Coming soon to a snowstorm near you: Freezing rain

Coming soon to a snowstorm near you: Freezing rain

PORTLAND, Ore. – Welcome to Day 3.

The third round of winter weather is forecast to sweep through Oregon and Southwest Washington on Saturday, with freezing rain expected to fall on more fresh snow.

KATU meteorologist Dave Salesky said that as of 3 p.m. Saturday, there were still 2-4 inches of snow on the way through Saturday night.

The end of the snow doesn't mean the end of the storm.

Salesky said models predict mixed ice, freezing rain and sleet will fall overnight, making for awful driving conditions.

Albany, Corvallis and Eugene are under an ice-storm warning, adding more cold weather to the foot or so of snow the area has received in places.

More than 3,000 people in the Portland region were without power Saturday morning, but most had the lights back before noon. Farther south, The Register-Guard newspaper reported that downed trees have caused widespread outages in the rural communities near Eugene. The Springfield Utility Board, meanwhile, said 2,000 customers were without power, primarily in downtown and east Springfield.

The snow began swirling in Portland shortly before 10 a.m. Saturday, falling on top of streets and sidewalks packed with snow from storms that struck Thursday and Friday. Despite its northern location on the U.S. map, Portland sometimes goes an entire winter without snow, and residents and businesses are not prepared to shovel their sidewalks.

There were 13 flights canceled at PDX on Saturday morning, but a spokesperson said they expected most flights to proceed as planned.

The Oregon State Police said troopers statewide have responded to about 600 weather-related crashes since Thursday morning. The only fatality occurred Friday afternoon, when ice caused a man to lose to control of his vehicle on Interstate 84 near Rooster Rock and crash into a tree, killing a female passenger.

Troopers have also responded to about 900 motorists who needed assistance because of the conditions, Lt. Steve Mitchell said.

Police and public officials have urged people not to drive, and that message was heeded by most as many streets were empty Saturday.

Residents also had fewer reasons to leave home as the Oregon Zoo, Portland Art Museum, Multnomah County Library and many shops were closed.

For bicyclists, the weather even doomed the annual "Worst Day of the Year Ride" scheduled for this weekend. Organizers had hoped to stage a 15-mile ride through downtown after announcing Thursday that its more challenging 46-mile event through the hills of west Portland was canceled for safety reasons.

"Alas, Mother Nature wins this round," organizers announced on the event's website Saturday.

Winter driving tips from ODOT

If severe winter conditions arrive, ODOT says it will deploy all available tools in its winter arsenal, including plows, sanders and deicers, as appropriate.

  • Here are some tips for travelers should an icy winter storm strike.
  • No one can safely drive on ice. If roads get icy, consider not driving or delaying your trip until the weather warms and the ice thaws.
  • In ice or snow, allow plenty of stopping distance and watch out for pedestrians and bicyclists because stopping distances are so much longer.
  • ODOT sand trucks, plows and deicer trucks can’t clear roads clogged with traffic. The more traffic stays off the road, the quicker roads can be treated.
  • Consider leaving the driving to the professionals and taking mass transit. Consider walking, riding a bike, working from home or taking the day off until the roads are clear.
  • Don’t abandon a vehicle in heavy traffic. This delays emergency responders, prevents plows and other maintenance equipment from getting through.

Frozen Pipes

People living in Portland with no running water at home should call the Portland Water Bureau’s 24/7 Emergency Hotline at 503-823-4874.

If you think your pipes are frozen, the Water Bureau recommends turning on faucets throughout the home. If some work and others don’t, there may be a frozen pipe.

To thaw your pipes safely, the Water Bureau recommends using a hair dryer or heat lamp; never use an open flame. Once the pipe has thawed, leave a small amount of water running so it doesn’t freeze again.