Freezing rain makes driving hazardous in parts of Gorge

Freezing rain makes driving hazardous in parts of Gorge »Play Video
Ice covers blades of grass near Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge. (Photo by Michael Warner, KATU News)

PORTLAND, Ore. - Light rain coupled with sub-freezing temperatures made parts of the Gorge a challenge for drivers and prompted some schools to close for the day Friday.

KATU Meteorologist Rhonda Shelby said the icy conditions won't last through the day. "The rest of the day will be mainly dry and turning partly sunny.  The Gorge will warm to above freezing very slowly this afternoon.  High temperatures are likely to only get to 34 or 35 degrees by the end of the day," Shelby said. 

But a new weather system could bring more snow and driving challenges to the region. "Tomorrow afternoon and evening, more light rain will approach from a front over the Pacific Ocean and the Gorge may see some snow out of this system - or at least a mix of rain and snow from Hood River east into The Dalles," she added.

But the slick conditions Thursday and into Friday caused numerous spinouts and crashes along a stretch from Troutdale near Portland to around Cascade Locks and Hood River, according to ODOT and law enforcement.

No serious injuries were reported, however. Numerous schools in the Gorge also reported they were closed for the day, had buses on snow routes or were delaying opening.

A Winter Weather Advisory for the Gorge expired at 4 a.m. Friday. Slick conditions were also reported in some spots in the Coast Range mountains.