Slow thaw begins; rain expected to move into region

Slow thaw begins; rain expected to move into region
Northeast Portland (Photo by Portland Bureau of Transportation)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Let the melting begin.

KATU Meteorologist Dave Salesky said Monday afternoon that it'll be about another 24 hours before most the ice and slush will be gone.

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There is still a freezing rain advisory in the Columbia River Gorge and the Hood River Valley until midnight, he said. Also, a high-wind warning for the Oregon Coast is expected to go into effect Tuesday afternoon.

Salesky said several rain systems are on their way toward the region over the next three to five days.

Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick said during an afternoon news conference that the next priority is to try and clear out storm drains because of a concern about flooding.

He also said city crews plowed about 518 miles of roadway 19 times during the storm.

The city of Salem is also concerned about flooding and sent out a list of sand and sandbag locations, which can be found here. The sandbags will be available by the end of the workday Monday, the city says.

The city says an inch of rain is expected through Wednesday with the possibilty of heavier rain later in the week.

TriMet started the day with five bus lines canceled and many others on snow routes. Three more lines were quickly canceled. Riders should expect delays because chained buses cannot go faster than 25 mph, spokeswoman Roberta Altstadt said.

TriMet kept some MAX trains running overnight and began the morning with regular MAX service.

Two flights were canceled from the Portland International Airport Monday morning. In a news release, the airport said most flights are expected to operate Monday.

State offices in the Portland area are closed Monday but, state offices in Salem are open.

Shelby said the temperature should be in the low 40s by the end of the day Monday. The rain will wash away most of the snow by Tuesday night.

The threat of freezing rain will remain in the Columbia Gorge, however.

The National Weather Service says the freezing rain is a sign of the transition from the cold and snow to more typical February weather.

Portland shuts down on Sunday

Around town Sunday, the icy weather had all but shut down the city. MAX service was halted, with only 15 trains slowly carrying the few folks out and about.

The city of Portland issued a text alert to citizens, strongly urging them to stay indoors and avoid travel.

The ice also contributed to a number of outages throughout the area. Hundreds of customers were without power in Multnomah, Marion, Polk and Washington counties, with more than 1,000 without power in Clackamas County.

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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.

Salem sandbag locations

West Salem

  • Orchard Heights Park-upper parking lot
  •  Sather Park (undeveloped), Willie Way NW between Barnabus Street NW and Lottie Lane NW
  • Park & Ride, Wallace Road NW and Brush College Road NW

South Salem

  • Public Works Operations, 1410 20th Avenue SE
  • Bush Bark, parking lot off Lefelle Street SE
  • South Salem High School Parking lot on Howard Street SE
  • Fred Meyer, South Salem,706 Madrona Avenue SE
  • Wal-Mart, South Salem, 5250 Commercial Street SE
  • Courthouse Athletic Club, 6250 Commercial Street SE
  • Salem Chinese Evangelical Church, 6836 Sunnyside Road SE

East Salem

  • Lowe’s, Highway 22 and Turner Road SE
  • Home Depot, 3795 Hagers Grove Road SE
  • Swegle School, Market Street NE and 45th Avenue NE

Central/North Salem

  • Olinger Pool, parking lot at west end of A Street NE
  • Ferry Street SE at 25th Street SE

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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