict when Kane/257 will be opened.

1:54 p.m.

Here's an amazing story from KATU viewer Tim Steinman in Vancouver, Washington.

My neighbor Dennis Sanderson says he is lucky to be alive and glad that he is.  I live in the same neighborhood as Dennis, with my wife, Sue Steinman.
Dennis told me that his family had 10 minutes before the tree fell [where he had] been sitting in his favorite room in his newly purchased home in Orchards.  They moved into the neighborhood this September. 

He and his wife heard a strange noise in their backyard, and his wife asked him to take a look.  He stepped out onto their deck and immediately saw the tree coming toward him. 

Dennis literally ran for his life, jumped a small fence in his backyard that was in his path, and just as the tree took out the room they had been relaxing in not ten minutes before he reached the end of the yard.  Dennis told me, "I really ran for my life, my wife was screaming; she thought I was dead.

1:25 p.m.

Portland Fire and Rescue kept busy Thursday night, but they report there were few injuries resulting from the weather.

"The windstorm last night significantly increased Portland Fire & Rescue's run volume. Preliminary numbers for the hours between 3:00pm and 12:00pm, firefighters responded to 132 calls directly related to the storm.  This number is likely to go up as reports are completed by fire crews. In comparison to last Thursday PF&R responded to 65 calls during the same time frame, last night, firefighters responded to 258 calls for assistance.

The calls ranged from, trees leaning into power lines to lines down and arcing and sparking, to trees falling on homes and businesses. No significant injuries are being blamed on the storm, although PF&R did respond to several calls that were the result of a people slipping and falling down."

1:00 p.m.

Here's the latest update on Multnomah County road closures and delays:

One lane of NW Cornelius Pass Road remains closed due to a mudslide about two miles south of US Highway 30.  Flaggers are directing traffic on the remaining lane.  Both lanes are expected to be open by 4 pm on Friday. 

NW Springville Road remains closed between NW Skyline Blvd. and NW Kaiser Rd. due to downed power lines.  PGE is responding. 

In Gresham, 257th Ave. (Kane Rd.) remains closed between Division and Powell Valley Road due to a downed power line. 

NE Mcnamee is closed between NW Skyline and US Hwy 30 due to downed trees and power lines. A utility crew is responding.  Motorists should use caution on all roads and be alert for debris and maintenance crews.

12:40: p.m.

We have received word that rescuers will try to launch a C-130 aircraft loaded with sophisticated location sensing technology at about 1 p.m. today to look for the three missing climbers on Mount Hood. We will update as more information becomes available.

12:02 p.m.

Here's the latest PGE update:

As of 11:45 a.m., approximately 158,000 PGE customers are without service scattered throughout PGE's service territory. Restoration effort are challenging because many roads are still impassable and difficult to access. PGE is utilizing a helicopter to assess damage on our transmission system to expedite restoration. PGE distribution officials are coordinating closely with county emergency offices and local municipalities.

Restoration efforts are expected to continue through the weekend, and perhaps into early next week. PGE has called in additional contract crews as well as crews from utilities in other states to assist with the effort. In addition to field crews, PGE has set up an additional call center this morning with more staff to take customer calls.

At the height of the storm, nearly 250,000 customers were affected, representing nearly a third of all customers. This makes this the largest major storm restoration effort since the Dec. 12 1995 storm affecting about 300,000 customers (about 46% of our customers at the time).

PGE asks customers to exercise extreme caution if they see a downed power line and to report it to PGE. PGE customers who have a new outage to report, or other urgent power related problem or emergency should call 503-464-7777 (Portland calling area); 503-399-7717 (Salem calling area); 1-800-544-1795 elsewhere.

Visit PortlandGeneral.com for outage preparedness tips and information.

11:58 a.m.

I had no idea you could die from carbon monoxide emitted from portable generators.  A family of six was taken to the hospital this morning in the Gresham area after running a generator in their garage overnight.  Dangerous stuff. Here's a press release that just came in with the warning:

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is concerned about deaths from carbon monoxide (CO) when people use portable generators. Last year 64 people died from CO poisoning from portable generators.

Our main point is to NEVER use portable generators indoors or in garages, basements, sheds… they should always be used outside well away from windows, doors, vents, or any other opening.

CO from a generator is deadly and can kill you in minutes.

Have a CO alarm.

Below are some links to additional info:

http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/portgen.pdf -- Portable Generator Safety Alert

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml07/07019.html -- Recent press release on Home Heating – CO and Fire dangers, including portable generators

-- Also, exercise caution when using candles. Use flashlights instead. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire. Keep burning candles away from drafts. Never leave burning candles unattended. Extinguish candles when you leave the room.

For more information, contact CPSC at (301) 504-7908 – www.cpsc.gov.

11:53 a.m.

Here's some important information for those who live in Cathlamet:

About 18 customers are without water from the Adventist Church up Fern Hill Road due to a water main broken by a fallen tree.  TOC crew isolated the break last night and attempted to notify customers.  The crew is clearing the tree as this is written.  Next, they will repair the main. At least some customers are expected to be directed to boil water until the main can be flushed, sanitized, and tested.  The water should be back on by tonight, damage extent permitting.  The town will notify Dispatch when this problem is resolved.  Elm Street in town is partially blocked by two downed trees between Columbia and the school. The crew will work on that after the water problem is resolved.  Warning signs are being posted. The Town Hall and CFD Fire Stations 1 and 2 have power, communications, and are open for business as usual.  Emergency vehicles and equipment are reported to be in readiness. Thankfully, no deaths or injuries have been reported to the town so far. At least one town employee's Skamokowa home suffered severe storm damage. Puget Island land line phone service is reported out.  Cell phone service is reported to be erratic. The reservoirs and the Water Treatment Plant are without power due to fallen trees.  PUD is aware and is working on it.  The plant tests serviceable and should self start when power is restored.  Staff will monitor that and assure proper re-start. Water volume and pressure appear to be adequate for fire flow and customer use for the estimated time needed to fix the main and re-start the water plant. The Waste Water Treatment Plant is reported serviceable and is operating normally.

11:51 a.m.

Here's the latest from Columbia County:

The Columbia County Road Department reports that as many as 26 roads were closed overnight as a result of downed trees and power lines that have blocked or partially blocked roads throughout the County. There has also been some water damage reported. Currently, there continues to be nineteen road reported as closed.

Dave Hill, Road Department Director, reports that County road crews and office staff have been working all night monitoring and tracking the situation and will be working to remove blockages as soon as possible. Road Department Crews are coordinating with local utilities to open roads as soon as possible, however, due to the number of roads that have been affected some delays will continue throughout the weekend.

Highway 47 between Mist and Clatskanie is closed, as well as Highway 202 in the Mist area. Highway 47 from Mist to Washington County is open, and the Scappoose-Vernonia Road is also open. Highway 30 in Columbia County is open.

Other roads affected by the storm and currently closed are:

Brooks Road Columbia - 1 lane open EJ Smith Road Reeder Road Apiary Road Elk Creek Road Larson Road Meserve Road Old Rainier Road Parkdale Road Pellham Road -- 1 Lane open Tide Creek Road Conyers Creek Delena Mayger Johnson Road Lindberg Road Lost Creek Olson Road Shepard Road

For more information about Columbia County Roads please call the County Road Department Office at 503-397-5090 or go to the County's website at http://www.co.columbia.or.us/Departments/Roads.

11:49 a.m.

Here's an update for all Qwest customers:

Qwest reported today that its network is holding up well against strong storms throughout Washington and Oregon.

“Qwest first priority is keeping customers connected,” said Judy Peppler, Qwest President for Oregon. “Our network team works year round to help ensure customers have service even during the most severe conditions, and our investment and forward planning is paying off.”

Qwest has no major telephone service outages in Washington or Oregon at this time. Many of Qwest’s facilities are operating on generator or battery back-up due to widespread power outages in both states. Qwest repair centers are experiencing increased call volumes from individual customers with isolated service issues. The Qwest network organization is working around the clock and increasing staff for the weekend to restore service for individual customers as quickly as possible.

11:47 a.m.

Here's the latest Pacific Power update:

Pacific Power: Pacific Power crews are continuing to respond to outages affecting the Oregon coast, the mid-Willamette Valley and the southern part of the state. As of 11 a.m., more than 76,000 Pacific Power customers in Oregon and Washington remain without power. Severe winds knocked down power poles, brought down wire and caused trees to tangle with lines and transformers. High-voltage transmission lines have also been affected, leaving Pacific Power unable to restore power to local communities.

Current areas and customers affected in Oregon:

Clatsop County: 17,904 Lincoln City: 11,477 Corvallis: 9,659 Albany: 3,635 Dallas: 5,001 Lebanon: 4,341 Stayton: 4,896 Roseburg: 1,822 Grants Pass: 3,614 Hood River: 4,046 Coos Bay: 5,366 Portland: 203

Customers affected in Washington:

Yakima: 1,924 Sunnyside: 1,118 Walla Walla: 1

Total customers affected: 76,931 / Total employees working in the field: 385

Crews from Pacific Power's sister company, Rocky Mountain Power, are also being brought into Astoria and Albany today to help with restoration efforts.

Pacific Power is encouraging customers to prepare for extended outages, possibly into Saturday. Customers should not be out on the roads if at all possible due to downed lines and debris. Also, people are asked to gather emergency supplies including a flashlight with extra batteries, battery-operated alarm clock, manual can opener, battery-powered radio, bottled water and non-perishable food items.

Conditions are still dangerous, so Pacific Power encourages people to stay off the roads and away from downed power lines. Report outages and downed lines immediately by calling 1-877-LITES OUT (1-877-548-3768).

11:42 a.m.

Check out these pictures sent in from Jeremy Burnett in Vancouver. 























11:37 a.m.

From the Forest Service:

Last night’s high winds blew over trees throughout the Willamette National Forest, closing roads and knocking out power to several Ranger Stations. Forest visitors are advised that they are likely to encounter downed trees and may not be able to reach their destination. Middle Fork District Ranger Chip Weber advised "we have limited crews out there, their efforts are focused on opening the main roads, and we do not anticipate that we will be able to open all of the closed roads for some time. Please be aware of the hazards associated with winter travel in the mountains and be prepared for a several night stay in the event of unforeseen circumstances." On the Middle Fork Ranger District, the Fall Creek road (Forest Road 18) is closed at Puma Creek campground (near milepost 28).

Please be advised the Crescent Ranger Station in Crescent is closed today due to a power outage caused by last night's storm. The Bend Fort Rock Ranger District in Bend, the Sisters Ranger District and Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests Headquarters offices are all open for business.

10:35 a.m.

The Red Cross has issued an advisory for elderly and at risk people who have lost power:

Seniors and at-risk families in our community are concerned today about power outages and loss of heat in their homes. The American Red Cross Oregon Trail Chapter offers the following tips and guidelines for staying warm until utilities are restored.

Dress warmly. Wear several layers of loose clothing. Trapped air insulates; many layers of thin clothing are better than single layers of thick clothing.

Wear a hat, even when sleeping. Most body heat is lost through the top of the head.

Use blankets for yourself and to insulate windows and doors.

Keep hands and feet warm. Mittens are better than gloves.

Stay indoors in one room on the sunny side of the house and close it off to keep heat in. Close off unused rooms.

Stay dry.

Consider staying with friends or relatives who have power in another area of town.

Use extreme caution if you plan to use a wood-burning fireplace to heat your home. Keep the flue open after burning wood or firelogs to minimize the risk of carbon monoxide.

MPORTANT: Never bring a barbeque or heating equipment (such as propane, kerosene or charcoal briquettes) inside your home; there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Be a good friend and neighbor; Check on elderly and others in the neighborhood. Call elderly relatives or those with infants in other parts of town to see if their power is out and if they need help.

If you need someone to check on you, set up a schedule with them to call you throughout the day.

Stay informed. Use a battery-operated radio tuned to a news station.
If the power is still out tonight

Don’t use candles. Use lightsticks or flashlights instead. Get these items and batteries out now, while it’s still daylight.

Keep your refrigerator closed as much as possible to avoid food spoilage

10:30 a.m.

A KATU viewer sent this photo of high-tension power lines down across some railroad tracks. They did not include a location. If you know where it is, send us an email.

10:20 a.m.

A person describing themselves as a 'concerned citizen' sent this email:

        "Hello, I live on NE 188th ave, Portland. We have called the police, PGE and now I am telling you. Between Burnside and Couch st. on 188th Ave. a three phase line runs down 188th Ave. 2 of the 3 wires that I think are the "hot" wires lay down across the sidewalk and road. One of my neighbors stayed up all night with his vehicle flashing [he has a warning light on top of a truck] lights and set across the road to stop traffic. and the other side he placed a ribbon [tape] across the road and blocked the road off. He also used many flares to help secure the road.

           This was all done last night, he stayed awake all night trying to keep people out of harms way. This morning kids are walking to school going right by the downed wires. I have seen bicyclers, pedestrians and as I said many children go by this area. This morning a city truck stopped, cursed and then turned around and went back the direction he came from. Meanwhile these lines stay down in the road and on the sidewalk just waiting for some child or person to fall into harms way..."

10:12 a.m.

The news conference has ended. Both searchers and family members say they are optimistic after finding the note outlining the gear the climbers took with them. They have been lost for over a week, and severe weather on Mount Hood has kept searchers from gaining access to the upper elevations where they are thought to be sheltering in snow caves. Hopefully, they can get up the mountain on Saturday. Conditions on the mountain are severe today, but should ease tomorrow, although the temperature has dropped.

If the climbers are in snow caves, they are largely protected from the elements and the coldest temperatures - snow is an efficient insulator even though it is frozen. If the climbers managed to stay dry and hydrated, possibly by melting snow to drink, their chances of survival at this point are good, even if their food reserves are gone.

10 a.m.

Officials with the search effort on Mount Hood are a holding news conference at this time- you can watch it live online via the link on the front page. A note left by the climbers at the Hood River ranger station indicates they left for the climb with food, fuel, ropes, shovels and other equipment needed to survive on the mountain.

Teams and aircraft are standing by in case the weather breaks. Searchers are hoping the weather will ease on Saturday. Blizzard conditions are forecast for the mountain for Friday.

9:41 a.m.

Road crews are making headway on getting roads open. Here's the latest update:

From the Forest Service:


From the Forest Service:


From the Forest Service:


From the Forest Service:


From the Forest Service:


From the Forest Service:


From the Forest Service:


From the Forest Service:


From the Forest Service:


From the Forest Service:


From the Forest Service:


From the Forest Service:


From the Forest Service:


From the Forest Service:


From the Forest Service:



30 between Portland and Astoria and U.S. 101 are open to traffic. 

In addition, Highway 22 north to Hebo is now open.   

Motorists should drive with caution on these roads since there may still be some debris and standing water on the roads.

9:30 a.m.

Here's an update on local roads that are closed:

The Region 1 highways listed below are closed due to falling trees and hazardous conditions:

U.S. 26 (Sunset Highway) – between Staley’s Junction (milepost 45) and milepost 15, three miles west of Alder Creek Road
Highway 6 – between Banks (milepost 49) and Donaldson Creek (milepost 4)
Highway 47 – near Conyers Creek Road (between mileposts 7.5 and 7.7)
Highway 202 – between Ford Creek Bridge (milepost 45.4) and Burn Road (mileposts 46)
Highway 219 – at Robinson Road (milepost 6.06). The southbound lane is closed and flaggers are controlling both directions of traffic

9:10 a.m.

KATU viewer Gretchen Crowson sent this photo and email:

I live in South Salem and part of our fence blew over! 


















9:05 a.m.

From KATU viewer Harry:

"We have lots of broken limbs here above Lebanon. But the news is that it is 36 degrees and snowing this morning.  It is 8:55 and it has turned to mixed rain and snow. Our elevation is 1000ft at our home. We had a two hour power outage last night."

9:00 a.m.

















Several Multnomah County roads remain closed this morning due to downed trees and power lines from last night’s wind storm:
- 257th (SE Kane) Road is closed between NE Division St. and SE Powell Valley Road in Gresham due to a downed power pole.  Utility crews are responding.
- NW Springville Road is closed between NW Skyline Blvd. and NW Kaiser Rd. in the West Hills due to downed power lines. PGE is responding.

- One lane of NW Cornelius Pass Road has been closed by a mudslide about two miles south of US Highway 30. Flaggers are directing traffic on the remaining lane. Both lanes are expected to be open by noon after crews remove debris.

While other county roads remain open, many of them are still littered with fallen tree limbs.  Drivers should use extreme caution and be alert for debris and maintenance workers on the roads.

8:45 a.m.

Here's a quick note from PDX officials:

"PDX had 30 arrival and departure cancellations overnight due to the winds.  As on 8:30am PDX is fully operational and busy in the ticket lobby with people rebooking flights."

8:40 a.m.

Here's the latest on road closures in Clackamas County:

The following Clackamas County roads are closed due to fallen trees and/or power lines.

Ridge Rd. near Fischers Mill
Central Point between Mile Post 6 and 7
Engstrom Rd. between Gordon Rd. and Grays Hill
Sawtell at Herman Rd.
Salo Rd. at 28761
Hult Rd. near Reynolds

Clackamas Co. officials are advising motorists to be careful on the roadways this morning especially at sight-impaired curves.

8:35 a.m.

Kathy Rosen of Beaverton sent us this email and photo:

In the spirit of seeing the cup as half full, we won't have to shop for a Christmast tree this year!


I have someone coming out at 9:30 to start cutting it up, and I'll be sticking the top of the tree into our Christmast tree stand.

















8:20 a.m.

Here's the latest power outage update from PGE:

"PGE crews continue to make progress restoring power. As of 8 a.m. this morning, approximately 165,000 customers are without service, down from 180,000 at 5 a.m., scattered throughout PGE's service territory. Restoration efforts are expected to continue through the weekend, and perhaps into early next week. PGE has called in additional contract crews as well as crews from utilities in other states to assist with the effort. In addition to field crews, PGE has set up an additional call center this morning with more staff to take customer calls.

PGE asks customers to exercise extreme caution if they see a downed power line and to report it to PGE. PGE customers who have a new outage to report, or other urgent power related problem or emergency should call 503-464-7777 (Portland calling area); 503-399-7717 (Salem calling area); 1-800-544-1795 elsewhere."

8:17 a.m.

Amtrak sent us this update on delays to train service.

Due to extreme weather in the Pacific Northwest resulting in downed trees and mudslides blocking the railroad, Amtrak's Cascades service between Seattle and Portland has been cancelled today (December 15).
Amtrak is contacting affected passengers to alert them of the cancellations.
Alternate motorcoach transportation will be provided for some cancelled trains. Passengers should contact Amtrak for information on the status of specific trains.
Amtrak is in communication with BNSF, which owns the tracks in the area, to resume normal service as soon as possible. Additional updates will be provided as more information becomes available.
Passengers may call 800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak.com for additional information and train status updates.

8:15 a.m.

A KATU viewer just sent us this email:

















I just came to work in Portland from Beaverton .  You might want to add a road closure that is creating a problem:  SW Capitol EB is closed at SW Terwilliger.  Traffic either has to divert up the hill on Terwilliger past OHSU and then downtown, or down the hill to Barbur.  A ½ hour ago, the line down the hill on Terwilliger was very very long.  The light at SW Capitol/Terwilliger is also out.  Power was still out there for the houses on the south side of the street as of ½ hr ago.

















7:53 a.m.

Is the power on at your home, or are you using your laptop? Here's the latest outage tally from Pacific Power:

Clatsop County: 18,368
Lincoln City: 11,477
Corvallis: 4,994
Albany: 3,198
Dallas: 3,725
Lebanon: 4,128
Stayton: 4,683
Roseburg: 1,802
Grants Pass: 6,424
Hood River: 3,412
Coos Bay: 4,994
Portland: 306

Customers affected in Washington:

Yakima: 1,240
Sunnyside: 530
Walla Walla: 337

7:45 a.m.

There have been reports of snow flurries in the area, especially at higher elevations. KATU Weathercaster Julia Radlick says no snowstorm is on the way, and the flurries are a result of colder air coming in behind the big windstorm.

More flurries can be expected into the weekend, but any accumulation is unlikely. Radlick says there is just not enough moisture coming our way to make any snowfall strong enough to stick.

7:30 a.m.

No big changes, but as daylight arrives, work crews from local utilities are hoping to get a better idea of what they are up against.

Remember to use the links above to keep updated on school closures and delays.

A quick check of the ODOT cameras here at the KATU.com internet center shows traffic is moving pretty well on the major highways, but there are closures in outlying areas, including stretches of Highways 26, 6, 101 ,22 and 30.

Portland schools are two hours late, while Hillsboro and Beaverton districts are closed today.

6:40 a.m

Travis Demers with Beat The Traffic has updated his highway closure list. Current closures include:

Highway 26 near the coast, but Highway 26 near Sandy should open soon.

Highway 6 to the coast is closed near Banks due to storm debris.

Highway 47 in the northern coast range is closed in several places.

Highway 101 along the coast is closed in several places due to storm debris.

Highway 30 is closed near milepost 80, near Astoria

Highway 18 is closed from milepost 1 to milepost 20 due to storm debris.

Crews are at work in all locations, laboring to get the roads back open.

Traffic on Portland metro area roadways is beginning to stack up as people head in to work. Drive safely and be patient.

6:32 a.m.

Portland Public Schools have announced that they will open two hours late.

In the field, reporter Coleen Nelson reports almost no wind - "the calm after the storm" - near SW Schools Ferry Road and Teal Boulevard, where the power is out. Julia Radlick in the Storm Alert weather center says all wind warning have been rescinded, although blizzard warning remain for the Cascade mountain area.

Utility crews want to remind everyone not to touch a downed wire, no matter how harmless it may appear to be. If you are blocked in by a power line, do not call 911, call your power utility company and report the problem.

6:30 a.m.

We have just received a report that the Hillsboro School District schools will also be closed today.

6:25 a.m.

We have just received a report that Beaverton schools will be closed today. However, staff members are expected to report as usual.

615 a.m.

Most highways in the Portland area are free and clear for commuters, except SW Scholls Ferry road in Beaverton, which is closed in places as crews remove trees, but it should reopen soon.

In general, most passes over the Cascade mountains are closed due to blizzard conditions. Highway 26 out to the coast is closed in several places as crews remove downed trees and electrical wires.

Weathercaster Julia Radlick says cold air is arriving behind the windstorm, and the low tonight should be 32 degrees, with very light snow flurries possible but no accumulations expected.

High surf advisories are still in place along the coast and officials are warning everyone to stay off the beaches.

Be sure to use the links above to stay up to date on closures, weather conditions and travel advisories.

5:30 a.m.

Power is still out to thousands of people in the Portland metro area and many outlying areas. Downed trees have knocked down many power lines and also blocked highways. About 180,000 people are still without power. If you are waking up and finding you do not have power, do not call 911 to report it. Utility companies are working on all outages and ask you to be patient. If you have gas appliances, they should still work.

The powerful storm also hampered the search for the missing climbers, and blizzard conditions still exist in the north Cascades. Crews are hoping to resume the search for the three men later today.

An ODOT spokesman, Shawn Uhlman, says the agency is working with utility companies to clear trees and power lines from Highway 26 and Highway 6. Uhlman says the closure near Sandy should be back open soon, but the coastal closings will need the light of day to determine the extent of damage and how long the closure will last.

5:00 a.m.

Good morning. The big wind storm has passed, leaving behind a wake of power outages, downed trees, damaged homes and busy repair crews.

There are lots of highway closures, including Highway 26 near the coast and in the Mount Hood foothills, and Highway 6 near the coast.

We are streaming the newscast live this morning until 7 a.m.

11:25 p.m.

Well, it looks like the effects of this storm will be lingering for days as crews try to restore power to hundreds of thousands across the state and reopen major highways. Check KATU.com Friday for the latest updates. For now, I'm signing off.

- Eric Collins

10:59 p.m.

About 30 percent of PGE customers are now without power. That's 245,000 customers. Compare that to the 300,000 that lost power in the Dec. 12, 1995 "Big Blow" storm.

I wasn't living in Portland in 1995 so I don't remember it. Maybe the rest of you do.

10:39 p.m.

An update on outages for Pacific Power and Cowlitz County PUD customers:

Pacific Power - More than 105,000 Pacific Power customers in Oregon and Washington were without power. Officials said crews will work through the night but warned people to prepare for extended outages, possibly into Saturday.

Current areas and customers affected in Oregon:
Clatsop County: 22,917; Corvallis: 20,545; Lincoln City: 11,477; Roseburg: 4,357; Coos Bay: 6,710; Grants Pass: 8,388; Hood River: 1,079; Portland: 2,957; Stayton: 4,349; Lebanon: 3,841; Dallas: 6,690; Albany: 9,366; Junction City: 220

Customers affected in Washington:
Yakima: 1,526; Sunnyside: 58

To report an outage or a downed power line, please call 1-877-LITES OUT (1-877-548-3768).

Cowlitz County PUD:  As of 10:25 p.m. 1,900 Cowlitz PUD customers were without electricity. The areas affected were Cougar, Ariel, East Woodland and parts of Kalama. 

10:24 p.m.

A viewer from Hayden Island writes that Target appears to be the only thing open after the entire island lost power. The store is running on generators.

"There are quite a few locals in Target picking up candles, flashlights, batteries, etc. It's crazy! There is a stop sign down in
the parking lot, too!"

10:13 p.m.

STAY OFF THE ROADS! That's the message from Clark County officials. They say all emergency responders are working on calls and may not be able to protect people from all outdoor hazards.

10:07 p.m.

If you are a PGE customer without power - I don't have encouraging news to report. Here's the latest PGE press release:

"About 210,000 PGE customers are without power. The number climbed rapidly after 7:30 PM, as more strong winds arrived in the Willamette Valley. With about 25 percent of customers without power, PGE is calling in repair crews from other western utilities not affected by this storm. PGE has been at full strength, including all available contract crews since early this evening.

Due to the large amount of damage to the PGE distribution system, the utility anticipates power restoration efforts will continue through the weekend.

PGE's priorities in restoring power start with safety-related issues, such as downed lines and essential public service operations that don't have back-up power supplies. Those repairs are followed by the larger lines, so the most customers can be restored at once.

The final step is individual neighborhoods, followed individual homes. If you see a downed line, don't touch or even go near it. Call PGE, and if a public safety issue exists such as a blocked street or fire, also call 911.

PGE has called-in additional staff for its call center and asking customers for help in keeping the phone lines open for the most urgent calls. The call center is now inundated with incoming calls. PGE urges customers not to call PGE a second time unless it involves a downed power line or a power emergency.

PGE customers who have new outage to report, or other urgent power related problem or emergency should call (503) 464-7777 (Portland calling area); (503) 399-7717 (Salem calling area); (800)-544-1795 elsewhere.

10:01 p.m.

The storm appeared not to have missed Corvallis. A viewer recently wrote:

"We live in Corvallis. Almost all of Corvallis had lost power by 7pm. Some power has returned on, however there is some power still off. We have been continuing to go outside to watch the green/blue flashes of transformers exploding. This occurs about every 1/2 hour or so 2-4 flashes at a time. There are a lot of trees down in Corvallis and a lot of big trees down on Highway 20 from Corvallis to Albany and there is a gas leak which we witnessed just south of Indepence Road on Highway 20.  NW Natural is currently out there fixing the gas leak."

9:54 p.m.

ODOT gives us another update on highway closures. Some of these we've mentioned. Others are new:

Highway 126 West between Veneta and Mapleton: Trees down at multiple locations, closure likely to last until Friday morning. Highway 36 about two miles east of Mapleton in the Swisshome area: Trees down at multiple locations. Closed at least until Friday morning. Highway 34, 5 miles west of Alsea: Multiple trees down, closure likely to last until Friday morning at the earliest. US 20, east of Sweet Home: Dozens of trees down, along with some power lines, in an area starting about 4 miles east of Sweet Home and continuing for approximately 13 miles. Highway 229, three miles north of US 20: Trees down and blocking the highway. Closed until further notice. Highway 18 between US 101 at Otis Junction and Grande Ronde: Dozens of fallen trees between mile points 1 and 20. This highway will remain closed at least through Friday morning. Highway 22, 5 miles west of Valley Junction: Multiple trees down, highway closed until further notice.

9:46 p.m.

An update from Cowlitz PUD: Roughly 3,000 customers were without electricity as of 9:40 p.m. The areas currently affected are Ryderwood, Cougar, Ariel, West Longview, and parts of Kalama. Since 3:30 p.m. today a total of 5,500 Cowlitz PUD customers have lost power.

9:41 p.m.

Here's a breakdown of peak wind gusts in the area:

9:33 p.m.

KATU Meteorologist Rod Hill has called it. The worst of the winds is over for the coast and the valley!

But the winds will continue overnight. So we're not out of the woods yet. 

9:26 p.m.

Some rough times for our neighbors to the north. The Associated Press is reporting that falling trees killed two motorists and badly injured a third in eastern Pierce County, Washington - east of Tacoma.

Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer tells KOMO Radio that one accident occurred about 5 p.m. on the Mountain Highway near Roy when a man swerved to avoid a blown-down tree but hit another and was killed.

The other occurred on Harts Lake Valley Road when a car stopped for fallen trees and was hit by another tree coming down. A woman in the car was killed and a man in the car was taken to Madigan Army Medical Center in critical condition.

9:20 p.m.

Here's the latest windstorm timeline from KATU Meteorologist Rod Hill. Looks like the worst should pass soon in the valley.

9:14 p.m.

And the winner for biggest wind gust in the valley so far is ... Salem. According to KATU Meteorologist Rod Hill, the Salem area experienced a gust at a whopping 68 mph!

Here's a breakdown of top wind gusts elsewhere.

9:08 p.m.

The number of those without power continues to climb.

According to PGE, as of 8:50 p.m., 190,000 were without power. PGE is considering calling in additional repair crews, possibly from out of state if necessary.

PGE officials said they are getting inundated with calls at its call center. They urge customers not to call PGE a second time unless it involves a downed power line or power emergency.

8:50 p.m.

OK, so here's an updated rundown of road closures:

US 20 east of Sweet Home Cornelius Pass Road three miles west of Highway 30 Highway 6 from Banks to near Tillamook US 26 (Mt. Hood Highway) east of Sandy. US 26 (heading to the coast) near Timber Junction Highway 18 between Grand Ronde and Highway 101 State Route 4 is closed between Cathlamet and Coal Creek in Washington.

Also, you should expect delays on Highway 30 near Linnton after a mudslide, though traffic is moving through.

On a positive note, southbound Interstate 5 in Lewis County is reopened at exit 68 - which is where you can get on US 12 East.

8:37 p.m.

Bad news in Clackamas County. Officials report the Clackamas River is above flood stage at Estacada at 21.8 feet and is still rising.

The river is expected to crest at 23 feet around 4 a.m. Friday.

A flood warning is in effect for the Clackamas River at Oregon City above Willamette Falls, where levels are holding at 35.5 feet and are expected to crest at 39.35 feet by 4 a.m. Friday.

8:28 p.m.

For those of you not watching ABC's "Ugly Betty," you missed a quick update during a commercial break by KATU Meteorologist Rod Hill. He said the worst of the winds should be over by 9:30 p.m. in the valley.

Hill also reported wind gusts at 53 mph at Portland International Airport, with sustained winds in the 40s.

8:20 p.m.

Just trying to catch up on the latest road closures.

Highway 6 is now closed from Banks to near Tillamook due to falling trees and hazardous conditions. There is no detour route currently established. In other words, if you are planning to take that route, wait until tomorrow.

Also, a mud slide has closed parts of Highway 30 near Linnton. Eastbound traffic is being routed through the area using the westbound lanes. ODOT says to expect delays.

8:10 p.m.

Here's the latest news release from PGE:

"The number of customers without power in PGE's service territory is climbing rapidly again. At 7:50 pm, the total hit 115,000 -- up from 90,000 at the half hour.

Outages are now occuring in areas previous untouched by the winds in Yamhill County and Western Washington County, and around the entire PGE service territory (Portland Metro down through Salem and Turner).

PGE is "all hands on deck" mode, with 130 crews responding to storm-related outages at this hour - that's more than 400 repair people. They're backed by hundreds more in support services and the customer service call center. Crews will work throughout the night to restore power to customers as quickly as possible.

PGE is urging its customers, that if they have to drive tonight, drive with extreme caution. Our crews have reported instances of motorists driving under and over downed lines, risking injury, or their lives in the process.

One TV news crew, that did have to be out covering the outage, was trapped tonight when a power line fell on their car in Clark County.

They did the right thing -- calling 911 on their cell phone -- and staying in the car until help arrived. Never leave your car if its under a downed line unless it becomes absolutely necessary, such as a fire in the car. If you do have to a car in that situation, open the door and jump as far away from the vehicle as possible, landing with both feet on the ground at once. To have a foot on the ground and part of your body still touching the car is a risk of electrocution.

If you see a downed line of any type, don't touch it, don't even go near it. Remember that wires do not have to be directly touched to be dangerous. Electricity can flow through metal or water to cause serious injury.

PGE customers who have an outage should always call in to report it: (503) 464-7777 (Portland calling area); (503) 399-7717 (Salem calling area); (800) 544-1795 elsewhere.

7:59 p.m.

Hey folks, this is Eric. As I was driving in to the station tonight from southwest Portland, I took Barbur Boulevard into the city. And boy was I glad I wasn't trying to come up the hill on Barbur. Power was out at the big intersection of Barbur and Bertha, causing a traffic nightmare. The backup for those taking Barbur south stretched almost all the way down the hill. If you were stuck in it, I apologize. It looked bad.

7:45 p.m.

Ok, I'm signing off for the night, but my co-worker, Eric Collins is going to take over, so you'll still get your updates.  He'll be keeping a close eye on all the traffic problems, downed trees and other weather-related issues.  Good night everyone!

7:33 p.m.

Here's the latest Pacific Power update:

Pacific Power is continuing to respond to outages caused by severe weather throughout its Oregon service territory. Currently, more than 84,000 customers are without service along the coast, in the mid-Willamette Valley and in the southern part of the state.

Current areas and customers affected:

Clatsop County: 22,917; Corvallis: 13,567; Lincoln City: 11,477; Roseburg: 8,081; Coos Bay: 7,787; Grants Pass: 5,942; Portland: 5,371; Stayton: 4,167; Lebanon: 3,533; Dallas: 904; Medford: 205; Total: 84,043

7:26 p.m.

This sounds rather unpleasant...

A storm-related power outage at Clean Water Services' Durham Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility caused the overflow of rain diluted sewage into the Tualatin River Thursday evening between 5:01 and 5:48 p.m.  Some sewage may also have overflowed from nearby manholes. Area residents and pets are advised to avoid contact with flood water in lower Fanno Creek and the Tualatin River downstream of Tigard's Cook Park.  The facility was fully operational shortly after 6 p.m.
Four of Clean Water Services' 41 pump stations are currently operating on generators after losing power in the late afternoon.  No overflows have been reported from these facilities.
Clean Water Services' Rock Creek, Hillsboro and Forest Grove wastewater treatment facilities are providing full treatment of the rain-swollen flows.  Additional crews will be working through the night to monitor pump stations, manage high-flows at the treatment plants, and respond to emergencies. 
Self-serve sandbagging stations are located throughout Washington County.  Please call ahead to confirm hours of operation. The sand is for flooding prevention use only. The public should bring their own shovels to fill sandbags.

City of Beaverton 9600 SW Allen Boulevard (503) 526-2220 City of Cornelius 1300 South Kodiak Circle (503) 357-3011 City of Tigard, 8777 SW Burnham Rd. across from Tigard Water District office (503) 639-4171 Clean Water Services Field Operations 2025 SW Merlo Court, Beaverton (503) 547-8100 City of Hillsboro NE 28th at Sports Complex (503) 615-6509 City of Tualatin 10699 SW Herman (503) 692-2000 City of Forest Grove Fire & Rescue 1919 Ash St. (503) 992-3240 Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue 3608 SW 209th Ave, Aloha (503) 649-8577

Clean Water Services is the sanitary sewer and surface water management utility for nearly 500,000 customers in urban Washington County and small portions of Multnomah County, Clackamas County, Lake Oswego, and Portland. Clean Water Services operates four wastewater treatment plants, constructs and maintains flood management and water quality projects and manages flow in the Tualatin River to improve water quality and protect fish habitat. Although Clean Water Services maintains a close working relationship with Washington County government, it is a separately managed and financed public utility.

7:23 p.m.

Highway 20 east of Sweet Home is closed in several locations due to downed trees.  The highway is closed in both directions at milepoint 33 at Quartsville Road. U.S. 26 (Mt. Hood Highway) is now closed due to falling trees and very hazardous conditions. The highway is closed just east of Sandy at milepost 26.5 on the west end and at Sleepy Hollow Drive, milepost 36 on the east end. The full closure will remain in place until further notice.

7:14 p.m.

These are a few pictures from my cell phone. 

7:05 p.m.

According to a KATU viewer, it's very windy and warm in the Hockinson area and they have no power.

7:03 p.m.    A KATU viewer sent in this link, saying "Here's my weather station in Corvallis" -  Check it out...






















7:01 p.m.

Here's the latest update from PGE.  There are a LOT of people out there without power.

As of 6:45 p.m. Portland General Electric has approximately 69,000 customers without service throughout our five-county service territory. Outages are a result of wind-related occurrences.

High winds rapidly came up shortly after five p.m. and are expected to continue through the early hours of the morning. PGE has 130 crews responding to storm-related outages at this hour. Crews will work throughout the night to restore power to customers as quickly as possible.

Wind conditions are complicated by the fact that heavy rains today and throughout the past few weeks have left soil in the region heavily saturated, which could result in many downed trees. While PGE has a nationally-recognized tree-trimming program, wind storms present special challenges. Douglas firs can grow up to 150 feet tall in parts of the Metro area. So even when trees are 100 feet or more away, they can still take down a power line resulting in outages if they are uprooted.

Remember that in a wind storm, downed power lines are more common and can be incredibly dangerous. If a customer sees a downed line, assume it is live and don't touch it. Remember that wires do not have to be directly touched to be dangerous. Electricity can flow through metal or water to cause serious injury.

If a wire falls on your car, stay inside your car. You are safe as long as you remain inside. If you attempt to get out and one foot touches the ground and the other is in the electrified car, you complete the circuit to ground. You can be electrocuted.

PGE customers who have an outage should always call in to report it: 503-464-7777 (Portland calling area); 503-399-7717 (Salem calling area); 1-800-544-1795 elsewhere.

6:58 p.m.

A mudslide has closed all lanes of Cornelius Pass Road near Highway 30. 

6:42 p.m.

There are trees and debris littering various roadways, so you'll want to be careful if you have to drive tonight. ODOT incident reports.  Here are some of the big highway closures:

Highway 6 - All westbound lanes closed at MP 47 Highway 26 - Closed from MP 26.5 to MP 36 due to many trees down on the road. No ETA to open. Highway 18 - Closed between Grand Ronde and Highway 101. Detour is Highway 22 Highway 26 near Timber Junction towards the coast

Also, Rhonda is advising motorists to avoid traveling over the Cascades tonight because of blizzard conditions.  Her advice is to wait until tomorrow morning.

6:32 p.m.

More from KATU viewers:

Hi Rhonda.  I haven't done this before so it took a liitle time.  However, Dexter my Boston were on the deck swinging and watching the rain and wind.  And in the distance toward Camas I thought I saw a LIGHTNING flash.  then 2 minutes later One very big struck.  I didn't hear any thunder,,Winter!!!  anyway, I live in Cascade Park on Olympia Dr. and facing east and saw the lightning stirck. - Marie Pilot At our beach house in Waldport, it is 6:20 and the winds are really picking up.  We left a Webber BBQ on the deck, it just headed North!   We are seeing lightning outside of Estacada. Strong wind gusts (I dont' know how strong) but despite some flashes, we still have power. Have a good, but busy, night! - Elizabeth Davidson It looks like in the hour the winds have blown out the Astoria airport wind gauge. It is no longer reporting windspeed, rain, thunderstorm, or preciptation type. Only barometric pressure. Here's the last report it gave: south wind at 36 mph, gusts to 67. Now it's reporting that the machine is broken. METAR KAST 150155Z AUTO A2920 AO2 SLP889 PWINO FZRANO TSNO PNO CHINO RWY 08. All the NO's mean Not Operating. - Brian

Newberg: our largest oak tree is now flat across our yard and driveway.  Everyone is safe but the van is totaled (crushed to the seats) and the utilities are torn out of the house.  We live near GFU in the middle of town.  Tonight, though, we’ll be in a hotel - Brother Bruce  :)

5:53 p.m.

Some notes from KATU viewers:

Its windy and I have no power. Yay for cell phone internet service! Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile The newscasters need to remind people to leave their porch light on so if they should lose power the power company will be able to tell who has power again. - Marcia Natale

5:52 p.m.

A tree is down on Highway 212 at Lani Lane.  Eastbound is closed and part of westbound.

5:45 p.m.

This happens every time - people call 911 during weather events for things that are not emergencies.  Here's a note from Clark Regional Emergency Servcies reminding people to refrain from calling 911 unless it is truly an emergency.

The Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency 9-1-1 dispatch center in Clark County is being inundated with non-emergency calls. Please only use 9-1-1 for true life threatening emergencies. It is not appropriate to use 9-1-1 to report power outages. For Clark County customers report power outages directly to Clark Public Utilities at 360-992-8000. Fallen trees on private property are not an emergency unless a person is trapped or injured. For trees down across roadways in unincorporated Clark County, where much of the wind damage is occuring, report to Clark County Public Works at 360-397-2446.

5:44 p.m.

Here's a photo sent in by a KATU viewer:

5:39 p.m.

The Coast Guard has closed river bars along the coast.   Here's the press release:

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Captain of the Port of Portland and the Captain of the Port of Seattle have issued that the following river bar entrances be closed due to hazardous conditions:


Weather conditions have caused many Coast Guard stations to close down, and the bars will remain closed until Search and Rescue capabilities are restored.

Any requests to transit the bars prior to reopening must be approved by the Captain of the Port of Portland or Captian of the Port of Seattle until further notice. Mariners may contact the Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16 for further information or to request crossing.

5:34 p.m.

I just updated the video clip for this blog with the latest forecast from Rhonda. 

5:29 p.m.

Here are some more reports from KATU viewers:

We live in Vancouver and are in the flight path of planes to PDX when the wind is like this tonight. We just watched a 737 on its final approach then suddenly it had to pull up. It is VERY scary and loud. they are so low. The kids got a kick out of watching the trees bending over here at the "Center of Active Learning Preschool". We will be open Friday even if the power goes out. Right now in our area around 65th ave and 119th st in Vancouver we have some tree debri on the road and have had the lights blink a few times. The customary gusty conditions of a typical Pacific Northwest storm seem to be the norm but nothing big yet. Chainsaw is fueled and ready to go just in case. -Bryan Fullerton, Center of Active Learning Tualatin, 4:55 pm.  A tree just fell onto an adjacent building in the Tri-County Industrial Park off of Avery and 105th ave. in Tualatin.  Shingles went flying everywhere!  We felt it in our building across the street and our buildings don't even connect!  Gusts are whipping up!  Hold on tight and Pray!  - Lisa M in Tualatin/Sherwood. Out here in ardenwald, it's not as bad yet. it's somewhat calm, somewhat of a mist and rain on and off, the wind occaisionally gusts, but nothing too rough yet. in the next hour i think the east side will begin to see much more than what the west side is reporting in finally. we're just getting the sketch before we get the expensive painting. - Brandon S., Milwaukie, OR On the headlands in Newport.  Reports that gusts are over 70.  Power line went down and was sparking about a block away.  Doubt that we will have power for much longer.  - Ian Clayman 

5:26 p.m.

Highway 26 closure...

U.S. 26 (Sunset Highway) is now closed due to falling trees and very hazardous conditions. The highway is closed at Staley’s Junction, milepost 45, on the east end and three miles west of Alder Creek Road at milepost 15 on the west end. The full closure will remain in place until further notice.

Drivers are urged to delay travel plans until tomorrow. If motorists must travel between the metro area and the Oregon Coast, they currently can take U.S. 30 or Highway 6. Access to these highways may be restricted later this evening depending on weather conditions. 

For the latest road condition information visit: www.tripcheck.com.  

5:24 p.m.

Did you know you can get KATU content on your cell phone or other mobile device?  It's great when you're out and about, but want to keep updated on stuff, especially during big news or weather events. Here's the URL | Get the details

5:23 p.m.

This just in about Highway 18:

GRAND RONDE – The Oregon Department of Transportation has closed a 20-mile stretch of Highway 18 after high winds toppled dozens of trees across the roadway Thursday afternoon. This section of the highway will remain closed until at least Friday morning.

ODOT closed the corridor, between Grande Ronde and U.S. 101 at Otis Junction, just after 3 p.m. Thursday. The large number of trees across the road, with heavier winds expected later tonight, forced the closure.

"It’s just too unsafe out there to take chances with people’s lives," said ODOT District 4 Manager Bob Doran. "The brunt of the storm hasn’t yet hit, so we are expecting more trees to come down later tonight."

An ODOT maintenance crew member, out monitoring conditions on Highway 18 before the closure, narrowly escaped injury when a falling tree struck and damaged his pickup truck.

A detour routing motorists to Oregon 22 between Valley Junction and Hebo is in effect.

5:19 p.m.

KATU viewer Daniel J. Heck sent in this e-mail about a tree that fell on a building.  Yikes!
We just had a tree fall on the side of our building.  Took out a brick wall surrounding the air conditioning cooling tower, as well as it appears it crushed the cooling tower.  5 minutes earlier and it would have crushed a car.  It is about 2 feet in diameter.  Loud boom! Our address is 12725 SW 66th Avenue, Portland, Oregon (The Executive Center) just off of I-5 south of Landmark Ford.  It was the south side of the building.
5:16 p.m.

I keep hearing reports of downed power lines on the scanners.  If you have to be out in your vehicle tonight, drive carefully.

5:12 p.m.

Trees down on Highway 26 at milepost 32 (5 miles east of Sandy).  All lanes are closed.

5:11 p.m.

Clark Public Utilities: About 1,000 customers are without power due to problems caused by high winds. The outages are scattered throughout central and northern Clark County. Meanwhile power has been restored to about 7000 customers in the Felida, Sara and Ridgefield areas where a tree damaged power lines. Customers without power can report their outage and receive updated information by calling the utility's PowerLine at 360-992-8000.

5:04 p.m.

I've loaded up some pictures in our photo gallery.  Usually, we get a lot of photos from viewers, but not this time around.  I grabbed some stills from our raw video. Check them out 

4:59 p.m.

My husband just called while driving Highway 26 at the top of Sylvan Hill.  He says there is no power and he even had to drive around a tree that had fallen.

4:33 p.m.

I apologize if you were trying to watch the live stream at the top of the 4:30 and couldn't get it to come up.  The computer that runs our live stream was turned off (I forgot to turn it back on after we switched to generator power).  It's up and running now, so if you refresh your page, it should work.

4:21 p.m.

More reports from KATU viewers:

The wind is really starting to pick up near 217 and I5.  I just saw 2 trees fall over the road in front of my office.  Power is going in and out. - Brett Williams Partner at home called to say Garden Home Rd closed due to trees down and power outage in the Multnomah Villaga / Garden Home area. - Eddy Lyons As of 4pm Clark County PUD is reporting large, scattered outages in Hazel Dell, Felida, Ridgefield and La Center. - Jon Pritchard We live near the Persimmon Country Club at about 800 feet elevation. The wind has really picked up in the last hour. The large firs are really bending with the wind. The mourning doves in the yard, were picked up by the wind. They fluttered their wings to try and get back on the ground. I wouldn't be surprised if we lose our electricity with this storm. - russetred My brother texted me from Newport around noon to say winds were already 60mph. My husband called from home (Mill City) to say power went out there at 1PM. I am at work in Salem and it is blowing hard here.  Should be an interesting commute home. - Sandra.

My husband reports signals out at the Sylvan interchange off Hwy 26; expect it to take longer to travel through that area than normal. - S.M.--Portland

4:19 p.m.

This press release just came in:

Flooding to force second Klineline Bridge closure

Vancouver, WA -- Klineline Bridge on Highway 99 across Salmon Creek in Clark County Washington will be closed as of 7 p.m. tonight December 14. Clark County government announced the closure this afternoon amid concern that flood waters could cause the bridge to fail.

This is the second closure of the bridge this winter. The county closed the bridge November 6 as rising flood waters threatened the span. It did not reopen until November 14.

Motorists should use Interstate 5 as the alternate route between NE 99th Street and NE 134th Street. Highway 99 will be open to local traffic only on either side of the bridge.

“Public safety is the most important issue,” says Clark County Public Works Director Pete Capell. “As with the past closure, if we cannot be certain that the bridge is safe we will close until inspection confirms it’s okay to reopen.”

Clark County completed emergency repairs in late October to fill in eroded areas beneath two bridge piers. Although this work may prolong the life of the bridge under normal creek conditions, engineers are concerned about how the repairs will stand up under assault from flood waters. An inspection prior to reopening on November 14 found that flood waters had caused some erosion in the repair area, but that the bridge was still adequately supported for renewed use.

Once again, the bridge will remain closed until heavy rains cease and the creek level drops to allow inspection.

4:18 p.m.

Cowlitz County PUD: As of 4:10 p.m. - Cowlitz PUD crews are responding to power outages in Kelso and Kalama. Currently 2,300 customers are without electricity.

Pacific Power is responding to outages caused by a major storm throughout its Oregon service territory. Currently the company is experiencing 30,000 customers without service.

A note from Pacific Power:

Sustained winds along the coast are currently gusting to 70 mph. Because the storm was anticipated, Pacific Power moved line crews and tree trimming crews from inland to coastal areas anticipating that the storm will be severe.

Conditions are likely to worsen throughout the evening and into Friday morning for coastal areas and potentially into the valley. The ground is saturated from previous storms and trees have begun to lean into power lines. We believe that some outages could be of extended length and we encourage customers to prepare by having available warm layers of clothing, flashlights and battery operated radios, a hand operated can opener and supplies of non-perishable foods and bottled water .

If customers find downed power lines, we ask that they stay well away and to call the power company. Not all downed lines are energized, but it is impossible to tell if they are. Call Pacific Power's "LitesOut" line toll free at 1-877-548-3768.

4:17 p.m.

Highway 26 - All lanes closed WB at milepost 22 and EB at milepost 15 due to debris.

4:07 p.m.

I just updated the video clip attached to this blog, so be sure to watch it if you want the latest forecast from Rod Hill.  Also, we just recently started streaming some of our newscasts live on the web.  If you come back at 4:30 p.m., you can watch tonight's news right on your computer.  We'll have all the latest on the weather, plus what's happening with the other big story of the day - the missing climbers on Mount Hood.

4:04 p.m.

Cowlitz County PUD: As of 3:50 p.m. - Cowlitz PUD crews are responding to power outages in Kelso and Kalama. Currently 1,200 customers are without electricity.

4:00 p.m.

From KATU viewer Alice Sullivan: Silverton Oregon  56.8 degrees... Very calm and somewhat warm for this time of year. We have large trees behind us, the house was hit by one in 1995.. Can we expect the same this time around. We will leave the house tonight just in case.

3:54 p.m.

A traffic alert from the Beaverton Police Department:

SW Scholl’s Ferry Road has been closed at SW Teal Blvd. in Beaverton.  Motorists are urged to use SW Barrows Rd. as an alternate east/west bypass in that area.

Several large trees have fallen across the roadway and SW Scholls Ferry Road is no longer usable.  As of 1531 hrs this afternoon, it is projected that SW Scholls Ferry Road will remain closed until some time on Friday, December 15th. 

3:49 p.m.

E-mails from KATU viewers are starting to trickle in.  Here are some of the reports out there:

Hi, I'm reading your Storm Alert blog and I see you don't mention a power outage Vancouver yet. A co-worker of mine who works early hours says the power is out in his area of the city (sorry, don't know what part that is exactly). - Petrea Mitchell It's rainy and warm in Portland, OR - Catherine Anderson Tigard/Tualatin - Lights have been flickering the past 10 minutes., but no loss of power. - Brian MacDonald Bend is very windy, intermittent rain. 50 mph gusts. Has been since this morning. Reports of 2500 without power. - Mike Grigsby It's rainy and warm in Portland, OR - Catherine Anderson

3:48 p.m.

From Steve Pierce in Vancouver:

Clark County / Vancouver police scanner chatter is buzzing of power lines and trees coming down in the past hour at several locations.

3:32 p.m.

Our list of school closings is growing. Click here for the latest update  

3:27 p.m.

It looks like some of the floating bridges in Washington are going to be closed due to the threat of high winds.  Seahawks fans may have a tough time getting home from tonight's game.  Here's the wire story:

SEATTLE (AP) - The Transportation Department says if high winds hit Washington tonight as expected, the Hood Canal and Evergreen Point floating bridges will close to car traffic. Ferry schedules would be disrupted.

Officials are concerned about traffic leaving tonight's Seahawks game in Seattle. Officials hope most of the traffic will cross the Highway 520 bridge by 11 p.m.

Rules call for the Hood Canal bridge to close after 40 mile per hour winds for 15 minutes.

The Evergreen Point Floating Bridge is closed after 50 mile per hour winds for 15 minutes.

The Transportation Department will also be monitoring the Tacoma Narrows Bridge for high winds.

Ferry runs will likely be canceled depending on wind and water conditions.
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

3:21 p.m.

The engineers and computer folks are in the newsroom making sure all the TVs and computers are working ok after the big 3 p.m. switch to the generator.  We have around 30 TVs alone in this room - 3 of them are at my desk (I use one to watch KATU, one to watch CNN and another to capture video from TIVO, which is what we use to record the newscasts and get the video on the web.)

3:14 p.m.

Rhonda just gave another on-air update.  Not much has changed in the forecast.  It's quiet in the newsroom right now, but I expect in a couple of hours that will change.

2:59 p.m.

As a preemptive measure, the station just switched to generator power.  Everyone had to turn off their computers and the lights went out briefly when we made the switch.  We're all back up and running again.

2:36 p.m.

Rhonda just gave a weather report on air.  Here are some of the wind gusts reported so far:

83 mph - Lincoln City 69 mph - Astoria 54 mph - Newport 43 mph - North Bend 37 mph - Portland

2:35 p.m.

We're sending a photographer out to Beaverton to check out a report of a tree through a car windshield. 

2:25 p.m.

Here's a press release from ODOT regarding what their crews are doing and a warning for travelers:

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Oregon State Police (OSP) advise motorists to expect severe weather conditions throughout the region tonight and early tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 15. The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch and high wind warning for most of western Oregon. A high wind warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage. A blizzard warning for the Central and Northern Oregon Cascades are also in effect through 8:00 a.m. Friday, Dec. 15.

According to the National Weather Service Forecast Office, “South winds will increase today reaching 20 to 30 mph this afternoon. Peak winds are expected to arrive this evening increasing to 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 65 mph. Winds will subside Friday morning." To learn more about this weather forecast please visit: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/pqr/.

ODOT maintenance crews are operating on their winter schedule, which means 24 hour coverage in all districts. Crews will be out patrolling highways looking for high water, mudslides and downed trees. Blowing snow and whiteout conditions in the mountains, along with power outages throughout the state, may force roads that normally would stay open to close temporarily.

For current road conditions, including road cameras and weather information, visit www.TripCheck.com or call 511. TripCheck also contains information on chain and traction tire requirements and other travel information.  

2:23 p.m.

Reporter Corinna Allen is headed out to check out a report of a tree into a kitchen at a house in southeast Portland. 

2:11 p.m.

Our truck operator, Steve, just called in and said it looks like power is out to most of Seaside.

2:08 p.m.

Here is a press release from NW Natural that just came in regarding natural gas appliances during power outages:

It may be a dark and stormy night ahead for western Oregon residents, but remember that the power outages that often come with major storms don't necessarily affect your gas appliances.

Few calamities derail your daily routine like a power outage-getting clean, preparing food, and staying warm present frustrating obstacles. But your gas appliances can be a major help during electrical outages. 

Just because there's a power outage doesn't mean you have to go hungry. By overriding the electronic ignition on the surface burners with a match, you can continue to operate your gas cooktop, even when the rest of your house is out of power.

Cook your favorite meal on a gas cooktop or range. Remember: Due to the safety features of gas ovens, you cannot manually bypass the oven's lighting controls.

Stay warm when the power is out, many natural gas fireplaces can be lit with a match. With a natural gas fireplace, you'll be able to heat about 800 to 1,000 square feet of living space without power. In most cases, all you will have to do is flip the fireplace switch, which is on the side, front, or behind the bottom louvers near the pilot controls.

Most natural gas water heaters operate with a pilot light so they function even when the electricity doesn't.

Your furnace's pilot light may be on, but your furnace probably won't work in a power outage. Your thermostat and fan need electricity to operate. Some old furnaces-40 years old or more-may operate on gravity and not rely on blowers, but that is a very small percentage of customers. What may happen, if power is lost in the middle of a heating cycle, is that the furnace will continue to make heat, but the heat will be uncirculated. The furnace's overheat sensor will shut the appliance down. If this happens, your furnace may need to be reset once power is restored. 

Power outages sometimes push people into bad decisions like cooking indoors with a charcoal grill or trying to stay warm with open flames. Don't do it.

While loss of electricity is the big threat of a wind storm, uprooted trees can also disrupt gas lines. If you smell gas, call 800-882-3377.

2:05 p.m.

Ok, here's the video clip I promised of the Weather Channel guy.  He's reporting from Cannon Beach. Watch the clip

2:02 p.m.

This sent in from Kim Campbell:
I live in Seaside & work 5 miles north in Gearhart...its blowing pretty hard, though the rain is more of a thick mist at this time, and it still feels warm out.

1:58 p.m.

Here are some comments on the weather coverage sent in from a KATU viewer.  I don't know where he lives, but people on the coast are already getting hit with high winds that are only expected to get worse.  As for the media coverage of the weather, well the numbers show that people are interested so that's why we give it big play.  Unfortunately, you just can't make everyone happy.

The weather where I live is total chaos!  There is panic in the street.  The wind is windy, the rain is raining.  The place where I work, people are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, shouting, "Jesus take the wheel!"  This is typical Oregon weather.  People and the news media need to quit playing it up like it is something out of the ordinary.  By the way, let us not forget about the solar storm heading our way from outer space.  Make sure you mention this in your forecast. - Jim

1:53 p.m.

To recap what we can expect:

According to Rhonda Shelby, the winds will hit the coast around 3 p.m. with gusts between 85 and 100 mph.  Just so you know, anything over 74 mph is considered a hurricane-force gust. The Portland area will get hit around 8 p.m. with gusts between 60 and 65 mph and sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph.

1:42 p.m.

The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore is giving live reports from the Oregon coast.  We'll have the latest one on KATU.com shortly, once we get the video downloaded.

1:29 p.m.

Clackamas County has closed Carver, Barton, Wagon Wheel parks due to high water.  Here's the press release:

Clackamas County Parks has closed three parks today due to high water and flooding. Carver, Barton and Wagon Wheel parks are closed until further notice.

“We don’t know how long the closures will last,” said Parks Supervisor Mike McLees. “It will depend on how tonight’s storm hits and we’ll reassess the impact. We want to be sure the public is safe.”

Carver Park is located at 14890 South Springwater Rd., Oregon City.

Barton Park is located at 19009 SE Barton Park Rd., Boring. Both are located on the Clackamas River and have boat ramps.

Wagon Wheel is located at Highway 213 as it crosses the Molalla River.

The parks were closed for two days in November due to high water.

1:12 p.m.

Washington County has activated its Emergency Department Operations Center in preparation for the upcoming storm.  Here's the press release:

The Land Use and Transportation Emergency Department Operations Center (DOC) activated today at 11 a.m. in anticipation of the storm expected to impact Washington County later today and tonight. Road Operations crews will provide 24-hour coverage and the LUT DOC will be staffed around the clock.

Four roads are currently closed due to high water on the roadway, and high water has been reported on several county roads. Check the Washington County Roads Web site (www.wc-roads.com) for road closures and other traffic impacts of the storm.

Motorists are asked to use caution and watch out for a variety of storm-related conditions including mud and rock slides, fallen trees, high water, and potholes. Motorists are advised not to move or drive around barricades. Driving in deep water can cause car engines to die. The currents can be treacherous, and floating debris can add to the danger. Water can rise quickly, and drivers cannot depend on always seeing high water signs.

County crews will repair the weather-related damage as soon as they can. But in the meantime, motorists are advised to slow down and watch out for unexpected storm-related conditions.

Residents experiencing road problems should contact:

The appropriate city for flooding in city neighborhoods and on county roads within cities. Clean Water Services at 503-547-8100 for flooding in urban unincorporated areas. Washington County at 503-846-ROAD (503-846-7623) or wc-roads@co.washington.or.us for storm-related problems on rural roads.

Washington County is committed to building and maintaining the best transportation system, ensuring the safety of all roadway users, and to operating the county roadway system in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible manner.

12:41 p.m.

The Christmas ships are canceled tonight for both the Columbia and Willamette rivers.

12:31 p.m.

School closures are starting to trickle in. Click here for the latest updates.  

12:29 p.m.

Bridgeport Village has decided to postpone the Pet Photos with Santa event due to the weather.  The new date and time will be Sunday, December 17 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.