With snow possible, PBOT ‘mindful of the forecast’

Multnomah County

PBOT 'made plans to have extra crews working Sunday night'

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Even though the chances for snow to stick in the Portland metro valley, there is the possibility of snow at levels of 500 feet and up on Sunday.

That’s why the Portland Bureau of Transportation is prepared for what may — or may not — come.

“We are very mindful of the forecast and we want to deploy the right resources at the right time, for the right size of event,” said PBOT’s Dylan Rivera. “We’ve already made plans to have extra crews working Sunday night to address any problems that might occur.”

Rivera said it’s always better to be prepared for whatever may happen in Portland.

“We don’t know for sure when snow or ice might hit in Portland. It’s hard for the forecasters to predict, but we know if it hits it could impact everyone in the Portland area.”

Sunday morning the temperatures in the valley appear to warm up ahead of the cold front.

Closer to Portland it seems reasonable that neighborhoods like West Burnside or Council Crest could see wet flakes falling — but if anything accumulates beyond a trace would be a giant surprise.

But the areas with the best likelihood of seeing snow fall and momentarily stick might be around St. Helens, Kalama, Woodland and neighborhoods in the reaches of 500 feet or higher.

Keep your eyes on Hood River in the central Columbia River Gorge Sunday afternoon. That’s the best bet at seeing the lowest snow to accumulate, possibly near the freeway.

PBOT prep begins in the summer

PBOT’s winter weather preparation start in the summer with updating snow and ice maps, looking at routes plus equipment and supplies they may need to buy.

By fall, as the weather cools the planning heats up. Snow plow drivers study their routes and do dry-runs in their 12-foot trucks.

“They drive their snow route to get their eyes on that street and see physically what’s there,” he said. “These are really large vehicles. We use these vehicles year-round and in the winter we attach a snow plow to the front of that vehicle. It makes it a challenging job. It’s not just any old driving experience.”

In the event of snow, motorists should give snow plows plenty of room on the roads and never pass them.

About a day or two before winter storms, PBOT will apply de-icer to streets across the city of Portland. That’s not something they’re doing this weekend, Rivera said, but they will monitor the forecast throughout the weekend.

As will ODOT, which is also ready to respond accordingly.

What happens next week depends on different factors, including an east wind and a low pressure system with enough moisture. If everything lines up, it’s possible snow could fall lower than 1000 feet or 500 feet and stick sometime between Monday and Wednesday.

Enjoy Saturday — it will be cold but very sunny.

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