Portland metro area traffic grinds to halt as snow arrives - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland traffic grinds to halt after snowstorm hits Willamette Valley

Posted: Updated:
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A winter storm dumped snow in the central Willamette Valley and then moved on to the Portland metro area Thursday, causing major traffic delays on the region's major freeways and highways.

All areas are under a winter storm warning, which will not expire until Friday.

SCHOOL CLOSURES: Check the complete list of school closures and delays

On Interstate 5 near Albany, 20 vehicles were involved in a pileup that shut down the southbound lanes of the freeway.

"The snow kind of came out of nowhere and it really got icy. A motorhome started twirling around and people tried to avoid it and it didn't work out so well for a lot of people," said Shawn Dodd, who was involved in the pileup.

Oregon State University shut down all campus operations for the day because of the snowfall. School officials made the call at 6:30 a.m. Other colleges followed suit, with PCC, Portland State and University of Oregon all announcing early closures.

Most schools up and down the Willamette Valley announced early releases. That included Portland Public Schools, which is the largest school district in the state. Some schools have already started to announce closures for Friday.

FOX 12 WEATHER BLOG: Forecast updates

The Portland Bureau of Transportation applied deicer to major routes, as well as bridges and overpasses in preparation for the snow.

But that didn't prevent major traffic backup Thursday afternoon.

Transportation department crews were patrolling high-elevation areas and will continue to assess road conditions as they develop.

Up next, FOX 12 meteorologists expect some melting on streets early Friday, but a new round of snow is expected in the afternoon hours.

TRAFFIC: Cameras and speed maps

Oregon Department of Transportation crews also have plans to use plows, sanders and deicers as appropriate. They gave the following tips for drivers who are considering traveling during an icy winter storm:

  • 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.

Copyright 2014 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

  • Portland traffic grinds to halt after snowstorm hits Willamette ValleyMore>>

  • Winter weather warning sidebar

    RELATED

    FOX 12 Weather Blog 7-Day Forecast Check weather advisories School closures Other closures More weather coverageMore >
    FOX 12 weather meteorologists weigh in on what's next.More >
Powered by WorldNow
FOX 12
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2014, KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation, Portland, OR and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.