PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Though the weather in the Portland metro has improved, weather and transportation experts maintain commuters are not yet in the clear.
Many people will return to normal schedules on Monday but drivers and commuters need to check road conditions and closures before heading out.
Winter weather takes aim at the Portland metro area again Monday morning. Snow is expected to be heavy at times during the morning commute with temperatures near freezing. That could make for a slushy drive Monday morning.
Bridges and overpasses have a greater chance to freeze or see snow accumulation, but that will not be widespread Monday morning.
“Drive with extreme caution, especially on corners and in shady spots because with temperatures in the mid 30s, ice is not melting quickly,” said Michelle Godfrey with the Oregon Department of Transportation. “The road can be very slick even when it appears like it’s very clear.”
More dangerous road conditions are expected ahead of the Monday and Tuesday morning commutes. As crews continue to de-ice and plow snow, drivers are reminded to give the crews space needed to treat the roads safely.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation said they are actively reopening roads but said abandoned vehicles pose a challenge. That’s why they plan to clear them as quickly as possible.
“If folks can safely get out, retrieve their vehicles today (Sunday), that would be great,” PBOT’s Hannah Schafer said. “If not, we’re going to be trying to tow as many off the roads as possible heading into this next weather event.”
PBOT said they will waive citation fees for cars retrieved before noon Tuesday and urge drivers who can get them off the roads to do so.
Towing companies extremely busy
Darin Coltharp with A&B Towing and Recovery said business has been busy since the storm first hit Wednesday. When he spoke with KOIN 6 News he was about to tow a DHL van left stranded off NE 72nd and Sacramento.
“It’s pretty bad,” Coltharp said. “People just can’t get anywhere so they just stop and walk.”
Though drivers weren’t always prepared to deal with the snow, he said the weather was the biggest factor for the abandonments.
“A little combination of both, but mostly the weather. If it didn’t hit us the way it did, we wouldn’t be doing all this,” he said.
But ODOT’s Godfrey and PBOT’s Schafer said drivers should take some lessons from this event.
“If you have to go, be prepared for the weather, have supplies in your vehicle. Take the time now when it’s kind of a moment of rest for all of us to stock up your vehicle,” Godfrey said.
Schafer’s recommendation for Monday is “stay off the roads and delay travel until things are improved. One of the things that we saw on Wednesday was that everyone hit the road at the same time, and that helped make the ‘perfect storm’ even more of a storm than we wanted it to be.”
This snow event won’t be anything like what Portland saw Wednesday last week. Snow accumulation Monday morning will depend on how heavy and how long the snow falls. Roadways will likely only see slush downtown. Slushy roads can still be slick.
Snowfall accumulation will be lost to melting as temperatures continue to climb. That means you won’t be able to measure this event with a ruler unless you’re above 2,500 feet.
Temperatures aren’t expected to fall far below freezing Monday night into Tuesday morning. However, snow flurries are likely to fall again by Tuesday morning. Thankfully, roads will remain wet and slush at the worst Monday night into Tuesday morning.