Preparing for snow from valley floor to mountain top


Snow is falling in the mountains and is forecast for next week as well

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Winter weather is in the forecast, though where and how much snow will fall is still uncertain.

On the mountain, the flakes are already falling and resorts are gearing up for several feet of snow this weekend. In the metro area, city agencies are preparing for snowfall and advising local drivers to do the same. While out at the Oregon coast, a system moving in from the Pacific is lashing coastal towns with high King tides.

Preparing for snow in the metro area

Portlanders are preparing for the possibility of snow in the metro area next week. For those looking for more information on how to prepare, KOIN 6 News spoke to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office on how to get ready and be safe in the winter weather.

Now is the time to prepare. Drivers should pack the necessities in their cars—water, a first aid kit, jumper cables, blankets and phone chargers.

If the metro area does see a lot of snow, the best thing is to stay home if possible, or take public transportation. If you do find yourself driving, be sure to take your time on the roads.

“If we can get the word out to people and get them prepared—that is our goal,” said Deputy Sheriff Trevor Cooley. “It obviously benefits us as well. When people get stranded, it gives us time to get out there and help them. IF they are not prepared, and the elements are cold, it can bring more danger to them.”

Cars drive in snow. January 10, 2020 (KOIN)

For some on the road, the forecast of snow is nothing new.

“It’s nothing we haven’t dealt with before. The thing that worries me is the other drivers on the road,” said Max Hilton-Gray. “I love the snow. I don’t love the traffic, you know, everything slows down and sort of comes to a standstill.”

The Portland Bureau of Transportation will start preparing their equipment to handle the roads Sunday. If we do see snow, here is one thing to remember: never abandon you car. If you lose traction while driving, pull over. Any car creating a safety hazard could be ticketed and towed. That can cost around $200, according to PBOT.

Heavy snowfall in the mountains

In the mountains, the snow we’ve expected this winter is finally about to arrive. Several feet of snow is anticipated in the Cascades. The snowfall is great news in a lot of ways, but it will make weekend travel very hazardous in the mountains.

At least a foot a day is in the forecast by Mt. Hood. Considering the area is at less than half the snow-pack for this winter, the incoming snowfall should help make up the difference.

Oregon Department of Transportation snow plow. January 10, 2020 (KOIN)

However, the sudden, heavy blast of non-stop snow will make driving conditions difficult. Chains or traction tires are required.

ODOT’s yard near Government Camp was busy with plows and sanders on Friday, but once the snow starts dumping, there is only so much state highway crews can handle. They will have their huge plows out around the block, but they admit that keeping up with such heavy, continuous snowfall will be a challenge.

If you are driving and encounter a snow plow, it is illegal to pass on the right, said ODOT.

On Friday, many drivers going to and from Government Camp were busy helping each other out, some hope to make it home before the highway gets packed with snow.

“We have the Subaru,” said Amy Nimis, who just moved here from Hawaii. “I was asking people whether we should have chains before we came up and they said, ‘no, you’ll be fine.'”

Unless you have snow tires on your car or chains in the trunk, Oregon mountains will be off limits this weekend.

Weather warning on the coast

King tide hits Seaside, January 10, 2020 (KOIN)

Along the Oregon Coast, a High Surf Warning has been issued by the National Weather Service in Portland. Waves have the potential to be destructive, crashing over beaches and other coastal structures unexpectedly.

The Pacific County Sheriff’s Office advises residents to be cautious of sneaker waves and severe beach erosion that could potentially destroy coastal homes and buildings.

“This is particularly critical information in light of the calm tides this weekend,” said the sheriff’s office.

The High Surf Warning is in effect from 1 a.m. Saturday until 4 p.m. that same day.

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