Snow starts to fall in Portland metro, chains required on I-5 fo - KPTV - FOX 12

Snow starts to fall in Portland metro, chains required on I-5 for most of Willamette Valley

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A severe winter storm hit the Portland metro area late Saturday morning and already the conditions are creating some problems. 

Snow began falling in the Salem area around 10 a.m. with freezing rain reported in some areas. 

Snow flurries arrived in the Portland metro around 10:30 a.m. Saturday. After a short break, heavier snow will start to fall in the early part of the afternoon, according to FOX 12 meteorologists. 

Snowfall amounts could be anywhere from a trace to two inches depending on the area.

As of midday, most of the slippery conditions could be found south of Salem in the southern Willamette Valley. Scattered snow showers continued across the Portland metro, but only light snow accumulations have been reported.  

Oregon State Police reported multiple crashes along I-5 from as far away as Eugene. Troopers said they can't keep up with the crashes and are advising locals not to drive if possible. 

Oregon Department of Transportation said chains or traction tires are required for all vehicles on Interstate 5 from Eugene to Wilsonville (milepost 186 to 283).

Weather conditions continue to worsen further east. ODOT has closed all state highways in Union County, including I-84, due to blizzard conditions.

According to FOX 12 Meteorologist Mark Nelsen, there will be less precipitation than was expected. The metro area will likely see scattered light freezing rain showers overnight.

Ice accumulations are expected to be around half an inch.

It is likely the snow and ice will not melt until sometime Monday afternoon when temperatures reach above freezing.

East winds will be picking up Saturday with gusts up to 30 mph in the metro area. Parts of the Gorge will see gusts close to 65 mph, according to the FOX 12 weather team.

The Portland Trail Blazers, Winterhawks and University of Portland men's basketball games for Saturday night have all been postponed. Portland State University said their men's basketball game against Sacramento State will be played as scheduled.

The Oregon Zoo announced they will be closed on Sunday.

Portland city officials and the Oregon Department of Transportation said they have been prepping for this storm over the last week. ODOT said they are prepared to use salt on the roads in high-risk areas. 

PBOT said chains and traction tires are required for West Burnside and Southwest Sam Jackson.

Several road closure are in place due to ice on roadways. For the full list of road closures in Portland, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/620347.

TriMet officials said that as 12:30 p.m. they are currently not experiencing any service impacts due to weather. They would like to assure their riders that they will alter or cancel services if conditions become unsafe.

Commissioner Dan Saltzman said city crews have been getting plows and sanders ready and putting down anti-icer. By Saturday morning, he said, crews will be working around the clock.

What does this mean for your weekend plans? Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen advises residents to stay at home if possible. Roads are expected to be icy until Monday morning at the earliest. 

Hundreds of locals flocked to Portland grocery stores Friday to prepare for a weekend at home. 

"I've been living here in Portland for 17 years so a little bit of ice isn't that big of a deal," shopper Todd Pease said. "If you prepare for it by getting this kind of stuff."

Drivers also made a mad dash to stores like Les Schwab Tire Center Friday. Car experts said you need to do what you can to get your car ready for the winter weather. 

“The first thing to do anytime in the winter is have your battery checked. You don’t want to get stranded with a dead battery,” said a manager at Les Schwab Tire Center Cliff Pruner.

Jumper cables, first aid kits, tire chains, cables and traction tires are also popular car items during the winter months. 

Portland International Airport has canceled a large amount of flights in and out of Portland after 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Visit PortofPortland.com to view delayed and canceled flights.  

FOX 12 will be covering the winter storm throughout the weekend. Please tune in to our live coverage on Saturday and Sunday.

Be sure to visit our FOX 12 Weather Blog for an in-depth analysis of the storm. 

For the latest weather forecast from the FOX 12 Weather team, as well as the latest traffic updates and closings information, download our free FOX 12 Weather App for iPhone and for Android

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