Snow is done, now here comes the extreme cold

Snow is done, now here comes the extreme cold
Snow at Portland's South Waterfront. (Photo by Matt Johnson, KATU News)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Snow arrived in Oregon and Southwest Washington on Friday morning, causing slick driving conditions and crashes in some spots.

And while the snow is now over, KATU meteorologists say to prepare for the possibility of record-setting low temperatures tonight and through the weekend.

"It's going to be cold, very cold," KATU Meteorologist Dave Salesky said Friday afternoon.

He said the threat is going to be the extremely cold temperatures that will move into the region tonight, made worse by the wind.

Salesky said the overnight lows in the Portland-metro area will be in the mid-teens and will possibly break records.

Daytime highs will only make it to the uppers 20s and low 30s, he said.

Strong east winds will also barrel down the gorge and the wind chill temperatures will plunge to zero to 10 degrees Fahrenheit east of Interstate 205.

The precipitation is over, Salesky said, and the skies will be clearing.

Snow Snarls Traffic

On Friday afternoon the Marion County Sheriff's Office said agencies were experiencing "a higher than average volume of calls for service" and said people who were in traffic crashes could expect about a 90-minute wait for a tow truck.

Deputies asked people not to drive unless absolutely necessary.

In the Portland and Vancouver areas, the morning snow made for a nightmare commute. TriMet announced that all bus lines were delayed up to 30 minutes due to weather.

Many school districts around the region announced closures and delays.

Most of the Oregon accumulation was on the coast and in the Southern Willamette Valley, according to KATU Meteorologist Rhonda Shelby.

Oregon State University announced its Corvallis campus would close at 12 p.m. Friday due to snow.

In Eugene, the University of Oregon announced classes would be suspended at 2 p.m.

The Oregon Department of Transportation implemented a chain requirement on Interstate 5 in Linn County after several crashes.

Snow also began accumulating early Friday morning in parts of Southwest Washington. The Washington State Department of Transportation said the conditions caused crashes and spin-outs in the Vancouver area, and urged drivers to take extra time.

"Tonight, winds will become stronger with dangerous wind chills in the Cascades and the Gorge," said Shelby. We're talking 10 to 20 degrees below zero.

"East winds will continue to blow all weekend," she said. "The cold snap gets even colder."

On Friday, the city of Portland, ODOT and TriMet urged the public to be prepared for more weather events like this.

“We encourage people to use public transit during storm events, so people should study the bus and light rail routes where you live and know ahead of time if there’s a snow route that may be in effect,” said Suzanne Kahn, maintenance group manager for the city’s transportation bureau.

Farther south, the Douglas County sheriff's office said people shouldn't drive: "Unless travel is essential, the Sheriff's Office is recommending that citizens stay home."
In Southern Douglas County, a state de-icing truck and several vehicles were involved in a crash when passing cars lost control. No injuries were reported.
The Weather Service said that snowfall in Eastern Oregon would likely affect traffic on Interstate 84, often closed for stretches in the winter, especially as it passes through the Blue Mountains south of Pendleton.

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