Snow, freezing rain create slick roads in Portland metro area - KPTV - FOX 12

Snow, freezing rain create slick roads in Portland metro area

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Slick roads were reported Sunday as a mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain fell in the Portland metro area.

FOX 12 meteorologists say the most likely type of precipitation for much of the metro area through midnight will be freezing rain and sleet. Cold air appears to be deeper in the north metro area and Columbia and Clark counties, so those areas will likely get a few inches of snow. 

In Portland’s West Hills, traffic was being diverted from West Burnside Road to Skyline Boulevard as a second band of precipitation fell. 

FOX 12 spoke with a Portland Bureau of Transportation employee who came in to work on his day off, to as he put it, “serve his city.” 

“I went downhill, started sanding to the tunnel, after the tunnel about two blocks after the tunnel and that’s it… there’s cars all over the place. Chains, SUVs, 4-wheel drive, it don’t matter. They’re all over the place. They’re not going anywhere,” said PBOT employee Zach Maysi. 

Drivers heading east on Burnside and making their way downhill may run into trouble, Maysi said. 

Starting Sunday afternoon, snow chains or traction devices are required for all vehicles traveling on West Burnside, according to PBOT. 

Traction devices are also required on several roadways in Washington County: Barnes Road from Baltic Avenue to the county line, Cornell Road from Cedar Hills Boulevard to the county line and 175th Avenue between Scholls Ferry and Rigert roads. 

Unfortunately, some drivers waited until they were stuck in wintry conditions to put chains on their tires.  One tow truck driver said many of the emergencies he responded to were because people had chains but didn't know how to put them on.

“They don't know to let some air out of their tires. It gives you a little bit better traction,” said tow truck driver Richard Pinkerton. 

People who violate the traction device requirement could be fined up to $160. 

In areas of southeast Portland, conditions were just as dangerous and slick. A FOX 12 crew near Southeast Division Street and 92nd Avenue reported seeing many close calls and drivers almost losing control on the roadway. 

All night, it has been a headache for drivers – from skidding, swerving or even getting stuck. The incidents kept rolling in, prompting bystanders to show some Christmas spirit. 

“We just want people to get to their families as soon as possible, so we’re trying to do everything in our manpower, pushing cars, everything possible,” a driver said. 

FOX 12 spoke with some drivers who said rain or shine, or in this case snow, they still have to work. But they are taking it slow and in some cases trading for a more reliable vehicle. 

“I borrowed my mother’s car,” said Vincent Maurer. “I have a little car that would be a little scary here but this is nice. It’s 4-wheel drive.” 

Others said they still had to get to their family Christmas. 

“It’s like a, you know, 50-year tradition that has been going since I was born. So we felt like we had to make it,” a driver told FOX 12. 

Local agencies are warning people to stay home and avoid driving if possible. If not, drivers are urged to use caution, slow down and make sure they have traction tires or snow chains in their car. 

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